I became Anglican because of the church calendar. (Not only because of the church calendar but it was part of the process.) Non-calendar Christians usually observe Christmas (not always Advent, though it is growing) and Good Friday and Easter. That’s about it. The rest of the year is up to the preacher, the pastor, the elders and deacons, and up to the congregation. Many pastors wisely organize their churches to be formed over time through a series of themes ”” or books of the Bible (Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper preached through Romans for almost two decades) ”” but none can improve on the centrality of Christ in the church calendar.
Category : Anglican Identity
..the real clash of cultures is happening not among governments, but between churches; specifically between churches in the West””that is, in Europe and the U.S.””and churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Last year the Washington Post ran a story about the growing tension between Anglican and evangelical churches in the West and their daughter congregations abroad. While many churches in Europe and America have shriveled as they drift from biblical Christianity, their counterparts in the global south have thrived. These missionary plants haven’t gotten the memo about rewriting two thousand years of Christian orthodoxy. And they’re puzzled and more than a little worried when Westerners come bearing the sexual revolution instead of the Gospel.
Episcopal Church expansion in the region occurred in three phases””in the nineteenth century, in the 1950s, and in 1980. No new Episcopal churches have been planted in the region since 1980. One of the churches, which was planted in the 1950s, closed in 2005. There is only one self-supporting parish in the Jackson Purchase; the other churches are subsidized missions, except for the oldest Episcopal church in the region. It is a preaching station.
The last Episcopal church planted in the Jackson Purchase, the one planted in 1980, experienced a church split following the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire. The group of conservative Episcopalians that broke away from the congregation affiliated with one of the Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. This group has experienced a number of splits of its own since that time and has been affiliated with three different Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. The Jackson Purchase’s two Continuing Anglican churches trace their origins to this group.
If any conclusion can be drawn from the experience of these two Continuing Anglican churches, it is that traditionalist High Church Anglo-Catholic congregations do not fare well in the region. Among the factors that may have contributed to their negligible growth is that the communities in which they are located are not diverse enough for them to find a niche for themselves in their respective communities. The two churches also have no connection with the communities in which they are located. While the Episcopal churches in the region are not exactly flourishing, they are, with the exception of the preaching station, doing better than the two Continuing Anglican churches.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, Bishop of Chile and Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of South America, made his comments in clear English during a meeting at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston, May 20. He said that, despite the Diocese’s separation from the Episcopal Church in 2012, the Diocese continues to be recognized as Anglicans by the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
“I’m here with you with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury,” said Bishop Zavala. He told those gathered that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was with the Global South Primates “Steering Committee” in a meeting in Cairo, Egypt in 2014 when “we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to some dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion” said Bishop Zavala.
Leaders from the Diocese of South Carolina and the Anglican Church in North America, led by Bishop Mark Lawrence and Archbishop Foley Beach, came together at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, South Carolina on April 28-29, 2015 for prayer, fellowship, and conversation.
We had frank exchanges that examined the possible compatibility of the ecclesiologies of the Anglican Church in North America and the Diocese of South Carolina.
There is a wide spectrum of polities in the provinces of the Anglican Communion and these differences affect the ways in which dioceses relate to their respective provinces. Provinces such as Nigeria are more hierarchical, while provinces such as South America are more conciliar. Our conversations began exploring the practical dimensions of how a diocese and province relate in the structure of the Anglican Church in North America.
In addition to personal hurt, the baggage accumulated here, again, might result in the “baby” of holiness getting thrown out with the “bathwater” of legalism. If the ex-fundamentalist does not become a New Atheist ”” the inverted modernist equivalent of the rationalizing fundamentalist ”” he might drift in the Anglican direction. Here he will decide whether to let John Spong usher him through the dusty halls of a bygone Protestant liberalism back towards Dawkins et. al. or, via the “Canterbury Trail,” he will head towards the more romantic tradition of Anglo-Catholicism. The temptation then is to construct an Anglican identity that is more concerned with “not being fundamentalist” than with being Christian. So ex-fundamentalists are largely reacting against pride and legalism, while ex-evangelicals are reacting against the spiritual emptiness of faddish evangelicalism. But, of course, there are degrees of mixture between the two.
In closing, I want to say that although this new generation of Canterbury Trail Anglicans has a lot to offer the Anglican and Episcopal churches which we now inhabit ”” especially in our greater desire for unity than many a Boomer who busies himself with ecclesial marketing, lawsuits, or even doctrinal and moral “purity” ”” we also carry a lot of baggage. Not having “stayed put” in those places where we originally received the faith, we struggle here too in this Anglican place to practice what we have come to preach. Here we counsel the local “cradle” Anglican evangelical not to throw overboard the riches of the tradition in order to fill the pews. But we also need to be reminded that without mission, evangelism, and, yes, conversion, the tradition simply becomes liturgical histrionics, much to the annoyance of the local Anglican evangelical. Finally, the new Canterbury Trail Anglicans need to be more than “not fundamentalists” or “not-Southern-Baptists.” Not only would such an attitude contradict the ecumenical spirit, not only does this tempt us to throw out the legitimate orthodoxies held by those we react against, but, contrary to the spirit of humility, it also tempts us to “via media” pride, as if we somehow have got it all together. Truth, humility, and unity are a package.
