New Zealand has become the latest country to launch a branch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans(FCA).
Australia launched a branch of the GAFCON-affiliated movement in 2015 and this week in Auckland and Christchurch nearly 500 Anglicans from around New Zealand met to launch the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ (FCANZ).
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans was set up out of the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem in 2008 and has now become a force for orthodoxy in the Anglican Church worldwide.
The conference heard messages of support from Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Chair of the Gafcon Primates. Video greetings were also received from Most Rev Foley Beach (Primate of ACNA) and the Rt Rev Richard Condie (Bishop of Tasmania and Chair of FCA Australia).
Rev Canon Vaughan Roberts (St Ebbe’s, Oxford) spoke on 'True Gospel, True Sex, True Love and True Unity' and was joined by Rev Canon David Short (Vancouver), Dr Peter Adam (Melbourne), Rev. Dr. Sarah Harris (Auckland) and others.
The local branch of FCA was set up in response to the passing of 'Motion 30' in 2014 and the subsequent release of the 'A Way Forward' document, due to be presented to the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia next month.
The report proposes the blessing of same-sex civil marriages thereby rendering them as “rightly- ordered” relationships opening up the possibility for those in them to be accepted as candidates for ordination.
"This week has been a hugely significant moment for orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand. FCANZ is committed to promoting faithfulness and providing fellowship, and orthodox Anglicans now know that through the FCANZ there is a place for all orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand, whether they are inside or outside the current Anglican structures." sad the Rev Jay Behan, Chair of FCANZ.
"We continue to pray that General Synod will pull back from making a decision which will tear the fabric of the communion, undermining the allegiance to General Synod for many Anglicans in New Zealand." Mr Behan said.
One of the first decisions of the new branch was to recognise West Hamilton Community Church as 'authentically Anglican'.
The church's Rev. Michael and Kimberley Hewat spoke of their experiences of being excluded from existing Anglican structures due to their stand against doctrinal change.
Mr Behan commended the Hewats and the church for their stand for the truth.
“We rejoice in our fellowship with you, we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in gospel ministry, and we recognise you as authentically Anglican.” he said.
Mr Behan stressed that FCANZ is not advocating splitting from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and will promote faithfulness to the gospel with grace and truth, and provide fellowship to all orthodox Anglicans both in and outside of existing Anglican structures.
Photo: David Short speaks at the original GAFCON conference in 2008