Here’s To All The #NewRevs

Source: Here’s To All The #NewRevs

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Canterbury versus GAFCON Primate

GAFCON Chairman Clashes with Archbishop Welby over Boundary Crossing

GAFCON Chairman Clashes with Archbishop Welby over Boundary Crossing
Athanasius consecrated orthodox bishops…because he knew that the apostolic faith itself was at stake
The creation of a missionary bishop for Europe is an historic moment, says Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

By David W. Virtue, DD
June 15, 2017

GAFCON chairman and Nigerian Primate, Nicholas Okoh, clashed with Archbishop Justin Welby over the recent passage of a resolution by the Scottish Episcopal Church to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, resulting in the announcement that GAFCON would ordain a bishop to provide episcopal oversight for bishops and clergy who believed that such actions betray the faith once received.

Welby wrote to the GAFCON Archbishops saying he did not consider the appointment of a “Missionary Bishop” in the person of Andy Lines to be necessary and berated the Primates for “cross-border intervention”, arguing that it was not a Church of England appointment and therefore carried no weight in the Church of England.

“Historically, there has been resistance to cross-border interventions and ordinations from the earliest years of the universal Church’s existence. Such weighty authority as canons 15 and 16 of the first Council of Nicaea in AD 325 are uncompromising in this regard and make reference to the ‘great disturbance and discords that occur’ when bishops and their clergy seek to minister in this way,” wrote Welby.

The Nigerian Primate fired back, saying that what happened in Scotland was similar to the clash between the heretic Arius and Athanasius in the fourth century, which nearly overwhelmed the church by the Arians, but was rescued by Athanasius.

“If the Church had continued to follow Arius, the Christian faith would have been lost. I am reminded of Athanasius because we are facing a similar struggle for the integrity of the gospel in our time. On Thursday, 8th June, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) changed its teaching to allow men to be married to men and women to women. It followed the path already taken by the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

“This attempt to redefine marriage is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together. It means that Jesus was mistaken when he taught that marriage was between a man and a woman and that sex outside of such a marriage is a sin. It is a radical rejection of the authority of Scripture. The Church claims that it can consecrate behavior that God’s Word clearly teaches to be sinful. According to the Bible, this behavior, without repentance, separates those who practice it from his kingdom.

“Athanasius consecrated orthodox bishops in dioceses led by Arians because he knew that the apostolic faith itself was at stake. This was the principle guiding the interventions which led to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009 and it was affirmed by over three hundred bishops in assembly at GAFCON 2013 in Nairobi. It was therefore very appropriate that on the same day that the Scottish Episcopal Church formally turned aside from the historic Christian faith, GAFCON announced that Canon Andy Lines, already an internationally recognized missionary statesman, will be consecrated later this month as a GAFCON missionary bishop for Europe.”

Archbishop Okoh said it was not a step taken lightly, and from the beginning GAFCON has been committed to standing with the marginalized. “Requests for help from Scottish orthodox leaders to the Archbishop of Canterbury were turned down. Indeed, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his General Synod last year that the Archbishop of Canterbury had assured him that he would welcome the Scottish Church to the 2020 Lambeth Conference even if it chose to change its marriage canon to include same sex unions.”

Archbishop Okoh said GAFCON stands ready to recognize and support orthodox Anglicans in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe as the drift away from apostolic faith and order continues.

“For reasons of mission and conscience, we can expect to find a growing number of orthodox Anglican congregations needing oversight outside traditional structures, as is already the case with the Anglican Mission in England.

“The creation of a missionary bishop for Europe is an historic moment. It is a recognition that the era of European Christendom has passed and that in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, a new start is being made by building global partnerships for mission.”

Okoh called on orthodox Anglicans to stand with the marginalized and to work tirelessly for the continuing reformation of our “beloved Communion.”


