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Four Questions for Faithful Anglicans

Every couple of weeks Anglican Futures subscribers receive a Briefing.

This week, as a one-off, we have published it as a blog

- so more of you can see what you are missing!

Dear Friends,

It is a privilege to welcome a good number of new subscribers today - if this is your first briefing from us - it's great to have you onboard.  And if you have been with us for years, we are so encouraged by your ongoing willingness to read these emails and send us your thoughts, questions and ideas - Anglican Futures is certainly a team effort!

Today we tackle four questions relevant to faithful Anglicans:

1) Primates Meeting in Rome - Was it the biggest boycott ever?

2) Primates Meeting in Rome - Is Justin Welby looking to reunite with Rome?

3) CofE - Is the hope of meaningful structural provision fading?

4) Church hurt - How do we lead more loving churches?

And a quick reminder about our daily prayer podcast - "In All Our Doings" - nearly 9,000 downloads so far - and if you were one of them we'd love to hear what you think of it.

Available on Podbean, Spotify, i-Tunes

Primates Meeting in Rome -

Was it the biggest boycott ever?

Despite the attempts of the Anglican Communion Office to keep the attendance list secret and Justin Welby's inability to do simple sums, it was eventually revealed, that the Primates of 14 of the 42 Provinces of the Anglican Communion were missing in Rome. Two sent stand-ins, two gave their apologies and ten stayed away all together - for reasons of conscience.

Notwithstanding, the "tricks and inducements" that are rumoured to have been offered the following Primates were absent, it is not known which two gave their apologies.

Alexandria, Chile, Congo, Indian Ocean, Myanmar, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South India, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda

That is the most public evidence yet of the gulf that false teaching has created in the Anglican Communion.  In 2011, a similar number stayed away, but most gave other reasons (ill health, visa issues, provincial matters, diary commitments) rather than admit the theological disagreements at the heart of their decision.

The Archbishop of Rwanda, Laurent Mbanda, Chair of the Gafcon Primates Council, has published a response to the meeting in Rome, quoting the first Bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle:

"If people separate themselves from teaching which is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue rather than a sin…He is the schismatic who causes the schism…Unity which is obtained by the sacrifice of truth is worth nothing. It is not unity that pleases God."

Primates Meeting in Rome -

Is Justin Welby looking to reunite with Rome?

Justin Welby said, the Pope gave “… a most beautiful address around the nature of unity and synodality and of the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church – which took our eyes away from ourselves and lifted them to the faithfulness of God in Jesus Christ and the gift of the Spirit.  This Primates’ Meeting has been wonderful and has now become a moment in history where we have seen the closeness of our relationship with Rome at the pastoral, the missional and the spiritual level, which demonstrates the progress made over the last half century from real antipathy, to deep bonds of friendship all round the world."

What Welby didn't mention was the Pope's suggestion that "patient and fraternal dialogue" was needed on the question of the papal "Petrine ministry" (of universal primacy in relation to Scripture and Tradition).  A something which it was suggested by Archbishop Linda Nicholls of Canada was part of ongoing conversations.   

It is striking that a meeting which revealed the chasm in the Anglican Community, those who have lost confidence in the word of God are now seeking greater unity with Rome.  It seems Articles 19, 22 and 35 no longer have any authority either.

CofE - Is the hope of meaningful structural provision fading?

The first residential meeting of the newly formed LLF Working Groups takes place this weekend - names of those taking part have yet to be released.  It seems, however, that there is a new 'realism' in the words of leading figures of the CEEC:

Ed Shaw, Co-Chair of the Council, began his latest Church Times article with the words, "Those of us who are seeking a formal settlement to resolve the Church of England’s endless conversations on same-sex sexual relationships have not yet persuaded enough people."  

John Dunnett, Director of CEEC, described the 'ostrich' mentality of those seeking to introduce stand-alone services of blessing. In conversation with to Evangelicals Now, he said, "In practice, this means that the permission not to use the Prayers of Love and Faith is a sufficient provision and that either no or minimum structural rearrangement is necessary."   He went on  to say, "Evangelicals throughout the Church of England need to be aware that the appetite of the House of Bishops and those supporting unbiblical change in the General Synod has not in any way diminished, and that the consequences referred to above (and many others) are an inevitable part of the future unless robust, legal, structural provision can be made to secure orthodox life and witness."

Charlie Skrine, a member of the Council, spoke to The Pastor's Heart this week, and although he is was upbeat about the growing unity among the orthodox had to admit, "The official line from the denomination is that we will need structural provision - they add the word minimal to the front of that but that is an enormous change in what I think is the right direction  - but you're right they still are nowhere near the kind of things that I think would give that permanence."

So, please join CEEC in their day of prayer this Sunday and if you want to think about the consequences of all of this do join our Close to the Edge gathering this Thursday evening (8th May) at 7pm. See below for more details.

Church Hurt - How do we lead more loving churches?

6pm -7.30pm Wednesday 8th May

This week is the last of our Ideas Exchanges on Leading Loving Churches - and I would encourage you to join us if you possibly can.  The feedback we have received has been really positive, with key takeaways being the need for us all to be self-aware and recognise the power of culture on our best intentions. 

The gathering is suitable for lay people and clergy - no previous knowledge needed.

How else can we help?

Finally, Anglican Futures was set up to provide pastoral and practical help to faithful Anglicans, wherever you find your episcopal oversight.  Much of what we do is unseen and unreported.  So do get in touch if you think we might be able to assist you. 

Everything we do is free at the point of need, which means we rely on donations.  If you could spare £10 a month, or a larger one-off donation, to keep us "on the road" we would really appreciate it.  Every pound makes a difference.


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