Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Urgency of Unity

One of the frustrations of my life as Archbishop of the United Episcopal Church is the lack of progress that I see being made by the Anglican Continuum here in America. Progress, as I define it, consists of two thing - growth and unity. Apart from some transfers of parishes from the Traditional Anglican Communion, the three jurisdictions with a straight line back to the St Louis Congress, all remain stubbornly about the same size as they have been for the last dozen or so years with a total of about 170 parishes, sixty percent of which belong to the Anglican Catholic Church. On the unity front, apart from the "Prague Spring" of the ACC-UECNA Concordat of a few years ago, nothing much has happened though a sort of shuttle diplomacy has developed with leaders from the ACC, APCK, UECNA and other jurisdictions meeting periodically at various conferences. Whilst this represents an improvement on the sort of deep frozen attitudes between sister jurisdictions that prevailed a ten years ago, it is still a major hinderence to the further unity, and therefore greater growth, in the Anglican Continuum.

I had hoped that the appearence of the new Anglican Church of North America would provide a sort of catalyst for the "real" continuers to bite the bullet and begin the process of reunification. However, it seems that that optimism was misplaced. Instead, the Episcopalian realignment in the USA is very largely leaving the 1977 Continuum out in the cold, with most new conservative/traditional parishes going to ACNA, apart from a few Anglo-Papalist congregations, which, often at huge cost in terms of membership, are committing themselves to the extended Roman Catholic Pastoral Provision.

Whilst I do not wish the ACNA harm, I think even their leadership realizes that they are a church divided. Some dioceses accept women priests, some do not; others have a positive view of the Charismatic movement; others are more skeptical; and then we have the thing about ACNA accepting 1662 as the standard BCP, but most parishes use something else... So far the leadership of ACNA has been pretty good at keeping everyone focussed, but sooner or later some decisions will have to be made about those contentious issues which ACNA has so far successfully ignored or put off. I am hoping that this process of gaining greater theological clarity will not be long delayed and will lead them back towards the mainstream of historic Christianity, but who knows. So far they are reaping the rewards of their outward unity in the form of rapid growth, and a favourable press from the few who are in any way favourable to tradition or conservative Anglicanism.

Now before those of us in the Continuing Churches dislocate our shoulders trying to pat ourselves on the back for our doctrinal purity, we have our own elephant in the living room with which to contend. The question of Unity. In my honest opinion, it is probably unprofitable to revisit what went wrong in 1978-83 that led to the original Anglican Church in North America (Episcopal) falling apart other than to say "OK, we all goofed. Sorry. Let's try again." In fact, most of us who are in positions of leadership today were not even around in the Continuing Church Movement as clergy when the thing began. In my own case, I was not even confirmed when this show got going! This should enable us to approach the situation without too much in the way of personal baggage, though I am sure we have all heard the various war stories from the perspective of our own particular jurisdiction.

I frankly do not see any major obstacles to the major Continuing Anglican groups achieving institutional unity over the next five to ten years other than a tradition of disunity, old wounds, and too many bishops. I think I should, as Archbishop of the UECNA, say that we are as guilty of those "crimes" as anyone else, but there is no use in our dwelling in the past. The crisis that led to the 1977 St Louis Congress necessarily led to a clarification of the Anglican position, as it needed to define itself against theological Liberalism. This neccessarily lead to a narrowing of the boundaries, and, as the Continuing Church Movement began in North America, that meant a move in the catholic direction. On the whole, this more Catholic Anglicanism has worked well, with the problems not being caused by the Affirmation of St Louis or any other specific document, but by occasional over zealous interpretors of our own tradition. This was not a new problem that we started just after the St Louis Congress, but an old one, that had been with us for years. However, the need for unity against the 'foes within' had tended to dampen down the internal tensions within the Anglo-Catholic and catholic-leaning parties in the Episcopal Church.

Perhaps one inevitable part of the Continuum maturing is that we need to realize that we need each other, and also that most folks cannot tell the difference between the various Continuing Churches. What puts them off is the fact that the next parish of your jurisdiction might be several hundred miles away, and you pass parishes of several other jurisdictions on the way there. This is an inhibiting factor to Church growth as we cannot pool clergy and resources to plant new congregations. Without greater unity the Continuing Church is condemning itself to a slow and lingering death, slowing achieving unity through decline.

