Bishops from the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas (including the Anglican Coalition in Canada), the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church are invited to attend the first-ever Common Cause Council of Bishops in Pittsburgh, PA, September 25-28. Two of the Common Cause Partners, the American Anglican Council and Anglican Essentials Canada, are not ecclesial jurisdictions and do not have bishops. Several other Anglican jurisdictions are currently in the membership process.
Since its formation in 2004, Anglican bodies connected to each other through Common Cause have committed to working together for “a Biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.” Together, they have crafted a common theological statement and articles of federation. Both are being considered and adopted by each Common Cause Partner.
“By the time we meet, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church will have given its response to the Anglican Communion as to its decision to ”˜walk apart.’ By contrast, I expect our gathering to signal a new level of ”˜walking together’ both with each other and with the wider Anglican world,” wrote Anglican Communion Network Moderator and Common Cause convener Bishop Robert Duncan. The meeting, said Bishop Duncan, is the result of many years of work toward Anglican unity, work responding to resolutions of both the Lambeth Conference of Bishops and The Episcopal Church’s General Convention.
Bishop Duncan went on to describe the purpose of the gathering as fivefold.
1) to take the Common Cause Partnership to the next level of development in mission together;
2) to showcase ministry initiatives of any of the partners that might be shared with all the partners (e.g., The Anglican Relief and Development Fund);
3) to share understandings of the purpose and role of bishops such that some common guidelines for the making of bishops relative to numbers of communicants and congregations might be developed;
4) to consider whether a permanent Common Cause College of Bishops might be created, in order that ever greater levels of communication, cooperation and collaboration can be built; and
5) to initiate discussion of the creation of an “Anglican Union” among the partners, moving forward the vision of the Primates of the Global South for a new “ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA.”
“The Council of Bishops lacks the voice of the laity. It is not a full synod of the Common Cause Partners, but it is the next step agreed upon by the Common Cause Roundtable. While it is not the end of our journey, it does continue the trajectory of ever greater unity and ever closer cooperation between those of us who know Jesus as the only Lord. In the challenging weeks and months ahead, let us say our prayers, do the work before us and trust ”˜that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new,’” said Bishop Duncan.