Anglican Unscripted 558 – Unscripted Indeed

Welcome to a special edition of Anglican
Unscripted episode 558 I’m Kevin Kallsen I’m Gavin Ashenden it’s the 16th of
December 2019 So welcome to a special edition — I’m
going to have an interview with Gavin – should I be or not some news before I do
that this is probably gonna be the most watched unscripted this year or last
year for the next 5 years so I really need you to share this let people watch
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comments if you have any comments or thoughts or ideas or prayers that come
to you during this episode leave them in the comments any feelings pains hurts
loves whatever we’re there for you we’d love to read the comments respond
to the comments they’re part of the ongoing show Gavin and I first met gaff
Khan – in the press room in Kenya in Nairobi Kenya and took an instant liking
to each other somebody is the word Winston before you are the most winsome
Englishman I’ve ever met you have a wonderful wise voice and I do talking to
you after five minutes that you get it it’s it’s very difficult sometimes to
have people who come up in the institution of a church or denomination
that really understand all the dynamics inside and outside of the Christian walk
and I knew that you got it I know George gets it so many of the people we
interview here in the show get it they’re what I call true believers and
as such I’ve enjoyed watching your walk when you when you first came on the show
here you were a chaplain to the Queen awesome that’s good clearly he’s doing
the right he’s walking and he’s helping serve
royalty in England and I’m like that’s that’s cool and then we found out you’re
a bishop which is awesome you then decided that you needed to separate
yourself from the Church of England and you cut yourself off and I don’t know if
there’s an official thing other than sending the letter but you left the
Church of England how did that happen oh well there are two ways of doing it and
you can’t really hear the church England there’s no mechanism but if you announce
your orders which I did because I I had a conversation with a bishop when I said
I’m going to join another Anglican denomination they’ve invited me to be
consecrated to the bishop can we do this nicely the bishop I was talking to said
we may well come after you we don’t like what you’re doing and and we’ve changed
the rules so that it used to be that whilst you didn’t have a post you
couldn’t be brought up on a disciplinary charge in order to catch pedophiles
quite rightly they change the rules so that if you were ever ordained you
remain subject to camera law and if for example you’d do a little that’s not
legitimate under current law can come after you for anything and and you need
to be careful because we may and I thought well that’s not doing things
nicely and I’m going to cause some trouble so I there was a very quaint
mechanism set up in the 19th century whereby Anglican priest who were
persecuted by the other bishops mainly from becoming Methodists could resign
their orders and moved on with the reach of canon law and you pay ten pounds and
you take a little affidavit to the Royal Court of Justice in my case the woman
behind the grill was a with wearing a hijab I thought that’s about it and and
you they there then Dec up to make sure you’re not hiding you know then six
month window where they check out to make sure you’re not a fugitive from
some misdemeanor and after that you’re out of the breach of the Church of
England and Canada so I did that it’s in an um
being chased by by the system dissonant li and i that that gave a censored very
sadly very sadly indeed i had to put some space between myself in the church
of my childhood i was baptized into i had become fond of quite painful yeah
indeed I left the Episcopal Church and it is a very painful procedure we
actually had a old Irish wake as we left you know just you know the wailing and
and separation then you found yourself obviously one or two years ha here on
and conscripted and people saw in you a lot of wisdom knowledge and great
teaching and you spent a great deal of time traveling to different conferences
giving teachings doing consulting and meeting with people around the world and
that’s kind of been part of your focus for the last three years but the way
this way this goes back to 2012 when I was on General Synod where I’d been for
twenty years and we made some arrangements for the consecration of
women bishops because I spent some time in the previous 20 years as an ethical
progressive I knew how much ethical Anglican progresses hated
traditionalists really really do hate and I knew that unless there was a
watertight agreement that those who found they couldn’t accept vo what the
consecration of women’s bishops would ultimately get squeezed out by they’re
they’re very determined opponents and the watertight arrangements didn’t
happen my colleague settle for something less than what it died and and how your
credit you what you were right because it’s December 2019 I can’t think of any
conservative Orthodox bishops in the Church of England am i right yeah no I
was right um and I am I’m gonna be even writer and so one of the things I wrote a
letter saying if we’re going to preserve some kind of of Catholic orthodoxy in
the Church of England we’re good and when we haven’t been even a third
province at some point we’re going to have to consecrate our own bishops
