Bishop lashes militants for splitting the church

PUBLISHED: 15:54 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:39 12 August 2010

ANGRY: The Right Reverend Dr Tom Butler.

ANGRY: The Right Reverend Dr Tom Butler.

THE Bishop of Southwark has hit out at angry conservative evangelicals after they launched a new global church, splitting the religion in two

THE Bishop of Southwark has hit out at angry conservative evangelicals after they launched a new global church, splitting the religion in two.

The Right Reverend, Dr Tom Butler, defended the Head of the Church of England and Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, after The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (Foca) seemingly challenged his authority.

Foca, that is made up of half the world's Anglican population, launched the new church at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCon) in Jerusalem last Sunday because members are unhappy with the more liberal aspects introduced in to Anglicanism such as the acceptance of homosexual clergy, gay marriages and women bishops.

The split comes just weeks before Dr Williams meets bishops at the Lambeth Conference, held only once a decade.

It's expected that many who have joined Foca will boycott the event.

Dr Butler, head of the Anglican community in the boroughs of Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich, said: "Those attending the GAFCon make claims concerning the Anglican Communion which are frankly not supportable.

"It would seem that some of the authors of the statement from the conference and the founders of the new organisation are coming to Britain to recruit from amongst our parishes and clergy.

"I will be very surprised if many from Southwark Diocese rush to join them as it was only a couple of years ago that some of our good, hardworking, thoughtful evangelical clergy asked me to take action against other, more militant, evangelicals who were planting congregations in their parishes.

"What is proposed goes against the spirit of Anglicanism and Archbishop Dr Williams is right to challenge them to think carefully before going on down this path."

It is thought that the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jenson will play a key part in the formation of Foca.

He has been particularly vocal about the ordination of American gay bishop Gene Robinson and spoke of the "chaos caused in the Anglican church through revisionist activities".

The move by Foca which has been labelled a schism in all but name has been spurred by huge Anglican provinces in Africa, Asia and South America who are furious with the American and Canadian churches' modern interpretations of the religion.

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