Do we really want to go this route?

The answer that I get from the laity, time and again, is an unequivocable 'No.' This may be one of those occasions when, in the most literal sense sense 'vox populi' is indeed 'vox Dei.' Unity is no longer an issue we can safely leave on the back burner, but an urgent and insistent need in order to advance the kingdom of God.

50 comments:

Jack Miller said...

... we wish you good luck in the Name of the LORD.

Fr Richard Sutter said...

As an outsider to the "big three," (yet one who was ordained in one) I agree with Abp Robinson's post. Now if only all the bishops of ACC, APCK, & UECNA would resign some progress could be made toward home reunion with the ACC.

As if, as the kids say!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Sutter:

Dereliction of duty is not the answer, no more than it was for King Lear who ruined his house and kingdom by lazy abdication.

Anonymous said...

Ephesians 4:15-16
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.

Why aren't the different Anglican groups joined and knit together IN NAME AND BODY (like a sacramental marriage) into One (one Lord, one faith, one baptism), Holy (that she might be holy and without blemish), Catholic (you Gentiles are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God), Apostolic (built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets) Church? When each part is working properly the body will grow, but there must be ONE BODY in Christ to start with, and it seems there is not. Instead, we have the ACC, APCK, UECNA, etc. It is all rather confusing to my small mind. Just what the Evil One likes... separate identities. Separate identities can potentially become separate egos with separate priorities. Dangerous territory. We are the children of the Father, the body and bride of the Son, and temple of the Holy Spirit. Our unity of faith in Christ is not mirrored by our various titles.

In Pauline theology, there is a close connection between "body" and "temple" and this connection originates with Jesus, whose human body was the temple of his divinity. (John 2: 19-21).

Susan

Anonymous said...

Part I
Far be it for me to quibble with his Grace on any of his major points. And so, I shan’t. That said, please forgive my comments on some of the “minor” ones…

On the unity front, apart from the "Prague Spring" of the ACC-UECNA Concordat of a few years ago, nothing much has happened though a sort of shuttle diplomacy has developed with leaders from the ACC, APCK, UECNA and other jurisdictions meeting periodically at various conferences. Whilst this represents an improvement on the sort of deep frozen attitudes between sister jurisdictions that prevailed a ten years ago, it is still a major hinderence to the further unity, and therefore greater growth, in the Anglican Continuum.

I do not think that the accomplishment of such an accord should be underappreciated, given the differences that caused our separation in the first place. The fact that these differences were overcome in so short a time is remarkable if one considers the history of the Church. The usual time period for such a step towards reunification is usually centuries, not years or decades.

In my honest opinion, it is probably unprofitable to revisit what went wrong in 1978-83 that led to the original Anglican Church in North America (Episcopal) falling apart other than to say "OK, we all goofed. Sorry. Let's try again." In fact, most of us who are in positions of leadership today were not even around in the Continuing Church Movement as clergy when the thing began. In my own case, I was not even confirmed when this show got going! This should enable us to approach the situation without too much in the way of personal baggage, though I am sure we have all heard the various war stories from the perspective of our own particular jurisdiction.

Very well said, and all very true. However, I would argue that the “transgressions” that all committed during that time period (78-83) should encourage us to seek unity in the “right” way. Modern medicine would have us believe that we can be cured of an illness simply by taking a pill or receiving an injection, but healing is a process. Following a proper and well considered process toward unification will allow us to avoid the mistakes and pain of the past.

I frankly do not see any major obstacles to the major Continuing Anglican groups achieving institutional unity over the next five to ten years other than a tradition of disunity, old wounds, and too many bishops.

Anonymous said...

Part II
I know of many laity who would agree with you. Some clergy as well. And how many bishops would you consider to be the “right” number?

This neccessarily lead to a narrowing of the boundaries, and, as the Continuing Church Movement began in North America, that meant a move in the catholic direction. On the whole, this more Catholic Anglicanism has worked well, with the problems not being caused by the Affirmation of St Louis or any other specific document, but by occasional over zealous interpretors of our own tradition. This was not a new problem that we started just after the St Louis Congress, but an old one, that had been with us for years. However, the need for unity against the 'foes within' had tended to dampen down the internal tensions within the Anglo-Catholic and catholic-leaning parties in the Episcopal Church.

