THE consecration of Canon Andy Lines as “Missionary Bishop for Europe” took place last Friday in the United States.
The service took place at Edman Chapel, on the campus of Wheaton College, near Chicago, and concluded a conference, “Mission on Our Doorstep”, attended by more than 1400 Anglican leaders, a GAFCON press release said. In attendance from outside North America were 11 Primates, three archbishops, and 13 bishops.
The appointment was announced last month in Scotland (News, 16 June).
The president of the standing committee of the Diocese of the South (a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America), the Very Revd Don Hutchens, confirmed before the consecration that Canon Lines had been received into the diocese on 5 June, and was a priest in good standing.
The Secretary of the College of Bishops of ACNA, Bishop Steve Wood, then certified that, on 26 June, that it had elected Canon Lines to be “Bishop for Special Mission”.
During the service, Canon Lines made the ACNA “oath of conformity”. He swore to “pay true and canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest to the Archbishop of this church and to his successors”.
In a film on the ACNA website, Canon Lines says that his remit includes looking after churches “in Scotland, England, and the rest of Europe”.
The sermon was preached by the Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, who urged Canon Lines to “correct, rebuke, and encourage”, and to “keep watch over yourself and then over the flock [of] which God has made you an overseer today. You need to be on your guard because we live in a world that is so slippery.”
He warned that there was “great risk attached to this errand. . . It could cost anything,” and advised him, amid laughter, to “avoid fruitless controversies and meetings”.
The Archbishop of ACNA, Dr Foley Beach, read aloud a message from two C of E bishops who were invited but did not attend: the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, and the Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Revd Keith Sinclair.
“We pray for you today, especially for Canon Andy Lines, consecrated as a Bishop in the Church of God,” the letter said. “It has been good to meet and pray with Andy over recent years and to know his heart for the Gospel and the witness of the Church. Please pray for us in the Church of England for faithfulness and fruitfulness in these days.”
In attendance was the Revd Robin Weekes, Minister of Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon, a proprietary chapel, where Canon Lines and his wife are members of the congregation. “We are so grateful for, and much in prayer for, the GAFCON movement,” he said.
The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, welcomed Canon Lines’s appointment last month, describing it as a move by GAFCON to “support those who are seeking to stand firm by the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexual relationships. . . [I] wish to assure Canon Andy Lines of my prayers as he becomes a missionary bishop.”
Also in attendance at the consecration were the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Revd Glenn Davies, and the Bishop of Tasmania, Dr Richard Condie. In letters to the bishops, they argued that their attendance was an act of “solidarity”.
The Australian Primate, Dr Philip Freier, who advised them against attending, said in a letter published on Monday that he had “deep concerns” that their participation was “contrary to the spirit of the canons of the Council of Nicaea and, most importantly, outside of the authority of our National Constitution.
“I do not think that it is for us individually, acting independently, to determine with whom we are in communion or to act unilaterally to that end,” he wrote.
In a video on the ACNA website, Bishop Davies denied that attending was “controversial. . . Anyone who proclaims Christ is where I want to be and to have my support.” Canon Lines was “not going to be working in the Church of England. . . He’s going to be working outside the Church of England. This is not a border-crossing exercise: that’s a misunderstanding of the ministry.”