because they will because without bishops you can’t do anything is now you
think this this letter went when when places and I got an invitation from some
some really rather lovely bishops and the Christian Episcopal Church in the
States who said we’ve been praying for England for a very long time and we know
there’s going to be a need for an Orthodox mystical provision and we’d uh
we’d like and because our orders are Catholic they come from her from a Roman
Catholic bishop in Brazil in 1946 and we think that will be important when it
comes to building bridges also later on we’d like to ask you to take a pistol
responsibility and help and help provide a framework for Anglicans who can’t
survive within the Church of England and I said I’m not going to do this
I’ll look an idiot and everyone will think that I did this because you know I
haven’t got a proper job in the Church of England it’s true I’ve been blocked
for a number of profit jobs but I’m sorry I’ve been I’ve been blocked for a
number of seniors positions and and that was why that was why dear Rowan Williams
referred the palace and said for goodness sake give Gavin something so so
I didn’t want to do this but but the response was well you know we’re all
agreed on what’s gonna happen why are you refusing to be part of the solution
is it pride and it was pride so I that’s why I accepted the ordination and people
consecration as a bishop and people of course thought and said a variety of
things so that that that’s fine it was for Jesus and for the kingdom and for
the church not for me and the Lord’s been very I’m sorry about
this we’ve hit seven o’clock I think there’s not gonna be extra takes in tax well that’s why that’s the magic of
angry unscripted you know you you do know every hour this
noise and we do the Asheton household but now we’ve your bishop you are you’ve
left the Church of England where do you serve now so one of the things I’d be
one of the things I’ve been doing is doing what I I thought the Lord wanted I
believed and I do he did want me to was to try and prepare the ground for
drawing together Orthodox Anglicans outside the Church of England now we we
saw what happened in America when you did this so you you enter exactly the
same narrative of a over of a mother church that gave herself to the secular
culture of the day and abandoned core Christian values to the point where it’s
almost not the Christian Church anymore and and you had all these splits to lots
of Anglicans running off saying well you know this is how we’re gonna do animate
you had two factors that were really very important one was Elizabeth
Jefferson Shorey and the other was Bob Duncan Catherine Catherine psyche
Catherines mega morte so so you’re presiding bishop was was so mean and so
hopeful that she exemplified very clearly to people what the struggle
really was and Bob Duncan was so well trusted and so well loved that as he
drew people together against their better wishes when you can draw everyone
together there’s still quite a lot of continuing Anglican churches out there
in the States but nonetheless you managed to create a CNA and that was
what we needed to do in England and I’ve been working hard at something like that
for the last few years the difficulty was that and I said to a number of
people and I think one of the key players I’m most admire is John fennec
whom I won’t have anything said against because I he’s been here he’s been
heroic in sharing this struggle but what some people who are watches don’t know
who Jeff Fenech is he’s the leader of the free Church of England it’s a small
Anglican Church as being here for a for a hundred years or more
and and and John did his very best and I I stood beside him to begin the process
of drawing the Anglican Orthodox groups together now we’ve failed and we fail
very badly and we’ve had we failed so spectacularly that although I believe in
miracles and and I look to the Lord to do them at the same time we have to
exercise an informed judgment and and I’d come to terms with that failure
there’s not that I’ve been speaking to as many people as I could both in this
country and in America and in Australia and and I’ve been saying look you know
this isn’t it we know how to do this we just need to walk humbly speak well of
each other set aside tribal and parties and
Theological interests put the kingdom and the church before our own
understandings and and put our backs to to building an ecclesial refuge it will
evangelize in this country they did it in America and they did it well we can
do it here but but we haven’t been able to do it and in my judgment we’re not
going to be able to do it we you know I’ve been Wittering on about repair
three years and and and that was what was and his needed now there’s no sign
of it and and that’s a meanwhile the Lord has blessed me greatly he has given
me opportunity after opportunity to speak for the faith in the public media
in extraordinary ways I mean really quite extraordinary and I’ve taken them
and I’ve used them as well as I can now during so I’m happy to go on doing what
I’m doing because you know I I bike I’m blessed and you never know when they’re
gonna run out but but so far they haven’t run out you’ve been a wonderful
co-host here on unscripted you are as far as I can tell the default voice
bishops voice for the BBC and much of the media and Britain they call upon you
