AMiE Update 3

My new Reform Newsletter arrived this week. It has a helpful section on the launch of AMiE written by the Reform Chairman, Rev Rod Thomas. Here’s the text. You can find it here.

A major step forward has been taken in the development of a society. This is now being called the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) and it was publicly announced at the Evangelical Ministry Assembly on Thursday 23rd June. The purpose of the Mission at the moment is to provide some immediate recognition and oversight for churches that cannot or do not currently receive the oversight of Church of England bishops. It will operate with episcopal oversight from Michael Nazir-Ali, John Ball, Colin Bazley, Wallace Benn and John Ellison. The new Mission has the warm support of the Archbishop of Kenya who is currently the chairman of the FCA Primates. He ordained the first English presbyters for mission in the wider church on Saturday 11th June and their episcopal oversight has been delegated to the AMiE bishops.

There is still much work to be done on exactly how AMiE will operate in future – and in particular on how its bishops will in future be selected and the role they will perform. One possibility is that they will look to local deans of mission to engage with individual congregations. Different levels of church and individual membership also need to be detailed; some members will need the oversight of the AMiE bishops, but others may not – at least for the time being. Their membership will be a matter of fellowship rather than oversight. The Reform trustees have undertaken to do more work on this – both to help AMiE and to demonstrate what the CoE should itself be doing. The formation of the AMiE is the first major practical step the FCA has taken in this country to help churches which are in impaired or non-existent communion with C of E bishops and it puts the emphasis positively on mission rather than division. On behalf of Reform, I have therefore warmly welcomed it and expressed gratitude for the support that it has been given by the Archbishop of Kenya.

2 thoughts on “AMiE Update 3

  1. Steve Coulson July 7, 2011 / 11:47 am

    Perks,
    Steve Coulson, your fellow cricketer here…We know and love you as a fine sportsman, but just occasionally you go crazy with your fielding…so much enthusiasm and energy and strength that others are in awe of, but then the ball’s hurled in and the result is 4 overthrows…Reading your posts on AMiE, it seems to me you are writing in exactly the same way. .
    The idea of these three unnamed chaps going cloak and dagger “8 hours from Nairobi on dodgy roads in 30 degree heat” to get ordained is frankly the most farcical thing I have heard. If you want to be ordained by the Church in Kenya, then you should be prepared to spend a few years continuing to share the joys and challenges of the heat and dodgy roads. We hear of people going abroad to get things they can’t get here easily – cannabis in the Amsterdam coffee shops, marriage on the beach in Hawaii, sex tourism in Thailand – why not add ‘dog-collar tourism’ in Kenya? I’m tempted to put in for the contract…”arrive in Nairobi, tea at the famous Norfolk hotel, then a few days on safari in the Masai Mara, a week on the beach in Mombasa or Malindi, and we’ll even throw in an optional extra free ordination in a picturesque Cathedral, complete with friendly Archbishop and cheering crowds. No strings attached or any future commitment to mission in Kenya expected, and unlike the home grown
    Kenyan clergy who are simply assigned to parishes, our tourist ordinands will be given perfect freedom to come and go as they wish”.
    Speaking as someone who spent ten years with the Anglican Church in East Africa, I think it entirely possible that the Archbishop of Canterbury is correct in his comment about the Archbishop of Kenya not fully understanding the English Canon law. To say he is patronising him shows an ignorance of the majorly different nuances that exist culturally and ecclesiastically between here and East Africa. There is a case for those who suggested/asked for these ordinations may be the ones who have done the patronising. There will be, no doubt, continuing angst over whether the Church here will recognise your newly ordained colleagues. For my part, I believe their credibility would be strengthened by a period under the direction of the Church in which they were ordained in that Church where they were ordained. Or, at the very least, shouldn’t they right now be breaking cover to help champion their mother Church’s response to a major humanitarian crisis that is going on in their country? The Anglican Church of Kenya, – like every part of the Anglican Church – has much to teach and inspire us, but – like each one – is flawed, and in need of God’s renewal. When I worked in Tanzania and Uganda, I was sponsored by CMS, but I was only there at the express invitation of the Anglican Church (of Tanzania, and Uganda), and whilst there, I was under the direct supervision, authority and pastoral care of my local Bishop. The key Anglican partnership principle was that you work under the Church authority and structures that you are part of. I love Mission, and would be delighted if someone started a new missionary society every day of the year, but let’s not confuse mission with church politics. I don’t believe we always have to add commotion as an essential ingredient to mission.Our Church structures are flawed (because we are flawed), but it is still in my view, the ‘best boat to fish from’. The Churches in this part of South London are growing, and there is much that I see on a daily basis that encourages me. You know I, personally, would love to see your ‘impaired Communion’ reconciled, and that you could be liberated to enjoy wider opportunities of ministry. All I ask at this stage is you don’t get too carried away with the excitement of secret ordinations in Africa. Don’t hurl the ball in too strongly…it may be counterproductive and cost the team…