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by this since I, as a “cradle-Episcopalian”, was always taught that Anglicanism=Catholicism. If, by your reference, you mean the “tension” between “high” and “low” church, then I ask you to forgive my naïveté. In my experience, there has always been a good-natured ribbing between devotee’s of both “parties”, but rarely, if ever, did it rise to the level of “tension” (assuming that you are using the term in an adversarial context).
In an attempt to illustrate my thought; I am reminded of the Reverend Canon Francis Foley, of blessed memory, who, in his retirement, served as an assistant to the Rector at my home parish. On any particular Sunday, Canon Foley would enter the Sacristy and ask me, “Well Daniel, are we to wear birettas today?”. And I would reply, “yes, Father, the Rector wishes birettas to be worn”. “Oh,” the Canon would reply, “you high-church people and your accouterments!”. The very next week, the Canon would ask the same question. And if I answered, “no, Father, you do not need to wear a biretta today”, he would reply, “Oh, have we gone low-church now?”.

My point is that these two “parties”, “high” and “low” church (and, yes, three if you include “broad” as well, whatever that means today), have traditionally lived together in a marvelous “tension” within our Church. And this “tension” has spawned some of the most inspired and brilliant writings on theology and doctrine that the Church has ever known. That this same “tension” has been narrowed to focus on “churchmanship” is, in my humble opinion, one of the primary reasons behind our divisions, and is not only a denial of our Anglican heritage, but a true tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Part III
Perhaps one inevitable part of the Continuum maturing is that we need to realize that we need each other, and also that most folks cannot tell the difference between the various Continuing Churches.

BINGO!

What puts them off is the fact that the next parish of your jurisdiction might be several hundred miles away, and you pass parishes of several other jurisdictions on the way there. This is an inhibiting factor to Church growth as we cannot pool clergy and resources to plant new congregations.

The other contributing factor is the number of churches that identify themselves as “Anglican”. Very few seem to know what that means, as evidenced by the number of people who ask me what is an “Angel-ican”, or an “Angle-can”. The only term that means anything to anyone is “Catholic” (and, yes, I’m ACC, so my experience is admittedly skewed). So, if we can somehow “market” (as much as I detest that term) ourselves as practicing the Catholic Faith in the Anglican Tradition, then it may not matter what name is at the top of the masthead – ACC, UECNA, or APCK.

Without greater unity the Continuing Church is condemning itself to a slow and lingering death, slowing achieving unity through decline.

Somewhat depressing, but unfortunately true.

Do we really want to go this route?

I reiterate – it would be greatly pleasing if we could find some way to “speed” the process. But unity for the sake of unity is not the goal that we should be shooting for. That is what TEC and Canterbury seek; a unity at all costs. Unity for the sake of the Glory of God and for the increase of His Kingdom is the real goal. And that comes with humility and with prayerful consideration. On ALL sides.

Unity is no longer an issue we can safely leave on the back burner, but an urgent and insistent need in order to advance the kingdom of God. As it always has been. As it always be. Patience is also a virtue. Let us calm ourselves, love one another, and rejoice in our shared love for Traditional Anglicanism and the Catholic Faith that is proclaims. Let that be our “mantra” for unity. And then, let’s go tell everyone else about it.

DJJ+

AFS1970 said...

I can not see how a mass exodus of Bishops could in any way be good for church unity. As a matter of fact, I do not even see that we have "too many Bishops" as is often said. I think that in a unified church there might be some realigning of dioceses and thus of Bishops, but there is no reason for anyone to leave. If it turns out that the work at hand can be accomplished by fewer Bishops, then I would say that attrition is the answer not resignation.

While I think that the "big 3" are in the best position to start this process, it really should be extended to all of the churches that have roots in St. Louis as long as they still hold to the faith once delivered.

The recent move toward unity between the ACA & the APA is a good example. Both of these organizations can trace roots back to St. Louis but only through other generations. Yet to exclude two groups working toward unity from an even larger unity is hardly in keeping with the concept of all being one.

