I debated posting an excerpt, but there is simply too much there and I do not want to lead you in any direction. You just need to read it–and, yes, all of it–very carefully. It has so much to say about the current situation in the Episcopal Church–KSH.
Category : –Proposed Formation of a new North American Province
Leaders of a conservative group of Anglicans in the United States will hold an organizational meeting later this month.
The inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will take place at the end of June in Bedford, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The meeting will bring together more than 700 congregations into a growing North American province in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
“We want the rest of the church to know that our bishop has our support,” said the Very Rev. Peter J.A. Cook, president of the Western Louisiana standing committee and rector of St. Michael and All Angels’ Church, Lake Charles. He added that the standing committee and the bishop have no plans to leave, but are committed to working for reform from within the church.
Fr. Cook said the statement also was intended to prepare the diocese for the possibility that it will need to approve the proposed Anglican Covenant on its own if General Convention fails to do so when it meets in Anaheim later this summer.
“If General Convention does not approve the Covenant or fails to consider it, I’d be most surprised if our diocese did not take up a resolution to approve it for ourselves with the encouragement of our bishop,” he said.
Dear Friends in Christ:
I am writing to you with news that may not be surprising to some, but may require some explanation for others. After over 13 years of discernment, I will be chrismated and received into the Eastern Orthodox Church on Orthodox Pentecost, June 7th. I will be making my church home at St. George Antiochian Cathedral in Oakland (Pittsburgh) along with my husband Chris, who was received in November 2007, my oldest daughter Meredith, my son-in-law Josh, my grand-daughter Katherine, and the child soon to be born into their family. Though my husband and my daughter became Orthodox before me, our attraction together to the Orthodox Church began several years before our move to Pittsburgh.
I understand that some will not understand why I am doing this, since we have worked together for the health of the Anglican communion, and since many Anglicans are now realigned and looking towards the recognition of a newly formed North American province. Please be assured that my efforts for our communion have always been wholehearted, and hopeful. Once the leaders of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada made it clear that they were not prepared to walk with the historic Church and the rest of the Anglican communion in areas of ethics and doctrine, the Realignment seemed to me the most authentic response for faithful Anglicans: unrepentant heterodoxy must be given a clear answer. While in Jerusalem and Jordan I was very encouraged by the ability of leaders with different expressions of Anglicanism to listen and to learn from each other, and was optimistic that the interplay between evangelicals, charismatics and anglo-catholics would bring about something very good. I pray that God will continue to guide Anglicans who care about orthodoxy and right practice in the Anglican communion.
At the same time, I have wondered for several years about the possibility of our continuing together, given the foundational differences that we have in our understanding of the Church, of the sacraments, and of the place of tradition. Recent developments, including the continuing autonomy of AMIA within the proposed new Province, suggestions that we can continue in parallel with TEC, Primatial statements that expressed satisfaction with the last Primates’ meeting when it seems to contradict GAFCON, and continued attention to pragmatics rather than to the nature of the Church have been very problematic, in my view. All the while, I have been drawn for some time in a compelling manner towards the Eastern Christian tradition, and have gained deep appreciation for its apostolic claims, its ancient theologians, its healing disciplines, its sacramental spirituality and its rich liturgical tradition. Despite my temptation to stay and fight for the Anglican way, it seems clear to me now that I must go where the Lord is directing me.
I have been an Anglican for a quarter of a century, and am grateful for all that this communion has given to me””a sense of the mystery of God’s love, awe and joy in the liturgy, a grasp of the breadth of God’s Church, its purpose in mission, and its faithfulness in witness, even in very difficult times. I owe so much to many brothers and sisters, and to special fathers (and mothers) in Christ! You are in good hands with leaders in the realignment, Bishop Duncan and others. I hope that you will not be disappointed in me, but will bless me as I do what I believe God has been drawing me to do for over a decade. God willing, we will in time find ourselves in a single faithful and united body, fulfilling the Lord’s “high priestly” prayer for us! Be assured that I will continue to pray for you in your courageous stand for the gospel and the truth. I love you all, and will miss worshiping with you and working with you on a regular basis.