During this year past year, I made a very difficult decision to leave the only church I have known. I grew up in an Assemblies of God (AG) church. My family has been AG since the 1930s and is one of the oldest Pentecostal families in New Orleans. My father is an AG pastor and I have two brothers who are ordained AG ministers. I have held AG ministerial for a couple of years, but with the recent transition of the New Year (2015), my AG ministerial credentials have lapsed. God willing, I will be confirmed on January 25th into the Anglican Church by Bishop Todd Hunter at Holy Trinity in Costa Mesa.
I am not leaving with hurt, bitterness, or resentment. Quite the contrary, I maintain a deep love and respect for the church that taught me the name of Jesus. The last AG congregation I was a part of (in Pasadena, CA) was a wonderful group of people led by a theologically capable pastor that I appreciate greatly. I am excited about the direction of the AG (under George Wood) and I am confident that it will continue to thrive in the decades to come.
Because of my positive wishes toward my friends and family in the AG, I was not planning on sharing publicly my reasons for leaving. That is, I am not trying to convince people to leave the AG or even that it was a good idea for me to leave the AG. I actually want people to stay and make the AG even better. (I tried myself really hard to stay, and finally had to acknowledge that God was calling to the Anglican Church””or perhaps more accurately, God was making me into an Anglican). However, my friend (and fellow AG minister) Dan suggested that I give a public explanation for why I am leaving. His reasoning was that if people continue to leave silently, how will the AG address those issues which led to their exit from the church? I think Dan is right and so I am taking some time to explain how I became Anglican.
I am still elated from yesterday’s investiture of the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Right Rev. Dr. Foley Thomas Beach. It is always a joy at these gatherings of our Church to see so many old friends from across North America”“ it really does have the joy of a family reunion. I was so blessed to see the number of archbishops, bishops, clergy, laity and friends from all across the Anglican Communion with us (at substantial cost, I might add!) simply to rejoice with us in this milestone in the growth of our Anglican Church, and to reaffirm our communion with them and the vast majority of practicing Anglicans across the globe.
Here are just some of the high points for me:
”“The Communion anthem by the combined choirs on the Holy Spirit”“ it lifted me out of my seat and into the throne room of the Lord in worship, reminding me of our continuing need for a new Pentecost
”“ The presence of youth and adults, Americans, Canadians, Burmese, Nigerians (a Nigerian female deacon read the Gospel), all highlighting Archbishop ++Foley’s observation that we are indeed a “diverse lot”
”“ The greetings brought from The Rev. Preb. Charles Marnham, St Mark’s Chester Square London, on behalf of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, the Church of England Evangelical Council, Church Society, Reform, and the Anglican Mission in England”“ with the heartfelt reminder that we should never forgot “how many friends we have in the Church of England.”
But especially the Primates gathering around our new Archbishop, laying hands on him and praying together out loud the blessing, and adding in this significant sentence NOT in the original worship bulletin:
“Foley Beach, We receive you as an Archbishop and a Primate in the Anglican Communion.”
That they went out of their way, together, to pray this before the gathered people of God is a clear reaffirmation of the Primates’ authority to decide who is Anglican, and their confirmation of our Anglican identity on behalf of the vast majority of practicing Anglicans within the Communion.
Whether or not the Archbishop of Canterbury respects this, we will move on with the distinct mission to which our new Archbishop has called us”“ to be a repenting, reconciling, reproducing and relentlessly compassionate Anglican Church reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ!
…At the close of the prayer of investitute of the Most Rev. Foley Beach at the Church of the Apostles on 9 Oct 2014, the primates of Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Myanmar, Jerusalem and the Middle East and South America, and bishops representing the primates of the Congo, Sudan and South East Asia laid hands on Archbishop Beach. Giving him their primatial blessing, they also acknowledged him by word and through laying on of hands to be a fellow primate of the Anglican Communion.
The archbishops’ act comes one week after the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the Church of Ireland Gazette the ACNA was an ecumenical partner of the Anglican Communion..
Since 2008 the GAFCON primates have affirmed their fellowship with the ACNA. Last night saw primates of the Global South Coalition — conservative church leaders outside the Gafcon movement and seen as closer to Canterbury — join their African colleagues in validating publically the ACNA’s Anglican credentials.
The signficance of the statement, said one highly placed source who asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to speak for his peers, was that the 10 churches had made their positions quite clear to Archbishop Welby. If, as he told the BBC last Sunday, he would be guided by the mind of the primates in deciding issues of Anglican ecclesiology (such as the time of the primates meeting and structure and timing of the Lambeth Conferences), then he must now know that archbishops representing the majority of Anglicans worshipping today were in solidarity with the ACNA — and citing Daniel 6:15 said there was no turning back. (“Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”)
In essence, [Justin] Welby’s comments have re-stirred a critical question: Is being Anglican about being in communion with Caterbury, or is it about holding certain shared theological views?