This last paragraph of Mr. David Virtue’s opinion piece on the clash between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the rebellious GAFCON consortium of the Global South Primates, quite clearly  demonstrates the delusion suffered by Virtue and his friends at GAFCON that they, only, represent what they are pleased to call ‘orthodox’ Anglicanism at this point in history.

Completely forgetting the fact that, without Canterbury, there would have been no Anglican Church in the Global South; and the ‘Primate of All Nigeria’, Nicholas Okoh, might never have reached the exalted status of a Church Leader – never mind the leader of a rebellious faction with the worldwide Communion of Anglican Christians that he now presumes to launch into intentional schism- purely on the basis of the outdated GAFCON understanding of human gender and sexuality.

The purists, whose agenda is promoted by ‘virtue-on-line’ and a gaggle of associated offshoots of the Gafcon Primates, who have raised up their own schismatic churches from their Anglican roots around the world, will soon discover that schism begets further schism until all semblance of the ‘mother Church’ they presume to have replaced will disappear from their midst.

What the rebels seem not to clearly understand is that there is no ‘perfect’ Church. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners – not the so-called ‘righteous’, who may just be left to their own ‘devices and desires of their own hearts’.

Perhaps they need to read again (and again) Jesus’ story about the Pharisee and the Publican in the Temple. One, only, went away justified; and it was NOT the Pharisee! It was the sinner who acknowledged his innate sinful nature and was, thereby, redeemed!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Irish Bishop see SEC’s move as ‘A Way Forward’

IRELAND: Bishop says Scottish church’s move on gay marriage ‘a way forward’

IRELAND: Bishop says Scottish church’s move on gay marriage ‘a way forward’
Scottish Episcopal Church first major congregation in UK to allow same-sex marriage

Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork Paul Colton: ‘the reality is that there is such diversity and difference throughout the Church of Ireland.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

By Patsy McGarry
June 12, 2017

The Church of Ireland may have found a way forward on the issue of same-sex marriage following a move by a church in Scotand, Bishop of Cork Paul Colton has said.

The Scottish Episcopal Church last week became the first major church in Britain or Ireland to allow same-sex marriage. A vote by its general synod in Edinburgh removed a clause from the church’s canon law which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

However, clergy who do not agree can opt out of conducting same-sex weddings.

Dublin-born Bishop David Chillingworth is primus of the Scottish Church. He was ordained in Belfast and served in Northern Ireland until 2005 when he was consecrated Bishop of the diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane in Scotland.

Addressing the Cork diocesan synod in Douglas, Bishop Colton quoted Bishop Chillingworth who said “the new canon itself affirms that there are differing views of marriage in our church.

“Nobody will be compelled to do anything against their conscience. We affirm that we are a church of diversity and difference, bound together by our oneness in Christ…”

Diversity and difference

Bishop Colton said “the reality is that there is such diversity and difference throughout the Church of Ireland too. Those differences and that diversity cannot be ignored.”

He added it may well be the Scottish approach “represents a way forward for us too that recognises all integrities. It is worth considering in our debate here in Ireland”.

The bishop said “that such things are open to debate in this Church [of Ireland] has always been the case. If there had been no questioning or discourse, the Reformation itself would not have happened, nor would many other developments have unfolded over the centuries, in ministry, in liturgy and in belief, the most recent examples being our change in approach to suicide, to the marriage in church of divorcees, and also the ordination of women, and there are many others.”

Thanksgiving service

Last month a motion that Church of Ireland bishops investigate developing a public thanksgiving service for legally married same-sex couples was defeated at the church’s General Synod in Limerick. It followed debate where speakers divided along North-South lines, with all speakers from the South in favour and all but one Northern speaker opposed.

Meanwhile, a report to the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) General Assembly last month concluded there were not “sufficient theological grounds to deny nominated individual ministers and deacons the authority to preside at same-sex marriages”.

