Rebel 'missionary bishop' Andy Lines to be consecrated

A controversial 'missionary bishop' will today be consecrated at an Anglican conference in Wheaton College, Illinois.

Andy Lines is being appointed a bishop to oversee parishes in Europe disaffected with what some see as the liberal drift of the Anglican Communion.

He is being consecrated by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a splinter body from the official Anglican church in the US – The Episcopal Church.

Andy Lines will be consecrated by dozens of Anglican primates at a conference in Illinois, US.

More than 20 conservative Anglican primates and bishops will attend the conference alongside 1,400 ACNA delegates to lay on hands and officially make Lines a bishop.

The senior church leaders come from Australia, Africa and America including the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, and the Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie.

The announcement was made in response to the Scottish Episcopal Church's move to permit gay marriage with supporters saying conservative parishes were being given 'alternative oversight'.

'Faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care,' Gafcon leaders said.

'In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE).

'These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership.'

Harry FarleyCanon Andy Lines was appointed GAFCON's 'missionary bishop' within minutes of the Scottish Episcopal Church allowing gay marriage in church.

So Lines will offer oversight not just for Anglican parishes in Scotland but for those that want it in England and the rest of Europe.

A GAFCON spokesman told Christian Today: 'The missionary bishop will only carry out episcopal functions in congregations that are outside the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church if invited. There may be bishops who invite the GAFCON missionary bishop to perform episcopal acts to biblically faithful clergy and congregations within their structures.

'Across the provinces in the UK and Europe there are thousands of congregations, and scores of dioceses. The way each congregation practically relates to their diocese and bishop is not uniform. What would and would not be an appropriate pastoral response from the missionary bishop to an enquiry from a congregation in an existing province can only be evaluated on a case by case basis.'

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned before the missionary bishop was announced that any such appointment would 'carry no weight in the Church of England' and cited canons from Christianity's formative Council of Nicea in AD 325 to warn of the 'great disturbances and discords' it would cause.

The move is likely to stir further tensions within the deeply divided global Anglican communion and will be discussed by the leaders of the different provinces at a meeting in Canterbury this October.