Wednesday, May 23, 2007

ACC, UECNA in Communion Accord

(Archbishops Haverland, left, and Reber)

I read the following news this morning with great joy.

On Ascension Day, May 17, 2007, The Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) and the United Episcopal Church (UECNA) entered into a communion agreement. Archbishop Stephen Reber of the UECNA and Archbishop Mark Haverland of the ACC signed the agreement at Saint Stephen's Pro-cathedral, Athens, Georgia to restore or reaffirm the state of communio in sacris between the churches. This agreement came into immediate effect, though it still needs to be ratified by the ACC Provincial Synod and the UECNA Convention.

“This comes at a time when Anglicanism in the USA is at a crossroads, when people are looking for firm ground to stand on and a place to belong,” said Bishop Leo Michael of the UECNA, who was present at the meeting along with Bishop Presley Hutchens of the ACC. The four Bishops celebrated Ascension Day with a noon Eucharist after signing the agreement.

“We recognize in each other the presence of the essentials of the Christian Faith, Catholic Order, Apostolic Succession, Anglican worship, and Christian morals,” said Archbishop Mark Haverland.

The 1977 Congress of St. Louis, thanks to the efforts of the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen (FCC), was an answer from faithful Episcopalians and Anglicans, both laity and clergy, to the exigencies of changes wrought by the then Episcopal Church USA. Their ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate and the doctrinally controversial 1979 Book of Common Prayer necessitated the birth of the Continuing Church. The churches were determined to “continue in the Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and Evangelical Witness of the traditional Anglican Church, doing all things necessary for the continuance of the same.”

Thirty faithful years later, impelled by the commonness of origin and the common participation in the one holy catholic and apostolic church, the ACC and the UECNA have come forth with a pastoral provision. The effect of the agreement will be to make explicit the somewhat doubtful continuation of the communion that many believe has always persisted between the two churches, both of which stem from the Denver consecrationsof bishops in January 1978.

Members of both churches will be welcomed at the altars of both bodies, and the clergy of both will be available for baptisms, funerals, and marriages as needed. Each church has agreed to consult carefully with the other in all matters affecting the other, including episcopal acts and ecumenical relations with other bodies and churches.

“This agreement constitutes an important movement towards restoring the unity of the Continuing Church, which stems from the Congress of Saint Louis and the Denver consecrations," said Archbishop Mark Haverland. “It is the contention of both that this Continuing Church subsists in the ACC, the UEC, and the Anglican Province of Christ the King. The organic unity of these three Churches remains our first and most urgent ecumenical task.”

Both the churches pledge to work towards full organic union in a patient, unhurried manner, meanwhile respecting inessential differences and the other church's internal integrity.

“His church is trustworthy, not because it depends upon men, but because it depends upon Him who endowed it with power and who is ever present in its council called in His name” said Archbishop Stephen Reber of the UECNA.


ACC Member said...
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Tregonsee said...

The ingathering of the Faithful continues!

Anonymous said...

This seems to be a very good development. I think the exhortation to patience is very wise.

Isn't the ACC and ACPK already in communio sacis with one another?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Oh! I'm rejoicing. God is good. Thanks also to you faithful bishops for walking in His statutes. It pleases HIM when brethren dwell in peace. He will enlarge your tents.

Warwickensis said...

Gloria Deo!

Now this is a start! I pray that this may get the ball rolling and that we find ourselves with a unified Orthodox and Catholic Continuum.

ACC Member said...
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Abu Daoud said...

Great start. Look forward to seeing Continuing Anglican missionaries in the Middle East evangelizing and planting churches.

I'll help set it up and will talk with anyone interested in sending or coming here.

How can a church be Catholic and not have a presence in the Holy Land?

E-mail me if you are called or if you want to figure out how to send or with any questions at all.


Anonymous said...


I would think that the APCK and the UECNA should have a formal agreement. Once that is done then things could proceed.

I hope that the ACC notified or discussed this with the APCK before this announcement.


Anonymous said...

Albion, I already responded to your comment over on my blog, but I'll also comment here for the benefit of all, and as an introduction to the regulars. Hi folks!

First of all, thanks be to God for this, and congratulations to all members of the aforementioned churches.

I hope that my jurisdiction (ACA) will be united with you all soon, but I did read Fr. Kirby's and Bp. Haverland's writings posted here some time ago on that subject, and I realize that the baggage from the past is legitimate and more than just snobbery.

I can't begin to tell you how frustrating it is, seeing as how the "view from the pew" is that I feel like an island and I hate having to ask my bishop if I can communicate at the "Anglican" church I find nearby when traveling. I don't think there is any excuse whatsoever for the churches that subscribe to the Affirmation of St. Louis not to sit down (electronically if need be, good grief, it's the 21st century) and forge intercommunion as soon as possible. Let apologies be made, let doctrinal and ecclesial stances be clarified, let there be conditional reordinations if necessary, but let it be done. It is beyond question that we are brethren, and we ought to dwell together in (visible) unity.

