Churches across Europe who want Anglican-style oversight but an unwavering commitment to orthodox Christian teaching are now being offered the Anglican Network in Europe (ANiE).
The network will be lead by Bishop Andy Lines, who told Premier: "I can just imagine the frustration of everyone at the thought - 'is another jurisdiction what is wanted?' No, the answer is that the good news is needed in our needy continent and one of the primary aims of the Anglican network is to provide towards that need. There are 90 per cent or so of the population of Europe who do not attend any church, don't have any living relationship with the Lord Jesus and that's our concern.
"But our other issue is to provide for those churches who have, for different reasons, had to - or felt that they had to - leave the denomination of which they were a part, whether that's in Scotland or in England."
Lines' appointment fills an oversight gap for those churches which have fallen out of step with, for example, the Church of England and "providing them with what a bishop does, which they haven't had for a number of years," he said. Bishop Andy has been a missionary in Paraguay, he led the mission charity Crosslinks and has had permission to officiate in the Diocese of Southwark within the Church of England.
The new Anglican Network encompasses the already existing Anglican Mission in England and the Anglican Convocation in Europe and is linked to GAFCON - a group of church leaders who aim to uphold the Bible's authority above everything else and not succumb to what they see as more liberal teaching on scripture's authority, marriage, sexuality, salvation and the mission of the church.
But Bishop Andy said: "Within that, there's quite a bit of variety...you'll get people who differ on secondary issues, quite legitimately, but who share these common convictions."
In a press release, ANiE said: "In mainline protestant denominations, many Bishops, theologians, clergy and other leaders have accommodated the Christian faith to ideologies of contemporary culture. The gospel message has been altered or lost, at a time when millions across Europe, increasingly influenced by secularism, have never heard the good news of Christ: his Lordship, his saving work and the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives."