HATERS THROW BISHOP TO LIONS – LIONS WIN

Half way through this interview, Chris Bryant refers to himself as "an Anglican, albeit a boycotting Anglican."

People, good Christian people who were very much involved in the church both at local and national level, are leaving or, as in my case, are being thrown out of, the Church of England in their droves. Yesterday's organised attack on same sex marriage by a group of unelected, unsanctioned (by General Synod) homophobes and reactionaries, calling themselves (inaccurately) THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, drove another unknown number from their longstanding places of worship. This is not a guess. I know it to be a fact.

These leavers are not, on the whole, joining other churches because they have nowhere to go to where they would feel comfortable. They are simply making a complete break with the Church. This cannot be allowed to continue. But what to do? The Church of England, which is now run by a very powerful, and increasingly fundamentalist, evangelical political machine and a few, formerly liberal, bishops who want to keep their jobs and pensions in the new dispensation, is going to just ignore this exodus. In fact, the evangelicals will be holding the door open as this is what they have been working towards for fifty odd years.

Up to now I have deliberately and fervently demanded that Christ centred Christians should not leave the Anglican Communion. My main reason for this was that I did not want The Episcopal Church in the USA to go it alone and leave the rest of us stranded. However, I have now changed my mind.

The evangelicals and misogynist, gay Anglo-Catholics have now given the Church of England such a dirty name in English society; have given Christianity a dirty, name, tainted by hatred, throughout most of the developed world and beyond, that for "God is Love" Christians to remain in the Church of England and to continue to say they are part of the same religion as the haters, would be completely unprofitable as far as the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned.

Something new must happen.

And I for one want my cake and to eat it too. I want to be in communion with the Episcopal Church in America and leave the Anglican Communion (at least, the Anglican Communion in its present form). So,in my ideal world, there is only one answer.

I am a nobody. I'm not even allowed to publicly follow my priestly ministry in my own church, in my own country. I am nobody's spokesman. But then most of the homes that Jesus was welcomed into during his ministry on earth were inhabited by nobodies. So, with all the authority invested in me as one of God's noble army of nobodies I hereby call upon The Episcopal Church in the USA to found a new, worldwide church, which will be known as The Episcopal People of Christ. And I ask TEC to send people to my country, England, to provide spiritual and practical support for those of us now outcast from our Church of England home and to help us set up a truly Christ centred, inclusive, loving, gospel spreading community of believers (the word church now belonging only to satan) in our land.

I believe Bishop Gene is hanging around like a spare prick at the moment so you could send him over for a start. And if you would add Father Jake and Mark Harris to the initial team I think we will be on to a winner. I expect the Christ centred provinces of the Anglican (so-called) Communion to join in with us very quickly.

Comments

HATERS THROW BISHOP TO LIONS – LIONS WIN — 48 Comments

  1. Where can I sign up?
    I just do not recognise the Church of England any more. It used to be a bit wooly, but always friendly and welcoming to those who were different. Now no more; one needs to believe and do the same things, and that is just not Christian and not even English!

  2. Unfortunately, I can only cry for help. I am not a leader, Anonymous. I’m a priest and writer. But I promise that I’ll do my bit.

    This post of mine will most likely be laughed at or at best ignored, but something is going to happen soon. Hang on in there my friend.

  3. A great idea, and I’m sure they would be willing … if they had any money left for foreign missions, which I’m told they don’t.

    Alternatively, have you considered the Church of Sweden? They’ve already got gay bishops and gay marriage, they’re a lot closer geographically, and — courtesy of Porvoo — adherents of a CofS diocese in England would remain in communion with their CofE neighbors.

  4. I’m not after their money. I don’t trust the Americans an inch when it comes to foreign aid. Heck, we’ve only just finished paying off the obscenely high interest charges on the loan they gave us after we saved the world from fascism 70 odd years ago.

    No. I don’t envisage there being any high overheads with this new thing. I see it as a hand to mouth venture utilising what we’ve got rather than blinging ourselves up and falling into exactly the same trap most experimenters in Godly community have fallen into. I mean, how much does a community centre meeting room cost to hire for a couple of hours? 30/40 quid? Or we could just do our worship whilst enjoying a picnic somewhere pretty (at least during the summer months). We could even just invite people round to our houses to break bread. I know that’s been done before but we would do it properly.

