Why I Joined the Free Church of England

Sep 27, 2019 by

Interview with Julian Mann, Virtueonline:

Julian, you started training for ordination in the Church of England in 1993 at Oak Hill College in north London and then you were ordained in 1996 in Chester Diocese. What was it that attracted you about ordained ministry in the Church of England at the time?

In the early ‘90s when I was in my mid-20s, my wife and I were attending a lively Anglican evangelical church in Sevenoaks, St Nicholas, whilst I was working as a reporter for a retail trade paper in Kent. I was thinking about the best scenario in journalism – I had ambitions to be a political reporter – but when I thought about going into full-time gospel ministry I wanted that more.

I bought the line then that the Church of England was ‘the best boat to fish from’. I saw ministers I respected being really fruitful for Christ in the CofE, so it seemed natural for me to go to the same denomination as my evangelical leaders.

Also, the biblically-faithful legacy of the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles of Religion was and still is the official doctrine of the CofE, and so an evangelical could join it with spiritual integrity.

You were minister of the CofE Parish Church of the Ascension at Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire, for 19 years. But in November you will be licensed into the Free Church of England and serve at Emmanuel, Morecambe in Lancashire. What was it that convinced you that you couldn’t remain any longer in the CofE and that another denomination would be a more fitting home?

There wasn’t one last straw as such but a number of things coming together. One was a motion passed by the Church of England governing body, the General Synod, in July 2017 calling for a Government ban on conversion therapy. The abuse or coercion of same-sex attracted people is indefensible but that is a very different thing from allowing adults with unwanted same-sex attraction to seek out professional help.

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