A New Style of Anglicanism in Aotearoa/NZ ?

 Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ – style and substance

Some 360 participants turned out for the first of two Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (NZ)conferences, held at La Vida, Christchurch (and the second begins tomorrow at St Chad’s Meadowbank). I estimate that 330 of the 360 were from the Diocese of Christchurch and 30 were from Dunedin, Nelson and Wellington Dioceses. By my count 30 Christchurch clergy were there, including vicars or priests-in-charge of 19 parishes, with 7 clergy from other dioceses. That is probably the largest Anglican conference held in NZ in a long decade. (I do not know how many are registered for the Auckland conference).

The event was well organised and superbly led from the stage by Amy Hayward (MC and worship leader) and Jay Behan (Chair of FCANZ).

We had a Bible Study led by David Short,  of St John’s Vancouver, three addresses by Vaughan Roberts, of St Ebbe’s Oxford (and Canon of Christ Church Cathedral in the Diocese of Oxford) (True Sex, True Love and True Unity), each speaker was interviewed, and there was a workshop space in the programme with five workshops on offer.

For readers here tremulous about the possibility that the day was long on hellfire and brimstone and short on gentleness and grace, let me assure you that it was the latter and not the former.

For readers here anxious that somewhere in our church there is space for clear, convictional, conservative/traditional teaching on sex, based on the principle that sexual intercourse is approved by God within a marriage between a man and a woman and not outside of such marriage, then yesterday was that space, particularly in Vaughan Roberts’ first address.

For readers here troubled by how such convictional teaching sounds when it comes from the proverbial happily married mother or father of multiple children, let me tell you if you do not know or remind you if you have forgotten, that Vaughan Roberts is a same sex attracted single man who lives celibately. I salute him for his personal courage and I salute the FCA organisers for inviting him to speak to us. There was an authenticity and integrity to what he had to say which would not be present if (say) I had been the teacher for the day.

For readers here anxious about how the future of our church will unfold then the conference was a clear reminder that there are matters to be anxious about, all of which turn on whether General Synod comes to a decision or decisions which we can live with. The conference was a frank and robust reminder that synodical government can make decisions which cannot be lived with by the whole of an Anglican church. This was so especially when we heard from David Short (whose church, then St John’s Shaunessy Vancouver, tried to stay within the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada when that Diocese first agreed to and then implemented blessings of same sex relationships, and found that, in the end, and to great personal cost to David as well as to his congregation, this was not possible).

So, an interesting day, an informative day, and a day which may turn out to be instrumental in clarifying ‘the’ way forward some Anglicans will go in, depending, of course, on what General Synod makes of ‘A Way Forward’.

 

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“So, an interesting day, an informative day, and a day which may turn out to be instrumental in clarifying ‘the’ way forward some Anglicans will go in, depending, of course, on what General Synod makes of ‘A Way Forward’. ” – Dr.Peter Carrell, Christchurch –

And may it not be the death-knell of ACANZP’s  traditional  ‘Unity in Diversity’ !!!

Mr Jay Behan’s F.o.C.A. (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans – N.Z.) is following in the footsteps of dissident Anglicans in Australia (mostly Sydney), North America and the United kingdom; whose alignment with the GAFCON Provinces conservative stance on issues of gender and sexuality have led them into the introduction of schismatic* entities such as *ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) and *AMiE (Anglican Mission in England’.

These schismatic bodies* – fostered by GAFCON – have raised up local Churches in the U.K. and North America, in direct local opposition to and in competition with their Anglican Communion counterparts – The Episcopal Church in the U.S.,  The Anglican Church of Canada, and The Church of England.

My question, that should concern all Anglicans in New Zealand, is: “What does this irruption of FoCA in our country mean for the future stability of dioceses and parishes in ACANZP (The Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Polynesia) ?”

I suspect, not very much. However, bearing in mind the influence of GAFCON/FoCA on Anglican Churches in other countries, we must be on our guard against the prospect of intentional schism.

Participants in these meetings include those who intend to fight any attempts by our Church to open up the possibility of the acceptance of LGBTQI people as full participants in the ministry and outreach of the Church. They will also do their best to defeat any positive movement towards the Blessing of Same-Sex monogamous and faithful relationships. This sign of the desire to maintain a culture of sexism and homophobia could be seen a detrimental to the ethos of God’s love shown by Jesus Christ in the Gospel. If they do not get their own way with Motion 30, will F.o.C.A decide to start up their own Church in New Zealand?

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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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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