Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Launch of AMIE UK

 GAFCON has just  launched AMIE (or the Anglican Mission in England) a self styled Anglican organisation which intends to "reconvert England" by planting churches and offering its own bishops, largely drawn from Kenya, to offer "episcopal oversight" to disaffected  conservative churches.  I hardly know what grounds and conservative churches could have to feel disaffected given the extreme caution, one might almost say paranoia, the Church of England  seems to exercise with regard to the issue that primarily preoccupies GAFCONites, and I have not noticed AMIE being welcomed with cries of joy from many quarters, including  many which are evangelical and conservative.  Fulcrum, for example, which describes itself as wishing to "renew the evangelical centre" and encompasses a fair range of views and perspectives, but could never be described as liberal,  has published a statement  which is well worth reading, and expresses grave concerns.
The GAFCON statement is in itself a cause for concern. It says that AMIE has a steering committee and  a panel of bishops and will "provide oversight in collaboration with senior clergy" (whom it doesn't name in the statement but you will guess the usual suspects) and that churches will be "invited to join or affiliate with it." It also says that ,
"The society has been launched after more than four years of discussions with senior Anglican leaders in England. "
Really? Senior Anglican leaders? Like the Archbishops of York and Canterbury? I don't think so, or if so that one has been kept very quiet. So -does this present the blusterings of a group who will find scant sympathy in Britain, or the start of a real mutiny in the ranks? As Church Mouse observes (how we will miss him by the way) one question that needs to be answered is how will Rowan Williams respond?

4 comments:

  1. The question that will have to be asked sooner or later, is just what do we mean when we say we have a national church? Perhaps the time is nearing when we have to admit that the tensions can no longer be contained as different wings of the church pull in different directions. Disestablishment comes nearer and nearer – and I think it has to happen. The foulness of the particular brand of Christianity that GAFCON et el represents and the impotent woolly liberalism at the other extreme of the CofE can longer be regarded as part of the same church.

    I would be very happy to see the church disestablished; the idea of a church with a central authority is not a particularly Biblical notion; whereas the idea of local Christian communities is. The Anglican Church is just too much of a bureaucracy, democracy and career route to say it is anything particularly different or separate from society – it could hardly be described as the Kingdom on earth, could it? AMiE is just another example of an organisation, a committee, a bureaucracy and as such will quietly wither after the first heat of vindictiveness and ego has cooled. In the meantime, not unlike wasps, who know their time is short, it will be very busy and will sting with gay abandon; but in a few years’ time it will be just another website and an annual conference; and people will grow restless looking for another means of causing factions and magnifying themselves.

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  2. I think you are right. I can't see AMiE finding fertile ground in the UK. And I definitely would NOT describe the Anglican Church as the Kingdom of God on earth! I am not sure I would even use the word "God's", or that I see it as being "of God" it seems to me an entirely human institution, as all institutions are, although God can sometimes be found within it. Hmmm, now I am pondering the word "human" - more a random collection of Vogons maybe?

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  3. Well Sue I sure wouldn't want to read the AMIE-ites' poetry! (The Oxford Movement guys on the other hand...)

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  4. Excellent, Peter! That last sentence is delicious and right!

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