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CofE responds after priest made bishop by breakaway group

Tue 09 May 2017
By Marcus Jones

The Church of England has responded after a minister at Jesmond Parish Church was made a bishop by a breakaway Anglican group in South Africa.

Rev Jonathan Pryke has been consecrated as a "bishop in the Church of God" by the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa.

His church has confirmed he will continue to work in his parish but will also look to establish new churches in England.

The move hasn't been done with the support of the Church of England with some describing it as a further split on the issue of sexuality.

In a statement, a Church of England spokesman said: "It is the clearly established law of the land that no one can exercise ministry in the Church of England without either holding office or having the permission of the diocesan bishop.

"It is also the case that no overseas bishop may exercise episcopal functions within the Church of England without the express permission of the Archbishop of the province and a commission from the Bishop of the diocese in which they wish to minister.

"In this case neither has been sought."

Explaining the situation, Rev David Holloway from Jesmond Parish Church said: "He has a dispersed responsibility and duty: in things temporal to the Bishop of Newcastle, with whom, sadly, in things spiritual, Jesmond Parish Church along with other churches in the diocese are in impaired communion; in terms of Jesmond Parish Church, to the vicar of Jesmond and where there is united agreement, to the Jesmond PCC; and, pastorally, to one of the participating REACH SA bishops. This bishop particularly understands the English situation and does not want to see bishops "parachuted in" to form a new "orthodox church" or "province".

Last week, conservative Anglican group GAFCON announced plans to send a missionary bishop to the UK in light of developments on the issue of sexuality in the Church of England and the Scottish Epsicopal Church.

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