He calls himself a bishop of the Anglican Church. He is the International Ecumenical Officer of The Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches.

But who is Tony Palmer?

He was apparently ordained bishop by Robert Wise of The Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches http://www.theceec.org/index.html.

Tony Palmer is the founder of The Ark Community. http://thearkcommunity.org/who-we-are/

Why should I be interested in Tony Palmer. I should be interested in Tony Palmer because, apparently, Pope Francis is interested in Tony Palmer and on 14 January 2014 recorded a video message for his personal friend calling for unity in the church.

If you start watching this video, you may find it difficult to imagine that Pope Francis is going to make an appearance. But wait until 31:37 and indeed there is the Pope speaking to Tony Palmer from his private apartment in the Vatican.

In part the Pope says,

In the suburbs there are families that love each other and families that don’t love each other. Families who come together and families who separate themselves. We are kind of… permit me to say, separated. Separated because, it’s sin that has separated us, all our sins. The misunderstandings throughout history. It has been a long road of sins that we have all shared in.

Who is to blame? 

We all share the blame. We have all sinned. There is only one blameless, the Lord. I am nostalgic that this separation comes to an end and gives us communion.

It is difficult to know quite what to make of this remarkable statement and the fact that it was offered by the Pope in the context of a Kenneth Copeland Ministries Conference through a man who, although he calls himself “an Anglican bishop” would not, I believe be recognized by many Anglicans as in fact part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

It is hard to keep up with the pace of changes taking place in the world and throughout the church. The Pope’s willingness to address a conference of leaders of Kenneth Copeland Ministries (http://www.kcm.org/) raises many questions.

What is an “Anglican” when the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church embraces and calls for church unity through Tony Palmer?

What does this remarkable statement from the Pope and the context in which it is given indicate about the church and the way forward for the unity of the church?

What are the implications for Anglicanism? Has Justin Welby met with Anglican bishop Tony Palmer? What does the Archbishop of Canterbury think about the fact that the Pope has entrusted this remarkable statement on church unity to Tony Palmer?

I would be intrigued to hear from anyone who feels they can explain all this to me.