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AUSTRALIA: Anglican Primate Blasts Appearance of Sydney Archbishop and Tasmania Bishop to GAFCON Consecration in U.S.

AUSTRALIA: Anglican Primate Blasts Appearance of Sydney Archbishop and Tasmania Bishop to GAFCON Consecration in U.S.
Letter to bishops of Anglican Church of Australia threatens possible canonical action against two leaders

By David W. Virtue in Europe
July 2, 2017

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, The Most Rev. Dr. Philip L. Freier, has written a scathing letter to his fellow bishops condemning, in the strongest possible language, the appearance of an archbishop and bishop from his province at the consecration of Bishop Andy Lines, a Missionary Bishop to Scotland and Europe, by a score of Global South primates in Wheaton, Illinois, recently.

Freier, who is also the Archbishop of Melbourne, said he had received correspondence from Archbishop Glenn Davies (Sydney) and Bishop Richard Condie (Tasmania) advising him of their intention to participate in the consecration of a bishop for Europe, at the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Assembly, a church, he said that is not a member of the Anglican Communion, is not in fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury and is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia.

"I have deep concerns that the participation by our Episcopal colleagues in the consecration of Canon Lines, with or without the support of their respective dioceses, is contrary to the spirit of the canons of the Council of Nicaea and, most importantly, outside of the authority of our National Constitution. It may also be outside the authority of the Consecration of Bishops Canon, 1966 of the Anglican Church of Australia."

The two bishops had written what they called a letter of "conscience", declaring that their intended participation to be an act of solidarity "with those who will act to protect the gospel of Christ" or "who contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" -- an issue as to the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of our National Constitution (ss 1- 6).

Freier said he had advised both bishops against this course of action, arguing that communion -- koinonia - is a gift of our Lord to his Church and that in our context it is the Anglican Church of Australia, through its constitution and the framework it establishes, that determines how this is expressed in practical terms.

"I do not think that it is for us individually, acting independently, to determine with whom we are in communion or to act unilaterally to that end. I do not think that it is for individual dioceses in the Anglican Church of Australia to determine with whom we, as members of that Church, are in communion. We must act in accordance with the Constitution that binds us as the Anglican Church of Australia."

Freier argued that the consecration of Canon Lines and the participation of these two men raised significant questions how the close fellowship, co-operation and collegiality of the Communion is now being affected.

On 8 June 2017, the Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, a member of the Anglican Communion, voted on same sex marriage. That day the ACNA announced their decision to proceed with the consecration of Canon Andy Lines "to serve clergy and congregations who are outside other Anglican structures in Europe, providing an opportunity for ordination and oversight from a perspective of Biblical orthodoxy." Neither the Archbishop of Canterbury (who has responsibility for Europe) nor the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has given their concurrence to the consecration or the proposed Episcopal ministry.

Freier said the two men sought his advice, but they both rejected it.

"The consecration in the ACNA is not on any view an act in communion with the Anglican Communion and its member churches, particularly the Provinces of the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church and existing jurisdictions in Europe.

"Whilst any individual and any diocese may form a view as to whether continued communion is consistent with the Fundamental Declarations, it is for the General Synod of our Church alone to determine such a question."

Freier said canon 1966 on the Consecration of Bishops mandates the manner of the consecration of bishops, binding all the bishops in the Church [of Australia], providing expressly for a bishop to serve in the Anglican Church Australia, thus excluding a bishop like Lines, who is not recognized by the Australian Synod and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The consecrating bishops from the mostly Global South, at the ACNA ordination, said their action was necessary to preserve and foster the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ that was being jeopardized by "another gospel" being proclaimed by many parts of the Anglican Communion.

FOOTNOTE: VOL has been informed that Bishop Gary Nelson of Western Australian was also present.

Bishop Condie of Tasmania issued the following statement which you can see here: https://youtu.be/z5eYDAbw3O0
Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney issued this statement: https://youtu.be/MQuvnea-_CU

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