Bishop Robert Duncan: Why I believe this new North American Anglican Province is healing

We need a unified body both to heal the divisions among ourselves and to give the broader Anglican Communion a unified and coherent partner with which to be in relation­ship.

Forming the Anglican Church in North America is a significant step forward on both these fronts. It is an amazing God-given healing of that internal division and an opportunity for forming constructive relation­ships within the Communion.

Eleven fragments of “mainstream” Anglicanism in the United States and Canada were involved in the adop­tion of the provisional constitution: the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas (Rwanda), the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of An­glicans in North America (Nigeria), Forward in Faith North America, the Missionary Convocations of Kenya, Southern Cone (including the Bolivia and Recife networks), and Uganda, together with the Reformed Episcopal Church.

These fragments draw together some 700 congregations in North Am­erica, with an estimated 100,000 worshippers on average on any given Sunday. This constellation is thus numbered as larger than 13 of the provinces of the Anglican Com­munion (including Scotland and Wales), and compares to the 750,000 the Episcopal Church in the United States claims to draw every Sunday.

Please note: this was in last week’s print edition of the Church Times, which was available on the web for subscribers only. It is now available to all. Please read it attentively.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Continuum, CANA, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

14 comments on “Bishop Robert Duncan: Why I believe this new North American Anglican Province is healing

  1. WilliamS says:

    “The excitement among the parti­cipants drafting the provisional constitution, the deep unity to which we are committed, and the vision of a Church effective in presenting the gospel to 140 million unchurched and dechurched souls bodes well for a renewed Anglicanism in North America.”

    This is the crux of the matter: mission. I also believe that the new Anglican Province will draw godly and talented men and women from mainstream protestantism influenced over the past several years by Anglican Robert Webber, Methodist Thomas Oden (who claims in his 3-Vol. Systematic Theology that his method is Anglican), and the greater evangelical interest in Eastern Orthodoxy. I believe that many of these mainline evangelicals who are not able to fully embrace Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism and have been wary of the Episcopal Church will find their home in the Anglican Church of North America.

    William Shontz

    [url= ]The Lake Erie Confessing Anglican[/url]

  2. New Reformation Advocate says:

    May it be so, William. As a Wheaton grad who was deeply influenced by Dr. Bob Webber there, I think that there are many evangelicals who are more inclined than ever to walk “the Canterbury Trail,” so to speak. The new Anglican Studies tracks at places like Fuller or Gordon-Conwell seminaries are promising signs of that new wave of interest in Anglicanism among evangelicals.

    And as for the article, I think it’s remarkable for its modesty and lack of hype. It’s very winsome, and takes no potshots at the Covenant process. Another fine statement by +Bob Duncan the Lion-Hearted.

    David Handy+

  3. laud says:

    [blockquote]These fragments draw together some 700 congregations in North Am­erica, with an estimated 100,000 worshippers on average on any given Sunday.[/blockquote]

    And still we get the dodgy math. The admitted figure of congregations is 656, as reported by Timothy Morgan from Wheaton in Christianity today,and confirmed on SF. But of course, all we hear now is a nice round 700 (or in +Minns case recently, ‘more than 700’).

    As for the 100,000 figure – when did it suddenly morph into ASA? The Common Cause press release stated:

    [blockquote]The movement unites 700 orthodox Anglican congregations, representing roughly 100,000 people…[/blockquote]

    Doesn’t sound like ASA to me. Nor does Morgan’s piece for CT again:

    [blockquote]…the new entity, which comprises 656 congregations, 800 clergy, 30 bishops, and 100,000 people in regular worship.[/blockquote]

    ‘People in regular worship’ now becomes ASA? But, of course no proof of figures is ever provided. Others have done the math on estimated ASA for ACNA – the figures just do not add up. E.g. the published combined ASA of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth [b]before[/b] the split was only 19,000. And CANA estimated earlier this year that their ASA was larger than 79 of TEC’s diocese, which would be only just under 9,000. REC has only c.12,000 members in total and ACiA about 25,000, and no-one believes that every single member is attending every Sunday.

    Until evidence of this 10,000 ASA is produced it should be taken with a large dose of salt.

  4. robroy says:

    “Until evidence of this 10,000 ASA is produced it should be taken with a large dose of salt.”

    Better try a grain of salt, Laud. Wouldn’t want to drive your blood pressure up.

