FCA New Zealand Launches with Conference and Statement of Solidarity

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from the (very nice looking website of the) Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ

Nearly 500 Anglicans from around New Zealand, including the Vicars of many larger churches, have met together this week at two conferences in Auckland and Christchurch to launch the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ (FCANZ). FCANZ is a local expression of the Gafcon movement, and a message of support was read out at the conferences from Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Chair of the Gafcon Primates. Video greetings were also received from Most Rev Foley Beach (Primate of ACNA) and the Rt Rev Richard Condie (Bishop of Tasmania and Chair of FCA Australia). Rev Canon Vaughan Roberts (St Ebbe’s, Oxford) gave 4 talks on True Gospel, True Sex, True Love and True Unity, and was joined by Rev Canon David Short (Vancouver), Dr Peter Adam (Melbourne), Rev. Dr. Sarah Harris (Auckland) and others.

The formation of FCANZ has been in response to the passing of Motion 30 in 2014 and the subsequent release of the A Way Forward Report, due to be presented to the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia next month. The report proposes the blessing of same-sex civil marriages thereby rendering them as “rightly- ordered” relationships opening up the possibility for those in them to be accepted as candidates for ordination.

Rev Jay Behan, Chair of FCANZ, said ‘This week has been a hugely significant moment for orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand. FCANZ is committed to promoting faithfulness and providing fellowship, and orthodox Anglicans now know that through the FCANZ there is a place for all orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand, whether they are inside or outside the current Anglican structures. We continue to pray that General Synod will pull back from making a decision which will tear the fabric of the communion, undermining the allegiance to General Synod for many Anglicans in New Zealand.’

The conference also made an important announcement of support:

The Anglican Future Conference concluded with delegates hearing from Rev. David Short (St John’s Vancouver) and Rev. Michael and Kimberley Hewat (West Hamilton Community Church).  Both spoke of their experiences of being excluded from existing Anglican structures due to their stand against doctrinal change.

In his final address FCANZ chairman, Rev. Jay Behan, on behalf of the Board, honoured Rev. Michael and Kimberley Hewat and the church at West Hamilton for their stand for the truth.  He said “we rejoice in our fellowship with you, we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in gospel ministry, and we recognise you as authentically Anglican.”

He continued to stress that FCANZ is not advocating splitting from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and will promote faithfulness to the gospel with grace and truth, and provide fellowship to all orthodox Anglicans both in and outside of existing Anglican structures.

The Chairman’s remarks were met with acclamation by the Conference.

The conference comes in the aftermath of a NZ General Synod decision to effectively push ahead with the endorsement of same-sex marriage. The NZ church is somewhat unique in requiring clergy to swear allegiance to the General Synod thus placing many conservatives in a very difficult position as that body moves decisively away from Biblical orthodoxy.

One conference participant reflecting on their time there told me

…it was one of the largest Anglicans conferences in a decade,  it was pastorally sensitive and biblically faithful, encouraging to all who seek to maintain orthodox Anglicanism. It was a great joy to be able to express our unity with faithful Anglicans around the world, and know that they stand with us.

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