whenever they need a good quote and you often appear in video form and I know
you’ve been on because I see it increased viewership
for unscripted shortly after you’ve made an appearance on the media in the UK but
I got this phone call from you and I wasn’t able to take it but she left a
message it was right before I went for a on vacation and it was a message that
I’m taking a said well how are we going to make this work well I don’t have to
worry about that God does but you said Kevin there’s an opportunity that was
given to me and I’m going to take it and this is what it is and George got the
message you left for both of us and he goes how are we gonna work make it work
he goes forget what I said God will make it work so let’s talk
about what the decision is you made and how you came to that decision so we’re
looking all the time for what Jesus wants it’s not about what we want and
it’s about trying to discern what the Holy Spirit is calling us to everything
everything we do is is a vocation but I’ve been over the last 20 years I’ve
been reading the father’s more assiduously essentially I’m following in
the steps of Newman and I’m sorry if that sounds a bit pretentious I’m a kind
of I’m he just charted the way and I liked him I had a great evangelical
conversion Aziz you like him but not like him much lower level I became an
academic and I III taught in university like he might be reading the father’s
and had a vision for what anglicanism could could be and should be like him I
fallen out with the establishment and and the relationship hasn’t be very
happy I was invited to come and see the clergy in my local Roman Catholic
cathedral and they watch Anglican unscripted and they read my stuff and
they said the bishop wants to talk to you because he needs you and we we
talked about the situation in the Catholic Church in the church in this
country and my local Catholic bishop who is the one where there are two really
Orthodox Catholic Bishops in this country Marc Davis of Shrewsbury and
Phillip Egan of Portsmouth and they were very close friends and we sat down
together and he said I’ve been so glad to have a fellow Catholic bishop around
I I respect your orders and what you said but he said I need you where we are
I’m producing twice as many priests in my diocese as any other diocese in the
country and I’m going to well I’m not I don’t want to say what his plans are
because they’re his plans and they’re not the point but basically says we need
your help here I know you’re gonna come across and become a Roman Catholic one
day you know maybe on your deathbed like Constantine or a bit earlier but but
would you would you please consider coming across earlier because we need
you the difficulty is it’s been quite hard to get over the impression that in
the kind of Anglican Orthodox sub wealth which this is not about self-pity but
but but that sense of being needed for the kingdom of God as we’ve been doing
it is not up almost really in the in the dynamics of the relationships we’ve been
having on the whole I’ve been seen I think more as an irritant than the
solution to needs but even if I’ve got that wrong isn’t really quite the point
as I as I prayed about this I couldn’t get rid of of a passage in the New
Testament where some Paul has a dream from the matter in which the Macedonians
appear and they says come over we need you and I there’s this very strong link
between these two events and I I said I pray about it and one of the difficult
things is that that although I have a number of clergy two things happen one
is my fellow clergy said who came to me for a license you know Gavin one day
we’re gonna become Roman Catholics we see that our ultimate destination I hope
that doesn’t upset you too much but that’s where that’s where we’re heading
meanwhile we need your license in your Episcopal cover and the other is that as
people have written to me saying well we want to join your church where do we
find your church locally and I had to say well I’ve got quite an internet
Church but it’s pretty thin on the ground and so there’s well where do we
go for communion where do we give a fellowship and
and I’m building something to which there’s no answer for that so so I’m
fine but but but in terms of a neck of buildings a church on the ground it’s
it’s not fine and I’m happy to be an Internet guru who gets invited on to the
the media from time to time but you know we have to build the church and so when
the local Catholic community said please come across and help us we need you and
this is what we need you for please pray about it and come soon because times are
urgent and when at the same time there is a level of congruent anding of both
the kingdom and the church and the tasks because they have exactly the same
problem as we have I own a very difficult
apart from reasons of self preservation to say no now I’ve I’ve said yes and I’m
going to be received into the Catholic Church this coming Sunday the 4th Sunday
of Advent and I will give up my my orders this is the last time I wear this
shirt this picture of course and I will start at the bottom as a lay theologian
and then Rome will decide whether they have any use for me in orders and they
might decide as I can be real gained as a Catholic priest they might feel in the
side and this wasn’t quite funny that my orders are certainly Catholic to be
recognized in which case my dear Bishop marks but you know father he said you do