The Peace of Christ be with you all,
Finally, for those who are alienated within the Episcopal Church, the aim of the “professionally mediated discussion” has already been determined: “WCG believes that the advent of schemes such as the Communion Partners Fellowship and the Episcopal Visitors scheme instituted by the Presiding Bishop in the United States should be sufficient to provide for the care of those alienated within the Episcopal Church from recent developments.” (emphasis added)
According to this recommendation of the WCG, those within TEC will have two alternatives to choose from: a Communion Partners Fellowship scheme that has no details as yet beyond DEPO and mere fellowship, or an Episcopal Visitors scheme imposed by the Presiding Bishop. What is the point of gathering those alienated by TEC for a “professionally mediated conversation” when the results have already been pre-determined? Is it an opportunity for further indoctrination in the false gospel of TEC? Or institutional loyalty? Or simply an exercise designed to wear down their resistance to false teaching?
This report from the WCG is the culmination of five years of conversation, dialogue, schemes, reports, and committees that have all failed to adequately address the crisis before us. These efforts have failed in part because they have not adequately talked with or heard from those most hurt by this crisis, those persecuted orthodox Anglicans in North America. Skeptics will be forgiven for recognizing in these WCG recommendations the same processes that have failed to hold the Communion together, and the same processes of delay that TEC will take advantage of while imposing a false gospel at home and throughout the rest of the Communion.
This much is certain: American Christians would profit from taking church commitment at least as seriously as we take marital commitment. One pastor of my acquaintance includes an interesting exercise in premarital counseling. She has the couple plan each other’s funeral. She finds that this makes the spouses-to-be think about what kind of person their lover may be years or decades later. And then the two start talking about how they might best take care of each other and their marriage right now. By asking how their marriage may end, they discover how it may best begin and be sustained to its end.
Something of the same quality pertains to one’s marriage or commitment to a church. Maybe churches (and their ministries) really are about nothing more important than marrying and burying. Maybe marrying and burying are more closely connected than we think.
A group of conservative Anglicans in Canada and the United States has finalized plans to begin forming an alternate church in North America.
Leaders of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a collection of 12 Anglican organizations that began to unify last November, approved applications for the creation of 28 new dioceses in the church. The new church’s leaders also finalized a draft constitution and church laws ahead of its provincial assembly.
“It is a great encouragement to see the fruit of many years’ work,” said the Right Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop-elect of the Anglican Church in North America and bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. “Today 23 dioceses and five dioceses-in-formation joined together to reconstitute an orthodox, Biblical, missionary and united Church in North America.”
Leaders representing Canadian and US orthodox Anglican jurisdictions approved applications for membership of 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation and finalized plans for launching the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Twelve Anglican organizations are uniting to form the ACNA.
The ACNA Leadership Council, in addition to accepting these dioceses as constituent members, finalized a draft constitution and a comprehensive set of canons (Church bylaws) for ratification by the provincial assembly. A list of the new dioceses, the constitution and the canons will soon be available at www.united-anglicans.org.
“It is a great encouragement to see the fruit of many years’ work,” said the Right Reverend Robert Duncan, archbishop-elect of the Anglican Church in North America and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. “Today 23 dioceses and five dioceses-in-formation joined together to reconstitute an orthodox, Biblical, missionary and united Church in North America.”
Three Christian leaders, Pastor Rick Warren, Metropolitan Jonah, and the Rev. Todd Hunter have agreed to be among those addressing the organizing Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America scheduled for June 22-25 at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas.
But the fact the Global South is at the forefront of fuelling the North American schism is not that surprising, said Philip Harrold, a professor of Church history at the Trinity School Ministry in Pennsylvania, an Anglican seminary.
