In the ongoing engagement with the future direction of global Anglicanism, some member churches of the Anglican Communion are of more interest to some engagers than others, one is TEC, another is the Church of England (CofE), with the result that attempts are being made, by various organisations, some old, some brand new, to influence if not alter radically, the general direction of that member church. The recent establishment of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) is such an attempt. Its raison d'etre is:
"AMIE has been established as a society within the Church of England dedicated to the conversion of England and biblical church planting."
This sounds novel (but there are other societies dedicated to the conversion of England, including the hitherto much under-estimated "Church of England") and innocuous (but ask the question, "Will the church plants be authorised by the local C of E bishop?" and it is immediately unclear what the answer is). Some explanation is given by Charles Raven here, but his very celebration of the announcement begs a question or two, as Charles leads an Anglican church in England which is not of the Church of England. His Anglican church is one which has broken away from the formal structure of the Church of England. There are already Anglican churches in England which are plants and not breakaways. One example is Christchurch, Durham. It is linked to various Anglican organisations (e.g. Reform, the Proclamation Trust) but not to the Diocese of Durham.
Another intriguing element of AMiE is its talk of a 'panel of bishops' to oversee its work. I cannot find in the GAFCON statement linked to above whether those bishops are solely C of E bishops or a wider grouping, but Charles Raven's explanatory statement linked to above mentions that at the announcement meeting three Anglican clergy ordained out in Kenya by a Kenyan bishop were welcomed and commissioned for work in England. But to work in the Church of England (with a few exceptions*) requires the acceptance for and licensing of that work by a C of E bishop, thus raising the question that it is likely men who felt they would not be ordained in the C of E may have been ordained for Anglican work outside of the C of E. Then by turns it seems reasonable to suppose that the 'panel of bishops' will include bishops from outside of England.
Rachel Marszalek, whose blog is linked to here, has responded to the AMiE announcement via commentary on Richard Hooker. Her response is provoked by an analysis of the state of the Church of England which justifies the seemingly exotic origins of AMiE in terms of that state being 'toxic'.
My question, from a long way a way, is What the attitude of evangelicals in AMiE is to evangelicals not in AMiE or its associated organisations? If the attitude is, We will plant churches in your parishes if we deem you to be insufficiently evangelical, then I suggest AMiE take a very careful look at itself and reflect carefully on what is 'toxic' and what is not in the life of God's mission and ministry in England.
But AMiE may have no such attitude. It may be solely concerned to fight progessivism and liberalism where it deviates from orthodox Anglican theology as that is understood in the Church of England (cf. Canon A5 of that church). It may be aiming to spearhead a movement for renewal in the Church of England with a keen evangelistic edge which gathers up all parts of the C of E committed both to A5 and the conversion of England. It may be so compelling in its raison d'etre that it scoops up support of a great majority of C of E bishops, drawn to renew the vigour and enthusiasm with which they lead the church in its apostolic mission.
We shall see.
Meanwhile, I really like the approach of Cranmer's Curate, another English blog linked to here, whose latest post is both supportive of AMiE and critical with a twist, urging consideration of mission to the north of England. POSTSCRIPT: I see that Cranmer's Curate has CHANGED his original post to this. All reference to AMiE removed. Now why would that be?
Incidentally, I like CC's simplicity of description of the core of ministry:
"preaching Christ's Word and administering his Sacraments."
*In England there are a few "proprietary chapels" which are Anglican and yet can appoint whom they choose to be their minister, without reference to the local bishop (though if that minister wished to be a licensed Anglican clergyperson they would need a license of thir bishop). Or, so I understand these ecclesiastical anomalies.