Tuesday, 23 October 2007

New Reform chairman calls for 'courageous action'

Reform members must prepare for “courageous action” as the Church of England becomes driven by an increasingly liberal agenda said Rod Thomas, the new Reform chairman today.

Speaking at Reform’s national conference in London, he called on the network’s 1,700 strong membership to work together in three key areas:

* More commitment to existing structures – eg working in General Synod to maintain local ownership of church assets rather than giving greater diocesan control

* More courageous action – eg irregular ordinations where regular diocesan options have been refused or where relationships are impaired

* More costly encouragement – eg recognising that poorer parishes who wish to distance themselves from diocesan bishops may face a greater financial burden and therefore need more widespread support

Revd Thomas urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to recall invitations to next year’s Lambeth Conference issued to US bishops who continue to push a “same-sex agenda”, warning that “failure to do this will seal the division of the Communion, end all idea of a covenant, leave the Archbishop’s role in tatters and rapidly spread fractures through the Church of England.”

He spoke of Reform’s plan to work in partnership with other evangelical groups to find solutions for continuing gospel ministry in England, as the Common Cause Partnership is doing in the US. “As the formal church institutions and councils become paralysed or dysfunctional we must get more serious about devoting time and money to the reforms we seek. But the good news is that there has never been a better time to do this. Evangelicals are becoming clearer about the issues that have to be fought and more determined to do the fighting.

“We must provide tangible encouragement for those in the forefront of the struggle; we must stay focused on the theology underpinning our efforts; and we must rely on the power of prayer and God’s mercy to help us persevere to the end.”

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