The Anglican Community of St Mark(ACM) was officially launched last night to care for conservative Anglicans who have taken up the General Synod Te Hīnota Whānui Motion 7 provision to establish a ‘Christian Community’ within this Church.
Seventy people meeting at St Christopher’s Avonhead on Friday night for the 2020 AFFIRM conference gathered for worship and to recognise the Anglican Community of St Mark – which exists to support, nurture and protect conservative Anglican parishes.
Parishes where two-thirds of the congregation have voted to join the Community of St Mark pledge to uphold and promote ‘traditional views on matters of ethics and morality within society,’ alongside an Evangelical theology that emphasises mission according to St Mark’s two great calls to share the good news (Mark 1:15, 16:15).
“We chose St Mark to recognise the clear call in his gospel to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and call on people to repent and believe in the Good News,” said Auckland’s Vicar of St Margaret’s Hillsborough and Community of St Mark Chair Rev Fraser McDermott.
Archbishop Philip Richardson welcomed the new community at the launch and gave thanks for all those who have worked to enable their formation. He also brought a message from the house of bishops, that they are committed to supporting the new community, especially mentioning ministry training.
Archbishop Philip reminded the new community to remain focused on their core mission “Always keep the main thing, as the main thing.”he said
“Remember we have all been made new in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus has claimed your life as he has claimed mine and in that I see you as a brother or sister.”
Member parishes of the Community of St Mark will include guiding principles of the Community in their parish profile. The statute that provided for Christian Communities in this Church holds that bishops can only appoint clergy that are members of the Community, or those that agree to uphold its values as the leader of an ACM parish.
The Community of St Mark has grown over the last two years, as conservative Anglican parishes around Aotearoa have discerned their course in response to Motion 7.
Rev Fraser McDermott says it's important to recognise that ACM members do not stand against any of their beloved Anglican brothers and sisters, including those in the Church of Confessing Anglicans of Aotearoa New Zealand.
“We love all Anglicans in this country and we will continue to work with them.” He said.
ACM was introduced last evening by AFFIRM Chair Rev Paul Williamson to recognise the role of AFFIRM in midwifing the new community. He particularly thanked Peter and Lorraine Lloyd for their sustained and faithful work in bringing ACM to fruition.
The first parishes that signed up to the fledgling Christian Community back in 2018-2019 have now grown to 10 parishes, he said, with 107 more joining as individual members of the Community.
Rev Dr Thomas Brauer, who is vicar of Sumner Redcliffs in Christchurch said his parish joined the community after a long period of prayer, discussion and faithful discernment. While he believes the 88% that voted to join St Mark’s Community were looking for unity and a sense of safe place to stand within the church, their hopes are directed toward the future,
“What excites people about this new community is the possibility of being part of a missional community that crosses the nation,” said Rev Thomas.
Rev Fraser McDermott hopes fellow Anglicans will come to understand how the new community contributes positively to the goal of ‘unity with integrity’ in this Church.
“Our desire is to hold the church together, because with it we are stronger.”
“We are expressing our different way of being the church, which always has Christ at the centre.”
Over Saturday 7 November the Community of St Mark will join AFFIRM in a day-long conference at St Christopher’s Avonhead on the theme of ‘Good News Now! Announcing God’s Kingdom in Today’s World.’