Orthodox Anglicans see greater unity in new fellowship

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans was launched in Westminster in opposition to liberal shifts in parts of the wider Anglican Communion away from the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Christ seen in the embrace of homosexuality by the US Episcopal Church and the consecration in some places of women bishops.

The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev John Hind, told the gathering: “The source of our present crisis is to be found in attempts to minimise the uniqueness of Jesus.

“If a new reformation is in the offing or even already underway it will be important to return to Jesus, the high priest and pioneer of our faith, and place ourselves under the judgement of His teaching and word.

“What is at stake after all is not religious opinion but the saving truth of the Gospel.”

The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, said the FCA wanted to stop the Church from being divided “by moving back to the core of our faith, the historic Christian faith”.

“We are a movement for the renewal and reformation and renewed mission focus of our church. We love our Church ... we're not going anywhere," he said.

He warned that where parts of the Anglican Communion like the British Isles and Ireland were “moving away” from that faith, they were causing “real problems and real heartaches” for Anglicans.

"We are trying to pull back together people whose Anglican identity has been made difficult or who find that it is threatened,” he said.

“We want to stand with people and support them and say you don’t have to go away, we will support you and stand with you.”

The new Fellowship has its roots in the GAFCON meeting of orthodox Anglicans held in June last year and the subsequent Jerusalem Declaration, in which it committed to defending orthodox Anglicanism against the “false gospel” of homosexuality.

The FCA’s launch brought together more than 1,600 Anglicans from 320 parishes, including the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, and the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst.

A letter from the Queen, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, was read out to the gathering in which she said she “understands the commitment to the Anglican Church that prompted you and your brethren to write as you did” and sent her “good wishes to all concerned for a successful and memorable event”.

Goodwill messages were also sent by the Archbishops of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.

International guests Archbishop Bob Duncan of the recently inaugurated American Church in North America, the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev Greg Venables, the president of Forward in Faith in the US, the Rt Rev Keith Ackerman, and the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Peter Jensen.