Fruits of Schism in GAFCON-linked Church in the U.K.

FIRST BAPTISM AT GAFCON-BACKED SHEFFIELD CHURCH PLANT

The ordination of its minister in the Anglican Church in Kenya in February may have been controversial, but the first baptism atChrist Church Walkley in Sheffield was a great gospel occasion.

The man baptised on Sunday May 12th in the Walkley library, the venue for the new conservative evangelical church planted byChrist Church Central in October last year, gave an honest and moving account of how he came to Christian faith.

The minister, Pete Jackson, preached very clearly and edifyingly on 1 Timothy 6v2b-10. The songs were theologically good, supported by high quality musicianship. Mr Jackson appears to be a calm and godly pastor, who enjoys the confidence of his leadership team.

Unfortunately, the prayers of intercession were somewhat inward-looking – they often are in new church plants. Political leaders were not prayed for at Walkley and they should be.

The Walkley plant has not yet cut the apron strings from Christ Church Central – it does not have its own trustees and independent charitable status – but hopefully that will happen in time. Like other UK church plants rooted in Reformed Anglican spirituality, it could form a partnership with Anglican evangelical mission agency, Crosslinks, giving it greater connection with the wider church.

There is already the relationship through GAFCON with the Anglican Church in Kenya, which should be taken seriously by way of accountability, because one of its bishops, the Rt Revd Josephat Mule, ordained Mr Jackson as deacon in Kitui cathedral. The new church has been pro-actively supported by the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Eliud Wabukala, chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council.

According to the media statement Christ Church Central put out at the time of Mr Jackson’s ordination, the father of its senior minister, Tim Davies, was Provost of Nairobi cathedral in the 1970s and Mr Davies himself is an honorary canon of All Saints’ Cathedral, Nairobi. It is very important for the new church that the link with Kenya is based on a shared spiritual commitment to Anglican orthodoxy, rather than being dynastic in nature.

Conversations with members of the church family evidenced humility and realism in the face of the challenge of reaching the community of Walkley for the Lord Jesus Christ. Though there were some older people present, the congregation is mainly in their 20s and 30s.

The church looks like it will soon, God willing, outgrow Walkley library, necessitating new premises. With imaginative outreach to its local community as well as within its demographic network, this new church family could by God’s grace be a real force for the gospel in a tough region for Christian ministry.

An adult male baptised in the name of God the Holy Trinity is certainly a positive sign of a social trend being bucked.

POSTED BY 
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                One should perhaps expect someone hosting a web-site under the pretentious title of ‘Cranmer’s Curate’ to be promoting the cause of Anglican Orthodoxy. However the site, hosted by Julian Mann, is obviously set up to proclaim the rather more pretentious claim to Anglican Orthodoxy currently employed by the GAFCON Primates, one of whose number recently ordained the pastor of this new congregation in England, in order to combat what GAFCON sees as the unorthodoxy of the Church of England.
               Here is an instance of the thinking of Mr. Mann on the so-called ‘orthodoxy’ of this new church plant and its ministry – sponsored by  the Anglican Church in Kenya – without reference to the Church of England:
               “There is already the relationship through GAFCON with the Anglican Church in Kenya, which should be taken seriously by way of accountability, because one of its bishops, the Rt Revd Josephat Mule, ordained Mr Jackson as deacon in Kitui cathedral. The new church has been pro-actively supported by the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Eliud Wabukala, chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council.
               One cannot help but wonder whether this is not the thin end of the wedge of an assault by the Primates of the GAFCON churches to set up their own rival Church in England, in direct opposition with the traditional Church of England. Already there are other GAFCON links with rival congregations in England, under the title of AMiE, the Anglican Mission in England; with a title similar to another GAFCON-sponsiored group in the USA and Canada, which calls itself ACNA, the Anglican Church in North America.
              The new Archbishop of Canterbury will surely need to watch out for the underground activities of rival church groups in the U.K. – especially when they profess to be defending the traditional ‘orthodoxy’ of the Church of England, while yet standing apart from it on the local scene.  Such ‘Mission Churches’ do, of course, have a right to exist, but not, one would assume, under the pretence of upholding ‘orthodoxy’ as Anglicans in places where the Anglican Church already has its own mission and ministry.
              Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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