“The history of Christianity in general and Anglicanism in particular is the history of movement from one epicentre of growth and vitality to another. And the Northern Hemisphere churches by and large are in a period of decline. If you look at the Global South the contrast is remarkable. They are the ones sending missionaries out into the world, which is always a sign of health and vigor and commitment. That seems to be where the communion is going. It’s part of a wider picture of Christianity in general.”
Since 1910, the Christian population of Africa has grown from 10 million to 360 million today.
Bishop Duncan echoed the insistence of the Primates that theirs was not a breakaway movement. “I’m a cradle Anglican. My grandfather was a boy chorister. . . My theological views haven’t changed. The problem is that folks who have become the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the United States have pulled the rug out from under me. The person who is our Presiding Bishop, she didn’t begin as an Anglican. I did. She represents something very different. I don’t think I’m a breakaway.
“I don’t believe I have divided the Church. I believe the innovators are the ones who are dividing the Church. I love them, and I want to behave in a godly way towards them, and I will do everything I can to convince them about the truth that’s been delivered; but my focus now has to be on those who don’t know Jesus.”
A meeting in London this week of traditionalist Anglicans has dismissed attempts to accommodate orthodox believers and says that if the liberal leaders of the North American churches sign up to the proposed Anglican Covenant ”˜in good conscience’, it will be meaningless.
The leaders of the Gafcon movement issued a communiquÃ© after their meeting at a hotel near Heathrow Airport in which they gave recognition to dissident Anglicans in North America. They said: “The FCA Primates’ Council recognizes the Anglican Church in North America as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA.”
In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.
We meet in the week after Easter, rejoicing again in the power of the risen Lord Jesus to transform lives and situations. We continue to experience his active work in our lives and the lives of our churches and we rejoice in the Gospel of hope.
From its inception, the GAFCON movement has centered on the power of Christ to make all things new. We have heard this week of the great progress made in North America towards the creation of a new Province basing itself on this same biblical gospel of transformation and hope. We have also envisioned the future of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans as a movement for defending and promoting the biblical gospel of the risen Christ.
Yet we are saddened that the present crisis in the Anglican Communion of which we are a part remains unresolved. The recent meeting of Primates in Alexandria served only to demonstrate how deep and intractable the divisions are and to encourage us to sustain the important work of GAFCON.
The GAFCON Primates’ Council has the responsibility of recognizing and authenticating orthodox Anglicans especially those who are alienated by their original Provinces. We are also called to promote the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) in its stand against false teaching and as a rallying point for orthodoxy. It is our aim to ensure that the unity of the Anglican Communion is centered on Biblical teaching rather than mere institutional loyalty. It is essential to provide a way in which faithful Anglicans, many of whom are suffering much loss, can remain as Anglicans within the Communion while distancing themselves from false teaching.
At this meeting highly significant progress was made on the following fronts.
Joining the archbishops in the three-day meeting are the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh in the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone and the archbishop-designate of the ACNA; the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth in the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone; the Rt. Rev. Charles Murphy; the leader of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA); the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America and one of his bishops suffragan, the Rt. Rev. David Anderson; the Rt. Rev. John Guernsey, Provincial Bishop Suffragan for the Anglican Church of Uganda; the Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, Bishop of All Saints Diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya; and the Rt. Rev. Don Harvey, leader of the Anglican Network in Canada.
HERNDON, Va. (April 9, 2009) ”“ The Convocation of Anglicans in North America announced that five congregations from five different states have joined the orthodox Anglican organization.
The new CANA members are as follows: Coventry, Alabaster, Ala.; Christ Church, Baltimore, Md.; St. Stephens, Tullahoma, Tenn.; Holy Trinity, North Augusta, S.C., and St. Edmunds, Elm Grove, Wis.
“We are pleased to welcome these new congregations into the CANA fellowship, a body of orthodox Anglican Christians here in the U.S. This is an exciting time to be Anglican given the renewed enthusiasm in this country and around the world. CANA provides an authentic connection to the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is what many Christians are seeking. We pray that each of these new congregations will grow in the fullness of our Lord Jesus Christ and continue to see lives transformed by the Good News of the Gospel,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.
