Philip Ashey offers some thoughts on the ACNA's Second Provincial Council

At this Provincial Council, we were inspired by a new generation of thirty-something preachers and teachers, including the Rev’s Stewart Ruch, Theresa Russell and Rusty Elisor, who reminded us that God is sovereign and in control (Eccl. 8:16-17), that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit birthed a missional church whose first step was to leave the buildings, get out into the streets, cross cultural boundaries, hang out with people, share the good news in their own language, and establish communities of incarnational discipleship marked by radical generosity and joy (Acts 2:42-47), and that we must always hide ourselves in no other foundation than Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:11-15). The election of the Rev. Dr. Foley Beach as bishop of the new Anglican Diocese of the South – one of the youngest bishops to serve in the College of Bishops – heralds a new and rising generation of leaders within the ACNA. I can assure you that we will be well served by this new generation of shepherds, preachers and teachers who will both guard and proclaim the faith once delivered!

All of this would not be possible without the resurrection power of Jesus Christ at work in our midst. May it ever be so!

“…And the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings…” We all want to share in the power of Jesus’ resurrection. But how many of us want to share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, including persecutions? Paul wants us to know that there is no knowing Jesus Christ, or the power of his resurrection, without sharing in the fellowship of his sufferings.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

6 comments on “Philip Ashey offers some thoughts on the ACNA's Second Provincial Council

  1. Sarah says:

    RE: “Now we are 811, including mission partner congregations.”

    But why include “mission partners” since by definition they are not members of ACNA and may be institutions of any denomination — not even Anglican?

    Why not be straight up with the figures and provide clarity? All the lack of clarity does is offer fodder for foaming revisionists — which they are feeding on a-plenty. Not to mention that clarity is always nice for traditional Anglicans as well. According to Foley Beach ACNA has 612 member congregations. That’s fantastic. Why blur things and muddle things by throwing in the Mission Partner congregations into the numbers?

    RE: “That is more than two new congregations per week – and the very pace at which we may well realize the astonishing challenge of planting 1000 new congregations in five years. . . . The efforts in forming these new dioceses represent a miraculous unification of churches from the Southern Cone, Bolivia, Uganda, CANA, AMiA and the APA for the sake of gospel mission and church planting.”

    Oh — I don’t think the planting of 1000 new congregations in five years is at all “astonishing” if it’s going to include the AMiA and the APA tossed in for good measure [which entity also declined to join ACNA]. Why not count *all* the Continuing churches as ACNA churches? Then the number of 1000 could be reached even sooner than 5 years.

    And adding in all the Continuing churches appears to be in part going on through simply adding in the FACA churches through the back door, so to speak. According to Bishop Duncan’s speech: “We are 811 congregations at Amesbury, not yet including all the congregations of the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (a Ministry Partner) that are now requesting inclusion in our church data base and online Church Finder.”

    The FACA member categories may be found here:

    They include the ACA, the Diocese of the Holy Cross, the Episcopal Missionary Church, the APA . . .

    Simply incoherent.

    The same thing is going on in individual announcements of new dioceses as well — here are my comments on the Diocese of the South announcement: [blockquote]At the end of this release, it lists 20 “Member and Partner Parishes” — but does not distinguish between the two designations next to each parish name, as if those distinctions are somehow not important.

    Of course, those distinctions are important. First, were I a departing Anglican layperson I would wish to know which parishes are members of ACNA — and which are not — so that I could then make choices as to where I would wish to worship. Second, actions have consequences. AMiA, for instance, as well as the APA, have chosen not to be a member of ACNA. That choice has advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages, to my lay peon and admittedly TECian mind, is that AMiA and APA parishes are not a part of ACNA and thus not a part of re-unification, no matter the glossy spin placed on the designation “ministry partner.” That doesn’t mean that the AMiA or the APA made the wrong decision — not at all. But bundling all the parishes together without clear delineation as to which is which implies something that is not true, which is that the designations do not matter, and that organizational unity exists when it does not. Third, it’s a clear and obvious question that any press person would wish to know, since by the designations’ obvious omission, the question is raised automatically. Finally, it brings up an unanswered question.

    Are dioceses approved for membership in ACNA able to be made up of both “member” parishes and “ministry partners” parishes which are not member parishes?[/blockquote]

  2. evan miller says:

    I agree with all of Sarah’s points. The whole issue of including “ministry partners” is troubling. If they choose to reamin aloof, they are not part of ACNA and should not be included in ACNA dioceses, nor should their primatal vicar have seat on the provincial council. Either be an integral part of ACNA or don’t get included. The Anglican Mission is doing ACNA a grave disservice by refusing to fullly integrate. It seriously degrades ACNA’s pretentions to provinceial status. Perhaps it would be more accurate for the Anglican Mission to change their name to the Rwandan Mission. seems more accurate to me.

  3. jamesw says:

    I also agree with Sarah’s points. If the ACNA is reduced to the sort of tawdry marketing campaigns that we often see in failing organizations (e.g. TEC, ACoC) in which vast claims are made which are easily seen through, then it should expect that observers will begin to think of the ACNA as likely to be in the same situation. It would be much better to for the ACNA to claim it has “over 600” congregations.

    I know this parable isn’t really on point, but it does bring it to mind:

    When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  4. flaanglican says:

    In fairness to the ACNA, [url=]their website[/url] spells it out precisely:
    [blockquote]The Anglican Church in North America has 614 congregations and 197 Ministry Partner congregations in 55 U.S. states and Canadian provinces.[/blockquote]
    In addition, scrolling through the congregations per state, a “Ministry Partner” label is provided for those particular parishes.

  5. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Thanks, #4. Unfortunately, the ACNA news releases haven’t been consistent, in one place celebrating the existence of 811 congregations now, in another place just 614. But personally, I think a more troubling case of implausible and regrettable spinning was when the ACNA website described the recent AMiA decision to drop back to Ministry Partner status as “ACNA and AMiA [b]strengthen ties[/b]”

    But on the positive side, there’s much in this fine article by Fr. Ashey that’s admirable and even inspiring. I particularly welcome his emphasis on how God is raising up some relatively young leaders. And bishop-elect Foley Beach symbolizes that rising generation. And so does the Fr. Stewart Ruch he mentions in passing, who pastors one of the largest and most vibrant Anglican congregation in North America, booming Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton. My children attend there, and I’ve often worshiped there too. This flourishing AMiA church has an ASA over 700 and is flooded with young families with kids.

    I was saddened to hear the bad news about ++Venables’s home in Buenos Aires being severely damaged. I’m glad the AAC is soliciting funds to help with repairs. The new chairman of the FCA Primates’ Council has certainly taken a number of blows lately, and he needs and deserves all the support he can get.

    Finally, I appreciated Fr. Ashey’s reflection on the significance of the ministry of that great Celtic missionary, St. Columba. It’s indeed intriguing that in the providence of God the Apostle of Scotland died shortly before St. Augustine of Canterbury landed in Kent. And not least, I heartily endorse Fr. Ashey’s observation that the Christendom era is over at last and that we must face the challenges of making disciples in a post-Christendom society. So true.

    David Handy+

  6. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Beware of press releases: once you hit the “enter” key you lose all control over what gets written. I am less concerned about head count than the filioque controversy.