The newly formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), led by Bishop Robert Duncan, received a very thorough response from Archbishop Mark Haverland of the Anglican Catholic Church (posted here), who explained why he declined their invitation to attend their inaugural Provincial Assembly in Bedford, Texas, from June 22nd to 25th. Afterward, we received the news that Bishop Duncan plans to ordain four women during the same time. That no bishop in Continuing Anglicanism has any business lending his presence to their activities at this time, thus dignifying and appearing to endorse or tolerate the heresy of women's ordination, needs no explanation. That this new ACNA fail to appreciate this, and did not mention plans to ordain women, in the invitation, indicates their failure to recognize certain facts. (so that the Archbishop of the ACC found out after declining the invitation, meaning that even had he accepted initially, he would have to back out, because he represents the ACC. He cannot even appear to support such "ordinations").
1. This new ACNA owes respect to the bishops who have gone before them as leaders of the Anglican Diaspora.
2. We were here first. Whatever shortcomings we have as sinners who depend on God's grace, Continuing Anglicans had the sense to leave long before the problem, the one problem the ACNA seems to recognize (Homosexualism), came about.
But that is not the whole problem. Their attitude toward us carries a pattern of apparent contempt.
I followed up the posting of the Archbishop's letter with this comment:
Not only that, but I see from old mail that arrived at St. Benedict's in February (I came here in early March) that the ACNA was inviting each congregation separately, approaching them directly. The people here had been sent an invitation to attend. What kind of polity does the ACNA understand? How can they simply bypass the bishops of each diocese?
One of the first things I discovered was an expensive invitation in the form of a brochure, addressed to St. Benedict's, inviting the congregation to join them. This means that before they sent an invitation to the Acting Primate of the ACC to attend their inaugural Provincial Assembly, they had already invaded his diocese (Diocese of the South, ACC-OP), directly approaching the congregations on an individual basis. That included churches with no resident clergy, such as St. Benedict's in Chapel Hill, N.C. before my arrival.
I cry Foul!
I urge Bishop Duncan and his crew to recognize that each bishop is, in his diocese, the chief Pastor of every church. A Diocesan Ordinary has authority that is not to be violated, and a direct invitation to parishes and missions is a violation. Furthermore, their recent association with the Episcopal Church, up until just recently, renders the ACNA no pride of place, but rather the very opposite. By appealing to each congregation, without episcopal approval, they have presumed to take the highest place, and instead of being urged to "come up higher," by those of us who followed our Patron St. Athanasius into exile thirty years ahead of them, they must take with shame the lowest place in the presence of all. They still "ordain" women, and until five minutes ago have tolerated every error until the "yuk factor" of homosexuality provoked them to relative "orthodoxy," truly modeling orthodoxy in that a model is a small replica of the real thing. Yet they claim pride of place due to that very association that impresses us not one whit.
We welcome the ACNA into this larger world of the Anglican Diaspora, noting that they have a lot to learn. The first thing for them to learn is humility.