With the addition of these congregations, CANA now includes 75 congregations across the U.S.
The charge to the Governance Task Force was to provide a strong skeleton around which a living Church could be built.
This letter is being sent to the whole Church as an introduction to the basic work that has been done, and in order to outline the process of discussion, adoption and ratification now ahead of us. Simply put, the whole Church discusses, the Provincial Council adopts, and the Provincial Assembly ratifies or sends back.
The principal time for suggesting changes to the draft canons is between now and the April meeting of Council. Comments and suggestions should be given to the jurisdictional representatives who compose the Common Cause Leadership Council by April 24th or sent to the chair of the Governance Task Force, Mr. Hugo Blankingship (email: governance [at] theacna [dot] org), no later than noon on Monday, April 20th. The Council can then consider these matters in deciding the form in which the canons are adopted. Once adopted, another period of publication and comment follows, but this time the advice from the local Church to its representatives to the Provincial Assembly (June 22-25) would take the form of recommendations on whether to ratify or reject individual canons or sections of canons. If, however, substantial concerns are identified in this latter period, it should be noted that it would be possible for the Council to meet, adopt and circulate further revised canons prior to the Provincial Assembly.
At least eight conservative congregations in Western Washington ”” including two that left the Episcopal Church ”” are forming a new Anglican diocese in the Northwest.
The Cascadia Diocese, as it’s being called, is the latest local example of the deep divisions splitting the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion over issues such as Scriptural authority and church teachings. The differences erupted in 2003 when the Episcopal Church confirmed the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire.
Here are some initial thoughts about recovering a better understanding and application of the Bishop’s role in our midst….
Chuck Lambert is helping to plant seeds to grow more Anglican churches in the United States and Canada.
The Lapeer resident is a member and business manager for St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Lapeer at 1009 N. Saginaw. “We’re in the process of setting up a new Anglican church in North America,” he said. “We want to get back to Christian ideals. We hope to plant new churches by increasing the number of members we have. We’re planting seeds for churches all over.”
The religion has deep roots that date back to the 1600s, as it split from England Anglicans and the Episcopal church due to theological differences. Lambert said people are becoming more receptive to the Anglican religion.
San Jose is now home to the new St. James Anglican Church. All are invited to celebrate the establishment of this community of faith. Sunday services will include a traditional mass at 9 am, and a contemporary service at 10:45 am.
St. James will be meeting at the Camden Community Center at 3369 Union Ave, San Jose, CA 95124. St. James has joined the newly-formed Anglican Church of North America, which unites 700 orthodox Anglican congregations, representing roughly 100,000 people in the United States and Canada.
The initial launch team for St. James has been drawn from the former leadership of St. Edward’s Episcopal Church. Fr. Ed McNeill, who led St. Edward’s for 10 years, is St. James Anglican Church’s first pastor. Six of the twelve members of St. Edward’s Vestry have left to help found St. James.
The decision of Fr. McNeill and other church leaders to found St. James Anglican Church marks the end of years of debate within St. Edward’s about supporting the efforts of The Episcopal Church USA. While members of the Episcopal Church have always welcomed a diversity of opinion, recent theological innovations by the national leadership have made it impossible for many orthodox Christians to remain.
The Episcopal Church has increasingly adopted policies that are unacceptable to orthodox Christians, departing from the primacy of Scripture. Church leaders have taken positions that undermine traditional teaching on the Divinity of Christ, Jesus’ resurrection and His role in salvation, Biblical standards on sexuality, and many of the tenets expressed in the Nicene Creed. These changes aligned the church with today’s social trends, and led the church away from its historic mission. The result has been declining attendance, declining ordinations and the departure of many clergy members, strained relationship with the global Anglican Communion, and nationwide lawsuits.
