Christian Concern (CC) has warned of a schism in the Church of England (CofE) over the issue of same-sex marriage. This comes as the Bishop of Grantham announced he was a homosexual and has a partnership with another man.
According to CC, several parishes are preparing for the beginnings of what could be a formal split from the CofE over growing concerns about the dilution of its teaching on marriage and other issues.
A number of CofE members who identify as evangelicals within the Anglican body say they are setting up structures that could be used were a split to take place.
Representatives from a dozen congregations, from the dioceses of Canterbury, Rochester and Chichester, met during September in Tunbridge Wells for discussions. The group believes leadership in the CofE has watered down biblical teaching on such issues as sexuality, as well as the authority of the Bible.
Members say that they would not rule out a schism in the event of bishops offering ‘blessing’-style services for same-sex couples, something which is likely to be discussed in synod in the coming months.
Quoted by CC, Rev. Dr Peter Sanlon, vicar of St Mark’s Church in Tunbridge Wells, said: ‘If senior leaders water down the teaching of the CofE on key issues like homosexuality, then this synod could easily evolve into a new Anglican jurisdiction in England.
‘The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled he is aware of the possibility that a significant proportion of the church will not accept a change in the church’s teaching. This could be the beginning of that playing out’.