  2. Phil Green July 13, 2011 / 12:57 pm

    Steve Coulson…stand up and take a bow that man!

    As an inner city evangelical from Way Up North in Liverpool, I have watched with some alarm the “developments” under the oh so judicious direction of a select few church leaders from London, Oxfored, Lewes oh and a dvidided part of the Diocese of Southwark…minus the very wise and astute Holy Trinity Brompton of course who are, mecifully conspicuous by their lack of complicity in all of the machinations surrounding AMIE. I am assuming that the leadership of HTB were approached….and am guessing that they both sought and received in abundance the spiritual gift of discernment!

    I’m afraid the attempted assurances given that the panel of AMIE Bishops includes retired/assistant Bishops based in a couple of Northern/Midland Dioceses, as if it was proof that this was genuinely a countrywide initiative, doesn’t cut any ice whatsoever amongst the more discerning of us.

    I won’t add anything to your brillantly incisive comments Steve, other than to say I am with you every step of the way. I also took a look at Co-Mission’s doctrinal basis….I find the descritpion of the human race pretty gloomily Calvinistic. and here was me hoping that we homo sapiens might be viewed as being a combination of dust and glory….far more dust it would seem and very little of the image of God being apparent in any way prior to conversion/salvation…which I find depressing personally and somewhat typical of the classical conservative evangelical mindset, and incicates that despite its impressively contemporary makeover Co-Mission is a place primarily where only already persuaded 21st “new Calvinists” can feel very much at home.

    However, I will say this in favour of Co-Mission I really understand the frustration regarding church planting in exisiting (just about, some of them!!) Anglcian parishes which give every indication of dying on their feet. I think the rest of us in the wider Anglcian evangelical fraternity need to wake up and smell the coffee a bit and accept that this is a serious problem which is not going to go away anytime soon.

    And I will congratulate Richard Coekin and his team on a brilliant, contemporary website…one of the best I have come across in a long, long time. I may have serious concerns, but the attraciveness of the site is very engaging and will draw people in to discover more.

    Shhhh…I’m trying to help you guys here…don’t whisper it too loudly but if I were you guys, here’s a helpful hint from a member of the opposition so to speak!
    If you really expect AMIE to genuinely be taken seriosuly, I would advise that you have a strong word with Chris Sugden as he helpfully tried to point me in the direction of the new AIME/St Augustine Society website in the misguided belief that it was going to go a long way to allaying some of my numerous concerns about. I seriously hope it is very much a work in progress, because if it is near to being the finished product then AMIE is dead in the water already! Have any of you guys seen it!? It is a pretty poor attempt at a wdebsite by any standards. And is AMIE simply to be known as AMIE or is it AMIE…formerly known as are the St Augustine Socitey (proudly in existence since…ooohhh 2010.) The SAS appear to be refusing refuse to go down without a fight. It looks that way from the website as it appears to represent both bodies…

    Which begs the questions…GAFCON, FCA, Reform, St Augustine Society, AMIE…which life changing organisation destined to transform the future of the Anglican Communion will be founded next year..and are we duty bound to join one, some or all of these august bodies.

    I would greatly value your comments.

    Regards

    Phil

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