Chelmsford parishes voice concern over bishops’ “failure to teach sound doctrine”.
Two Essex parishes have published on open letter at Anglican Mainstream reporting their disatisfaction with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the bishops of Chelmsford.
We write to inform you of recent motions passed by two churches in Dagenham in the diocese of Chelmsford. The motions of ‘no confidence’ were passed by St Elisabeth’s, Becontree and St George’s, Dagenham at each of our respective Annual Church Meetings in April 2017.
Given the current turmoil in the Church of England, especially the unbiblical leadership offered by Archbishops Welby and Sentamu in their joint letter after the February General Synod and the lack of biblical leadership in our own diocese of Chelmsford, particularly the failure to teach sound doctrine and the refusal to refute, publicly, false teaching and practice, each congregation was asked to consider the current leadership in light of the biblical requirement for bishops as revealed, for example, in Titus 1:7-9.
1:7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
The congregation in both cases considered what had been publicly said and what hadn’t been publicly said and accordingly passed the following motions of ‘No confidence in Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop John Sentamu, Bishop Stephen Cottrell of Chelmsford and Suffragan Bishop Peter Hill of Barking.’
These motions were passed unanimously by St Elisabeth’s, Becontree on 2nd April 2017 and passed in favour with one vote against and one abstention at St George’s, Dagenham on 30th April 2017 – each was by paper ballot.
All bishops in the motion were notified of the ‘vote of no confidence’ last week.
It is our understanding that for a whole congregation to take such a vote is unprecedented. We consider that it is appropriate to make the outcomes of these votes public now (as our congregations are aware we would do at some point), especially given events since February, and, not least, the events of last week in Scotland and Canterbury’s response and our own forthcoming diocesan synod this Saturday at a church publicly supporting gay marriage.
– The motions of each of our churches are attached.
– The motion of the parish of Wanstead (in favour of same-sex marriage) which is hosting this Saturday’s Chelmsford diocesan synod is also attached.
Revd Steven Hanna – St Elisabeth’s, Becontree
and Revd Simon Smallwood – St George’s, Dagenham