40 thoughts on “AMiE Update 6

  1. Thanks for this Richard. At last, something from the horses mouth so to speak!

    At least somebody is a least attempting to communicate what AMIE is actually about in an effective and competent manner. I take it you are acting as AMIE Communications Officer in a voluntary capacity?

    It will take quite some time to absorb and refect on the content of the article, both on what it is saying and what it is implying., let’s face it the two aren’t necessarily the same. However, sadly, “death by condescension” does appear to the be the order of the day as far as AMIE’s leaders are concerned.

    I look forward to seeking out John Coles of New Wine for an objective, intelligent balanced and considered view of AMIE, as I think he may not be quite as keen as Paul Perkin is, if what John wrote in the Autumn editorial of the New Wine 2010 magazine is anything to go by!

  2. “It is run by a steering committee with a panel of English Anglican Bishops (including Wallace Benn, Michael Nazir Ali, John Ball, John Ellison and Colin Bazley)”

    …..aaahhh… so God so loved the world that he sent “a steering committee” …. of “English Anglican Bishops” ….(oh please !!)…four of whom are retired and the other…the ONLY actively serving English Bishop who was apparently due to retire in 2012!

    I take it a few illegitmate, irregularly ordained Bishops will be added to the AIME steering list in the very near future…ie Coekin,Perkin, Tice, Tucker, Raven etc…an easy, convenient route to a cosy episcopal title if ever there was one!!…not that they will be legitimately recognised or accepted by those of us with a modicum of intelligence, sense or discernment.

    And where are the likes of such retired Bishops such as George Carey, Michael Turnbull, Gavin Reid, David Pytches on this oh-so-awesome Steering Committee…true heavyweights rather than the somewhat lightweight fare on offer?

    Oh..and by the way..if the “tanks are on the lawn” so so to speak, how come the only media comment you have been able to muster was on the Today programme..on a Saturday morning…wow..I;m sure they were listening to all 10 seconds or so of Rev Perkin et al in their thousands!!..you couldn’t even muster up a sentence in the Telegraph or the Mail…Nick Baines certainly did but AMIE???….has to make do with the Today programme, CEN, The Church Times that’s it!….if this is such a development how come nobody’s talking about it!!,…

    According to one member of General Synod I have spoken to it hardly caused a ripple, even amongst the evangelical fraternity! Just because the tanks are on the lawn, I hope you are not under the sad delusion that the rest of us are cowering in fear and trepidation do you?

    Game on….bring it on is what I say..it has been long overdue and it is about time some tough, straight talking took place and maybe it is time that evangelical Bishops up and down the land started taking a courageous lead and took the same action that was taken against AIME affiliated vicars in the coming months as was taken against Charles Raven in Worcester.

    Maybe that is what we should be discussing in the near future at Deanery, Diocesan and Generakl Synod level. Just a thought!

    After all if you illegally “park your tanks on the lawn”, surely the only appropriate response is…”get off our land!”

  3. Richard,

    Thanks for publishing this. Plenty of us all over the world have wondered why this is happening at this time in particular, and Richard Coekin mounts a very credible defence.

    I was glad to note that the Co-Mission churches in London have no difficulty working with Bishop Chartres. This emphasises that the problem is the current Bishop of Southwark. There must have been a real concern that he was going to follow in the shoes of his predecessor, and unfortunately, he seems to have declined the opportunity to calm those concerns.

    In many ways, this does seem to be business as usual. This is not an attack on the Church of England, just the taking of moderate steps to cope with a bishop who refuses to act as a bishop should. Well done.

  4. Phil Green wrote:

    “Game on….bring it on is what I say..it has been long overdue and it is about time some tough, straight talking took place and maybe it is time that evangelical Bishops up and down the land started taking a courageous lead and took the same action that was taken against AIME affiliated vicars in the coming months as was taken against Charles Raven in Worcester.”

    But that’s hardly likely, is it? All that +Selby accomplished was to drive both Raven+ and his congregation out of CofE, where they remain very active, and of course are no longer subject to CofE parish boundaries. Its almost a dream come true for evangelicals who want to spread the gospel without restriction – throwing Brer Rabbit in the briar patch, so to speak.

    Why would any bishop want to follow that example?

  5. Michael A

    “It’s almost a dream come true for evangelicals who want to spread the gospel without restriction”

    But isn’t that exactly what these guys are now doing anyway! And they seem to have so many demands, and such a low opinion of the rest of us evangelicals that it must be a nightmare for any Bishop of whatever persuasion to handle. I don’t think any Bishop would want to go that way unless they realy had to, but sadly, one day, they might . The question remains why is Charles Raven the only conservative evangelical in the Worcester Diocese to have this happen to him? Was it anything to do with the way he went about it? If his artIcles are anything to by, he can be pretty high handed at the best of times.

    Richard Coekin complains about having to pay his Parish Share…

    “Others despair that their churches which are growing through effective gospel ministry are unfairly burdened financially for the maintenance of other churches that won’t proclaim the gospel.”

    Well…despair no more Rev Coekin.. Maybe he could consider this very plausible alternative… happily keep your Parish share..every single penny of it.. and stop supporting those churches that don’t “proclaim the gospel”…use your parish share tostay within the geographical parish boundary by all means, but hand back all the priviliges and benfits that go with being part of the Church of England…ie church buildings, vicarages, stipends, pensions etc to the C of E/Church Commissioners and become totally self sustaining and self financing. And if the argument is posited that the Church of England couldn’t possibly survive without the aggregated parish shares of certain prosperous churches, I don’t buy that argument at all.

    If God is as truly behind all this, as is claimed, and is so against the rest us “liberals”, evangelicals or otherwise, He will surely bless their ventures and provide for them financially and in every other way while the rest of us quickly go down the drain.

    For example, how would the logisitics of All Souls Langham Place for example, who in Richard Bewes and Rico Tice who have unashamedly been prime movers in the creation of AMIE, having to consider moving out of Langham Place, give up all their properties, premises and stipends etc and find alternative accommodation in a very high premium rental part of London for their many, albeit worthy and valuable Sunday and weekday services and numerous other ministries be received? . But why should they, for all their great reputation and all that has accomplished in the past, still keep all the benefits and trappings of being part of the Cof E yet act as if they have the right to do what they want, when they want, and how they want, solely on their terms?. And would it not be are keeping well in with Richard Chartres possibly have something to do with London being a much more influential Bishopric than its near neighbour Southwark. And correct me if I am wrong but is not Bishop Richard in favour of ordaining women to the Bishopric which surely goes against the whole tenor of what Richard Coekin was arguing.

    Maybe All Souls, St Helens Bishopsgate and Co-Mission should glance across at the way that Holy Trinity Brompton carry out their church planting initiatives in partnership and co-operation with, and with the full blessing of the Bishop of London and his Area Bishops. It is exemplary and far more edifying than what we are witnessing at some of the other influential major evangelical London Cof E churches. I was thrilled to read on the HTB website yesterday that the Bishop of Kingston has just ordained 8 Holy Trinity members as deacons recently, and they were all named with photographs etc. We still don’t know who the three newly ordained AMIE deacons “validly ordained abroad” are!!

    The HTB church planting approach is far more “biblical” and infinitely more inspiring than what we are currently witnessing happening via AMiE.

  6. “But isn’t that exactly what these guys are now doing anyway!”

    Is it? I mean, you are probably in Southwark and know what is going on there on the ground, whereas I do not. But I note with interest th article by John Martin today in Living Church about a church plant in Dio. London:

    “In the 1980s the local residential population amounted to little more than a few hundred. Sunday worship gradually fizzled out. For some years the building was used on Friday lunchtimes by a group called Christians in Property, Mayfair being an important location for London property businesses. For all sorts of reasons Christ Church proved to be one of those pieces of church property that proved impossible to redevelop or sell off.
    Yet contrary to every expectation, today a thriving congregation meets at Christ Church. There are three clergy and a women’s worker, two lay workers and an administrator. It runs an apprenticeship scheme for people who want to gain experience in full-time ministry. It supports several people engaged in international mission.

    Why the turnaround? In 2001 the Bishop of London agreed to an overture from St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in the City of London to plant a congregation in that corner of Mayfair. Most of the people involved in the infusion were young professionals and students previously attending the evening service at St. Helen’s.

    The project began modestly, Sunday evening meetings advertised simply as “Bible Talks.” Three years later Christ Church launched a Sunday-morning service. Today Christ Church exudes energy and enthusiasm and is an answer to the earnest prayers of the tiny congregation of the early 1980s, godly people who dreamed something like this might be possible.”
    See http://www.livingchurch.org/news/news-updates/2011/7/18/co-mission-plays-role-in-amies-launch

    That doesn’t sound like crossing parish boundaries, does it? It sounds more like taking the gospel into areas that have been abandoned, with the blessing of the bishop. Surely that is to be encouraged?!

  7. Phil,

    Just to clarify one point of fact. Co-Mission churches in Southwark diocese have never received any financial support from the diocese – whether housing, stipend, buildings, pensions. They have always been self-sufficient. Of course this doesn’t relate to parish share as none of the churches are parish churches.

  8. Hi Pete

    Thanks for your clarification.

    Just to clarify that as I have said elsewhere, in some ways I am very supportive of the concept of what Co-Mission are doing. I am not against other churches planting in areas where the existing parish church, of whatever Anglican tradition, appears to be moribund or looks to dead or dying. I have loneg been an advocate of far more liquid and porous and far less territorial parish boundaries.

    It would be preferable if it is done with the support of the local parish church, and I also think it needs to be done with the support of the Area/Suffragan Bishop. I personally could not subscribe to being a member of a Co-Mission church or AMiE because of its strong Calvinist doctrinal stance and all the things you have to fully adhere to and be in full agreement with apart from Jesus and the Bible..ie Calvin’s Principles plus the 39 Articles plus the Ordinal plus the Elizabethan Succession plus “it has to be Christianity Explored or nothing” etc You have to do your research and dig deeper into the Co-Mission group of churches website, both corporately and indiviually to ascertain that there are “add ons” you have to subscribe to as well and what the true agenda is.

    I also started commenting on Richard Perkins’ blog because I was both pleased and delighted that he was ministering in an urban setting. What I don’t like is the wild assertion by Co-Mission and AMiE in general that this re-discovery of “biblical” church presence/planting is what conservative evangelical Anglican churches have been doing so well for a long time.

    I’m afraid the reality is that they are having to re-discover this only because for many years conservative evangelical churches lost the plot completely and took their fingers right off the pulse, and virtually abandoned the inner city in favour of far leafier climes. As far as Anglican presence was concerned, it was left to Anglo and liberal Catholics. central/liberal churchmanship and more open evangelical/charismatic churches to minister and plant in these settings, alongside Pentecostals, FIEC churches, Baptists, Methodists, Salvation Army and pioneering new stream churches. There was hardly an effective Anglican conservative evangelical church presence to be found for a long time.

    The past 10 years have seen some improvements but there is still a huge amount of work to be done, especially up here in the North. I’m not sure that one retired Nothern based Bishop on the steering committee of English Bishops (based in the Diocese of Chester) is really going to cut the mustard, or am I missing something?

    I am thrilled that Co-Mission is thoroughly self -supporting and not parish church based but I am guessing that you are fairly unique. If parish churches and planted churches are going to declare UDI and wholeheartedly buy in to the AMiE policy of surreptiously ordaining who you want, when you want, where you want, however you want, whenever you want, yet still want to benefit from the manutrappings that go with being part of the Anglican system, then there are some serious questions to be asked.

    Just out of interest, what are your views on the non-Commission parish based churches, such as All Souls Langham Place and St Helens Bishopsgate who buy in hook,line and sinker to the AMiE agenda? Should they still keep their stipends, buildings, pensions etc?

  9. Phil,

    Just a quick response – I’m neck deep in final prep for the summer youth camp I run so do’t have a lot of time to comment at length.

    Thank you for your support of much of what Co-Mission are dong. (It may not be obvious from my post above as it just says Pete, but I am on the staff at Christ Church Balham, with the Urban Pastor himself!). You said you couldn’t join a co-mission church because of all the things you have to sign up to – it would be fair to say that our congregations are quite broad, yes the staff of the Anglican co-mission churches (not all are) stand by the 39 articles and the formularies of the church, but the congregations don’t have to.

    On your point about conservative evangelical churchs not prioritising urban contexts, I think (sadly) you are right. But as you say we are striving to address that – whilst not neglecting the rural context.

    Re the central London churches who support AMiE – they are supportive of what we needed to do in Southwark, but as things stand they don;t need AMiE. Indeed the Co-Mission churches in London diocese don’t need it either. They have a good relationship with +London, and he supports the work they do. AMiE is a solution for people who have problems locally, it is not a solution for the majority of churches in the CofE. That may change, but we pray it won’t.

  10. Hi Pete

    Thanks for your comment. No probs re having little time to comment in full. Hope the preparation for summer camp is going well.

    Of all the Co-Mission people I think I relate best to the CCB folk, maybe that is because of the urban connection and the communications feel a bit more gritty, honest and real. I was getting along OK with Richard Perkins I felt until he blogged in support of “parking the tanks on the lawns of Lambeth Palace” at which point I felt the urge to take issue and its cooled somewhat a bit since then!

    I do confess to struggling a bit with Richard Coekin. I found his article,a nd indeed his general approach towards AMiE more than a touch patronising..
    I think most us had grasped that it was …”A for Anglican…M for a Mission…and E for in England without having to have it spelt out in such detail! However, there were certain aspects of his article I was in agreement with, but if I had the time there was a lot of other stuff that needed much further clarification and/or a red pen taking to it/ a coach and horses driving through it…but that is probably for another day.

    I am really pleased to hear that Richard Chartres is supportive of the work that you are doing. Maybe if you were in the London Diocese the furore may have been slightly less vocal than it has been. As I have previously stated, although I am not a fan of Alternative Episcopal Oversight in any form really, I accept that it is necessary for purposes of expediency. I think it has been a grave error to commission no less than three Anglo- Catholic PEVs and not one conservative evangelical PEV. I personally think there would also have been some mileage in creating a Third Province where the St Wilfrid and St Hilda Society priests and AMiE sponsored ministers/pastors across the country could find a “home of their own” within the Church of England , with a (presumably all male) line up of Bishops, but hey, I guess I am a bit of a lone voice there.

    Thank you too for your gracious concession of the work that still needs to be done re both the urban and rural aspects of AMiE…I think that may be a tacit nod to the fact that this is still very much a suburban initiative being largely delivered in a largely Southern suburban context, with a few commendable notable exceptions such as Balham for example.

    I am also greatly heartened to hear that Co-Mission church members are permitted to differ from the leadership team on secondary theological issues/emphases should they wish., although I do find it intriguing as to how that would work out in practice. I would concede that within our congregation here in Bootle, North Liverpool, there are several members who would disagree with my stance and be supportive of the aims and objectives of AMiE, but I suspect they would be by and large in the minority.

    When, however you say that “we will be seeking to address this” I do have graver concerns. Firstly who exactly do you mean by “we”..By that do you mean the “Steering Committee of English AMiE Bishops” headed up by Wallace Benn, the Co-Mission leadership, headed up by Richard Coekin, including Richard Perkins and yourself amongst others, Richard Bewes, Rico Tice, Vaughan Roberts, Paul Perkin, Charles Raven etc…or a combination of some or all of these people? The use of the generic term “we” is not very helpful and greater clarity would be appreciated.

    As a person from a more New Wine type background, I note Paul Perkin’s committed involvement, but if we are talking about people in the North does that mean that Ian Parkinson will be involved, or Steve McGanity up here in Liverpool or others in the North & East New Wine Leadership Team. I know that John Coles and Ian Parkinson were signatories to the 2006 Covenant, but we have heard nothing from them so far. I am hoping that they won’t be seduced into being persuaded to send out teams from the larger New Wine evangelical churches such as All Saints Marple, St Andrews Clubmoor, Christ Church Southport, St Marks Haydock, St Thomas’ Lancaster or St Thomas Crookes Philadelphia Sheffield, St Michael-le Belfrey York, or St Thomas Kendal or Christ Church Harpurhey etc out into the urban highways and byways to plant new AMiE supported church congregations in neighbouring/nearby parishes where AMiE deem “the gospel is not being preached” At the very least, not without consulting, discussing with and listening to those of us in these and other urban contexts/localities who possess much more in the way of local knowledge and expertise.

    My nightmare scenario is of teams of AMiE-backed evangelists, “Deans of Mission”, and their teams/helpers, many of whom, no offence meant, will descend from more Southerly locales for a week or two of “A Passion For Life” type mission events before disappearing back from whence they came, convinced that they they have been involved in sustained and successful long term urban mission which has contributed greatly to the noble aim of “re-evangelising (the North of) England”.

    One of the most upsetting things about AMiE so far has been the complete lack of transparency and sharing/updating of information/progress until well after events have often taken place. Is there going to be any sharing with us here, and also those in rural areas where similar issues will be “addressed”? Or will it be just “done to us” with a totally unrealistic expectation that we should either enthusiastically join in, or at the very least least support any new church planting initiatives that take place locally.

    If new churches are to be planted will discussions be held by “Deans of Mission” beforehand with Diocesan/Suffragan/Area Bishops/local clergy/Readers/ministry teams, parishes/Deaneries etc or will we just find out “on the grapevine” or as things are unveiled?

    I would really appreciate any thoughts you may have on these. Please feel free to drip feed them in short soundbites given the shortage of time you have available.

    Hope the prep continues to go well Pete, and the rain abates in time for Summer Camp!

  11. Phil Green wrote,

    “I am hoping that they won’t be seduced into being persuaded to send out teams from the larger New Wine evangelical churches such as … St Marks Haydock … out into the urban highways and byways to plant new AMiE supported church congregations in neighbouring/nearby parishes where AMiE deem “the gospel is not being preached””

    You might want to have a look at the St Marks Haydock web-site where it states:

    “Our Mission
    To build 100 Lake and River cells through a network of Lake and River churches by 2020”

    A ‘cell’ appears to mean a house-church. I appreciate that this issue is a genuine concern for you, but all I am saying is that it probably doesn’t have anything to do with AMiE.

  12. Hi Michael

    In response to your comment re St Marks Haydock, please let me respond. I can do a bit more than have a look at website as I know St Marks well and have been there on a number of occasions, as it is located in Liverpool Diocese and only some 15 miles from my home.

    You say that St Marks approach might not have much to do with AMiE. This may be so at present, but that could possibly soon alter. In a couple of weeks time I shall be going, along with a number of members of the church where I am on the leadership team to the New Wine North & East Summer Conference in Newark-on-Trent. Paul Perkin, Vicar of St Marks Battersea Rise is one of the key movers in AMiE and he is also heavily involved in the New Wine network, indeed he is at leading some seminars at the Southern New Wine Conference in Shepton Mallett and may also be one of the platform speakers in the two main venues during the week.

    It is interesting that the key leaders of New Wine, such as the current Director of the New Wine UK network John Coles, the former leader of the UK network Bishop David Pytches and the leader of the North 7 east Region Ian Parkinson, who were all signatories of the GAFCON Covenent statement in 2006, have been very quiet on the whole issue of the creation and emergence of AMiE. Fulcrum have made a strong statement of concern, but the New Wine leadership have made little or no comment as yet. It may well be that one or more of them were present at either or both of the major services, initially at All Souls Langham Place in 2008, and more recently at the service to launch AMiE and to commission certain leaders at St Peters Cornhill in London on 23 June 2011. If they were present, especially at the latter service last month, they are refraining from saying so publicly as yet.

    I am wondering whether AMiE will be mentioned at all at the Conference, It may be that it will not be mentioned at all, or just in passing. There may be a possibility that it will be mentioned from the platform in the main meetings.but it is more likely to be raised at the more informal leaders networks meetings I guess. I am hoping that members of the New Wine Network will be given the equivalent of a “free vote” on whether or not to support AMiE, its proposed mission and its methods of operation. I am also sincerely hoping that network members will be allowed to make their own mind on how to make an appropriate response.

    They could choose to respond in one of at least four ways. (i) enthusiastically welcome, endorse and join AMiE, (ii) not join it but have sympathy with its aims, objectives and methods, (iii) remain largely indifferent to its existence and continue doing what they are currently doing, or (iv) actively oppose AMiE and be able to express opposition sand concern should they wish to do so. To my mind, all four are possible, plausible and acceptable responses and I am hoping we are going to be given the freedom of choice to make up our own mind and not be strongly encouraged, or even subtly pressurised or persuaded into support AMiE. By all means explain and provide information as to what it is about, but respect peoples rights to weigh matters up and to make up their own mind.

    What I would be concerned about, and it may not happen, is a possible future scenario whereby, in order to presence themselves much more visibly in the North of England, given the justifiable criticism the AMiE leadership has received recently from those both within and outside the ranks of AMiE with reference to it being primarily an organisation set up by and for conservative evangelicals in the South of England. In order to counter this criticism, the AMiE leadership may decide to adopt a policy of approaching key leaders of influential large evangelical Anglican churches in the North, such as St Marks Haydock, Christ Church Southport, Holy Trinity Ripon, All Saints Marple and others etc, who they see as as potential allies to assist them in rooting AMiE in the North of England..

    I have no evdience that this is the intention, but given that there are hardly any large conservative Reformed evangelical churches whatsoever, of the likes of All Souls Langham Place, St Helens Bishopsgate or St Ebbes Oxford in the North of England, (apart from maybe Cheadle Parish Church in Cheshire and Jesmond Parish Church in Newcastle -Upon-Tyne) this may become a possible strategy. This would enable AMiE to gain ground and seek to become as influential in the North as it has been further down South. This does appear to be an intended aim at some point. It must be surely, if it genuinely is to be a mission with the aim of “re-evangelising” the whole of England, as AMiE have repeatedly, boldly and unashamedly proclaimed it to be.

    With regard to the “Lake and River” strategy at St Marks Haydock, it has helped to shape the Diocese of Liverpool”s response to the Church of England’s mixed economy approach to mission and ministry arising from the Mission Shaped Church Report produced by the group headed up so ably by Bishop Graham Cray

    The aim at St Marks Haydock is to build 100 Lake and River cell congregational communities by 2020. These will not, as you infer Michael be “house churches” as a closer examination of the St Mark’s website will show that these congregations/communities meet at a variety of diverse locations across the area, indeed most of them are not in houses at all.

    Where the Lake and River strategy difers entirely in its approach and practice to Co-Mission is that the vision has been adopted and developed within existing Diocesan structures by the wider Diocesan Church Growth and Mission Team, with the full support, commitment and backing of both the Bishop of Liverpool, and the Suffragan Bishop of Warrington within whose episcopal oversight Haydock lies. Indeed some 18 months ago there was a very successful and well attended Diocesan Lake and River Conference held at the Echo Arena, the main Convention Centre on the Liverpool city centre waterfront. The keynote speaker was Bishop Graham Cray and the Conference hosts were the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones and Phil Potter.

    The strategy is most definitely not to create 100 new planted congregations by regularly crossing over parish boundaries to carry out mission and ministry in parishes where there is no discernible “gospel” witness. Neither is it to replicate or clone the St Marks Haydock model/way of doing things in other parts of the Liverpool Diocese. Phil Potter has now been officially commissioned and authorised as Director of Pioneer Ministries for the Diocese at a special commissioning service I attended at St Marks, where the guest speaker was the Bishop of Liverpool.
    One of the overall aims is to assist other churches in the Diocese to transition into becoming “Lake and River” oriented churches in their own unique contexts in terms of their missional thinking, strategy, worship, service and evangelism. Phil Potter has stated that churches do not have to adopt a cell church approach as part of their life and strategy, although some may find that it is right for the m to do so should they sense that is how God is leading them. But it is just one option out of a multiplicity of possible creative ways in which the “Lake and River” vision can be fulfilled in different churches depending on the local context.

    It is quite possible that Phil Potter, and those at St Marks and other similar churches are sympathetic and supportive of AMiE. I don’t know for sure because I have not had the opportunity to speak to them about it yet. But I somehow think they would be very wary should AMiE leaders wish to approach them seeking to partner with them in driving AMiE’s missional and evangelsitic forward in the North West of England without some very honest discussion beforehand, and some equally strong assurances in a number of key areas.

    It is interesting to observe that AMiE speak very highly of the Bishop of London, who is rightly supportive of their work. I do wonder what other issues were discussed with Tom Butler’s recent successor Christopher Chessun when he met with Richard Coekin and others from the Co-Mission leadership team. My guess, and it only a best guess, and nothing more, is that it was confined to one or two selected issues, and nothing, for example was asked on his thoughts regarding other important issues, such as the best and most effective way to carry out mission and ministry in contemporary 21st century post-Christian contexts, or the most appropriate way to train and deploy gifted lay and ordained leaders across the diocese, or his views on worship and service both within the church and the wider local community.

    If the discussion had sought to cover these areas and others besides, perhaps I and many other concerned evangelicals would have more sympathy with AMiE’s heartfelt grievances. I am guessing these types of conversations did not take place when they met up with Bishop Chessun recently.. I may be completely wrong about this. If I am, I am more than happy to be corrected.

    I trust that this information is of some help Michael, and would welcome your considered response.

  13. Phil, my initial response is:

    Wow! That is a more detailed answer than I had any right to expect, and thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with such candour. There is a lot to think about here.

    Although in Australia, I do have contacts at JPC and I agree that both it and St Mary’s Cheadle would fit in the mould of conservative rformed churches, like St Helen’s. But beyond that, all I can say again is, thank you for this very thoughtful response.

  14. Phil Green,

    I post below a section of Canon Simon Butler’s comment regarding Bishop Chessun’s meeting with Richard Coekin at which he states he was present.

    – “most of us in the Church of England do not want to be rid of our Evangelicals. Indeed, some of us consider ourselves such. What we long to be rid of this naked land-grabbing based on so-called ‘biblical principle’, which this tiny minority within the wider Evangelical family seem to specialise in. The vast majority of Evangelicals – including those in Southwark Diocese where I serve – are heartily sick of this self-delusional posturing. Orthodoxy (whatever that is) is NOT under threat in the Church of England – and the Bishop of Southwark has pointed this out to Richard Coekin et al (in my hearing). That they choose to ignore that reality only shows up their real agenda which is to pick a fight with the Diocese of Southwark in the vain attempt to garner wider Evangelical sympathy and support. Their web postings are ridiculous when compared to the facts on the ground and I and others will do all we can to prevent such schismatic (=sinful) behaviour from flourishing. The Church of England – and the Diocese of Southwark – is a perfectly safe place for Evangelicals.”

    This can be seen here:


    It should be added that the Rev Stephen Kuhrt and Mr Joh Kuhrt live out their evangelical Christianity within the diocese of Southwark and are strongly supportive of Fulcrum, who, in my opinion, hold the “Anglican evangelical centre” in this country. They are the sons of Ven. Rev. Gordon Kuhrt who was Director of Mission (1996-2006) for Southwark (if not more widely) who is now retired.

    I would be interested to know from you, Phil, whether you think the North West Partnership (and other regional “Partnerships”) churches will be conscripted into AMiE. I am also wondering whether the organisation “Affinity” which seems to be an affiliation between CoE and FIEC (Federation of Independent Evangelical Churches) elements is also becoming a vehicle within which the AMiE can and will operate.

    Beryl Polden,

  15. Michael – thanks for your response. I hope I didn’t bore you to death with what was I admit an exceptionally lengthy reply. By the sounds of it, you hopefully found it quite thought provoking. This response will be mercifully briefer, but I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this and other aspects of the debate.

    Wherabouts in Oz are you? I have relatives in the Melbourne area. Cheers. Phil

    Hi Beryl – great to hear from you. Unlike Michael you are much closer to home. Are you from “posh” Wirral or the grittier Birkenhead/Wallasey end, which is virtually Liverpool-across-the water isn’t it…? lol Which church do you attend.. At a rough guess I’ll go for St Mary;’s Upton.

    Thanks for posrting Simon Butler’s response. It was hard hitting stuff, but I guess the tone of the dialogue from the Co-Mission team was pretty hard hitting, so I guess he decided to fight fire with fire a bit..If this isn the case, you can hardly blame him and there is a fair bit of substance to what he says. In particular, I like his willingness to declare that there are other evangelcials who feel safe in Southwark. as this goes som way towards refuting Richard Coekin’s rather blanket assertion that Southwark is a “liberal Diocese”

    I also am very much with you re Fulcrum holding the evangelical centre ground. As for the North West Partnership, I take it you mean the New Wine NTP. If so, this is what is deeply concerning me. I cannot see any other way as to how AMiE will ake significant inroads into the North of England to carry out it’s stated aims and objectives of it’s mission. They will have to partner/ally with other organisations established in the north. The only alternative would be to parachute in church planting teams from down South to plant new AMiE style “Anglican” congregations, which by and large would be pretty much a disaster as far as I am concerned.

    I am hoping to catch a quiet word with Ian Parkinson at the Newark summer conference. Ian is the Rector of All Saints Marple and he also heads up the New Wine North & East of England Network. Ian, along with John Coles and Bishop David Pytches was a signatory to the earlier 2006 Covenant, but they have said nothing about it at all and there is no reference to it on the New Wine website. I am heartened by an editorial John Coles wrote in the Autumn 2010 edition of the New Wine magazine, in which he expressed concern that churches are so often seen by outsiders as being more for what they are “against” rather than being known for what they are”for”.

    I will be really disappointed, not to mention angered, if a significant number of the New Wine regional networks are conscripted en-masse into AMiE following decisions that are taken by the New Wine leadership as a whole. I went to Newark in 2010, having not been before, and I was admittedly somewhat sceptical if I am honest, but I was really, really impressed by the teaching, ministry, the event itself and the organisation/network as a whole. I only hope they are seriously thinking through the implications of all this becaue it will be extremely disappointing if they allow themselves to be manipulated into supporting AMiE.

    I don’t know what you think Beryl, and I certainly don’t want to scaremonger, but my gut instincts are telling me that there may be discussions going on between AMiE and the New Wine national and regional leadership teams, and decisions may well be being made behind the scenes as we speak….or more accurately..as we write…I sincerely hope I am wrong..but only time will tell.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this from all the way across the other side of the Mersey! Best regards Phil

  16. Phil, I am in Sydney. I get down to Melbourne for a dose of culture and art every few weeks.

    My English connection comes through being a parishioner at ASL some years ago, and at another time I attended a charismatic church plant in London. Also, our daughter lived in England and Scotland up until last year, and they attended different churches as work took them around the country. So, lots of connections and we try to keep them up where we can, but life gets so busy.

    You didn’t bore me to death at all. It is always interesting hearing about things “on the ground”.

  17. Michael//thanks. I thought you might be in Sydney, presumably with Peter Jensen.

    We appear to have a friendlier discourse on here than on Titus 1:9! I have a lot of affection for ASL believe it or not..and although you might not think it respect for John Stott and Richard Bewes..the jury is out a bit on Rico Tice though! i have been to several Prom Praise concerts when the ASO has visited Liverpool

    Fascinated to hear about your time in a charismatic church plant. Like you I really enjoy hearing what is happening on the ground. As for me I was brought up at St Matthews Bootle, made a personal committment at 17, moved to St John and St James Bootle, was CU President at Poly, and UCCF Colleges Regional Rep for the West Midlands Polys/Colleges on the National Colleges Exec, spent 3 years at St Judes Wolverhampton as a student and a further 2 years at Greyfriars in Reading before returning to Liverpool and back to St John and St James where I am a Reader (passionately devoted to modelling and encourage fulfilling lay ministries/giftings) and a member of our Shared Ministry collaborative leadership team.

  18. Phil,

    Things can sometimes get heated on any blog. Mind you, that can also be a sign that people are talking about things that really matter to them, so its not all bad.

  19. Hi, Phil,
    I have to admit to not being a member of any particular church or denomination. There are good and specific reasons for this – the prime one being that I am involved in Christian broadcasting. The conditions of our community radio licence mean that the radio station must be open and accessible to all denominations and also the whole community, not just Christians. On Sunday mornings when Christians normally prepare to worship, I am personally broadcasting “live” for a period of two hours – it seems that Sunday mornings are sacrosanct for doing any form of outreach because that is “me time” for Christians. Besides, I am the wife of the managing director of the radio station.
    To avoid taking up more space on this “urban pastor’s” blog, you can read more about us on http://www.flameradio.org/
    I am in sympathy with the Apostle Paul with not wanting to boast about anything but the cross and Christ crucified, suffice to say that God has blessed us with a good life in the south of England and led us to move to the north west over 20 years ago and invest our assets in broadcasting the gospel. We do have good connections with St. Mary’s, Upton as well as a number of other Anglican churches on Wirral, and we broadcast St Mary’s “Sunday at 7 (pm)” programmes. The radio premises (studio and office) is, indeed, set in a “grittier” part of Birkenhead.
    When I refer to the “North West Partnership”, this is the website that is my reference –
    I’m not sure if this is the same as the New Wine Partnership to which you refer. The regional partnerships to which I refer appear to have sprung from the network associations of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate and Proclamation Trust – which, I believe, has personal connection (in its origins) with Richard Coekin’s father. I have no critiscism of St Helen’s or Proclamation Trust per se, apart from the apparent wish to avoid CoE structures in church planting and ministry training, yet also the apparent wish to remain in the CoE. Lack of trust between evangelicals or, in particular, schism between charismatic evangelicals (which New Wine represent) and “expositional” evangelicals (which Proclamation Trust represent) would be tragic.

  20. Beryl,

    Neither St Helen’s nor Co-Mission appear to “wish to avoid CofE structures in church planting and missionary training”, as far as I can see.

  21. Hi Beryl

    Thanks for you response.

    No need to confess anything to me about not being a part of any church or denomination…..keep it that way for as long as you can is what I would say!! I’ve long been an advocate of differentiating between “church” as an institution and “the Kingdom” as a wider, different concept. I personally think the two are very different entities altogether…. Keep up the Kingdom work you are doing within Flame I say! But that is a discussion for another day, and will get me into even more hot water than I am in already!!

    As for “me time” on Sundays…..I think this is part of a much wider problem.. Whereas I understand and accept that there is a real need to meet foruplifting worship, inspiring teaching and warm fellowship amongst other things, I do think there is a temptation for us on a Sunday to retreat and at times escape into our comfortable church ghettoes and be mightily blessed, whilst remaining completely oblivious to the world outside. Are we concerned about the needs of anyone who dares to step into the church from that world outside to see what on earth goes on behind those, often closed church doors on a Sunday morning! We maybe find it difficult to reach outwards on a Sunday because we are far too obsessed with “looking inwards”.

    Also I think the hot debates about “how we worship” and indeed “women Bishops” are centred far too much around the “me time”agenda ie, “what I want” and “what I need”, “what I will accept” etc, not that these things aren’t important, just that they have become much too important I feel to many of us.

    With regard to Flame, well I have an astonishing confession to make. Am I right in thinking that Flame began a number of years ago around Pentecost Sunday? Deep in the recesses of my subconscious I recall us at St John and St James taking part in a week of events, which I think were centred locally at Kingsway Christian Centre in Crosby.

    There is something which I sort of recall about me being invited to record a slot on a Friday evening in the BBC Radio Merseyside studios, which was then subsequently broadcast on their “Daybreak” programme on the following Sunday morning . The broadcast was about what we were doing at our church that week, during which, naughty man that I am, I made the most of the opportunity to mention briefly in passing the launch of Flame radio station, even though it was not why I was primarily being interviewed!

    If I remember correctly, I think initially the station only had a temporary licence for a week or a month or so, but it was so popular and effective that it later developed into what, under your subsequent direction, is now the successful operation that it has become today. If I am spouting absolute rubbish, please disregard this as the inane ramblings of a confused man but I seem to remember something along those lines. I am so pleased that the Flame studio is based amongst the urban grit of Rock Ferry! Great stuff!

    I will now take a deep sigh and say that I think, regretfully, that The North West Partnership is very much likely to be subsumed into AMiE. I will be very surprised if it doesn’t go that way. From its website, it is clear that it has very close links with Oak Hill Theological College, the leading conservative evangelical Anglican theological college in the country. Also I have had a look at it’s “partner churches” and they all look as if they are all in the classical reformed evangelical mode. Interestingly only about half the partner churches in the North West are Anglican!

    Which brings me to another point. I can’t speak for the Chester Diocese where you are based, but as for the Liverpool Diocese out of the 250 parishes we have, I have been trying to estimate how many churches/parishes are likely to fully embrace the aims and methods of AMiE, or if not, broadly support their aims and approach. This will be particularly revealing as, with a few notable exceptions, Liverpool generally has a reputation for being a largely low church/evangelical leaning Diocese.

    On the traditionalist Anglo Catholic side, there are a small number of churches who are likely to sympathise, but they are far more likely to ally themselves with Forward in Faith, or even leave to the Church of England altogether and join the Ordinariate, should the measure to ordain women Bishops be passed in early 2012.

    As for the evangelical fraternity, well that is another matter altogether. I am seriously scratching my head trying to think of more than a very small handful of evangelical Anglican churches in the Liverpool Diocese churches that are firmly rooted in the classical reformed evangelical mode and are likely to embrace AmiE wholehartedly without reservation. Of the more well known evangelical churches of some influence in the Diocese , such as Christ Church Southport, St Marks Haydock, St Andrews Clubmoor, All Saints Liverpool, St Mary’s Grassendale, St Johns Widnes, St John’s Burscough Bridge, St Paul’s Skelmersdale, St Hilda’s Hunts Cross, St Marks Newtown, St Peters Woolton, St Stephens Gateacre, St Thomas, Ashton in Makerfield, the St Helens Team Ministry, Ormskirk Parish Church, Christ Church Aughton, St Lukes,Crosby, St James In The City, and ourselves at St John and James, Orrell Hey, Bootle..I cannot envisage any one of these churches/parishes,or others of a similar evangelical nature not mentioned in that list, joining up to promote AMiE.

    The only Anglican churches on the NWP list (and it only consists of 10 churches across all the main evangelical denominations on Merseyside) are St Cleopas in Toxteth, which is part of the Toxteth Team Ministry, and St Simon and St Judes with All Saints Southport. In fact, the NWP website (which looks as though it was created in 2006, with its aims revised in 2009,makes clear that in the Merseyside region only 2 out of the 11 partner churches in the region are evangelical Anglican churches. To put this into some form of perspective there are 250 Anglican churches in the Liverpool Diocese, which pretty much equates to the“Merseyside region” and just 2 of these are partnered with NWP.
    In the Cheshire region 8 out of 13 of the partner churches Anglican evangelical; in Lancashire 10 out 12 are evangelical Anglican; and interestingly from your perspective ,on the Wirral 4 out of 7 are evangelical Anglican, one of which is in Rock Ferry and the other in New Ferry! Maybe there is scope for a local Flame interview there! In Cumbria 3 out of the 4 NWTP are evangelical Anglican and in Greater Manchester just 1 out of the 6 NWTP partner churches are evangelical Anglican churches in the Reformed tradition. There are also 2 out of 4 “other” partner churches which are evangelical Anglican, one in Buxton, the other in Kidsgrove.

    Which means that across all evangelical churches spread across the entire North West of England there are a mere 57 NWP partner churches, and out of all the evangelical Anglican churches throughout the North West there are just 30 partner churches. I have argued strongly elsewhere that of AMiE wants to make inroads outside of its stronghold in London and the South/South East it has got a huge amount of work to do, a fact which Peter Matthew of Co-Mission at Christ Church Balham has readily albeit regrettably acknowledged earlier in this thread. There are probably significantly more evangelical churches in the Diocese of Liverpool alone than there are partner churches throughout the whole of the North West in the NWTP. Hardly a ringing endorsement, and this gives me great hope for the future.

    I appreciate that there may be some evangelical Anglican churches which are not officially partners of NWP, but which are sympathetic to Its aims, objectives and approach, but I guess that this number is pretty small.

    NWP is not associated with New Wine, thankfully they are two very separate entities, and the New Wine North West Regional Leaders Network is something completely different altogether. There is a New Wine Training Partnership (NWTP) which is very different altogether. However, should the New Wine national leadership as a whole decide to support the aims, objectives and methods, it is possible that some large influential New Wine supporting churches within the Liverpool Diocese such as St Marks Haydock, Christ Church, Southport and St Andrews Clubmoor may espouse the AmiE cause. However, of these I it would be quite a surprise if St Marks Haydock was amongst them as Phil Potter is Director of Pioneer Ministry seeking to develop the Lake and River church approach across the whole of the Merseside region and he works closely with the Diocesan Bishops and Archdeacons, who are unlikely to support the modus operandi of AmiE.

    Earlier you mentioned your support and respect for Fulcrum with which I agree wholeheartedly. It would be really encouraging to see Fulcrum and New Wine unite in their stance regarding AMiE, but given that three key members of New Wine were signatories to the 2006 Covenant and 1 relatively low key member of the current new Wine national leadership team, Paul Perkin, is openly involved in driving AMiE forward so this may not happen, unless the New Wine national leadership have become very concerned at the direction events have taken since 2006, which is possible. However, my gut instict theels me that this will be a real missed opportunity.

    In these days of “coalition” I personally think that, under God, an umbrella coalition of Fulcrum/New Wine/Spring Harvest/Fresh Expressions/Affirming Catholicism/Awesome/Church Pastoral Aid Society/Church Missionary Society type partnership would be a far more potent and powerful force for good within the evangelical Anglican constituency than a AMiE/GAFCON/Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans/Proclamation Trust/Church Society/Prayer Book Society/Anglican Mainstream/Keswick Convention/Forward In Faith would be.
    To me the former has something of a like-minded marriage more made in heaven about it, whereas the latter very much has the look of a marriage of convenience. Hopefully others with much more influence with in first list of organisations may agree and start talking, but I am not overly optimistic that this is how it will pan out.

    I agree with you regarding the Coekin family link. I think I am right in saying that Richard Coekin’s brother is also heavily active in conservative evangelical circles in London and I guess that the father-son somewhat nepotistic Proclamation Trust/Co-Mission family ties are hardly coincidental.

    “Lack of trust between evangelicals or, in particular, schism between charismatic evangelicals (which New Wine represent) and “expositional” evangelicals (which Proclamation Trust represent) would be tragic.”
    I agree with this fully Beryl, except both past and recent history does not bode well here. I was reading yesterday in an address given very recently by the Ugley Vicar himself , John Richardson, where he gave an excellent description of the tensions in evangelical Anglicanism from 1945 onwards.

    He made some salient points. For instance I never knew that Michael Harper, of the more charismatic Fountain Trust fame, was curate under John Stott at All Souls Langham Place, and had to leave because John Stott was not happy with, and would not accept, his more charismatic theological leanings. Perhaps Michael in Sydney, who spent some time as a parishioner at All Souls Langham Place could provide us with more details, but that is profoundly depressing if it is true. In fact the level of schism is over recent years is already frightening and I can see why Fulcrum made their move at the last NEAC 4 conference at Blackpool, much to the anger of the conservative evangelicals prominent on the leadership team. Praise God for Bishop Tom Wright is all I can say, and many more Anglican evangelicals have felt the same both before and since.

    And more recently, for several years the Keswick Convention became involved for one week of the Spring Harvest Easter celebration events. I always had a feeling it would end in tears, and it did when, if my memory serves me right Steve Chalke said some things the more Reformed evangelcals nearer to the Keswick spectrum took exception to. Interestingly enough the rehabilitation of Steve Chalke in some circles at least appears to be almost complete because he is leading a seminar at the 2011 New Wine Summer Conference in acouple of weeks time..

    Schism may indeed be tragic, but it is already with us and almost looks inevitable to me the way things are progressing. And if it happens God, I am sure will go on doing what he has been doing since time immemorial. He will still be on the throne, will hold His head in His hands, shed a few tears, allow us to break his heart, and will he will continue to somehow bring himself to graciously bless and increase churches in both camps, despite us more than because of us, I am sad to have to say.

  22. Michael A,

    Not that I need to be satisfied – but when I can see that all ordinations from St Helens, Bishopsgate and Co-Mission proceed through the usual CoE selection process via Diocesan Director of Ordinands and university training in an establishment which makes no distinction between “conservative” and “liberal”, treats high and low church styles as equal, and which will not entertain students who discriminate against ordaining bishops on the basis of perceived liberal stance, then I might change my mind. You see, I have “boned up” on the inspection reports emanating from Oak Hill and Wycliffe Theological Colleges.

    Bishops in other parts of the world might accept a less rigorous standard of theological training – or even a standard which coincides with their own particular Christian worldview – but if the CoE does not remain a broad church, such as it is at the moment, then I cannot see why it has the right to supervise the “hatching, matching and dispatching” which it claims at present.

    It is not necessary to undergo theological training to be an unpaid missionary to one’s friends and neighbours – and I believe it has been demonstrated that the majority of folks who come to faith in Christ do so because of “friendship evangelism” rather than through attempts to “argue” people into the Kingdom – or even “preaching”, despite what it says in Colossians.

  23. Phil,

    I’m sorry I can’t shed any direct light on the Michael Harper thing – I was a parishioner at a very large church for a relatively short time! But what you call “reformed evangelicals” all over the world stay in pretty close communication. We in Australia (and we are by no means just in Sydney) follow events in UK pretty closely, and vice versa. I think that particular Stott-Harper spat just reflects the wary interaction between charismatic and evangelical wings of protestantism over the years – we have each had things to say to each other, and to learn from each other.

    Pastors have to be careful and wary that false teaching doesn’t cause a problem for the faithful. For example, I remember in the 1970s some charismatics were teaching that unless a person spoke in tongues, they weren’t a Christian. Both evangelical and pentecostal pastors in Sydney and UK had to speak strongly from the pulpit against that idea.

    Anyway, I think that since the 1970s both charismatic and evangelical wings (and of course they are not rigid categories) have matured a great deal, and work with each other much better than they used to.

  24. But Beryl, what you describe does not appear to fit the description “standard of theological training”, nor does it appear to relate to being a “broad church”, i.e. the high church/low church divide.

    Unless I misunderstand you, what you are saying is that ordinands from Co-Mission churches have to accept the ministry of women bishops, and of practicing homosexual bishops, or they should not be ordained. If so, then you are entitled to your viewpoint of course. But surely you cannot complain when those ordinands say: “We are following the traditions of the church as they have been for 2,000 years, and we don’t see any need to change”?

    After all, these people are at the coalface – they are ministering to many hundreds of active Anglicans, who also share the same beliefs. They are surely entitled to their place in the church.

    My apologies if I have misunderstood your position.

  25. Hi Michael

    Many thanks for the reply re the Stott/Harper disagreement.

    I couldn’t agree with you more in being very pleased at how much both charismatic and evangelical wings have definitely matured over they years. The charismatic wing of the church in particular is unrecognisable from say 30 years ago. When I went to my first New Wine Summer Conference last year, I had not been to a large event/Conference for several yeasrs and I was somewhat sceptical and worried because I was expecting it to be a bit “over the top”, especially in the areas of ministry and worship. Yet it was the manner in which the ministry and worship were carried out, openly yet also quietly and sensitively – that I was most impressed by. The main teaching and seminar programmes were also excellent.

    I also agree that we mustn’t make the categories too rigid…however I wouild slightly alter the categories you described…most, though not all charismatic churches I know of also deem themselves as evangelcial. We have certainly stated both terms in the Parish profiles we have put out whenever we have had to advertise both locally and nationally for a new vicar.

    Rather than say that both the evangelical and charismatic wings have matured over the years, I would rather say that both the charismatic evangelical wing and the Reformed conservative evangelical wing have matured greatly over recent years. As you say, even then you have to be careful when applying such labels/categories rigidly..that is always the danger as we do like our labels!!

    The one difference I would point out is that I think the influence of the charismatic movement was slightly different in that it tended to traverse the traditions. I do not think there were many diehard liberals who were impacted but some Anglo Catholic churches were, and certainly many Roman Catholic churches were impacted. I well remember in my teens, before going off to uni, going for a number of months to a very lively monthly ecumenical prayer and praise evening at one of our local Roman Catholic churches, which drew an impressively eclectic gathering in it’s heyday!

    I’m not sure the Reformed tradition has had such a wide impact (apart from the earlier days from the Reformation onwards itself of course), although I do think some of the preaching/teaching in Anglo-Catholic churches. albeit it may be only about 7 minutes long, can often be of a very impressive and thoughtful standard which could well be due to some kind of Reformed influence, especially given the close relationship between Reform and Forward in Faith, which is certainly a very new development…I would love to hear what Cranmer, Hooker and Ryle etc would make of it all!

    One of the things I do really like about the 21st century Reformed church movement is that they have become very much 21st century Christians and that is genuinely heartening to see. The website of Co-Mission and it’s member churches, the NWP and its partner churches are almost without exception excellent, contemporary, warm and engaging and would certainly make me want to go and see what is going on should I be interested. In fact I would gladly go and worship any Sunday. As for joing one as a member, for me personally that would probably be unlikely as there are a number of additional things that I would have to sign up to, or at least give tacit assent to, as well as omitting other things that I would like to sign up to in addition, which would make me extremely reluctantto sign up on a longer-term, more committed basis. But I accept that that is a personal choice and others are fully free to differ.

    I have already made my feelings clear elsewhere about the official AMiE/St Augustine “website”…they really need to speak to Richard Coekin and Richard Perkins asap to see how it needsto be done or they could soon be in trouble! I guess it is still very much a “work in progress”… the worrying thing is that, in these early days, I don’t see much evidence of any work being done on it, or anything much resembling progress being made in terms of its look and design. To use the site merely as a vehicle for imparting facts ain’t good enough I’m afraid. It needs some serious time and investment spent on it..and quickly!

    I am also with you re the “tongues” debate, although as you inferred very much this is pretty much “old hat” now. I did spend some fruitless time worring over this issue. I personally do not speak in tongues and do not worry about it, nor do I have a burning desire to do so. Neither have I had any truck with the other “early days” argument…if you do not speak in tongues or move in the gifts of the Spirit you are a second-class Christian citizen. Again that kind of teaching has by and large receded, certainly amongst Anglcian charismatics. It may be quite possible that in later years John Stott and Michael Harper could happily have ministered alongside each other…who knows!

    However a cautionary note…the Spring Harevest/Keswick short lived venture show that the tensions are still there. My experience is that Reformed conservative evangelicals are only OK in partnership with those who may differ from them so long as they are the main driving partner in the relationship. If they are in the driving seat they are fairly content it would seem. John Richardson’s excellent summary on the Ugley Vicar website states that at NEAC 3 for example, the emphasis was as much on inspiration worship and celebration as it was on the Bible teaching and preaching.

    It is hardly surprising to discover that come NEAC4, the leadership had become largely conservative evangelical dominated, and they were most definitely NOT happy when (oh and wouldn’t I have loved to have been there to see it happen!) Tom Wright announced his intention to launch Fulcrum. The thunderous looks on the face of the NEAC4 leadedship team must have been some sight to behold! And since the lauch of Fulcrum the conservative evangelicals have not been in control of the agenda amongst Anlgican evangelicals as a whole, they have not been controlling and dictating the agenda, and that is what they have always found, and still find, very difficult to accept.

    I think there is genuine respect for the New Wine leadership amongst leading conservative evangelicals, but I am guessing that is largely because of the inspirational leadership New Wine has been blessed to have had, initially from Bishop David and Mary Pytches, and latterly from John and Anne Coles. They are very wise, insightful and gracious people.

    I am wondering though, what John Coles now thinks now, as opposed to 2006 when he signed the Anglican evangelical covenant. In a brief piece in the New Wine Autumn 2010 magazine he expressed deep concern that the church was oftne seen by ousiders, the very people we are seeking to evangelise and build up meaningful relationships with, as being a very negative institution He felt that there was a danger of us often being perceived as misogynistic and homophobic amongst other things and he wanted us to be far more clear as to what we are for, and not just what we are against. Interesting and timely words I feel. I think John Coles will be more than happy for Paul Perkin and other to be heavily involved in AMiE…he may be a bit cooler about New Wine as a whole giving a ringing endorsement to AMiE…

    The lack of a message of unequivocal public support and backing should be worrying for the AMiE leadership. There has plenty of mention of St Helens Bishopsgate, St Peters Cornhill, All Souls Langham Place in AMie dispatches…indeed the AMiE meetings/celebrations that have taken place have been primarily at these three churches, or so it would seem. There were mention of “other leaders” being present at the most recent launch service on 23 June without giving any indication as to who they actually were. But it does seem yet again that the reformed conservative evangelicals get all the mentions, have to be seen to be leading it., and in Richard Coekin especially, appear to be making the running! It hardly has the look or the genuine feel of a new chapter in positive reformed evangelical/charismatic evangelcial future relationships.

    AMiE desperately needs the backing of New Wine, more than any other Anglican group/organisation/network in order to really make any sort of an impact, especially north of Oxford and they must know that. They have few churches away from their strongholds in London/South/South East, apart from a sprinkling, to plant from into other areas effectively.

    A policy of an AMiE church planting team suddenly appearing out of nowhere, with no local core backing or support, with a non-local leadership team heading it up, to plant a church in order to obtain a toehold in an area, will not go down well I can assure you and will justifiably be opposed at any and every turn locally. It could well make what has happened between Co-Mission and Southwark Diocese look like a friendly tea party by comparison!

    I am not saying that this is what AMiE will do, but if your their core support is so thin, what other alternative is there to enable them break out of their safe localsied strongholds? Asking for opportunities to speak at Deanery/Diocesan Synods/Diocesan Evangelical Fellowships, or for preaching slots by key AMiE leaders at potentially supportive evangelical Anglican churches are very laudable possibilities, but I think they are very likely to fall on deaf ears and receive a very considerably lukewarm reception. Maybe the retired Bishops on the Steering panel will seek to be of influence in the Chester,Winchester, Chichester, Rochester etc areas…who knows…we certainly don’t !!

    The lack of a coherent strategy, or if they have one the refusal and reluctance to communicate such a strategy should one actually exist is a real concern. I think the New Wine leadership may well eventually say “support AMiE if you wish”, but “leave well alone if you wish also”..which would be the mature approach for them to adopt I feel.

    If that is the case I think that AMiE should be very concerned indeed.

  26. Michael A,
    I spent the first 45 years of my life being nurtured in a classical Pentecostal church in the south of England. In those days, the mainline denominations had no time for us – and, to be honest, on the odd Sunday when I accompanied our Brownie troop to church parade in a traditional, liturgical church where no assistance was given to us 6-10-year-olds to find our place in the prayer book, I made an immature vow never to be part of a liturgical Anglican service again.

    The movement to which our church belonged was peopled with pastors and teachers who had a strong “Brethren” background. They knew their Bibles. They used the original Redemption Hymnal that had hymns that were full of theology.
    So, to answer your last post addressed to me, asking what my response would be to fellowship with career women priests and practitioners of same-sex sex, I would use the words of this hymn by Frances Bevan, the wife of a former bishop of Chichester:

    No more veil! God bids me enter by the new and living way,
    Not in trembling hope I venture, boldly I His call obey:
    There, with Him, my God I meet, God upon the mercy seat.

    All the worth I have before Him is the value of the blood:
    I present when I adore Him, Christ, the firstfruits unto God;
    Him with joy doth God behold: thus is my acceptance told.

    Just one more illustration.
    For this, I thank the son of a current CoE bishop for the hat tip – and Barry Cooper, contributor to “Christianity Explored” and current/erstwhile member of All Souls, Langham Place. I think you will find that both illustrations support each other – and the biblical book of Hosea:


    I believe both illustrations cover acceptance of the Christ-righteous individual and the corporate church which is His bride – and once we have proclaimed the gospel, God shoulders the responsibility of any necessary discipline.

  27. Phil,

    I don’t have a problem with the article by John Coles in New Wine Mag #50. It has to be read in context: For example, Coles writes that “There was no finger-wagging by Jesus” and a cursory glance at the gospels shows that Jesus did an awful lot of finger-wagging! But if you read the whole article, it is clear enough what Coles is saying and its consistent with orthodox Christianity.

    You wrote:

    “AMiE desperately needs the backing of New Wine, more than any other Anglican group/organisation/network in order to really make any sort of an impact, especially north of Oxford…”


    This is the point Peter made above – AMiE exists to provide oversight where it is requested by churches who are the subject of unreasonable or repressive behaviour by their bishop. For some reason, you seem to have assumed that it is an organisation devoted to church planting, whereas that does not appear to be what it is at all.

    So it wouldn’t be an issue for New Wine, but for particular congregations if they had a problem with oversight. Hopefully there won’t be any more like that.

  28. Michael

    I partially agree with regard to your assessment re the “finger wagging of Jesus” – there’s a good sermon series title if ever there was one !!…

    I personally don’t think it was his style as much as you make out. I fully agree that he tore strips off people when required…I have heard very few sermons of the seven woes..excoriating attacks by Jesus on the Pharisaical, more judgemental attitudes of some of the religious leaders of his day.

    Some of these things such as pride, envy, greed, hypocrisy are evident in many churches, including a number of conservative evangelical ones…Wouldn’t he be as excoriating if he were around in person today…even in the clearly, far more godly than the rest of us, environs of ASL and SHB as well as in many other churches from a variety of theological leanings.

    At times Jesus adopted a more gentle, far more subtle approach to finger wagging, especially at those who treated women in an improper manner or with great disrespect… – ie the woman caught in adultery – masterfully done in the most gentlest, almost wordless of ways, and we note in the gospel narrative that it was the oldest and wisest of who them who departed first…perhaps they knew they had thrown the most stones of all during their lifetime!! “Finger wagging” can take many forms Michael.

    As for John Coles comments. He is very orthodox but he certainly has concerns about the emphasis placed by certain strands of orthodox leadership one or two issues at the expense of other equally crucial issues.

    “This is the point Peter made above – AMiE exists to provide oversight where it is requested by churches who are the subject of unreasonable or repressive behaviour by their bishop. For some reason, you seem to have assumed that it is an organisation devoted to church planting, whereas that does not appear to be what it is at all. “

    Then why are the Co-Mission team in general so heavily involved, and why was it Richard Coekin and not Wallace Benn who gave such a lengthy explanation and missive re the formation of AMiE. Apart from the alternative episcopal oversight issue, AMiE have made it perfectly clear that they sek to re-evangelise England, so aurely they will need to be heavily into planting and “biblical” planting follwoing on from the evangelsitic initiatives they will need to undertake to succed in their aims. Church planting is very much at the heart of the AmiE agenda. They have said so explicitly.

    And Michael you know as well as I do that it is way, WAY wider than “unreasonable or “repressive” behaviour by their Bishop.
    The nature of the concessions being sought by both AMiE and Reform re the issues surrounding the admission of women to the Episcopate are far more complex than that and well you know it.

    For example…

    1. The authority, legitimacy and ministry of any woman Bishop will not be tolerated or accepted. That has been made clear.

    2. The authority, legitimacy and minsitry of male ordinands as well as female ordinands ordained by any future female Bishop will not be tolerated, recognised or accepted because they have allegedly been “tainted” or “polluted” in some way
    3. If/when the ABC and/or the ABY consecrates a female Bishop and lays hands on her does he not immediately similarly become “tainted” and “polluted”by asscoiation?. Will his episcopal authority be then in jeopardy. Will opponents and churches in the Cof E then be in “temporarily impaired communion” with their Archbishops as well as their own Bishop, widening the scope of the problem out from the local (ie Diocesan) to the national (ie Provincial|) level.

    4. Not only will you then need a PEV conservative evangelical Bishop, but surely you will require a conservative evangelical PEV Archbishop too for those congregations who require it. Or will Wallace Benn be ordained Archbishop by fellow Archbishop from outside the C of E with a remit to fulfil this role.

    5. You make out that the problem is only confined to Southwark Diocese at present, and infer that there will not be too many churches who will require or request AEO. What about the churches in Salisbury Diocese from last Saturday onwards following Nick Holtam’s consecration there? It is clear that Christopher Chessun and Nick Holtam are public enemies number 1 and 2 in the eyes of AmiE and their supporters. How many more are in the firing line in the future. And what about their Suffragans/Assistant Bishops?

    6. What about Dioceses where future Bishops are ordained who AmiE deem to be way too liberal and seemingly beyond the pale?

    7 And what about the rest of us? Do you seriously expect us to unquestioningly respect and accept the legitimacy and ministry of the “Southwark Three”, whose names we still do not even know, the scope and breadth of whose ministry has not yet even beeen discussed. Are we to be expected to work alongside them and welcome them warmly into our midst like bosom buddies? And what about any future ordinands or indeed Bishops who may be “ordained” in a similar, albetr equally secretive and surrepititous manner abroad?

    Surely there will be a fair few congregations who this will affect. I actually think many in the New Wine network won’t because we are a pretty insightful, wise and intelligent bunch, but there may be some and there will clearly be more priests/churches who this will affect both in the near and not too distant future than you are making out.

    Even if the Bishops of Southwark and Salisbury were to be immediately replaced by the Archangel Gabriel, I still think there would still be some extremely close scrutiny before their ministry was accepted and “legitimised” by AmiE/Reform/GAFCON supporters..

  29. Phil,

    Your last post is entirely misconceived. You are conflating AMiE with numerous other groups and churches operating in England. They existed long before AMiE did, and will still exist if it disappears tomorrow.

  30. Michael

    I am glad to hear that you appear to concede that AMiE may not have much of a future. The St Augustine’s Society certainly didn’t. Founded in …mmmm…2010 and drastically overhauled and rebranded in 2011!

    Isn’t this the probem…this tiresome and ever growing list of groups and churches…who each appear almost incestuously members of each other’s groups, who make such grandiose claims without any real foundation or evidence for making them and then try and convincer themselves and everyone else that they are going to transfrorm the evangelical Anglican landscape.

    OK then…perhaps you could answer the points I made, which are legitimate ones, in terms of Reform, Forward In Faith (now there’s a marriage of conveneinece if ever there was on ie Reform/FiF) and GAFCON then.

  31. Phil,

    Would you mind reading what I wrote, not what you think I wrote? Seriously, when I write, “they will still exist if AMiE disappears tomorrow”, it does not remotely amount to “I concede that AMiE may not have much of a future”.

    Do you always twist the plain words of others in this way?

    You then wrote: “…this tiresome and ever growing list of groups and churches…”. What this appears to mean, is that you don’t like them. That is not the same thing as being tiresome. As for “ever growing” – I hope so!

    Re your final paragraph, I have actually had difficulty in following your points throughout your posts. Would you mind clarifying what particular points “in terms of Reform, Forward in Faith and Gafcon” you are referring to?

  32. Michael..

    What I would like to know is why is there a need for so many organisations whose membership and core support base is so very, very similar?

    It is not that I do not “like” them but why are there so many with such similar emphases…why the need, for instance, for the St Augustine Society to metamorphose into AMiE so quickly and so suddenly? And which of them should I andor others support? One of the, more than one, as many as I can or indeed none of them?

    At least Fulcrum attepts pretty successfully speaks for many, many other evangelicals with one voice, although, as with anything there is the possibility of fracture/division amongst the Fulcrum ranks in the future.

    Why can’t this br true of these organisations?

  33. Phil,

    Who says their “membership and core support base is so very, very similar”? It just seems to be an assumption that you have made.

    And on what basis do you say “so many with such similar emphasis”? The only examples you have given are Reform, Gafcon and AMiE; which I would have thought are clearly of distinct nature with a distinct purpose. Take Gafcon for example – it is an international organisation – would you complain that the United Nations and your local municipal council have a “similar emphasis” and therefore one of them should be dispensed with?

    And you say that Fulcrum “attempts pretty successfully speaks for many, many other evangelicals with one voice” – Does it? So far I haven’t seen much evidence that Fulcrum speaks for anyone except a very small group. The best that can be said in its favour is that its web-site often invites and publishes articles by authors who are not its members, but that doesn’t mean that those who go to the web-site for those articles have any agreement with Fulcrum as an organisation.

  34. Michael..to say that Fulcrum represent so few people in the evangelcial fraternity is as factually incorrect as it is disingenuous..

    How come then, since it was launched at the last NEAC Conference, much to the chagrin of the conservative evangelical leadership of NEAC dominating the platform at that time at that time, the pendulum has swung so quickly that you now complain so bitterly, and at times almost pathetically, of conservative evangelicals being so “marginalised”.

    To an extent they may have been, but you have also done much to marginalise yourselves as you have been marginalised by others.

    If Fulcrum has not been so effective, the conservative/traditional/”orthodox” evangelical leadership on NEAC should still be in the ascendancy within Anglican evangelicalism still should it not? Then why is this no longer the case?

    And as for non-Fulcrum supporters accessing its website, that is exactly as it should be! There are significantly more non-supporters of Fulcrum on it’s site , than there are people on sites of a more reformed conservative evangelcial persuasion who may have a contrary view but often get the impression that they do not have a right to express it and certainly not on such a site.

    Often if they state an opinion which is contrary to the status quo, theyare made to feel very unwelcome at times.

    Why is this?

  35. Phil, you wrote:

    “you now complain so bitterly, and at times almost pathetically, of conservative evangelicals being so ‘marginalised'”

    Ummm, no, I don’t! I have been reading the posts above to try to work out where you got this from, and you have mystified me.

    I don’t think orthodox evangelicals complain at all about being marginalised. They complain that a few liberals wield influence in CofE out of all proportion to their actual numbers and adherents, and that would extend to Fulcrum as well. But that is a different matter.

    As to the rest of your post, it seems to be diving off at a tangent. My point was that I can’t see any evidence that Fulcrum represents more than a tiny fraction of evangelicals in the Church of England.

    “And as for non-Fulcrum supporters accessing its website, that is exactly as it should be!”

    Of course. I don’t think you have really understood my point, which was that the fact that people read articles on Fulcrum’s site does not mean that they agree with the views of Fulcrum as an organisation.

    By the same token, just because millions of people read articles in Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, doesn’t mean that they agree with RM’s views!

  36. “They complain that a few liberals wield influence in CofE out of all proportion to their actual numbers and adherents, “


    Your use of the word “liberal” is way way too simplistic, lazy and dismissive. Perhaps you will allow me to casually and conveniently address you from now on as an “orthodox extremist” or “extreme orthodox”, without hearing you complain. You use the term liberal frequently, in almost any every context you can, almost to the point of obsession, without ever explaining what you mean by it.

    Elsewhere today you have denounced me publicly in a pretty hostile manner as a liberal. I shall be responding to that cheap and nasty jibe on that particular site robustly,factually and in no uncertain terms.

    I seek to live, proclaim and preach Christ incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended, Lord and at some future point returning, not always as successfully as I would like perhaps, and I will always do so. My background is as President of my College CU and I spent a further two years as the Regional Representative of the National Colleges Executive of UCCF, a movement closely aligned to Oak Hill, AMiE and the more reformed wing of the conservative evangelical wing of the Anglican church. My “orthodox”credentials are pretty sound thank you very much.

    I cannot think of anyone who actually knows me, or has known me down the years, (which you clearly don’t incidentally) who would describe me theologically as “liberal”..politically maybe, but the two are very different.

    And what you conveniently omitted to address earlier was the fact that even within the evangelical fraternity, the conservative evangelcals are no longer in the ascendancy. How come, if they are so influential and large in number, and the Fulcrum influence is so infintessimally marginal has this happened so quickly? Did conservative evangelical Anglican leaders take their eye completely off the ball at some point?… Surely they have not become so tame that they cannot handle a spinkling of “influential” “liberals”, whether they reside within or outside of the Fulcrum community.

    It is hardly surprising that the only serving Bishop who could be found to dynamically head up the AMiE Steering Panel is a serving, almost retired Suffragan Bishop, who has not even managed to be successfully translated to a Diocesan Post during his time on the Bishops Bench, accompanied by a number of retired Bishops. There were surely more influential and better known retired Bishops available, George Carey or Michael Baughen for example, and it also striking that not one of the Diocesan Evangelical Bishops has stepped up to offer to do the job or even be remotely associated with AmiE, or so it seems.

    I hate to be the one to shatter your cosy illusion, but it is AMiE who represent a fraction of evangelicals in England, that is certainly the case up here in the North of England, in case you hadn’t noticed.. I can think of no more than 3 or 4 parishes out 250 in my own Diocese who will be card carrying AmiE supporters…and that is in a diocese which has an evangelical heritage under the likes of Bishops Ryle, Chavasse, Blanch, Sheppard and Jones…

    Or are they too, to be classed as too “liberal” in your most humble opinion?

  37. Phil,

    “Liberal” is not an offensive term, any more than “conservative evangelical” or various terms you use throughout your posts.

    I don’t know what your problem is: liberals once used to be proud of the label!

  38. Michael

    If “liberal” is not such an offensive term, then why do you appear to be so offended by them and their presence, or even, prominence within the Church of England.

    You appear to find those of a liberal perusasion, and most of what they believe to be offensive, yet you claim it is not an offensive term?

  39. It’s really good to hear Michael that’s it’s OK for us to agree to differ.

    I firmly believe that what we are dealing with here, even, and especially amongst the evangelical wing are differences about what it means to actually be authentically “orthodox”.

    I’m still not sure from what you say, how much legitimacy you are prepared to give to those in the C of E who are of a liberal orthodoxy..

    …and no, I don’t include myself in that category lol

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