St Helen’s Bishopsgate Breaks with Bishop of London
“We Do Not Stand Alone”
The Revd William, Rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate, announced on 1 March that his parish has broken its relationship with the Bishop of London. Taylor, long-time rector at one of the biggest conservative evangelical parishes within the Church of England, made the announcement via a video in response to General Synod giving its assent for same-sex civil marriages to be blessed in Church of England parishes by C of E clergy. The full video can be viewed at the English Churchman website: www.englishchurchman.com
Taylor made the point that, “St Helen’s congregation sits under the authority of God’s word, and will continue to uphold the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sex as the only route to true spiritual health and genuine human flourishing.
“We believe that this failure of the House of Bishops to uphold God’s teaching on marriage and sexuality requires a clear and public distinction between ourselves and those who, by their words and actions, deny the authority of God’s word, and walk away from the teaching of the Lord Jesus.
“The bishops of the Church of England have walked away from us. By contrast, we will continue to walk in closer union with those who uphold the teaching of God’s word, and will actively develop stronger gospel partnerships with them.
“The House of Bishops have chosen to walk apart. And, in doing so, they have created a major crisis – for themselves and for the numerous churches they have been consecrated to serve.”
Not mincing his words, Taylor went on to say, “The bishops have exalted their desire for an institutional political consensus above the authority of Jesus’s word. And, as a result, they have walked away from the true Church of God.”
Laying out his plans for the future, Taylor said, “In the short term, we’ve taken a number of steps, even as we await the House of Bishops revised proposals for the July Synod. The PCC has pressed pause on financial contributions to the Church of England.
“Those clergy who have completed their training have written to me, stating that they can no longer walk together with bishops who have walked away from them. Our curates in training have felt forced to withdraw from the Holy Week meetings with the Bishop of London. An ordinand, due to be ordained for ministry at St. Helens this summer, has felt forced to withdraw from the ordination process.”
Taylor announced that Archbishop Foley Beach, Chair of GAFCON and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America has offered to make provision for the “annual clergy review process at St Helens. He will be in London in March, where he will meet with leaders of churches in London and Southwark diocese. There will be other archbishops and bishops from GAFCON, and from the Global South, who visit London in the coming months.”
It is unclear as why Archbishop Beach is involved with the situation at SHB given that GAFCON already has bishops in the UK. SHB is still legally and canonically tied to the Diocese of London. No other bishop would have the jurisdiction to oversee SHB.
Taylor concluded his remarks by saying,
“So my aim now, and for so long as I remain at St Helens, together with the PCC and other clergy and senior leaders here, will be to secure the future of Anglican evangelical ministry in London. We would love to do this within the Church of England. Anglican bishops and archbishops from across the globe are ready to help us. We do not stand alone.”