Conservative Anglicans confirm plans to defy Welby over liberal drift
Conservative Anglican leaders have confirmed they are considering planting a new 'missionary' bishop in the UK to address the Church of England's 'drift from orthodox, Biblical Christianity'.
GAFCON primates are meeting this week in Lagos, Nigeria, and will discuss defying the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby by refusing to attend a meeting of all the global Anglican leaders called by him for October.
The conservative faction sees Welby's failure to discipline liberal leaning Anglican churches as a betrayal after threatened 'consequences' handed to The Episcopal Church in the US failed to materialise.
The rebel leaders are already considering intervening on what they see as the liberal slide of the CofE. The plan to plant their own archbishop to oversee conservative parishes would be in direct challenge to the CofE's authority and hierarchy, the Mail reported.
It comes after the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a statement calling for a 'radical, new Christian inclusion' for gay couples after their conservative leaning report was rejected by the Church's ruling general synod in February.
Confirming the move was being considered, a GAFCON spokesman told Christian Today it was in response to requests from British Anglicans.
'The GAFCON Primates recognise the existence in England, Scotland and Wales of faithful Anglicans who are already distanced from their local structures because of revisionist teaching and practice in the Church of England leadership, and they are ready to provide assistance. One option is to consecrate a missionary Bishop to give oversight if necessary.
'That the GAFCON Primates are considering consecrating a bishop with particular responsibility for these Islands is not a secret and should not come as a surprise. . . Many of the world's senior Anglican leaders, including the Archbishops who lead the GAFCON movement, have for some time been concerned about the Church of England's drift from orthodox, Biblical Christianity.'
Of even greater concern for the conservative body is the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), another branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which looks set to approve gay marriage in June.
If the move goes ahead, GAFCON could look to a similar plant in Scotland.
A spokesman said: 'The situation in the UK is not uniform. Within England there is troubling ambiguity from diocese to diocese in their teaching and pastoral practice as it pertains to human sexuality and biblical church order.
'However, the situation in the Scottish Episcopal Church is of immediate concern. There has been a clear rejection of biblical truth by the Scottish Episcopal Church, and they are expected to finalise this rejection of Anglican teaching and apostolic order in the upcoming June meeting of their Synod.
'Alternative structures and oversight will need to be in place should that unfortunate reality come to pass. At their meeting this week, the Gafcon Primates will be considering a range of options for how to care for those who remain faithful to Jesus' teaching on marriage.'