Fr. McNeill said, “We are very happy that the time of divisiveness has passed, and that healing can begin. We will miss our friends who have chosen to remain in the Episcopal Church and are committed to praying for them. We look forward to serving in the Bay Area as Anglican Christians.”
A website has been established at www.newanglicanchurch.com, to provide a means for community-building among Anglicans in the Bay Area. Those who have left the Episcopal Church, or who have been searching for Orthodox churches in the Bay Area, will have access to news and information, as well as an opportunity to communicate with others.
Bishop [Robert] Duncan is Archbishop-designate of the ACNA and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that is now under the auspices of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone. The Rev. J. Philip Ashey, chief operating officer and chaplain for the American Anglican Council, told The Living Church that Pittsburgh is one of the five applications for recognition as an ACNA diocese that have already been received. The deadline for applications is April 15.
Earlier this month, the Rt. Rev. John H. Chapman, Bishop of Ottawa in the Anglican Church of Canada, said he would authorize a congregation under his oversight to begin performing same-sex blessings in part because “while our church struggles to honor the call for gracious restraint in blessing same-sex unions, those who are proponents of cross-border interventions have and continue to show no restraint.”
That view was echoed this week during the House of Bishops’ spring retreat by Bishop Dan Edwards of Nevada. Bishop Edwards posted a blog entry noting that a number of bishops are considering the repeal of Resolution B033 because of what they perceive as a lack of reciprocal restraint by the ACNA.
The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has resolved unanimously to be “in abiding and full communion” with the emerging Anglican Church in North America. The Church of Nigeria, which counts more than a quarter of the world’s Anglican Christians as members, is the first Anglican province to formally accept the Anglican Church in North America as its North American partner within the Anglican Communion.
In making their decision, the leaders of the Church of Nigeria’s more than 140 dioceses also recommended that their province send a delegation to the Anglican Church in North America’s inaugural Provincial Assembly, to be held June 22-25 in Bedford, TX, “to demonstrate our enduring partnership in the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Leaving the Episcopal denomination (while remaining in the Anglican Communion) has given Mr. [John] Yates the freedom to plant churches in urban areas amid many Episcopal churches. (One is next door to Christ the King.) His goal is to plant 20 churches in northern Virginia before retiring. Christ the King was the third, and a fourth was recently planted in Arlington. Mr. Kurcina, 33, who is my son-in-law, is preparing to plant a fifth in Fairfax County.
For a growing number of young preachers like Christ the King’s Mr. [David] Glade, planting and then leading a new church is an ideal option. As orthodox Anglicans, they didn’t feel welcome in the Episcopal church. And they felt a strong calling to lead their own parish. Mr. Glade grew up as an Episcopalian in Jacksonville, Fla. After graduation from Florida State, he came to The Falls Church as an intern and spent four years as a youth leader before attending Trinity Seminary outside Pittsburgh. He returned to The Falls Church eager to lead a theologically conservative Anglican congregation. “In order to do that, you had to go out and do it yourself,” he told me.
“Every new church has an awkward phase, figuring out who they are and getting to know each other,” Mr. Glade says. That phase is over. Christ the King has also become financially self-sufficient. It aims to be a “healthy church,” like its parent. “A healthy church reproduces itself,” Mr. Glade says. Christ the King may soon do just that. Its assistant rector wants to plant his own church.
Since the ANiC was launched in November 2007 with two small churches, two priests, and two bishops, we have grown to comprise 73 priests and deaÂcons, three bishops, and 28 parishes, with a total average Sunday attendance of 3500. That initial growth has come from Canadian Anglicans who have felt conscience-bound to align with a biblically faithful Church, while still retaining their full Anglican identity. In recent years, tens of thousands have left the Anglican Church of Canada ”” and Anglicanism. The ANiC now provides an option for those who wish to remain Anglican. Our prayer and aim is that our future growth will come primarily from reaching out to the millions of unchurched Canadians through evangelism, church-planting, and discipleship.
