Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Continuum and Realignment

In a piece over at The Kew Continuum, Fr Richard Kew says, in part:

"During 2005 I have finally accepted the reality that the Episcopal Church of the USA as presently configured will not continue to exist for much longer, and that our responsibility is to start building constructively for the future. I don't really know what Anglican Communion Christianity is going to look like in North America in the years to come, but I suspect it will include many of us who are part of ECUSA, many of the more sensible separated jurisdictions both new and old, and I suspect a scad of those in the emergent churches who are exploring Anglicanism from the outside but would happily leap in if there was something acceptable for them to leap into.

"I suspect what emerges on the faithful end of the spectrum will be pretty loosy-goosy for a few years, but that some order will evolve from a tangle of networks, structured ecclesial organizations, and floating affiliations. I suspect, also, that at some point, although millions of dollars will have been thrown in the direction of attorneys before it happens, we will see some means emerge for faithful Anglicans to graduate out of ECUSA without the persecution that goes with it right now."

Meanwhile, The Living Church begins its review of 2005 with the following:

"The often-predicted, much-discussed realignment of the Anglican Communion began to take place during 2005, even though no official division of the opposing factions has been made. As the year drew to a close, various segments of Episcopal churches had separated themselves from the national structure, aligning themselves with Anglicans in other parts of the world. Former Episcopalians found themselves in the jurisdictions of bishops from such places as Rwanda, Bolivia, Nigeria, Uganda, South East Asia, and elsewhere. Some churches simply declared themselves independent and decided to wait for an official separation to take place. This seemingly unorganized departure highlighted news of the Episcopal Church during 2005."

Read both pieces at: and

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What I am curious about is whether the Continuuing Churches, any or all, are engaged in any strategic campaign, nationally or locally, to offer a haven to the hundreds or thousands of people who are desperately looking for one. With all the flap lately about "corporate" evangelical churches, I hesitate to use such concepts as "marketing campaigns" and "boosting market share at the expense of the competitor." But, in reality, that is what we are talking about here.

The last time I lived in England (1995-1999), I was amazed at the number of people who were disenchanted with the Church of England, but who considered that their only options were either to swim the Tiber or the Bosporus. People would look at me with incredulity when I told them about the 20-year-old Continuing movement in North America and suggested that this was a very real, and ultimately, more appealing option.

So, is anything being done to "seize the opportunity"?


Continuing Home said...

Very little, as far as I can tell. One group in our area ran some radio ads last year, but that is about the extent of it.

One of the problems is the limited coverage of the Continuing churches. Too many find themselves too far away from the nearest.

Another problem to be overcome may be the teaching against the Continuing churches (I know this was prevalent in the late 70s, I don't know if it is anymore).

J. Gordon Anderson said...

I think that we are trying to reach disaffected Episcopalians in general, but 'how much' depends on the parish. Sadly, many continuing parishes are just as much social clubs as their ECUSA counterparts, so evangelism is not an item of real interest.

At my parish we are trying to reach people, but we are far out in the country, so there are not a lot of people in general to reach (we get very few visitors even though we have a decent sized parish). Also, being out in the sticks means that the ECUSA parishes around us are a bit more orthodox than the ones in the city and suburbs, so many episcopalians in those parishes do not feel the changes going on around them in the denomination, and so they don't leave ECUSA. It is tough.