GAFCON-UK offers support to FCA New Zealand after same sex blessings vote
By Bishop Andy Lines
May 10, 2018
Bishop Andy Lines, speaking on behalf of GAFCON-UK, said today:
We are not surprised, but nevertheless deeply saddened and concerned by the decision by the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa to accept Motion 29 and so pave the way for the blessing of same sex relationships.
We note that only those in civil marriages or lawfully recognised partnerships will be eligible for these blessings. This shows that while a short time ago many church leaders around the world were arguing for such blessings but drew the line at same-sex marriage (as in the Church of England’s Pilling Report), now that line appears to have been removed. With this decision, another Anglican Province follows TEC, Canada and Scotland in believing it has the authority to redefine marriage, and offer the Church’s blessing to relationships which the Bible and centuries of Christian tradition clearly teach that God warns against and cannot bless.
It is encouraging that despite the huge pressure to conform to Motion 29 and the secular humanist ideology behind it, many courageous New Zealand Anglicans not only voted against the Motion, but are already looking to the emergence of new Anglican structures, which remain faithful to the Scriptures in contrast to those who have departed from them.
We pray for Rev Jay Behan and others in Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand and rejoice in their close association with the majority of Anglicans worldwide who continue to preach the biblical gospel of repentance from sin and new life in Christ. Jay and other representatives from FCANZ will receive a warm welcome and full support from all at June’s Gafcon gathering, and ongoing solidarity from Gafcon UK as they plan for the future.
That FCANZ – the so-called ‘Fellowship of Confessing Anglican, New Zealand’ is a direct offshoot of the separatist group that is currently operating under the title of GAFCON, cannot any longer be denied. This is GAFCON’s own report.
The recent resignation of FCANZ leader, The Revd. Jay Behan (currently Vicar of Shirley in the Christchurch Diocese in New Zealand) from his position on the General Synod of ACANZP – after its decision to allow for the blessing of legally sanctioned Same-Sex Married Couples and Civil Partnerships – signals FCANZ’s opposition to the proposal, prior to the expected presence of Mr. Behan and other FCANZ representatives at the upcoming GAFCON Meeting, where they will be welcomed as members of that alliance.
What this may turn out to mean for the clergy and parishes in New Zealand currently linked with GAFCON/FCANZ is open to anyone’s private speculation. However, in the present delicate situation of the hope and expectation for those of us in our Church who are looking forward to some agreement on the pastoral recognition of legally married or civilly-partnered same-sex couples in our churches – which has now been made possible by the direct decision of our local diocesan synod and the General Synod our our Church – this intimation of a possible schismatic separation by FCANZ is a cause for concern – especially for people in affected parishes who may not go along with the conservative agenda of GAFCON, ACNA and AMIE on matters of disputed theology affecting the pastoral treatment of the lives of a small minority in the Church.
We can only hope that the practical application of the new rules of engagement for the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions within the Anglican Church in New Zealand (This does not affect the Anglican Church in the Pacific Islands) will enable those parishes and clergy that wish to take advantage of the new provisions to do so without let or hindrance from FCANZ leaders and parishes that will not be accessing them.
“Come, Holy Spirit, re-fill the hearts of your Faithful with the fire od your love. AMEN.”
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand