Increasing numbers of church leaders are lamenting that they can no longer recognise the Church of England’s leadership, after bishops voted to bless individuals in same-sex partnerships.
In London, ten clergy have formed a new deanery chapter because they are “compelled to resist all episcopal leadership from the House of Bishops on the grounds that their proposed prayers of love and faith undermine the Church of England’s doctrine of marriage such that we can no longer walk in partnership together”.
Revd Phil Martin, Vicar of St Botolph’s Aldersgate, said: “Since the House of Bishops has departed from the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sin and therefore from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, change is needed. New structures are needed.”
In Buckinghamshire, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of the Great Chesham parish is set to vote on whether to pause financial contributions to the Church of England, while three more parishes in the diocese are reported to be considering similar action.
Revd Edward Bowes-Smith of St Mary’s Great Chesham said it has “voted to support its clergy who, on grounds of good conscience, have opted not to use prayers of love and faith. We are also in the process of consulting PCC members about setting up an overdue review of our finances.”
John Dunnett of the Church of England Evangelical Council commented: “The bishops’ proposals neither satisfy those who want to see equal marriage in the C of E, nor those who want to maintain the biblical and historical position.”
He said churches should take “appropriate” action, explaining that the “key thing is for bishops to know that opposition is profound, widespread and growing”.
Last month, the leader of one of the largest Anglican churches in England encouraged Archbishop Welby and the House of Bishops to submit to the authority of the Bible on sexual ethics.
Revd William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate in the City of London, told Premier Christian News “the Bible is very clear. Submit and surrender to the teachings of the Scripture and then we will have true Christian unity.”
St Helen’s is among a number of churches which have paused financial contributions to the Church of England.
In February, the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GFSA), which says it represents 75 per cent of Anglicans worldwide, said it could no longer “walk together” with the Church of England after they voted to bless same-sex partners.