Church Society director welcomed at Commissioning service
On Saturday 2 March, Christ Church, Cambridge, was filled for the Commissioning Service of the Rev Lee Gatiss as Director of Church Society. The service was led by Bishop Wallace Benn, former Bishop of Lewes, and Vice President of Church Society. After a hymn, psalm and reading, the Rev Paul Darlington, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Oswestry, preached on Jude 17-25. Paul encouraged those of us involved in the work of Church Society to continue to contend for biblical truth in the Church of England, and to do so in a way that was winsome and gracious; in the hope that we would not only see the truth preserved, but also that those opposed to the truth might be mercifully won to it.
Following Paul’s sermon, Bishop Wallace led the commissioning part of the service which included representatives from several conservative evangelical organisations, including Dr Kirsten Birkett from Oak Hill College, and the Rev David Jackman, former President of the Proclamation Tr ust. The representatives put a number of questions to Lee, including whether he would ‘promote and maintain the true profession of the gospel, the Protestant Reformed religion’, and also whether he would ‘work to promote unity amongst all those who sincerely believe this gospel, whatever their denomination.’
After the commissioning, Lee then spoke about his vision for Church Society. This included a brief outline of the history of the Society whose forebears were established from 1835. It was these forebears who had maintained protestant Anglicanism over many years and through which the Anglican Church League in Australia and the Church Society both derive. Both share a common ancestor in the National Church League!
Lee then outlined the main areas of work that the Society is involved in today including campaigning, patronage, and politics, and the vital role that the Society has to play today in both church and state. Lee’s refrain was that all should be done for the glory of God and the good of England.
Following Lee’s talk, prayers were led by the Rev Dr Simon Vibert, Vice Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, followed by a final hymn by AM Toplady, then blessing by Bishop Wallace. The service was closed with Lee and Kerr y Gatiss being invited (unexpectedly) onto the platform for a round of applause! The music was well led by an accomplished music group. After the service a good time of fellowship was enjoyed over tea in the hall.
Overall the day was a great encouragement as we committed to God Lee’s future ministry with Church Society. Please do continue to pray for Lee, Kerr y and the family as they embark on this strategic work.
Bishop Wallace Benn