Life is funny. I am not really an Anglican. If I had to describe myself as anything, non-conformist would be about the most apt. Yet just over a year ago, I helped to set up a new church — Christ Church — in my home city of Salisbury, which has an Anglican minister and which is affiliated to an Anglican organisation.
Those who are clued up on church polity in England will find something extremely odd in that statement. Not the bit about my non-conformism, but the fact that the church I have helped to establish is affiliated to an Anglican organisation. Surely, you might think, the only organisation in England that sets up Anglican churches, or indeed can set up Anglican churches, is the Church of England.
Until recently, that was broadly true. I suppose that if someone had really wanted to establish an “Anglican” church outside the auspices of the Church of England, they could have done it at any time over the past few hundred years. Yet nobody did it, because there was no reason to do so. Until now, that is.
My church is one of the first to be set up as an Anglican church in England, yet outside the auspices of the Church of England, and in fact under the affiliation of an organisation named Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). Is this in any way important? Actually yes, it is incredibly important, not to mention historically significant.
Until recently, the Church of England has been Anglicanism in England, but as anyone who has watched that institution of late will know, it has slipped further and further away from its moorings, and has now largely become a quasi-Marxist institution which has completely kowtowed to the feminist, egalitarian, and sexual revolutions of secular society.
To my thinking (as someone with no prior connection with Anglicanism), it is astonishing that so many in the Church of England have put up with this takeover by cultural Marxists for so long. On second thoughts, maybe they didn’t. Maybe they just left and that’s why despite all its kowtowing to every trend going, the Church of England is a dying institution, with an average age of congregants being around 65.
Well some Anglicans have had enough, and are beginning to set up churches in England, outside the jurisdiction of the CofE. Just last week, a meeting of bishops and archbishops from Gafcon (Global Anglican Future Conference), representing over 40 million Anglicans worldwide, publicly endorsed what AMiE is doing in England in setting up new churches outside the CofE, such as my church, Christ Church Salisbury. Just to get a sense of the historic significance of this, they compared the emergence of these new Anglican churches in England to the split in the 18th century which led to the creation of the Methodist Church, according to an article in The Telegraph (which mentioned Christ Church).
This is the blowback for the Church of England having largely treated its Bible-believing congregants with utter contempt for years. Those who have attempted to maintain a biblical line have been marginalised and treated as bigots, and “Anglicanism” in England is largely associated now with a type of leftist anti-Gospel effeminacy that would make Thomas Cranmer turn in his grave.
The next few years will be interesting. We all know that the Christian faith is dying within these shores. But one of the reasons for that is the national church has become largely a pointless irrelevance. In seeing the re-establishing of historic Anglicanism — an Anglicanism that preaches the Gospel, that stands up to the sexual revolutionaries, that honours God — who knows whether, just like with Wesley in the 18th Century, we are about to see the beginnings of great things happening in the Kingdom of God in England once more.