Unfortunately, we are currently dealing with unnecessary and costly distractions because of litigation over church property. Despite our reÂpeated requests to seek mutually adÂvanÂtageous settlements through negoÂtiaÂtion or mediation, four AngliÂcan Church of Canada dioceses ”” New Westminster, British Columbia, Niagara, and Huron ”” have forced ANiC parishes into court. The Primates’ recent commuÂniquÃ© calling for gracious restraint and mediation gave us hope (News, 13 February), but so far the Anglican Church of Canada has insisted on pursuing disputes in the secular court system.
After a long and fruitless search for an opportunity to continue active ministry within The Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. David C. Bane, Bishop of Southern Virginia from 1998-2006, has “joyfully and gratefully” accepted an invitation from Archbishop Gregory Venables to be received as a bishop in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. He will serve in the Anglican Church of North America as an assisting bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Long-simmering divisions in the Diocese of Southern Virginia culminated in Bishop Bane’s decision to resign in 2006. In a March 9 letter to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop Bane said he believed that his “remaining as bishop would prevent the diocese from healing and moving forward as so much of the blame and animosity continued to be focused on me personally.” He said his decision to resign also was predicated on assurances that there would still be opportunities for him to exercise his vocation within The Episcopal Church. The Living Church received a copy of Bishop Bane’s letter.
Before he and his wife, Alice, relocated to the Diocese of East Carolina and joined an Episcopal parish near their new residence, Bishop Bane said he contacted that diocese’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel. He said he had to contact Bishop Daniel three times before he was able to arrange a meeting and that since then, Bishop Daniel has initiated no contact, nor has he returned his phone calls or letters. Bishop Daniel also has refused to include him on the clergy mailing list. Bishop Bane said he learned second hand that Bishop Daniel had intervened to remove his name from consideration as an interim at a nearby parish.
To me, the turning point in Canada came at General Synod two years ago in Winnipeg when a motion was passed that indicated that same sex blessings are not in conflict with the core creedal doctrines of the Anglican Church of Canada. When that was passed, for me it was game over ”“ as far as being able to stay in the Anglican Church of Canada was concerned.
The Anglican Church of Canada has now made up its mind, has now decided what its theology is going to be and all they are hanging back on is timing. When will be the best time to do this with the least fallout? At the end of the synod, it was agreed that they would spend an extra three years studying this, with no diocese taking action. Despite this talk of restraint, since that time, six separate dioceses have voted to ask their bishop for permission to proceed with same sex blessings.
And two weeks ago the Diocese of Toronto, with its four bishops, decided they were going to authorize certain parishes within the diocese to perform same sex blessings without taking it to synod at all. They rationalized that, since it was only going to be allowed in a small number of parishes, there was no real harm in it. This sort of reasoning makes no sense at all.
This past year, we have gone through a series of struggles on both sides of the border. Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh has been a great champion in the United States as have a number of other diocesan bishops. And they have been a great help to us, because it is very difficult to stand alone. Together with them we are planning to see if we can form a new province in North America.
But on what basis do they make their objection? On procedure? That’s a tough sell for a movement willing to violate ecclesiastical procedures in setting up their alternative province.
Luther based his Reformation on Scripture. Here, once again, the schismatics fall short. Jesus himself said nothing whatsoever about homosexuality, although he did affirm the religious laws set out in the book of Leviticus. But if that is the redoubt for the conservatives, they would be obliged to observe and enforce the other Levitical proscriptions as well ”“ beginning, I suppose, with the fabric content of the purple shirts they’re wearing! One of the Levitical proscriptions warns against wearing garments of mixed fabric.
If the conservatives truly wanted to “prooftext” their case against Gene Robinson, they should quote Titus 1:6, where St. Paul mandated that church leaders should be “the husband of one wife.” Gene Robinson, a divorced man, presumably would not qualify (nor would some other bishops). Jesus, after all, said nothing explicit about homosexuality; he did, however, have something to say about divorce — and none of it good.
Having struck out with both procedure and Scripture, the schismatics are left only with tradition.