Wood noted that Welby also said in the interview, “There is no Anglican Pope,” and that “decisions are made collectively and collegially.”
“The status of the ACNA within the Anglican Communion would, by extension of the same logic, be dependent upon the decisions of the primates and not solely upon the personal opinion Archbishop Justin,” [Steve] Wood said.
Once upon a time that recognition and authentication occurred through the meetings of the Primates, the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, churches of the Anglican Communion and resolutions of the Anglican Consultative Council “with the Primates assenting.”
But, the Archbishop of Canterbury never makes that decision alone.
Tomorrow in Atlanta, Georgia, eight Primates and other bishops representing the majority of practicing Anglicans worldwide will gather around the new Archbishop of the ACNA to lay hands on him and recognize him as a fellow Primate, and reaffirm the ACNA as a full member of the Communion of Anglican Churches. Canterbury’s absence from that future””without even an official representative””will be noted.
The Rev. Dr Mark Thompson of Sydney, Australia has written an excellent analysis of Canterbury’s statements in the light of Anglican polity and history. I encourage you to read his analysis below. In it, Dr Thompson pinpoints a major concern with Archbishop Welby’s interview. The Archbishop of Canterbury is assuming powers that rightfully belong to the Primates:
“ACNA could be, and perhaps already is [according to ++Welby], an ecumenical partner with the Anglican Communion but it cannot be considered a member of the Anglican Communion because (and this last bit is the implication of what he said rather than his own words) it is not in communion with Canterbury, it has not been recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself.
“This is a gigantic slap in the face to the Primates who represent the vast bulk of practicing Anglicans around the world and who, meeting in London in April 2009, recognized the Anglican Church in North America ”˜as genuinely Anglican’”¦” (Emphasis added)
That “slap in the face” stings worse when those who have already recognized the ACNA read more of what the Archbishop of Canterbury had to say:
“Virtually everywhere I’ve gone, the analysis is that the definition of being part of the Anglican Communion is being in communion with Canterbury. And I haven’t prompted that. I was quite surprised to hear that.” ”“ Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland Gazette
It has always been the role of the Primates to decide who is in the Communion of Anglican Churches”“ working together in their Primates’ meetings, through their Provinces, at the decennial Lambeth Conference of Bishops, and by prior assent to resolutions of the Anglican Consultative Council. This authority is recognized in Section 7.2 of the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council (revised 2010), which provides that the “Member Churches of the [Anglican Consultative] Council shall be those bodies listed in the Schedule”¦ with the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion.” (Emphasis added).
How is it possible that the Archbishop of Canterbury overlooked the polity of the Anglican Communion, its Instruments, and its documented history in granting membership to Churches?
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s insistence on communion with his office as a””if not the””defining characteristic of Anglicanism ought to come as no surprise. It is an institutional and process-driven answer to the question of Anglican identity from one who has shown himself to be more comfortable thinking in those categories than in theological ones. It makes the matter a simple one, one which can avoid divisive questions about whether a particular group has remained faithful to the confessional formularies (the 39 Articles and the books of Homilies, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal) or obedient to the Scriptures in matters of theology and Christian discipleship. Of course, it is not hard to see why avoiding those questions is desirable, especially to someone committed to maintaining some semblance of unity in a global institution which has been tearing itself apart for the past thirty years or more. Archbishop Welby has an impressive record in dispute resolution and he knows that institutional inclusiveness is a more achievable goal than theological agreement and a common commitment to biblical patterns of discipleship.
We must deny categorically and in the strongest possible terms that communion with the see of Canterbury is the determining factor when it comes to Anglican identity. It is not and never can be. A church, diocese or national body does not have to be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury in order to be a legitimate member of the Anglican Communion, especially if a majority of other Anglicans around the world recognise it as part of our fellowship. Anglican identity is fundamentally a matter of certain theological commitments, anchored ultimately in the authority of Scripture as God’s word written (Article 20), together with an agreement to operate with a common pattern of church government (the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons). The Anglican Church has always been confessional in nature, as witnessed by the history of subscription to the Articles, which began in the time of Cranmer and continues around the world today.
This week concludes our three-part BLOGFORCE challenge. The first challenge was, “Why the Church?” The second was, “Why Anglicanism?” This week, we asked, “Why the Episcopal Church?…”
Holli Powell blogs, “Why Why Why?”
And that’s exactly why the Episcopal Church, at least for this silly, frustrated soul. Because I care enough to keep slogging through this mess with these folks who all care just as much as I do, if not more, rather than separating from everyone and writing my own church creed with a cup of coffee in my hand in my back yard. Because all these arguments and disagreements mean that we are a family, bound together by the blood lines of liturgy and faith and reason, and even if you desperately want to run away from your family sometimes, you don’t get to. Because this institution has survived through hundreds of years in order to be just the thing I needed to remind me that I was a child of God, in order to remind me that everyone else is too. And it will survive hundreds of years more, God willing, in spite of ourselves, to be that for other Grumpy McFussypants just like me.