It said “conscientious refusal” of ministers and deacons to preside at such marriages should be protected and spoke of “constrained difference” in the church over the issue. Officials were instructed to consider changes to church law that would allow ministers to preside over same-sex marriage ceremonies.

A report presented last week in Belfast to the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland concluded that its sister Church of Scotland “has departed from the clear teaching of scripture on the matter of same-sex relationships.”



“Addressing the Cork diocesan synod in Douglas, Bishop Colton quoted Bishop Chillingworth who said “the new canon itself affirms that there are differing views of marriage in our church.

“Nobody will be compelled to do anything against their conscience. We affirm that we are a church of diversity and difference, bound together by our oneness in Christ…”

The C. of I. Bishop of Cork, in quoting S.E.C.’s Presiding Bishop on the fact of  Anglican ‘diversity and difference’, sets the scene for the possible acceptance by the Church of Ireland of a similar process for the acceptance of Equal Marriage to that which now exists in the Episcopal Church of Scotland.

This ought to provoke members of the General Synod of the Church of England to consider carefully their response to the action of fellow Anglican Churches within the British Isles, in making provision for those if its adherents who wish to take advantage of the more liberal attitude towards LGBTI people being advanced by other Anglicans.

Father, Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

(presently in the U.K.)

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Feast of Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

Jesus told his friends to do this, and they have done it always since. Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacles of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. No better thing has been found than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the wisdom of a Parliament or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because a father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetish because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna; for the repentance of Margaret; for the settlement of a strike; for the son of a barren woman; for Captain so-and-so, wounded and prisoner of war; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of St Joan of Arc- one could fill many pages with the reasons why this has been done, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the priests have done this just to make the ‘plebs sancta dei’ – the holy common people of God.

Dom Gregory Dix


This wonderful summation of the vocation of the Church – to celebrate and participate in the Eucharist – written long ago by Anglican monk and liturgist Dom. Gregory Dix – has never lost its basic significance.

Jesus said  “Do this to re-member me” and the Church catholic has continued the process of re-membering the Body of Christ ever since Jesus (by the power of the Holy Spirit) instituted the Eucharist as the Sacrament of God’s Self, primarily in this re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ.

“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”, promised Jesus, “and I will raise them up on the Last Day”.  In the meantime, the same offering is to be made on a daily basis by those loyal to Christ, in order for the Church to not only survive but grow into maturity. 

The ‘Bread of Angels’ has been given to humankind, in order to restore us into the Image and Likeness of God that was God’s intention for each one of God’s human children. “O Holy Jesus; most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother; may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day”. Amen.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

(temporarily in England)

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U.S. Cardinal welcomes LGTBI people

Iain Baxter
15 June at 08:09
Even our Roman Catholic friends are seeing a change!


A refreshing post – pointed out by a mutual friend – brings evidence of a new understanding of human sexual differences in the U.S. Catholic Church.

 There is little doubt that Catholics in the U.S. will be more forthcoming on the inclusion of LGBTI people than those in other countries. As has been shown by Provinces of the Anglican Communion, people in the churches of North America are more up-to-date in their knowledge and acceptance of humanity’s amazing variety – including their innate sexual differences. We are all sinners together – children of God and heirs of God’s Kingdom.

In the U.S. Archdiocese of Newark, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin

is obviously ready to champion the cause of radical inclusion of ALL people into the congregations of his archdiocese – leading the way for others to follow.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand


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Canterbury Pilgrimage Revival


08 June 2017

A simple stone set just to the side of the main door into Canterbury Cathedral marks the start of the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim pathway which stretches through East Kent heading towards the coast, and then onwards to Rome. First recorded by Sigeric, an Archbishop of Canterbury who recorded his route to the holy city in 990AD, it’s one of a number of medieval pathways that crisscross the county of Kent, making their way to, through and from Canterbury.