But of course I am young and of little understanding, and my wishful thinking does not remove any of the hurdles. I came into the Continuum in 1992, after Deerfield Beach had already happened, certainly not appreciating all the issues at stake, nor really having any choice in the matter (since there aren't often several Continuing churches to choose from in a single town). If you will excuse my analogy, I was born smack dab in the middle of the 40 years in the wilderness. It's possible I will escape the punishment of the previous generation and one day enter the Promised Land, but I sure ain't there yet.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Abu Daoud:

You asked a question that I can answer only in a very Anglican manner. We are not, all by ourselves, the One True Church. We are simply a branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. To us this "Branch Theory" is an obvious fact. Therefore, the Church is in the Holy Land in a visible and recognizable way.

However, there may well be Continuing Anglican churches in the Holy Land. Furthermore, where Anglicanism is free from unorthodox doctrines, the Continuing churches are not really needed. I do not know the condition of Anglicanism in that part of the world, I must admit (except for my knowledge that in years past some of its leaders have been much too political).

I know a little about St. George's in Jerusalem, but not enough to go into details, especially as my knowledge is probably outdated by now.

Albion Land said...

Abu Daoud, habibi,

I have had computer problems, which have included my losing my address book. I can't make heads or tails out of the address you attached to your comment, so email me and I will do my utmost to set you on the path of planting the first continuing Anglican congregation in the Holy Land.

ACC Member said...
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Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the UECNA site about the accord, with pictures:

Maybe as another step the ACC and UENCA could share a website or at least a common information website.


Anonymous said...

Yes, once these churches share the same name and websites, then they are truly united. Until then it is all just on paper.

Anonymous said...

Actually this is a repeat of the same action that transpired during the Autumn of 1991 between the late ACC Archbishop William Lewis and then UECNA Bishop Albion Knight. Nothing new here. Unfortunately in under five years the UECNA unilaterally walked away from that agreement under circumstances that placed the issue of Apostolic Succession in the UECNA under grave doubt. The current reagreement, if you will, is a hopeful sign and may it hold this time.
I offer a personal speculation: I wonder if this action could provide a model for the beginning of the eventual full union of most of the Continuum? Instead of first attempting to be the same church under one name, if you will,could we not look to the Eastern Orthodox Churches examples of several separate ethnic based churches under various heads, but all (or most) in full Communion with each other? The basis for inter Communion might be undoubted Apostolic Succession; a common basic liturgy; the adherance to the Affirmation of St. Louis, etc. Just a thought.
Fr. Joseph DeHart, (ACC)

poetreader said...

Anonymous said...
Yes, once these churches share the same name and websites, then they are truly united. Until then it is all just on paper.

Awkward trying to respond to such an unidentified responder, anyway ...

Those criteria are pretty much irrelevant.

Though, obviously, it fits the patristic model much more closely for the churches of one area to be under one bishop (and thus one name), it has been a powerfully long time since that has been the way things are. As. Fr. DeHart points out, the Orthodox, in full commuhnion with each other and powerfully conscious of being one church do have an amazing web of overlapping jurisdictions. This certainly isn't ideal, but it works pretty well nonetheless. I don't think such an outcome is the ultimate objective, but it does seem an excellent first step on the way for Anglicans. If that doesn't happen first, then full jirisdictional union will never happen.

And what, ultimately, is signified by a common website? Is it somehow wrong for those with a common interest to communicate with one another? Does that then make it wrong to have a variety of church print media as well? The web, like all forms of communication, is a tool. Like all tools it exists to do whatever real circumstances require to be done. Restrictions on communication make substantive discussion much more difficult. Pretty websites don't make prety churches, and unified websites don't necessary express unity.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate your response, ed, to an anonymous poster. My point is, the churches still have wildly different names, different structures, different websites, nothing has changed except maybe they can take communion from each other?

ACC Member said...
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Anonymous said...

Father Joseph, your suggestion is a good one. I think the most workable model is a federation now with churches in it looking to further deepen communion and unity.

poetreader said...

It would help if you'd at least sign a name or a nickname or some kind of label to the end of your posts, to avoid the confusion (which we've had) of anonymi in series, insistinguishable but saying different things.

In answer to your point: my point is that, when there is full intercommunion, when people and clergy are able to move freely from one such 'jurisdiction' to another, and when the 'jurisdictions' are conscious about working cooperatively, that there is a real unity, even a visible unity, already in place and the only apparent division is organizational and administrative. Spiritual unity is real, but the apparent disunity of structure (another issue entirely) and the untidiness it produces become the next problem to be dealt with.