Gafcon in talks with New Zealand parish

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is in talks to offer alternative episcopal oversight to a breakaway New Zealand congregation, The Church of England Newspaper has learned.  The Rev. Michael Hewat, (pictured) the former vicar of West Hamilton Anglican Church in Dinsdale, New Zealand reports that “following communications from FCA-affiliated leaders from 3 overseas provinces, our Vestry decided on [8 Aug 2014] to make exploration of a relationship with FCA its priority –ahead of Wesleyan Methodist, Baptist or anyone else.” In a letter published last month in the Waikato Times, Mr. Hewat said he was withdrawing from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia as a consequence of the May vote by General Synod to begin the process towards authorizing gay marriage. Motion 30 approved by synod set in place a two year process towards finding a theological rationale for revising the church’s doctrine on marriage. Approximately 95 per cent of the congregation has followed Mr. Hewat out of the church. A spokesman for the GAFCON secretariat in Sydney confirmed there had been “initial contact” with the parish leaders. “The story of this congregation is repeated around the world. Time and again we see congregations alienated from their home province because of decisions those provinces have made to distance themselves from biblical teaching,” the FCA/GAFCON spokesman said. Mr. Hewat noted the parish decided to pursue alternative Anglican oversight “from our own preference to retain links with orthodox Anglicans, and a sense of responsibility to fellow evangelicals in NZ who have yet to go through what we’ve been through.” 

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