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LONDON: Bishop Andrew Lines Commissioned for GAFCON Ministry

LONDON: Bishop Andrew Lines Commissioned for GAFCON Ministry

The Bishop of Jos, Nigeria, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Kwashi and GAFCON Bishop Andy Lines - PHOTO

By Chris Sugden
Church of England newspaper
September 19, 2018

In an evening marked by wit and good humoured banter, reflecting the character of its central figure, six bishops from six provinces of the Anglican Communion joined with members of General Synod for the commissioning of Bishop Andrew Lines.

Bishop Lines was until recently Mission Director of Crosslinks, and prior to that a SAMS missionary with his wife Mandy, in Paraguay. He is now Missionary Bishop to Europe of the Anglican Church in North America.

Bishop Lines was commissioned as chairman of GAFCON UK and as a deputy General Secretary (there is one for each international region) of GAFCON by the outgoing general secretary of GAFCON, Archbishop Peter Jensen and his successor, Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi of Jos Nigeria.

The commissioning service took place in a full church at Emmanuel Wimbledon. The vicar, Robin Weekes, who himself had spent seven years in Christian ministry in Delhi, India, preached on the celebration of Revelation 7, greater than those that would take place if Andy's favoured Rugby team, Scotland, overcame years of hurt and won the 2019 Rugby World Cup. That final celebration will make all the heat of cutting jokes and social media rants against orthodox Christian faith and morals while GAFCON faithfully proclaims the biblical gospel, but a distant memory.

Crosslinks

David Mills, a member of General Synod and first lay chair of Crosslinks, recalled the founding of Crosslinks in 1922 ( by among others, the late Sir Norman Anderson) because the mission of the Church was not going the right way, a pattern he saw repeated in the current direction of General Synod. He recalled accompanying Andrew to meet senior leaders of the Church of England to commend the Crosslinks policy of planting and supporting new Anglican church plants both inside and outside the formal structures of the Church. Some welcomed them and others told them to go away.

Alan Purser and Giles Williamson reviewed the eighteen years during which Andrew had led Crosslinks and sanctioned total expenditure of £50 million while Crosslinks had expanded its remit from East Africa to include Europe following the end of the Cold War. His early experience as a young Christian at Sandhurst and as a tank commander in the Royal Tank Regiment in Germany had matured his Christian faith and leadership. Andrew particularly commended the support that the Soldiers and Airmen Scripture Readers Association had given in those years.

Ordination

Interviewed by Jonathan Fletcher, the former vicar of Emmanuel, Andrew revealed that his father had died when he was fourteen. He had met his wife Mandy, then a nurse, in Peru while among other tasks he was "commander of British Forces in North East Peru". They have three children.

As a missionary doing Bible training in Paraguay he was ordained by the then Bishop, John Ellison on the basis that he fulfilled the criteria for ordination without having been to Theological College. (He was later made a canon of the diocese). Asked if he would do the same, Andrew replied that if someone fulfilled the conditions of I Timothy chapter 3, (above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money) he would.

Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi of Jos led those who had contributed to the evening in praying that Bishop Andrew would be blessed with an unquenchable passion and enthusiasm for the gospel.

India

In other developments the leadership of GAFCON has been asked to clarify the presence of Joseph D'Souza, at the June 2018 Conference in Jerusalem, reported in Christianity Today in August 2018. A recent memorandum claims he awaits trial in the Indian High Court for financial irregularities with regards to funds gained from selling millions of bibles that were donated as free gifts to poor people.

It is understood from the GAFCON secretariat that Joseph D'Souza, "Archbishop" of the Good Shepherd Community Church in India, attended GAFCON as an observer not as a delegate; that GAFCON does not currently have a branch in India or indeed any formal or legal connection with India and is not represented by any bishop or archbishop in India.

END

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