BREAKING: Welby names Tory Baucum as “Canterbury Preacher”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, is delighted to announce the appointment of the Revd Dr Tory Baucum, Rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral.
Dr Baucum will be installed as one of the Six Preachers during Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral on 14 March. The Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral unanimously approved the nomination of Dr Baucum shortly before Christmas.
The College of Six Preachers was created by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1541, forming part of his plans for a new foundation to replace the dissolved Priory. Canterbury was unique in this; no other cathedral had a group of preaching priests and was a reflection of Cranmer’s determination to give greater prominence to preaching. Today, the Six Preachers are called to preach on various occasions at Canterbury Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion. The preachers serve five-year terms, which can be renewed.
While Dr Baucum has extensive experience of preaching, evangelism and peace-making, his appointment is also recognition of his commitment to reconciliation, which is one of Archbishop Justin’s ministry priorities. Truro Church seceded from the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in 2006 and subsequently became part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
When Dr Baucum became Rector in 2007, the church and the diocese were involved in litigation over property rights. Dr Baucum, a priest in ACNA, developed a close friendship with Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, the Rt Revd Shannon Johnston, and a settlement was subsequently reached.
Readers of Stand Firm will be very familiar with that “settlement”. It included Baucum referring to Johnston as a brother and promoting his ministry in the Church of England. All of this despite the fact that Johnston remained utterly commited to the same heresies which caused Truro to choose to split from TEC. This basic issue remains unaddressed. “Reconciliation”, without any repentance at all on the part of Johnston.
Commenting on the appointment, Archbishop Justin said: “Tory is a fine scholar, an excellent preacher, and above all someone with a holistic approach to ministry. The close friendship he has forged with Bishop Shannon Johnston, despite their immensely different views, sets a pattern of reconciliation based on integrity and transparency. Such patterns of life are essential to the future of the Communion. I hope and pray that Tory’s presence as one of the Six Preachers will play a part in promoting reconciliation and unity among us.”
No surprise there. Sadly Welby’s pattern for “reconciliation” is, then, that we affirm those who uphold the heresies that are splitting the Communion.
The ACNA’s press release doesn’t mention any of this stuff.
“This is an historically significant appointment,” said the Most Reverend Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America. “Tory is known to be a gifted teacher and preacher who is committed to the present day reformation out of which the Anglican Church in North America was born.”
Tory’s bishop, the Right Reverend John Guernsey, commented: “Tory is a scholar with a pastor’s heart. He has a passion to reach the world for Christ and through his leadership Truro Church is being used by God to bring hundreds to faith in Jesus. I pray for the Lord to anoint his ministry afresh as he takes up this appointment.”
At Stand Firm we suspect there may be some who will question Tory’s “commitment to the present day reformation” given his willingness to affirm Johnston’s ministry. It will be viewed by them as a compromised commitment.
There is one thing we can certainly celebrate in all this, however. Welby has publicly affirmed the orders of an ACNA minister. That will infuriate the liberals.
But others will be infuriated that Welby has promoted someone who also sought to affirm the place in the Communion of those pursuing heresy.
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