Today representatives from twelve churches throughout New Zealand gathered and formed the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand. By the grace of God we are a new Anglican Diocese in these Islands, standing firmly in Anglican faith and practice, and structurally distinct from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
This new Diocese is united in the crucified, risen, ascended and glorified Christ, committed to the authority of the Bible, and dedicated to our common mission of proclaiming to all the good news of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. We praise God for his guidance and grace, and the sense of unity and common purpose we shared as we met.
We also prayerfully elected as our first Bishop the Rev. Jay Behan, Vicar of St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Christchurch. Jay is a man of humility and grace, committed to the authority of the Bible and the Lordship of Jesus. He is an excellent preacher and caring pastor, and will serve and lead the Diocese as together we seek to reach these Islands with the transforming power of the gospel.
We were delighted to receive greetings from many Anglicans around the world, and particularly from Archbishop Foley Beach, Chair of the Gafcon Primates, who wrote and conveyed the text of a motion passed at their recent meeting in Sydney: The Primates’ Council thanks God for the courage and faithfulness of those churches and individuals in New Zealand who are remaining as Anglicans in the faith as we have received it, as they establish a new Anglican diocese. The Council gladly endorses the new Diocese, recognizes it as authentically Anglican, declares itself to be in full communion and celebrates our common life. The Council encourages the participation of Gafcon bishops in the consecration of the new Bishop, once duly elected for the Diocese.
We invite all Christians to join us in prayer at this time. Give thanks to God for his grace and mercy towards us in Christ. Pray for Jay, his family, and the church at St Stephen’s. Pray for the eleven other churches of the Diocese in their mission and ministry, and for the many other churches we pray will join and be planted in our new Diocese for the glory of God.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)