  5. Jeremy Bonner says:

    Regardless of his motive, Laud has a point. Numbers inflation is on of those failings to which many denominations are prone, especially in the springtime of their existence. No less than a figure than Peter Frank – who has had more to do with processing the numbers than most people – admitted not so long ago in my presence that much of the data gathered for ACN – and now presumably for Common Cause – is of a very provisional nature. We have, as yet, few mechanisms for verification or quality control – something that handicapped the famous federal censuses of religion in the early twentieth century, which relied on questionnaires mailed to known clergy to report the size of their flocks. No one questions the vitality or enthusiasm of many of the new ACNA congregations, but let us not fall into the trap of proclaiming the most rosy figures we have as gospel, just to put our critics on the spot. If they turn out to be inflated, we are the ones who will ultimately pay.

    [url=]Catholic and Reformed[/url]

  6. Larry Morse says:

    Laud is probably right in his skepticism. ACNA is treating its entrance into the world as if it need be a marketing strategy. It is doubtful that advancing a diocese is like selling cars. Larry

  7. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Jeremy (#5),

    Point well taken. I agree with you. We don’t yet have hard, frim data that could verify that 100K figure. But then again, neither do our foes have a way of disproving it either. On the whole, I’d say the leaders of the CCP/FCA/ACNA have been much more fair and reasonable, however, in their estimation of the strength of their growing movment that ++KJS and other spokesmen for the current administration of TEC. The PB continues to try to portray those leaving TEC as a teeny tiny minority of disgruntled folks who are statistically insignificant. That isn’t merely misleading; it’s blatantly false and appears to be deliberately deceitful.

    In time, the numbers will become clear enough. But your warning about using caution in throwing out numbers is well-founded. As usual, I appreciate your voice of moderation in these tense times.

    David Handy+

  8. mannainthewilderness says:

    I find it interesting that both sides continue to inflate their numbers. All press releases involving 815 cite the 2.4 million member Episcopal Church as ACNA touts 100,000 ASA. My guess is that both sides are desperately trying to create facts on the ground to accomplish their ends.

  9. laud says:

    [blockquote]…in a lead article in The New York Times, a senior professor of religion at Duke University called the coming together of so many Anglican fragments “unprecedented”.[/blockquote]

    ACNA has not brought together ‘so many Anglican fragments’ – it has only brought together those under Southern Cone, Nigerian, Ugandan, Kenyan and Rwandan ‘missions’, i.e. relatively recent breakaways. Which is not particularly remarkable. The only addition is the REC. None of the 60’s and 70’s born Anglican ‘continuum’ has signed up.

    [blockquote]…there is a reasonable expectation of recognition early on by the Primates Council and provinces of the GAFCON movement.[/blockquote]

    Which means absolutely nothing, other than a few Anglican provinces are in communion with ACNA; much as a few Anglican provinces are in communion with the Church of Sweden. So? It will take recognition by a full 26 Anglican Primates (and the same to request TEC’s removal and replacement) to even begin any ball rolling on official AC membership, and few will do that – given that it’s a green light to schism in their own backyard. As it is, ACNA has not even got the public support of the whole GAFCON Primates Council – West Africa has said nothing, neither has Tanzania (a supposed future member). In fact the silence from the world’s primates to ACNA’s formation has been deafening.

  10. PresbyG says:

    Why is realignment along theological lines considered ‘schism’?

  11. robroy says:

    Laud, let’s not get too excited. Remember the blood pressure. The Duke professor said unprecedented. Can you name a precedent? The Common Cause Partners have done well bringing together the various groups that they have and more can be expected. I appreciate your concern whether the new province will be recognized. But you really need not concern yourself. With the TEO and ACoC evaporating, recognition of the last standing, will certainly come.

  12. robroy says:

    #8: The denomination’s membership is inflated with people that have died or moved away (sort of like Chicago politics). But one can look at the inflated data [url=http://www… ]here[/url]. Even if one includes non-domestic dioceses, the TEO hasn’t seen 2.4 million members since 2004. If one is talking about only domestic dioceses, then it’s been over 10 years.

  13. montanan says:

    I appreciate using ASA instead of membership. I’d love for all organizations to use true ASA. To paraphrase President Reagan, verification is difficult (yet important) and one would like to trust the numbers given.

  14. Milton says:

    laud, thy name is Tobias and Sanballat. Your scorn will have as much effect on ACNA as their scorn did on Ezra and Nehemiah in preventing jerusalem and the Temple from being rebuilt when Cyrus sponsored the Jews return to their land in the plan of God.

    Of course the primates as a group have not yet recognized ACNA as a province. They haven’t met as a body in the almost 3 weeks(!) since the draft of the covenant was accepted by the members of ACNA, who themselves say that application to province status has not been made yet, but is upcoming and being prepared for carefully. But they will meet soon. And at some future meeting, at the appropriate time, don’t be too surprised when they do issue such reccommendation. Best be prepared so the blood pressure doesn’t go up too much!

    Of course, several prominent primates have voiced their approval of ACNA, which is not to be sniffed at unless you wish to diminsh those primates’ standing by implication.