As we reported a few days ago, GAFCON are about to announce a new missionary bishop for the UK, precipitated by the imminent decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change their doctrine of marriage to include same-sex relationships.

What might not be so clear to readers is the part Justin Welby and other senior leaders in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion have had in bringing this crisis about. Or, more accurately, why failure to act on their part has necessitated such a drastic intervention.

The first piece in the jigsaw is related by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, in his address to their General Synod in 2016 where he reflected upon the 2016 Primates meeting in Canterbury.

You will have seen the Communique and the ‘consequences’ which that meeting decided to impose on The Episcopal Church of the United States.  The primary question in your minds will be this, ‘And will the same consequences or sanctions apply to us if we approve the proposals for canonical change in respect of marriage in 2016 and 2017?’

Two weeks ago, I went to London and met with Archbishop Justin specifically to ask the question, ‘Will this [“consequence” for TEC] also apply to us if we complete the process of Canonical change in 2017?’  The answer is that it will.  Most directly, I will be removed from the role of Anglican Co-Chair of the International Anglican-Reformed Dialogue. But other effects are limited. Our bishops will be present and fully involved in the Lambeth Conference planned for 2020.  We shall continue to be actively involved in our network of Diocesan Companionships and in the Anglican Networks.

And there you have it; confirmation from Justin Welby himself. If the SEC push ahead with a revision of the doctrine of marriage there will be little if no real discipline. Welby, of course, has the power of invitation (and therefore an option to withhold invitation) to the Lambeth Conference. If he really wanted to sort this situation out he could have made quite clear that an invitation would be withheld. But he’s chosen not to. No wonder the SEC under the leadership of Chillingworth have pushed ahead. What is there to stop them?

So what will happen to orthodox parishes in the SEC? Sadly the story is much the same as with the question over discipline. Welby is simply unwilling to do anything.

Sources in Scotland close to the GAFCON consecration decision have told me that there have been multiple attempts to seek support and assistance. In 2016 Welby, Sentamu (Archbishop of York) and Iduwo-Fearon (Secretary General of the Anglican Communion) were all asked to help. That first contact with all three received no response. Since then a more recent appeal to Welby and Sentamu has been rebuffed with the answer that it’s “not our jurisdiction”. The orthodox in Scotland are not aware of any Church of England bishop prepared to provide cross-border support (even from those who would present themselves as champions of orthodoxy, albeit not supporters of GAFCON). Instead the situation in Scotland was described to me as “the dry run for the ‘good disagreement’ which Welby will seek to enact in England” and that conservative bishops are “loathe to incur Welby’s wrath”.

So this is the situation that the orthodox in the SEC now find themselves in. There will be no disciplinary action by the Archbishop of Canterbury at all, despite the fact that he is more than capable of carrying it out. Nor will they receive any episcopal support for them, again at Welby’s behest. So no wonder they appealed to (and received a ready response from) GAFCON.

Welby fiddling while the SEC begins to burn, even when the fire extinguisher is readily available. We’ll bring you more news and analysis as the week progresses.

Comments

comments

5 comments on “EXCLUSIVE: The GAFCON Consecration – Welby fiddles while the SEC burns

  1. I’m pretty sure that when Paul said he would ‘be all things to all people’ he wasn’t talking about the conscious decision to call holy what God has clearly directed as sinful. I have no problem with the concept and reality of unity amongst diversity and among a worldwide communion made up of autonomous provinces, such as Anglicanism, you’re going to see much positive evidence of that diversity. However, diversity isn’t supposed to mean the rejection of God’s Word and 2000 years of Christian teaching. A province seeking to follow the authority of Scripture cannot be in communion with another province practicing such untruths. True unity in this case is not possible

  2. Can you, David Ould, explain why you have specifically refused permission for Virtue Online to repost this article? I have never heard of this happening before. Why not allow this spreading your writing more widely and the free marketing of your website? What problem do you have with David Virtue?

    • hello Bruce, thank you for your comment.
      First, I think it’s important for readers to note that you are a colleague of David Virtue.

      Now, to your particular question.

      I have never “specifically refused permission for Virtue Online to repost this article” since I have never been asked permission by David to publish the article, nor any other that he has reproduced in full on his website.

      As for your claim that David’s breach of my copyright contributes to “spreading your writing more widely and the free marketing of your website”, I simply note that by publishing the article in full any need to click through to my website is removed.

      I look forward to you and David appropriately editing all my pieces that you have used in breach of my copyright in order that this matter can be concluded.

      • Yes, I am a colleague of David Virtue and have been exploring this issue of copyrights and the internet.
        I suppose I interpreted your demand to take down the article from the VOL website as refusing permission (although I know it was never asked). At the same time that this article was re-posted by Virtue Online, it was also re-posted by Anglican Mainstream and also by GAFCON. Have you also demanded that they take down the article or are you only picking on Virtue Online? If so, why?

        • Yes, I am a colleague of David Virtue and have been exploring this issue of copyrights and the internet.

          Well I hope it’s been interesting. But the question here is more than simple copyright. It’s also about courtesy and not taking advantage of Christian brothers and sisters.

          I suppose I interpreted your demand to take down the article from the VOL website as refusing permission (although I know it was never asked).

          As you note (and as I have observed a number of times) one cannot refuse permission if permission has never been asked.

          At the same time that this article was re-posted by Virtue Online, it was also re-posted by Anglican Mainstream and also by GAFCON. Have you also demanded that they take down the article or are you only picking on Virtue Online? If so, why?

          Anglican Mainstream, as is the courteous and long-accepted policy of the vast majority of Anglican bloggers (and the way one sees almost every reputable blogger in every field behave) only used an excerpt from my piece and then posted a link (as they do with other pieces they use).
          GAFCON have not published my piece.

          I haven’t “picked on Virtue Online”. I repeat what has already been said: Virtue Online are the only Anglican blog that repeatedly use the entirety of others’ material without ever asking for permission. At the time of writing this your website still contains masses of articles that can be described in this way. Despite my asking David Virtue to remove my own articles he has used in this way nothing has yet been done.

          As I said at the top of the comment, this is a matter of simple courtesy and Christian brotherhood. As long as Virtue Online seeks to aggressively breach this understand and then boisterously defend it’s “rights” to do so it will continue to have the same reputation. The ball is entirely in your court.

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