Church of England bishops accused over Anglican divisions

By staff writers
April 20, 2009

The Dean of Southwark has said that the actions of the Bishop of Rochester and two other bishops compromises their Anglican loyalty and raises questions about an attempt to create an alternative Anglican church.

The Very Reverend Colin Slee made his remarks in an annual report at Southwark Cathedral in south London and in an article distributed there.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir Ali, who recently announced that he was leaving his diocesan post in Rochester to work with Christians under pressure in different parts of the world, is a prominent supporter of the conservative Global Anglican Future Conference network (GAFCON).

In the article, the Dean of Southwark argues that the decision by the bishops of Rochester, Lewes (Wallace Benn) and Willesden (Pete Broadbent) to boycott last year's Lambeth Conference, a meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world which is held every ten years, raises serious questions about their future within the Anglican Communion.

He writes: "One reason why peace broke out at the Lambeth Conference was that the Puritan fringe stayed away, they boycotted the Conference – and they included the [bishops] of Rochester, Lewes and Willesden in the UK. It is my view that any bishop who engaged in the boycott has placed himself outside full communion and his status as a bishop of the Anglican Church must be open to some debate"

He added of Bishop Nazir-Ali's resignation: "[W]hatever he may say, it is clearly a move towards a sectarian alternative church intentionally designed to create turbulence in the Anglican Communion."

Read Ekklesia's book on 'Anglican wars' and beyond, Fear or freedom? Why a warring church must change, edited by Simon Barrow.

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