The Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (ACNZP) passed a resolution last year stating that although there was no change to its teaching on the nature of marriage ‘as between a man and a woman’, vicars could request permission from their bishops to hold a ‘non-formulary service’ to bless a same-sex relationship.
That move has disappointed some vicars who are choosing to break away and start new churches instead of remain in a Church that they feel has strayed from the Bible.
The latest vicar to go is Andrew Allen-Johns, who stepped down from AnglicanLife Rangiora in Christchurch to lead a completely new church outside of the ACNZP.
Anchor Charismatic Anglican Church, of which he is senior pastor, has just started holding services this month. His new church is getting off the ground just as the first same-sex blessings in Canterbury – the region in which Christchurch sits – are starting to take place.
In May 2019, the church plans to apply for affiliation with the Extra Provincial Diocese which is being formed by those who have left the Anglican denomination over the issue of same-sex blessings. Under the Extra Provincial Diocese, the churches will be faithfully Anglican and yet distinct from the Province.
In a letter to his former parish, Allen-Johns said his vision for Anchor was for a ‘new church designed to be millennial-friendly, more intently focussed on evangelism and making disciples’.
‘I now view the disruption this church is going through over same-sex relationships as a major opportunity to strengthen the church for its mission in the next few decades,’ he said.
Today in the #AnglicanCycleofPrayer we lift up the Province of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. We pray for its people and clergy. #Anglican #Anglicans #AnglicanCommunion pic.twitter.com/hxAcVJXBfa
— Anglican Communion (@ACOffice) January 6, 2019