In The News

Bishop Mark Strange

ACNA And The Ordination of Women: Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America met in Canada in September and issued a response to the Province’s five year study on the ordination of women.

The response stated that there was “insufficient scriptural warrant” to ordain women but that dioceses were constitutionally allowed to do so.

Continuing Church Convergence: Four Continuing Churches, The Anglican Catholic Church, The Anglican Church in America, The Anglican Province of America and The Diocese of the Holy Cross signed a communion statement in October, establishing full communion between the different jurisdictions and pledging themselves to “full, institutional, and organic union”:

“We recognize in each other in all essentials the same faith; the same sacraments; the same moral teaching; and the same worship; likewise, we recognize in each other the same Holy Orders of bishops, priests, and deacons in the same Apostolic Succession...

“We pledge to pursue full, institutional, and organic union with each other, in a manner that respects tender consciences, builds consensus and harmony, and fulfills increasingly our Lord’s will that His Church be united...”

May God bless this historic move towards unity in His Church.

Church of England Bans Conversion (therapy): The Church of England’s General Synod voted overwhelmingly in July to ban “conversion therapy,” which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation. During an emotionally charged debate, two members of the Synod described the therapy as “spiritual abuse” which had “no place in the modern world.”

The Church of England has called on the government to ban conversion therapy and has condemned the practice as unethical and potentially harmful.

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, praised the vote, saying that conversion therapy was “theologically unsound, so the sooner the practice of [it] is banned, I can sleep at night.”

Readers of Forward in Christ will doubtless be reassured to know that the Archbishop of York loses sleep over unsound theology. 

Trans Church: While banning conversion therapy for persons who wish to become heterosexual, the Church of England has voted to welcome a person’s conversion to a new gender.

Members of Synod, meeting in York this summer, supported a motion recommending that the House of Bishops prepare worship materials celebrating a person’s transition to their new gender of choice. The motion also recognizes the “need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church.”

However, not all Synod members were impressed by the level of debate or its outcome. According to one blogger:

“The absence of theological reflection is disturbing. The Rev. Mark Lucas -- a usually mild-mannered and irenic evangelical Synod member -- was moved to thunder on his blog: ‘The debating chamber has been, almost solely, a pink fluffy, theology-free, Bible-mocking, sin-affirming, solipsism of multitudinous, anthropocentric anecdote!’”

Scotland Goes Gay: The Scottish Episcopal Church has chosen a new leader, Bishop Mark Strange, following the departure of David Chillingworth.

Strange, who is in favor of homosexual marriage, has stated that he was once in love with a man but converted to heterosexuality. He is now married to a woman and has three children. 

As the Anglican figurehead in Scotland, the curiously named Strange now presides over the first major UK church to permit gay marriage. 

Forward in Christ has to ask, would Strange’s conversion be legal in today’s Church of England?

Primates Exclude Scots: Archbishops of the Anglican Communion met in Canterbury in early October and decided to exclude the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) from ecumenical and decision making roles in the Communion.

The decision follows the Scottish denomination’s approval of gay marriage and mirrors the disciplinary action taken against the Episcopal Church in 2016.

However, leading Primates, including Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria, did not attend the meeting and believe statements claiming that the Primates are “walking together” are false.

In a press release issued after the meeting, GAFCON slammed cosy talk of collegiality:

“The Primates are not walking together. At best, they say, ‘they are walking at a distance.’ At worst, they are walking in different directions. Surely public statements need to reflect reality rather than mere wishfulness.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has announced that the Primates of the Anglican Communion are “satisfied” with his handling of disciplinary measures against the Episcopal Church and now the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The GAFCON statement argues otherwise.

Diocese of South Carolina Loses: South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled this summer against the traditional Diocese of South Carolina, which must now hand over 29 church properties to the Episcopal Church.

The Diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Mark Lawrence, left the Episcopal Church in 2012 because of the denomination’s departure from the faith and morals of the Church. The case has now gone to mediation and what TEC will do with 29 empty churches if it wins, remains to be seen.

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.