Gavin Ashenden tells the story behind his consecration as a Bishop

Oct 6, 2017 by

[…] Ashenden told Christian Today that he had spent 23 years working at a progressive university, during which time he was an enthusiast for womens’ ministry (and still is), a passionate supporter of LGBT rights (a large segment of his eucharistic community was gay) but was ‘agnostic about changing the DNA of priesthood and episcopacy’.

But he began to change his mind. ‘It became clearer to me that the long Christian narrative on these matters was correct and needed to be defended. Partly because I had seen both sides of the ideological fence I thought I could see what was coming down the track, perhaps a little ahead of some people,’ he said.

Outlining the background to his consecration, he said: ‘I spent 20 years as a member of the General Synod. In the negotiations over the proposed legislation over the consecration of women bishops I had formed the view that the only way to allow the C of E to function as an inclusive (if paradoxically self-contradicted) ecclesial community, was for those who believed the consecration of women to be an improper innovation, to be given a third province. In that way some effective level of protection of conscience could be preserved. The Gamaliel principle could operate. The Church could continue with its different integrities intact.

‘That didn’t happen. A less effective settlement was reached giving far less protection to those who believed what Anglicans had always believed.’

He wrote a paper about it in 2012

‘In it I foresaw that the progressive party would not be content with “mutual flourishing” but would work to remove those who believed different things from them both from the places of influence within the Church and then from the Church itself. I wrote that this would begin with the episcopate, but would not end there.

‘And therefore if traditional Anglicans wanted to remain Anglicans there would come a point when they had to arrange for the consecration of their own bishops.’

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