Then of course there are groups that left prior to 1977. Should we not (at some point) see if they are also interested in unity? For the groups that left after 1977 it is a bit more problematic, as some are close to the continuum and others are closer to the (new) ACNA. I do not think the continuum needs to bolster it's numbers by looking towards groups that they have little in common with.

Anonymous said...

On the ACNA Part I
-Aidan

When I first heard about the ACNA I thought that perhaps this would be a large group which would infuse the continuing movement with many new people. Then I started visiting ACiNA parish web sites, and those who are "ministry partners" (whatever that means?) I have yet to find a single one of them which have anything remotely rooted in Anglicanism before 1979. They have elements of Anglicanism, but it is unrecognizable as anything classically Anglican.

I grew up in a variety of "non-denominational" churches in the 1980's. These folks are "orthodox" insofar as they would agree with most "bible churches" They don't deny parts of the creeds as some ECUSA / C of E Bishops. However, it is clear that they are muddled at best when it comes to catholicity or anything resembling a historic Anglican liturgical, sacramental spirituality. If I wanted praise choruses, house church planing in living rooms run by lay people, poorly done sing-a-longs as worship, and people laying hands on me while making prophecies or commanding healing, I'd have stayed in the evangelical-pentecostal world.

There is a lot of this on the majority of their web sites:

"BAPTISM  New believers are baptized into the faith and fellowship as an outward sign of an inward repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

About Salvation
Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's means of forgiveness can people be saved from sin's penalty of eternal separation from God.

"So our philosophy of ministry is about equipping and nurturing Christians. At New Hope this happens, primarily, in three places: Sermon, Groups, Outreach."

Where is liturgy, and which one? Where are the sacraments as the effectual means of grace? Where is the Book of Common Prayer? Where is the threefold Anglican way of prayer which is rooted FIRST in the Holy Communion and surrounded by The Daily Offices? I know that there is an ACiNA church in my area and I hear that the rector never preaches on the appointed lectionary, but gives long teaching sermons on passages of his choosing.

(cont)

Anonymous said...

On the ACNA Part II
-Aidan

There are very odd things on almost all the "parish" web sites. They seem to eschew traditional names in favour of "non-denominational" church names, which I believe is a conscious choice so that they aren't so "churchy": New Hope, Wellspring. Jesus our Savior, Sierra Anglican, Emmaus. Restoration, BridgePoint Church, Hope Mission, King of Kings, Faith Church, Transformation Anglican (no, not Transfiguration), Three Streams Church, and Legacy Anglican to name a few.

They prefer generic words like "worship" and refer to their services as "our worship style" avoiding the words Eucharist and Holy Communion. When used they are buried four layers down on their web site almost as an afterthought.

More odd stuff:
I've seen liturgical dancers.

Soaking Prayer: "You just lie on the ground and let the Holy Spirit love on you." "Put a CD on, get comfortable, lay on the floor, and let the Holy Spirit fill your heart."

"Experience - It is not enough to intellectualize subjects like the New Birth, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and other biblical subjects." (And I know that when they say "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" it was not the one in which He regenerated the soul of someone through the outward sign of water in the name of the Trinity.)

Or this on why they spend more time in home fellowships and "disciple making": The Sunday event cannot be the vehicle for making disciples, especially when such gatherings are more about a production, gratifying self-indulging consumers instead of celebrating the God of salvation history.

Is "The Sunday event" remotely the way anyone has spoken of the Sunday Eucharist in all of history?

One of my favourites: "One of the ways in which this parish celebrates the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is through prayer. Prayer Teams are available and are praying before and THROUGHOUT our worship services. All of Sunday morning worship lasts about an hour and a half, and then most people leave the sanctuary for fellowship and snacks or depart, but the service has not ended, the candles are still lit: People are encouraged to come forward and meet with our prayer team for healing prayer, which is an extension of the morning worship experience and continues until everyone is done. Then the candles are extinguished."

So, what's the priest doing? What are the people doing while reciting the confession or the Gloria? The attitude seems to be: Hey some of us "prayer warriors" (yes, they use that term) think what we are doing is more important and obviously more powerful than that stuff you're mumbling up there. So much for the dismissal and blessing to go forth into the world... the prayer warriors need to get worked up into a lather first.