  5. TEC might have to take the lead, but there are other sane Provinces – Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Japan, Korea – even most of Australia – where “God is Love” Christians can still feel at home.

  6. I agree. But although they are not completely homogenous in their Christ-centredness, the American Episcopalians are the community with the highest proportion of inclusive minded Christians in their ranks. Also, they are the most removed from the Englishness of Anglicanism with no residual cravings for English feudalism.

  7. You’ve got my support. I’m about fed up with the molasses approach to change on my side of the pond, and I, unlike many commentators, have a feeling General Convention 2012 (of The Episcopal Church) is going to actually be a bit exciting. Particularly if one of the Houses tries to put the genie back in the bottle. I think the backlash from all of us that have spent 9 years waiting for a coherent statement of love and equality will rise up in defiance.

    If not, maybe we should just form our church anyway. All we need is two bishops with us, right?

  8. Yes. It may come to that. The problem we have in England is that we don’t have the same ethos of just going off and starting your own church as you do. Bishops and priests who do are looked down on and the general population (excluding our black people) have a definite view of what is a proper church (Church of England, Roman Catholics, Methodists, United Reform and Baptists) and what isn’t (any church that hasn’t been around as an institution since Victorian times at least). Having the support of what English people would regard as a proper church would be very useful, probably completely necessary.

  9. Well MP –I thought of you and prayed for you this morning -especially during Paul’s epistle to the Galatians where he finally says, ‘I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!’

    Love that!

    I wouldn’t trust TEC to do much of anything right now… we got our skirts caught up in some kinda cog, and we’re trying to figure it out before we are crushed by it…. Please pray for us as we enter that strange, divisive and decisive time of General Convention.

  10. Oh, nobody is going to do anything because of something I said. However, I know from experience that our blogs, although on their own only tiny drops of water, do add up and eventually influence those important people who can get things done. You never know, one day somebody famous will come up with the idea of asking TEC for oversight – rather like what happened after I spent five years calling for the dioceses to reject the covenant in England. 🙂

  11. Great post. I too cant see that i can remain in the cofe, It no longer represents the general God is love point of view. How can I talk about the love and inclusiveness of Jesus in the pub when people hear such crap coming from on high.

    The other provinces idea is good but wont happen, so the options really are Quaker, Unitarian, or join the Open Episcopal Church

  12. Well it seems like the Open Episcopal Church is already getting started on this; why not join forces with them and go from there?

  13. Well for me, and I expect a lot of catholic minded Anglicans, the Quakers are out because they are too damn quiet and the Unitarians are out because they don’t even pretend to believe in anything divine. So that leaves the OEC.

  14. Well, what the hell. Just contact the OEC and talk to them. Get to know them a bit. Decide later if it’s the place for you. Build that bridge…for future use. What could it possibly hurt?

  15. What could it possibly hurt?

    That’s the sort of thing the first person to die says just before going down into the basement to be eaten by zombies.

  16. Hey, you’d be doing them a huge favor if you did join up with them. Because you’re fabulous.

  17. To be honest, I expect they would have similar problems with me as the Church of England bishops do. Nobody in authority likes people who say what they think and I just can’t seem to help myself on that score.

  18. Actually a few people i kind of know have gone OEC. There is plenty of freedom there. I know old jonty has his naysayers but when I met him he didnt seem mad, just independent and very inclusive. You’re in the north too Jonathan, why dont we get our own OEC diocese going?

  19. I checked the OEC out yesterday, the nearest one is 2 hours away from me. But I shall keep my eye on them.
    Until then, I think I’ll try the Quakers, contemplative prayer works for me.

  20. Michael, as I live in County Durham do you think he might consider bringing back the title of prince bishop? I could go for that 🙂

    Erika, you are far too noisy and downright bolshie to be a Quaker. Your wife on the other hand is perfect Quaker material.

  21. I know you know this, dear friend (as you have said practically as much in a comment above), but I just want to offer a reminder that The Episcopal Church is really a mixed bag. I dare say that I feel as alienated from this church as you feel from the C of E.

    So very much depends on the bishop in whose diocese one resides.

  22. You know, if Rowan descends on General Convention again and tries to bully TEC into anything like last time, you just might get your wish. We’re actually lucky that he’s on Akinola’s side, his “talents” make him more valuable as an enemy than as an ally.

  23. Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, 13 parishes from the Diocese of Olympia will be represented in Seattle’s Pride Parade on the 24th. We’re celebrating the Eucharist at our parade gathering spot. I’ll send pictures!

    • I have friends from St. Marks that will be there!!! Did you happen to follow the kurfuffle at Seattle Pacific Univ. (Free Methodist Univ.) last year regarding the right to meet on campus for their LGBTQ group? Their spokesperson will be one of those Episcopalans there.

  24. Oh, yes please, KJ. And not just boring ones of Christians looking supportive. And I definitely want one of you on the Prudish LGBT whatever you call yourselves float.

    • We’ll see if I can manage to get myself into some photos. However, the Prudish Christian GLTB League (PCGLTBL) decided to not enter a float into the parade due to the naughty bobs, nobs and bits that get thrown about in the procession. That, and something about scary lesbians on motorcycles. Subsequently, I volunteered in order to make and document the necessary observations. Research!

  25. We’re actually lucky that he’s on Akinola’s side, his “talents” make him more valuable as an enemy than as an ally.

    Wade FTW!

    {{{Erika}}}

    {{{MP}}}

    {{{CofE’ers-in-exile}}}

    I’m going to have to think more about whether the word “Church” is permanently ruined (I rather thought that was more true of “Christian”)

    Just let me get a passport, and I’ll be happy to join you in Blightey as Episcopal Missioner! 😀 (Now, what language do y’all speak over there? ;-X)

  26. Eeeek, it’s a small blogosphere! I’m *also* marching with my parish in Seattle on the 24th, along with my fiancée and daughter. (I’ll have to find you and say hello, KJ!)

    While I’m wildly new to the party in multiple senses (this blog, Anglicanism, Christianity full stop), I’ll be happy to take and send along pictures, as well. 🙂

    • Thanks, Colin. That would be great.

      By the way, KJ will be the distinguished looking gentleman, sensibly dressed, tutting loudly at the lack of propriety.

    • And here’s hoping that the parade organizers place us near something to tut-tut about!

      Colin, welcome to the blog, Anglicanism and Christianity! Which parish are you a member of? I attend St. Mark’s. The plan is for the Episcopal parishes and Integrity to walk together, each parish having its banner. This is the first year that it’s been a Diocesan-wide effort. The Mad One is correct, I’ll be tutting all the while taking photos of impropriety. Good thing my Canon 60d can take 5.3 photos a second and HD video!

    • Goodness! I don’t think my fiancée’s little Canon PowerShot can compete with that…! 😉

      And thank you for the welcome! I’m quite pleased, on all counts. 🙂 We just started attending St. Luke’s in Renton, and found ourselves signing up for the Pride march almost without thinking about it. (I’m a sucker for activities that involve do-gooding, cheerfulness, and a t-shirt…)

    • …my goodness. I find myself utterly devoid of a clever rejoinder.

      I should just keep an eye out for the highest degree of impropriety I can find, then, and listen for a rapid-fire shutterclicking and tutting?

  27. There will be a large Episcopal presence, including bishops, in the Pride Parade in New York.

    I’m not sure how church planting is supposed to work, but perhaps the Anglicans in Exile over there could start a house congregation and we could send supporting materials and material support. The Episcopal rank and file over here would definitely be with you. The hierarchy and the church bureaucracy would probably be reluctant to get involved, but might look the other way.

    • Yes, Doug. You may well be on to something. I have been thinking about the idea of implementing the early Methodist paradigm. A society within rather than a schism. But the problem is always going to be the licensing of English priests. We need to find a rebel bishop or two.

  28. I hate to play one-upmanship but the Diocese of Los Angeles has had an official presence in the Pride Parade here for something like 20 years, virtually always with a bishop riding on the back of a convertible and waving at the crowds. A picture of Bishop Glasspool and Becki from this year’s parade can be found here.