realize if they recognize this cover see they will still only be wrong one bishop
in his diet isn’t it’s me I’m gonna I’m gonna go empty-handed and I don’t know
what the outcome will be but the thing is looking over the next 5 or 10 years
we have to build the church and at the moment I don’t see that happening as the
allegiance the Alliance of Anglican Orthodox bodies it’s not gonna happen
there it would we’re just gonna burst schism
small school small schismatic oops and don’t speak very well of each other if
the presence is any guy to go by and and I never spend up to build schism I
believe in the unity of the church the spirits in the adoration of Jesus
and so if I can’t do it as an Anglican well there and I’m asked to do it as a
Catholic and I happen to believe Catholic things I find it very difficult
to say no so I said yes and I came to you with soup well what are we gonna do
with unscripted because I will be Anglican in that sense I’ll be Anglican
in the sense of eclairs your anglich honor an Englishman in the church and
this is one of the things I don’t I have no idea where this happens I will I will
lose quite a lot of support I’ll lose some friends I’ll loosen ministry but
but I think I’m absolutely certain well I think it’s what the Lord wants at this
stage so despite the fact again I’m you know someone said what could you settle
down to everything people recognize that you know there’s anglo-catholics
you can be a Catholic Anglican we will certainly endorse that line of thinking
as far as unscripted you role hopefully won’t change your pay isn’t going to
change you know but being a a theologian on the shores of England who have served
the church in so many ways we could not help but have your voice here on
unscripted as long as God wills it and we shouldn’t look forward to that
certainly the the news is a shock to George and I and we’ve expressed that in
many ways to Gavin but in the same way Gavin at the end of each day is trying
to glorify God as George does as I do as everyone in the program does and that’s
this is Gavin’s journey towards that expression of glorifying God and there’s
no other way to put that you know Gavin is on his way to Rome in five days and I
have purple in my background and he has purple
his shirt and you will not see the purple on his shirt next week on the
show and you know it’s important when we see transitions like this that were not
so much looking to condemn it as much as we’re looking to see what God can do
with it and I’ve always had that in my mind everything is redeemable and if God
can use Gavin Ashington to reform the Roman Catholic Church awesome because
they deserve somebody like Gavin to do it you know you did nothing but glorify
God in our program we have comment after comment email after email of how this
program has helped bring people back to their faith or for the first time
bringing the faith and I expect nothing else except that very mission when you
are a Roman Catholic and thank you for our serving us and thank you for
continue to service any parting words before I click the unrecorded so to
speak well pray for me because I feel like I’ve let go of one trapeze and I’m
promised another trapeze flying through darkness but it hasn’t appeared yet but
that that’s that’s the life of faith and I think just let’s let’s pray for each
other that we serve and renew Christ’s Church it’s been broken so badly in the
past by human sin and failure and if there’s anything we can do and offer our
Lord our contrition and our humility and our love to mend the church even if we
begin as I was saying in the last show by trying to choose to speak better of
each other than than worse of each other by by keeping our eyes open for the good
things that God has done rather than concentrating on their rather lousy
things that we’ve done so now I think it’s simply that
I believe passionately theologically that the the the struggles of the
Reformation in the 1520’s are not our struggles today but we we face a common
enemy a common cultural war and we’re given a common Christian solution and in
that sense I hope the way in which we express our dominant denominational
identities work towards the kingdom and towards collegiality instead of it as
they have in the past worked against it so so let’s let’s pray for each other
and thank you for I mean you know thank protect Lee thank you to you and George
for being so patient and understanding and gracious I think our friendship
together it’s got nothing to do with our denominations I mean it’s everything to
do with our love of God and and our gratitude to his kindness to us so we
also celebrate that yeah we need make clear that you’re the grass is not
greener over in the road that’s what I always say right itself at night well at
least I’m not the in the Roman Catholic Church where you’re headed off to it’s
gonna be a hard work this differences in Hasina the difference is nobody that
I’ve seen in gaff Khan or the ACA or the Church of England or on the shores of
England had say Gavin come work with us the Roman Catholic Church says we need
you and Gavin said ok and that’s that’s the difference I see correct me if I’m
wrong I’m Kevin Coulson I’m still Gavin Ashenden and you’ve been kindly a
patiently and prayerfully listening to episode 558 of the unscripted of the
ecclesia and Gakona thank you for your kindness on 16th
December 2000 you

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