Church of England issues warning against conservative minister consecrated as rebel bishop
A rebel minister consecrated a bishop in a breakaway move could face consequences, as the Church of England insisted no permission had been given.
Rev Jonathan Pryke, senior minister at Jesmond Parish Church, was made a bishop last Tuesday in a surprise move that could signal the start of a major split.
He is one of three to be consecrated without the permission of official CofE leaders to oversee conservative parishes concerned by what they see as the liberal drift in the Church.
A CofE spokesman confirmed that no authorisation for the consecration ceremony had been given and said any minister claiming to be an Anglican bishop would need permission under law.
‘The Bishop of Newcastle is aware that a minister holding her licence to a parish within the Diocese has taken part in a service of consecration as a bishop under the auspices of an overseas church,’ the spokesman said.
‘It is the clearly established law of the land that no one can exercise ministry in the Church of England without either holding office or having the permission of the diocesan bishop.
‘It is also the case that no overseas bishop may exercise episcopal functions within the Church of England without the express permission of the Archbishop of the province and a commission from the Bishop of the diocese in which they wish to minister.
‘In this case neither has been sought.’
The Archbishop of York – the senior Anglican figure in the area – is being kept informed but is yet to make a formal response.
It comes after Jesmond Parish Church, which has long been antagonistic towards their official Bishop of Newcastle, confirmed the secret ceremony had taken place last Tuesday.
The service did not take place at Jesmond Parish Church, nor in any other CofE building, a statement insisted. Pryke was consecrated by the presiding bishop of the deeply conservative Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) and took an oath of ‘all due reverence and obedience’ but to ‘bishops and other chief ministers’ in the UK.
Pryke will spend 80 per cent of his time working in the Jesmond parish and 20 per cent ‘helping establish new churches’, the church said in a statement.
Confirming the move, the statement said it was necessary so they could ordain their own clergy to oversee church plants.
‘The main thing that is significantly different now as far as Jonathan is concerned is that Jonathan can ordain men for the ministry, whereas other presbyter/priests of us involved in evangelism cannot,’ it read.
Despite insisting Jesmond does not want to see bishops ‘parachuted in’ to form a new ‘orthodox church’ or ‘province’, the move will be seen as forming a parallel Church of England – an official one overseen by the Archbishop of Canterbury and another unofficial one, overseen by conservative bishops.
The statement said Pryke sees his role as ‘helping English people have the courage to take responsibility for reforming the Church of England to be in line with’ traditional Anglican teaching as well as to evangelize and to see growth’.
Here is further clear evidence of the situation into which the Church of England has allowed itself to be compromised by schismatics affecting to minister in the U.K. as Anglican Church clergy.
Jesmond Parish Church has, for some time now, considered itself to be a ‘rebel’ within the Church of England. However, this new step – the ordination of one of its ministers being ordained by a ‘bishop’ of the schismatic “Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA)” is seen by some Anglicans as a direct snub to the local Church of England Bishop and the Archbishop of the Province of York, The Rt. Revd. John Sentamu.
We are told in this report that Archbishop Sentamu has yet to comment on this situation, but he must surely soon make some response. Especially when the article claims that the new ‘bishop’ – still serving as a member of the clergy of Jesmond Anglican parish – has placed himself outside of the jurisdiction of the Church of England:
“The statement said Pryke sees his role as ‘helping English people have the courage to take responsibility for reforming the Church of England to be in line with traditional Anglican teaching as well as to evangelize and to see growth’.”
In the light of the reluctance of the Church of England’s hierarchy to discipline (or to disassociate themselves from) the leadership of the schismatic activities of the GAFCON-planted ‘Anglican Mission in England’ (AMiE), which already operates within the boundaries of the Church of England’s jurisdiction; it would seem that the national Church will have to contend with the sort of piracy in its midst that has already occurred in North America and Canada with the advent of ACNA – also GAFCON-sponsored.
Interestingly, both GAFCON and AMiE claim they had nothing to do with this current episcopal ordination of Jonathan Pryke. However, both organisations are applauding the action of the schismatic African Anglican ‘Church’ in conducting the ‘ordination’.
The question now is: What will the Church of England’s Archbishops actually do to stem the tide of rebellion in their own territory, having closed their eyes to the devastation caused by the GAFCON Primates in North America?
See this latest ‘hot-off-the-press’ from the oxymoronically-named ‘Anglican Mainstream’ :
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand