18th July 2017
Bishops Fenwick, Hunt and Rossello were among 22 signatories of an open letter addressed ‘To the Anglicans of Great Britain’. The letter was occasioned by a number of developments at the July General Synod of the Church of England regarding the defence of the uniqueness of Christ, and gender issues. In response Primus circulated those who had attended the Anglican Unity Forum hosted by the FCE on 8th June. The consensus was that an open letter would be appropriate.
Those signing include representatives of GAFCON UK, AMiE, Jesmond and Anglicans in Wales and Scotland.
The letter makes public the fact that a meeting has already taken place ‘to discuss how to ensure a faithful ecclesial future’ and announces that a further meeting is planned for October.
Following the publication of the letter Primus released a Press Statement reinforcing the aims of the gatherings and pointing out that the concept of an alternative Anglican jurisdiction already exists in the FCE. He stressed that ‘leavers’ and ‘remainers’ are ‘committed to working together to ensure the continuation of orthodox Anglican jurisdictions. The precise form those jurisdictions might take is one of the areas of discussion. The priority is to ensure that they enable the proclamation of the biblical Gospel within the Anglican patrimony.’
30th June 2017
At the express invitation of Archbishop Foley Beach, Primus participated in the laying on of hands at the episcopal ordination of Andrew John Lines as ACNA Missionary Bishop for Europe in the Edman Chapel, Wheaton College, Illinois. The principal ordaining bishop was Archbishop Beach. The preacher was the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria. Several other Primates and approximately thirty other bishops took part.
The FCE bishops look forward to working with Bishop Lines as his ministry in the UK and Europe takes shape.
26th – 30th June 2017
At the invitation of Archbishop Foley Beach, Bishop Fenwick attended the week of events associated with the Provincial Assembly of the ACNA.
On Monday 26th June he attended the meeting of the College of Bishops of the ACNA and was invited to address them. He did so, explaining that the appointment of a Missionary Bishop by the GAFCON Primates had been somewhat problematic for the FCE and RE bishops in the UK and Europe, but welcoming Andy Lines as a bishop of a Church in communion with them, and looking forward to working in partnership with Bishop Lines and the College of Bishop as his ministry takes shape.
The following day was devoted to the Annual Provincial Council at which the most significant item of business was the reception of the Diocese of South Carolina which had voted unanimously to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC) and join the ACNA. The bishop and delegates were given a standing ovation.
There then followed two days of workshops and plenary sessions attended by approximately 1,400 people, many of them young. The theme was Mission on our Doorstop, with a strong emphasis on sharing the Gospel with neighbours.
During the course of the Assembly Bishop Fenwick held a meeting with Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council and the Revd Mark Eldredge to discuss approaches to the revitalisation programme for the FCE.
19th-23rd June 2017
From 19th to 23rd June Bishop Primus taught a course on ‘Anglicanism’ at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary, Blue Bell, Philadelphia. The seminary was founded in 1886 and has been training people for ministry in the REC and beyond ever since.
Primus’ course was based on his recent book Anglican Ecclesiology and the Gospel. The class included a former Baptist minister seeking to explore the Anglican tradition and a lady from the RE Diocese of the Southeast, training to be a deaconess.
14th – 16th June 2017
Bishops Fenwick and Hunt attended the General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church at Dallas, Texas. At the opening Eucharist, Ray Sutton was installed at Presiding Bishop by Archbishop Foley Beach in succession to the late Bishop Roy Grote, who had died suddenly and unexpectedly the previous Thanksgiving Day. Tributes were paid to Bishop Grote at various points during the Council meeting.
Bishop Sutton launched the ‘REC 100’ initiative – to plant 100 new Churches over the next ten years – and introduced the teaching material prepared for it.
The new REC hymn book was also launched.
Bishop Primus brought the greetings of the Free Church of England to the gathering and spoke of recent developments, including the new FCE work in Australia.
10th June 2017
A special service of Thanksgiving, Celebration and Rededication was held in Christ Church Liscard on Saturday 10th June to mark the uniting of the original Free Church of England with the UK branch of the Reformed Episcopal Church. The actual union had taken place in June 1927 at the same Church.
Clergy and laity from many FCE congregations across the UK attended, along with a range of special guests. Greetings were brought by the Most Revd Ray Sutton, Presiding Bishop of the REC, Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America and the Revd Dr David Cornick, General Secretary of Churches Together in England. Also attending was Dr Hugh Osgood, Moderator of the Free Churches Group and one of the Presidents of Churches Together in England.
The preacher was the Right Revd Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester and Director of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Development.
Members of various congregations read the lessons and led the intercessions.
At the close of the service the Right Revd Paul Hunt led the congregation in an act of rededication.
A buffet tea was held in the Church hall afterwards.
8th June 2017
Bishop Primus hosted a gathering of orthodox Anglicans, representing a range of jurisdictions, organisations and churchmanships to begin to explore a united way forward. Primus opened the meeting with a Bible study based on the formation of a united Kingdom of Israel under King David, after which Archbishop Foley Beach addressed the meeting. Among those present was Canon Andy Lines whose appointment as ACNA Missionary Bishop to Europe, sponsored by the GAFCON Primates, was made later that day in Scotland.
Bishop Trevor Walters of the Anglican Network in Canada (part of the ACNA) led the remaining sessions, exploring a wide range of issues.
Those present agreed that the day had been beneficial and committed to a subsequent meeting in October.
5th – 7th June 2017
The Annual Congregation was held at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire, from 5th to 7th June 2017. In addition to the clergy and delegates there were a number of guests who had come to mark the 90th anniversary of the union of the original FCE with the UK branch of the REC.
Among these were Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America (who preached at the Eucharist on the last morning), Presiding Bishop Ray Sutton and Bishop David Hicks of the Reformed Episcopal Church, Bishop Gerhard Meyer of Die Anglikanische Kirche in Deutschland, Bishop Jasmin Milic of the REC diocese in Croatia and Bishop Trevor Walters of the Anglican Network in Canada. All of these brought greetings to Convocation.
One afternoon was devoted to a session on Church Revitalisation led by Canon Phil Ashey of the ACNA via Skype.
Convocation also agreed to divide the Home Mission Fund into a fund devoted exclusively to mission and a Church Maintenance and Development Fund to which applications for small grants for fabric can be made.
4th June 2017
The preacher at the Eucharist at St John’s with Trinity, Tottington, on 4th June was the Most Revd Ray Sutton, Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church in the USA and Canada. Bishop Sutton’s attendance was particularly appropriate as he had helped to found Trinity Presbyterian Church (which merged with St John’s) and had baptised Simeon Turner, now a presbyter of the FCE.
The service was followed by a buffet lunch at the back of Church.
19-20 May 2017
Bishops Fenwick and Hunt took part in a planning meeting organised by the GAFCON UK Task Force on 19th and 20th May at St Luke’s, Wimbledon Park. Among those present was Canon Andy Lines, whose nomination as a Missionary Bishop of the Anglican Church in North America on behalf of the GAFCON Primates was announced to the group by Archbishop Foley Beach via Skype.