On 8th June 2017, the bishops of the Free Church of England hosted a forum to which a wide range of traditionalist Anglicans were invited. The Anglican Unity Forum brought together Christian leaders (bishops, clergy and laity) to share, pray and envision the future together.
The opening session of the Forum was moderated by the Most Revd Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). He shared his experiences in North America and the world and introduced Canon Andy Lines as the ACNA’s nominated Missionary Bishop to the UK and Europe.
The initial Forum was judged a success by those present and a further Forum was held on 5th October 2017, with some new people present, including the newly consecrated Bishop Lines. This meeting was moderated by the Right Revd Trevor Walters and Canon Phil Ashey of the ACNA.
The Third Unity Forum was held on 5th December 2017 at the same venue as the previous two – St Andrew’s Free Church of England, Bentley, in the West Midlands – with Bishop Primus in the chair. The Forum decided that the time was now right for the bishops involved to meet separately and begin to form a vision and chart a way forward.
The first such Bishops’ Meeting took place on 5th February 2018 at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick in Derbyshire. After prayer and wide-ranging discussion the bishops (who represented a range of jurisdictions) agreed that ‘We believe we are able to form a Council of Bishops whose vision is for a renewed authentic Anglicanism in Europe. We will meet again soon to begin to implement this.’ The next Bishops’ Meeting is scheduled for 22nd March.
The hope is that this process will bring together the hitherto fragmented witness of orthodox Anglicans in the UK and Europe, as we seek the Lord’s will to bring renewal to the Church and to reach England in particular with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.