Although not as well-known as the Camino (also known as the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela in Spain), the Via Francigena, like many pilgrim paths, is experiencing something of a revival – and not just among people of faith. Research by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) suggests that more than 330 million people – that’s a third of tourists worldwide – are going on pilgrimage each year to key religious sites around the world. The Camino itself has grown from fewer than 5,000 pilgrims in 1991 to more than 277,000 pilgrims last year; it is forecast to grow to 464,000 by 2021.

In the UK too, Scotland in particular is seeing an upward trend in religious tourism. Six new pilgrim routes are currently under development, and the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly voted a few weeks ago to revoke its 400-year-old prohibition on pilgrimage.

The growing numbers mean pilgrimage presents challenges as well as opportunities. There are the challenges brought about by the over-commercialisation of a route, but equally opportunities to encourage pilgrims, and the destinations that welcome them, to leave as light a footprint on the earth as possible.

How to harness the potential positive impact of this growing trend has been the focus of recent activity in Canterbury. As the symbolic centre of the worldwide Anglican Communion, it is perhaps fitting that Canterbury was the location for the launch of a new five-year, €1.18 million European Union funded project to promote ‘green’pilgrimage’. It is a project in which the Church of England’s Diocese of Canterbury is now a partner, along with the local county council and other pilgrim places in the UK, Norway, Italy and Romania.

Experts from across Europe came to this emblematic city to share their experience of managing pilgrim sites and paths in sustainable ways, and to encourage faith representatives, business leaders and policy makers as to the benefits of sustainable, eco-friendly pilgrimage. These are ‘green’ values in their broadest sense, which include care for the environment, engagement with local products and services, and tolerance through welcome and hospitality.

Dr Stefano Dominioni, Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, which includes several certified pilgrim pathways, said at the meeting that it was critical to make the case to local and regional authorities that investing in these routes brings a number of positive consequences for the environment, as well as opportunities for new jobs or income. But he noted that the benefits of pilgrimage went far beyond the economy, with data confirming the positive exchanges that occurred between visitors and

Indeed the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, the Anglican Bishop of Dover has said that, ‘Pilgrimage is not just about getting from A to B, but about the invitation to accept encounters; encounters with oneself, with others, with God and with the environment.’ This openness to encounter others is particularly represented in an ecumenical collaboration between the Church of England’s Diocese of Canterbury and the Catholic Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate. The relationship has seen the creation of a new pilgrim route called The Way Of St Augustine.

Walkable in either direction between Canterbury and Ramsgate, it mirrors the same journey St. Augustine would have made after having arrived on the shores of Thanet in AD 597 before going on to Canterbury, where he established a church and monastery.  This month the Shrine opens its new welcome and visitor centre. As the recipients of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, they have been working hard to improve the visitor experience and to amplify the story of St. Augustine who first brought Christianity to southern England, as well as the fine nineteenth-century Pugin design of the church.

Sharing a mutual belief in the importance of allowing others to experience Christian heritage in a way that benefits not only the pilgrim but the environment and local community, the two Church organisations have worked together to create some novel partnerships around the route. These include involving a local canoe business to offer pilgrims the option to travel part of the route – as St. Augustine would – by boat. Or providing local and affordable accommodation through Champing; camping in a church.

It is hoped that the route will grow from strength to strength, enriching the pilgrim landscape of Kent, and offering more possibilities for those that ‘step along the way’, to experience local produce and hospitality to the benefit of the wider community.

So if ‘green pilgrimage’ is already happening in some form, why the need for the EU project at all? Representatives from the Church and local government would point out that participation on routes like the Way of St Augustine, and even to destinations like Walsingham are not nearly as popular as other religious sites found on the continent. However, they could be, given the right infrastructure, investment, and commitment from policy makers, communities and businesses.

What is needed now is learning. With Canterbury’s engagement in the European project formalised, a series of exchanges and fact finding initiatives will take place between now and 2021, the purpose being to help areas like Kent discover best practice from others in order to help build sustainable pilgrimage in the UK.

