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Conference criticises ‘unbelieving’ clergy

01 November 2013

STEPHEN SIZER/GAFCON

"Red line": Bishop Nazir-Ali speaks in Nairobi, last week 

"Red line": Bishop Nazir-Ali speaks in Nairobi, last week 

THE Church of England is a church "infected by the world, that is unbelieving like the world, that is as immoral as the world," the chairman of the Fellowship of Confession Anglicans (UK and Ireland), the Revd Paul Perkin, told the GAFCON conference last week.

In a speech on Tuesday of last week, Mr Perkin cited statistics suggesting that one in every four male clerics did not believe in the Trinity, or in the Holy Spirit, or that "Jesus died to take away the sins of the world." The principal of Oak Hill Theological College, the Revd Dr Mike Ovey, told GAFCON that the C of E had "an increasingly worldly view of grace, a cheap grace in which repentance is redundant".

At a briefing for journalists on Tuesday, leaders who attended the conference set out how alternative oversight for those who share their concerns about the Church's leadership might work.

While the Nairobi Commitment recognises the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as "an expression of authentic Anglicanism both for those within and outside the Church of England", Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, a former Bishop of Rochester, suggested that other ways of offering oversight would emerge, particularly after the publication of the Pilling report, which he suggested could be a "red line" for "many people, and for some bishops".

The Vicar of Harold Wood, the Revd David Banting, who attended GAFCON, spoke of how a previous diocesan bishop had agreed to become a patron of Changing Attitude: "What does that do for the local parish? We are confused," he said. "There was a distancing between ourselves and that diocesan bishop. Our church wanted to say: "you have moved; it is harder for us to submit to the sort of leadership you would give.'"

The chairman of AMiE, the Rt Revd John Ellison, said that it was "extraordinarily difficult for Anglicans in other parts of the world to understand how the Church of England can give such confusing signals about what it believes and what direction it is taking."

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