The Continuum has rightly pointed out that Anglicanism needs to stop thinking of herself as a third class citizen in relation to "the two real churches." But this ACiNA won't do, no not at all!This isn't even Anglicanism, let alone anything resembling the church of the first 1000 years, be that Western or Eastern. What a muddled mess.

Or, I could have saved a lot of space and time and just wrote: women Deacons and Priests. But they clearly have a LOT more to sort out than just that theological issue.

-Aidan

Fr. Robert Hart said...

When they say "baptism in the Holy Spirit," they should mean Confirmation. They mean the Charismatic/ Pentecostal experience, but they are likely to divorce it from the Biblical sacrament.

The Hackney Hub said...

From an outsider,

The Continuing Movement needs to think long and hard about its Anglican heritage. The St. Louis Affirmation was a great Anglo-Catholic document but not a very good Anglican document. I do not see myself ever joining any of the Continuing Churches until they reaffirm their commitment to the 1662 BCP, Ordinal, and 39 Articles of Religion as the theological and liturgical standards of said bodies. This means that Missal parishes have to stop using Missals and use the Prayer Book and Anglo-Papist theology must go.

St. Nikao said...

Aidan,
A visit to St. Peter's Tallahassee, Florida, at the 11 o'clock service would show you the more traditional side of the ACNA. www.saint-peters.net The 9 o'clock service is the family service with lots of children and there is a 5pm service for college students. They are all beautiful with proper liturgy, but the 5pm has some of the praise songs (the better ones, such as Stuart Townend's classics). The services, music and sermons are posted online.

Many ACNA priests are re-thinking and rejecting Womens' ordination.

Still, biblically, there is a call for women to teach and mentor other women. Women could certainly be useful as chaperones for pastors when counseling women for the protection of both the woman counselee and the pastor.

God did let His spirit fall upon women on the day of Pentecost, but Scripture does not anywhere show the early church or the Jews putting them in spiritual authority over men.

Deborah was a wise counselor, leader and prophetess, but if her husband had been a civic or church leader, he would have sat in the gates with the men of the city. She sat under a palm tree separate from, not with the men. However, she did lead and/or urge the men to victory.

The woman who drove the tent peg through Sisera's temple didn't wait around for a male's permission. Abigail confronted David without her husband's permission in order to save lives.

Might be a good idea to allow women to have an appropriate and biblical role and voice in the direction and life of the church, while men make the ultimate authoritative decisions. God did say, 'It is not good for man to be alone' and made woman for a help-meet.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Hackney Hub:

Not everyone who wrote and agreed to the Affirmation of St. Louis was an Anglo-Catholic. And, since it was strictly North American at the time, the 1928 Episcopal BCP and the Canadian 1962 were the relevant equivalents to the 1662 BCP; both books contain the Articles among their contents, and the Canadian BCP affirms them even more clearly than any BCP before it.

Anonymous said...

The "world consultation on continuing Anglicanism" that is coming up in November seems to be promising.

I see that this whole thing with ACNA and now the Ordinariate as a shot over our bough to do something concrete towards unity. The ACNA/Ordinariate challenge probably accounts for the goodwill and ostensible desire for cooperation and unity among us.

JGA

Fr. Wells said...

Contrary to a widespread myth, the bishops in the various Continuing Churches are NOT the reason for disunity. I suspect that left to themselves, the bishops would get along famously. But they know, from painful historical experience, that attempts to unify can quickly prove abortive. Remember what happened when Bishops Falk and Clavier tried to consolidate the ACC and the old American Episcopal Church? The result was tragic many times over.

The greatest obstacle right now is simply inertia. All the authentic Continuing bodies are achieved some degree of internal stability, and the less authentic ones are fading off he internet (where they mostly existed anyhow). Personal friendships are strong and positive and hardly anybody is at war with anybody else. God will bring structural unity in His own good time. Plenty of Continuing Church parishes, in all the jurisdictions, are more concerned with solid church growth in membrship and program. I observe a high level of spiritual health in all corners of the Continuum. And our bishops are just great.

St. Mary the Virgin said...

To Hackney Hub:

I concur completely with what Fr. Hart wrote in response to you. These items you "lament" as not being a part of the continuing churches are actually there.

