REACH-South Africa Statement on the Jesmond Consecration

The following statement has been issued by REACH-South Africa in relation to the Jesmond Consecration. 


Statement on the Jesmond Consecration
by admin on May 12, 2017
Statement on the Jesmond Consecration
By REACH-South Africa
The Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of S.A.

It is noted that bishops of REACH-South Africa (The Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church – SA) participated in the consecration of the Rev. Jonathan Pryke on 2 May 2017 (St. Athanasius Day) in Newcastle, UK.

REACH-SA bishops have regularly stood in to help with ordinations and other episcopal ministry to the Jesmond Parish Church due to its members being in impaired communion with their own diocesan bishop. The REACH-SA bishops have been willing to provide this type of service on the basis of a longstanding friendship and theological affinity.

The consecration of Rev Jonathan Pryke was an inevitable result of the need to provide ongoing episcopal ministry to Jesmond Parish Church, related churches and proposed new churches in a more sustainable way. The consecration by the REACH-SA bishops took place in response to a personal request from the Jesmond Parish Church leadership, after prayerful consultation with Anglican communion leaders, and according to the REACH-SA bishops’ conscience and theological judgment. Those who participated in the consecration are duly and legally consecrated bishops within the Anglican tradition.


Comment

The statement acknowledges the impaired communion between the Jesmond Parish Church with its own diocesan bishop, its continued involvement in this respect (which precedes the appointment of  the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, the present Bishop of Newcastle), and the participation of “duly and legally consecrated bishops within the Anglican tradition” in the consecration. However, it makes no comment as to the vires of these bishops in relation to the ecclesiastical legislation of the Church of England, or the action taken in relation to Jesmond Parish Church.

A timely post by Philip Jones A Rogue Bishop examines this and two other equivalent cases in detail, and states:

“The breakaway South African Church is not in communion with the Church of England, apparently.  So the Presiding Bishop could not be subject to ecclesiastical discipline. However, the English curate who was purportedly “consecrated” by the Presiding Bishop certainly is subject to ecclesiastical discipline.  The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 provides that “doing any act in contravention of the laws ecclesiastical” constitutes misconduct for which disciplinary proceedings may be taken (s.8(1)).

Even if the Bishop of Newcastle and the Archbishop of York had given their full agreement to the consecration in accordance with the 1967 Measure, this would still have been ineffective without the Royal Mandate, “a jealously guarded royal prerogative”.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "REACH-South Africa Statement on the Jesmond Consecration" in Law & Religion UK, 12 May 2017, http://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2017/05/12/reach-south-africa-statement-on-the-jesmond-consecration/

8 thoughts on “REACH-South Africa Statement on the Jesmond Consecration

  1. None of my business, but it all sounds to me like a suitable case for investigation under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003.

  2. As consecrations in the provinces of Canterbury and York from 1532/3 onwards proceeded without authorisation from the See of Rome clearly consecrations in those provinces may proceed today on a similar basis without authorisation from any central authority.
    #PROTESTANTFRAGMENTATIONTHEORY

  3. When I first read about this consecration I thought that it must be 1st of April and some sort of #fakenews. Now of course the reality of the situation is revealed to be a covert visit by a literally ‘Flying Bishop’ from an Anglican Church, in schism from it’s province and now assisting in spreading schism in the CofE.

    I presume that Bishop Pryke is to be paid from Jesmond Church resources, and not from a stipend in the CofE?

    i thought that there was some civil law applicable to some one impersonating someone in a Public Office? If you impersonate a Soldier in uniform, you can be prosecuted, why not a Curate impersonating a Bishop?

  4. No: I think you’re confusing it with the law on misconduct in a public office, which was what Peter Ball was charged with – and convicted. So far as I can recollect, there are particular prohibitions on impersonating a medical practitioner or a policeman, but if I want to wear a purple stock and call myself a bishop, there’s nothing in law to stop me.

    As it happens, there’s quite a lot of it about – the technical term is for such people is episcopi vagantes – but the point about the Revd Mr Pryke is that people are taking him seriously and, of course, he holds a licence from the Bishop of Newcastle to officiate as a curate in the parish of Jesmond. On the self-styled bishop point see, for example, Blake v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2003] EWHC (QB) 1960: Blake had been consecrated as a bishop in the “Province for Open Episcopal Ministry” and he claimed that two articles in the Daily Mail impugning his episcopal status were defamatory: Gray J stayed the action.

  5. Thanks for this, Frank and David, and thanks to Andrew G for his comment. Over at the linked page Andrew G writes:

    ‘The situation does, though, appear to be governed by the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 Section 4.’

    This is what s.4 of the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 states:

    ‘(1) An overseas bishop or a bishop consecrated in a Church not in Communion with the Church of England whose Orders are recognised and accepted by the Church of England may, on the request and by the commission in writing of the bishop of a diocese in the province of Canterbury or York, and with the consent and licence in writing of the Archbishop of the province, ordain persons and perform other episcopal functions in that diocese.
    (2) For the purpose of this Measure any person ordained priest or deacon by a bishop acting on such request and by such commission as aforesaid shall be deemed to have been ordained by the bishop making the request and issuing the commission and not by the bishop acting as aforesaid.
    (3) If any overseas bishop performs any episcopal functions in a diocese in the province of Canterbury or York, otherwise than in accordance with this section, he shall be guilty of an offence against the laws ecclesiastical for which proceedings may be taken under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963.’

    S (1) applies not just to overseas bishops but also to bishops consecrated in a Church not in Communion with the Church of England whose Orders are recognised and accepted by the Church of England. The bishops of REACH SA are in the second category, not the first. ss. (3) applies just to the first category, however, and so does not seem to apply to the bishops of REACH SA. (This is not an oversight: one doesn’t want RC bishops to be in breach of the law just in virtue of performing episcopal functions!) This is important because, while it is highly unlikely that the Bishop of Newcastle would have applied for a warrant to extradite the bishops of REACH SA for proceedings under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963, one can imagine that she might have revoked Jonathan Pryke’s licence for aiding and abetting any breach of s.4(3) involved in the consecration. But if there has been no breach of the Measure by the REACH SA bishops then of what offence, if any, is Mr Pryke guilty?

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