AMIE (formally the Saint Augustine Society) is grateful for the statement from Lambeth Palace of Tuesday July 5th. We are very pleased to note the welcome given to new mission initiatives and also the recognition of AMIE’s desire to remain within the Church of England.
Those recommended for ordination had already been through due processes of selection and training and were recommended after a thorough process of discernment.
According to a report at a recent conference, half the serving clergy of the Church of England will retire in the next ten years, a little acknowledged fact with no apparent strategy to address it. Meanwhile there are delayed candidates offering, parishes willing to sponsor them, and others eager to receive their ministry, congregations wishing to remain within the Church but not receiving recognition, and missional church plants needing authorisation. Many senior clergy are concerned about the quality of ministry that may be available in the future.
AMIE has come about precisely in order to retain within the Church of England those who share passion for gospel mission and wish to minister within this Church despite some problematic issues.
New problems are not being raised. Discussions on these issues have taken place with Lambeth Palace and its representatives over a period of four and half years. They were again rehearsed over the last year with three bishops appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with those now forming the panel of bishops and steering group of AMIE. They were fully communicated to Lambeth Palace in a document presented in July 2010.
Significant challenges face those called to minister in England at this time. Its ordained clergy need oversight and encouragement from those who believe in their work and ministry and who will walk with them step by step both theologically and missiologically. Such encouragement has been given by the Primates Council of GAFCON.
Episcopal collegiality within England needs to be matched by both Episcopal collegiality with the wider Anglican Communion and Episcopal integrity in upholding and teaching the truth of the Christian faith as found in the Scriptures.
We warmly welcome the invitation to meet to clarify the goals of AMIE which are to preach and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the standard for Episcopal integrity and collegiality in upholding and teaching the Christian faith.
Paul Perkin (Chair) on behalf of the Steering Committee