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Two Church of England bishops welcome controversial ‘missionary bishop’

Bishop Andy Lines

Bishop Andy Lines

Two Church of England bishops are welcoming a controversial ‘missionary’ bishop consecrated last week by a splinter Anglican church.

Rt Rev Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn, and Rt Rev Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Birkenhead, wrote to the head of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) to say they were praying for a service where Andy Lines was made a bishop.

As many as 27 primates, archbishops and bishops from around the Anglican Communion gathered to consecrate The Rev. Canon Andy Lines as a missionary bishop for Anglicans in Scotland, the UK, and Europe.

The ceremony on Friday has caused anger among Anglican hierarchy with the head bishop in Australia rebuking two of his bishops for attending the event.

Archbishop Philip Freier has ‘deep concerns’ about the participation of the Archbishop of Sydney and the Bishop of Tasmania in the service which he condemned as ‘contrary to the spirit’ of ancient church teaching.

Andy Lines has been told by the Archbishop of Canterbury his authority will not be recognised by the Church of England.

It comes after the Bishop of Maidstone Rod Thomas, another evangelical leader, also welcomed Andy Lines’ appointment.

Describing the Scottish Episcopal Church’s decision to permit gay marriage as ‘very serious’ he said: ‘I therefore welcome the steps that GAFCON (the global fellowship of orthodox Anglicans) is taking to support those who are seeking to stand firm by the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexual relationships, and wish to assure Canon Andy Lines of my prayers as he becomes a missionary bishop.’

The move is likely to irritate the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and raise tensions ahead of the Church of England’s general synod which meets this week in York.

• Full story at Christian Today.

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