Jennifer Ross is Projects Officer in the Anglican Diocese of Canterbury


Having just arrived in Angle-land from cold and wintry New Zealand – via Singapore, where we met up with family young fry (also in transit to the U.K.) – it was a pleasure to find this article in The Tablet, the U.K. Roman Catholic newspaper; identifying our very own Canterbury Cathedral (Anglican) as the revived centre of a cult of pilgrimage, alongside that of other places in Europe, including the famous Camino Real to Santiago de Compostella in Spain.

It is salutary to be reminded of the ecumenical aspect of religious pilgrimage. into which people are drawn by an inexorable spiritual yearning – to connect with the timelessness of the sacred – in the hope of imbibing something of its life-force. Such another place in England is Walsingham, the home of the medieval Shrine of Our Lady, which accommodates pilgrims from all Christian traditions – including those of Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Pilgrimage, in this context of making a journey in common with others, can be a revitalising influence on those who take part.

The lovely aspect of all of this is that young people are among those flocking to these places of pilgrimage, which still evoke an experience of the mystical that human beings are created to share in and to wonder at. Deo gratias!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Provost of Glasgow Greets SEC Announcement

New post on What is in Kelvin’s Head?

A new day dawning

by Kelvin

Today is my ordination anniversary. Nineteen years ago today on St Columba’s day I was ordained a priest. For most of that time I’ve been promoting the fundamental equality of gay and straight people in the church. With others, I founded Changing Attitude Scotland 13 years ago.

And so it will surprise no one that I’m excited by the vote, overwhelming in two houses, on a knife edge in the house of clergy, yesterday that means that those who wish, in the Scottish Episcopal Church will be able to conduct marriage services for same-sex couples.

It isn’t a way of doing it wouldn’t have been my first choice. If I could have had what I wanted I’d have had a straight vote committing the church to equality and marriages of same-sex couples everywhere. But that won’t happen. The church chose a different route, simply respecting the consciences of all – those in favour and those against. It was, in the end, a better motion than I would have devised.

I was moved beyond words yesterday to hear the speeches in Synod. Moved by people, unlikely people sometimes, who agree with me. Moved too by the presence of those who don’t agree but who see this as the only answer that will give us peace. And moved by those who disagree, those for whom this decision weighs heavily.

But I was moved overall that we are a church that just chose overwhelmingly to stay together over gay marriage. We need and love one another.

In the end I didn’t speak in the debate. My church spoke for me and I’m proud of it.

This wasn’t a vote about gay people. It was a vote about what kind of church we want to be.

This is a mainstream Anglican response to the question that has beset us. Not building windows into other men’s souls and respecting the consciences of all. This is what Anglicans do. This is who we really are. And this is the only solution that will work in the Anglican Church. Let it be seized on by all who seek peace and goodwill.

This solution to the Anglican agonies of recent years bears the label – Made in Scotland for Export.

Made in Scotland with love.


This post from, written by Fr. Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St. Mary SEC Cathedral, Glasgow, is – to my mind – a pretty representative reaction to the Synodal reception of the Scottish Episcopal Church of Equal Marriage – by those of us who dearly looked forward to the prospect of the Equal Marriage rites of faithful, committed, monogamous, same-sex couples in Anglican Church communities that will welcome such arrangements, believing the prospect to be in line with basic Christian compassion and social justice. 

The necessity of accepting the fact that there are people in the Church whose theology is different from ours – who see the binary model of the Sacrament of Marriage as inviolable – is now plainly obvious, if we are to remain together as Anglicans in a worldwide Communion of Provincial Churches.

Like the Provost of Glasgow, my hope is that we will all be able to accept our differences – accepting the possibility of what might be called a ‘binary’ theological viewpoint – so that we Anglicans can learn to live together with grace, charity and compassion, not only with the LGBTI community but also with one another.

“Where charity and love are; there is God” (Maundy Thursday antiphon)

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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