The chairman of the conservative GAFCON movement has said it recognises the breakaway Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as 'fully part of the Anglican Communion'.
In his December letter dated December 14 but published today, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, referred to the ordination of nine men to serve AMiE as a 'historic event'.
He praised AMiE's Bishop Andy Lines and criticised the Church of England, saying that while many faithful Anglicans remained within it, 'there is a danger that their work will be compromised or made more difficult if the Bible is no longer upheld as the rule of faith. How can a Church be effective in mission when it has muddled the truth of the gospel? Mission and fidelity cannot be separated.'
He said there was a 'spiritual crisis' in the Anglican Communion that was now affecting the 'Mother Church'.
According to the letter signed by Okoh, the Communion was not determined 'simply by relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury'.
He also praised the Anglican Church of North America, set up as a rival to the Episcopal Church of the United States, saying: 'By the grace of God we make the sacrifices that are necessary to proclaim Christ in season and out of season, even when that means leaving the comfort of established institutions.'
GAFCON'S further attack on the Church of England for its supposed liberalism on sexuality, with its explicit rejection of the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, is another instance of its determination to claim Anglican loyalties based on what it defines as biblical orthodoxy rather than traditional allegiances. Its recognition of AMiE as part of the Anglican Communion is likely to be a particular pressure point as it is in direct competition with the CofE.