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St James’ Ryde Joins AMiE

16th March 2020

St James’ Ryde on the Isle of Wight has been part of the Church of England for almost 200 years and has faithfully preached the Gospel of Christ. In 2019 the Bishop of Portsmouth appointed Rev Peter Leonard as Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, who is in a same sex civil partnership. He is also the chairman of the OneBodyOneFaith group, which promotes the conviction that it is ‘entirely compatible with the Christian faith not only to love another person of the same sex, but also to express that love fully in a personal sexual relationship’.

 After a year of prayer, discussion and discerning, following the appointment of Rev Peter Leonard, on the 12th February 2020, the Church Council voted to leave the Church of England and join the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE):

“Our decision to leave was because the gospel of repentance and faith had been severely undermined at our local level and as a result was restricting our gospel aspirations. The Bishop of Portsmouth consistently defended and supported the Archdeacon in his same sex civil partnership and his theological position as chairman of OnebodyOnefaith. We had to act with grace, integrity and clarity, and in joining AMiE we are excited about the future gospel opportunities on the Isle of Wight.”

St James’ Ryde is a Proprietary Chapel and Church Society, as trustees, appoint the Minister and own the buildings for the advancement of the gospel in Ryde. 

“We are very excited to be fostering the relationship between St. James’s, Church Society and AMiE, and see this as truly pioneering for Anglican gospel witness in this country, and a natural outworking of the goals and objectives of the ReNew network. There is a great anticipation that with AMiE we will progress our gospel aspirations of growing the ministry at St. James’s and planting new churches on the island. The Anglican presence on the island, through the Church of England, is shrinking at an alarming rate. We are excited that with the encouragement of AMiE, churches will be planted, established and secured. We truly desire to see the true Anglican Church grow and be a wonderful blessing for the island.”

The Revd Dick Farr, Chairman of Church Society Trust, commented,

 “St James’s has been part of the Church Society group of churches since 19th May 1904, and we have been thrilled to see the steady growth as the Gospel has been preached and the church faithfully taught. We are saddened that the actions of the Bishop of Portsmouth in appointing Rev Peter Leonard as Archdeacon for the Isle of Wight, have precipitated St James’s move from the Church of England to the Anglican Mission in England. Our patronage Trust is not restricted to Church of England churches and so we look forward to continuing to support St James’s, thankful to God for its longstanding commitment to the Apostolic Gospel and Bible ministry. We are also excited to pioneer this tripartite relationship between St James’s, AMiE and Church Society. In days of division we want to model working together for the sake of the Gospel and the lost, in this case on the Isle of Wight.”

And Bishop Andy Lines writes: 

“I am, on the one hand, thrilled that this move to join AMiE brings us together more closely in serving the Lord’s mission, but on the other, by a sadness at the reason this has proved necessary. I commend them for their principled decision and the courage of their convictions and look forward under God to seeing how they will contribute to AMiE and to the cause of Jesus Christ on the Isle of Wight and beyond.”

The church family ask for your prayers as they adjust to life in the AMiE family, that they might continue, above everything else, to be faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ and the gospel of repentance and faith.

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