Baines challenges GAFCON's 'selective' communiqué

24 April 2015

CHRIST THE KING, battyeford

Aspersion: Bishop Baines sprinkles the people with water from the new font at Christ the King, Battye­ford, on Palm Sunday. The font is by David Wilson, Celia Kilner, and Caryl Hallett

Aspersion: Bishop Baines sprinkles the people with water from the new font at Christ the King, Battye­ford, on Palm Sunday. The font is by David Wil...

NO longer convinced that an "eirenic" response is the right one, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, has accused GAFCON of "misinformation, misrepresentation and selective re-writing of history".

"We owe it to Anglicans in England and around the Communion to fight the corner and challenge the misrepresentation that is fed to other parts of the Anglican Communion," he wrote on his blog on Sunday.

Bishop Baines was responding to a communiqué issued by seven GAFCON Primates after a five-day meeting in London last week, in which they said that the group was "particularly concerned about the Church of England and the drift of many from the biblical faith".

Representatives of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) were "deeply concerned about the state of British society, which does not know God", the former Archbishop of Sydney, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Jensen, said on Friday. "They see the need to work inside and outside the existing structures to preach the Gospel."

The GAFCON "take" on the Church of England reflected "the perceptions of a few", Bishop Baines wrote. "What would be the response if I wrote off as 'unfaithful' entire provinces of the Anglican Communion where there was evidence of corruption, love of power, financial unfaithfulness or other sins?"

The Church of England would "continue to focus on being faithful to its gospel vocation and mission. We are doing it every day. We will not be distracted by people who selectively report, regularly misrepresent, manipulate truth and plough their own furrow."

The communiqué, from seven Primates, says: "We have planned for the expansion of our movement in order to touch the lives of many more Anglicans with gospel fellowship. As part of this we have identified a clear need for theological education and the training of leaders, especially bishops, and we have started work on both of these priorities. . .

"We are not leaving the Anglican Communion. The members of our Churches stand at the heart of the Communion, which is why we are committed to its renewal. We belong to the mainstream, and we are moving forward."

Dr Jensen said that he had to be "discreet" about where enquiries for affiliation to GAFCON came from. But some came from the "cultural West", where "people are saying to us: 'We need help. We haven't changed. But we are now being regarded as pariahs.'"

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