A new Anglican Province for Europe?

Three men being consecrated as bishops for the Anglican Network in Europe.(Photo: Susie Leafe)

Hull has much to commend it, but it is not famed for being a place where church history is made. That may all be about to change.

On Friday, in Hull, with the rain pouring down on the metal roof of the church building, three men were consecrated as bishops for the Anglican Network in Europe. Men and women had travelled from all corners of the globe to be there.

"We are here to say, 'you are not alone', and as representatives of the majority of Anglicans in the Anglican Communion, we recognise what the Lord is doing in this emerging province," said Archbishop Foley Beach, the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America.

And Archbishop Foley was not alone. The Chair of the Gafcon Primates Council was joined in Hull by Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, Primate of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, and Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, Primate of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion and five other bishops from around the world.

These men all boycotted this summer's Lambeth Conference, the traditional meeting of global Anglican bishops called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, quoting the prophet Amos in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, "two cannot walk together unless they are agreed" (Amos 3:3).

But here they were in Hull, consecrating new bishops.

The Anglican Network in Europe may be in its infancy, but it is quickly gaining credibility as an authentic and viable home for historic, orthodox, faithful, Biblical, confessional Anglicans across Europe.

Many of those who attended the consecration were to gather again in the morning to hear what the Anglican Network in Europe might have to offer should the Church of England choose to follow the progressive agenda of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Church in Wales.

Five years ago, Bishop Andy Lines was consecrated as a missionary bishop to Europe. He now has three assistant bishops, Bishop Tim Davies, Bishop Ian Ferguson and Bishop Lee McMunn.

In their recent Communiqué, the Gafcon Primates gave them a clear task: "to engage in church planting and to care for those clergy and congregations who have committed to promote biblical faith, in the context of other churches who are increasingly rebelling against the clear teaching of Scripture."

Time will tell as to whether this is the start of something that changes the face of the Anglican Church in Europe.

Archbishop Mbanda certainly thinks it is, telling the new bishops that, "The Lord needs you at a critical time in the history of the church" to offer an alternative to the "polluted teaching of today".

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the consecrations took place in Hull. After all, Hull's most famous son is William Wilberforce, who once said, "What a difference it would be if our system of morality were based on the Bible instead of the standards devised by cultural Christians."