I do know that the Anglican Province of America (of which I am part of) and the Anglican Church in America specifically affirm what you "ask" for. The Solemn Declaration of the Constitution of both churches affirm the BCP, Ordinal, and Articles of Religion as being the standards you mention.

I know the UECNA specifically affirms the BCP, Ordinal and Articles in their Constitution. Fr. Hart's constant teaching and defense of the Articles on this blog ought to give one an idea of the prominent place the Articles hold in the ACC, even without access to anything other than the BCP.

Fr. Erich Zwingert

Anonymous said...

St. Nikao,

I never stated that women shouldn't have a roll in the church. I am not a misogynist. The catechist for our grade school and teenagers is a women who does an amazing job. That isn't the point. The point is, there can be no "unity" nor can there be a catholic and apostolic church where women are deacons, priests, or bishops.

There can also not be unity where close to half of the parish web sites I visited are focusing on things like "prayer warriors" or having contemporary praise bands performing up front by the big screen which takes "centre stage" over the altar. Why is there even one instance of "liturgical dancers," which in the words of Linda Richmond from Saturday Night Live's Coffee Talk "is neither liturgical, nor dancing."

There can be no unity if salvation is "trusting in Jesus Christ as God's means of forgiveness." I had that growing up in my Non-Denominationly Evangelical upbringing. Anglicans have held that the two sacraments generally necessary to salvation, and the means of grace are through the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Communion.

I am sure there are a number of good parishes in the ACNA - but there is no united communion when you have all sort of strange things going on from parish to parish. Any talks with the continuing movement are impossible until these things are seriously examined.

-Aidan.

Anonymous said...

The Hackney Hub,

I attend a parish which uses the Missal. We are adamantly NOT Romanists in our theology. I have also attended a low church parish. BOTH were completely Catholic. I liked them both. Same reverence, same Sacraments, same theology.

I fail to see how a book that has things like a gradual or Alleluia Romanizes my parish when the BCP rubrics state that "¶ Here may be sung a Hymn or an Anthem." These are only bits of the Psalms, or a Post-Communion Prayer. Providing for an extended service on Good Friday or the Easter Vigil or putting the Gloria at the beginning of the Holy Communion also does not make us Romanist. (Pope, Romish Purgatory with Storehouse of Merrits, Additional Marion Dogma do.) Those with Anglo-Papist theology do need to go. If you've been reading this blog, you know they are - and there are so very, very, few of them.

If you don't like the term "Anglo-Catholic" (which does NOT mean "Anglo-Romanist") how can you recite the Creed? Anglicans ARE Catholic... just not Roman. This is also what separated Anglicans from the other Reformers.

Bp. A. T. Cross said...

Just an idea: 1, Each denomination's Abp meet in sessions to explore the possibility of union and discuss any obstacles to unity and governance; 2, appoint a subcommittee of clerics and laity to provide an agenda for unification, its tenets, terms and conditions (other denominations would likely come aboard later); 3, publish its conclusions and decisions to every parish in each parish in each respective jurisdiction; set the date for a provisional constitutional convocation. I know that is very simplistic, but something along those lines would be a start imho.

Colin Chattan said...

Well said, Fr. Wells.

The unity of God's church, and of traditional Anglicanism in particular, and even more particularly the unity of the St. Louis churches, is a goal for which we should all pray and strive - but we must also exercise caution when we do so, making sure that we're not fudging doctrinal issues, that we're proceeding in truth and charity, that we're truly doing God's will and not our own. The great danger in this, as in all exercises involving human beings, lies not with unity per se but with fallen human nature. Having come out of the Canadian branch of the TAC, one feels inevitably a little, shall we say, hesitant about the over-zealous pursuit of unity. We would do well, I think to keep in mind always the physician's imperative, "Above all, do no harm" and Caesar Augustus's advice, "Festina lente!"

Anonymous said...

Being a church leader is ALL about character.
To abdicate conscience, character and courage will certainly be held against all of us the day we get stopped for inspection at the pearly gates.
The water of our (Anglican) baptism is "thicker than blood" and unifies us as children of God.
Would that church leaders could forfeit their pride and ego, and bring the message of Hope and Joy in our Lord.
Thank you for all you are doing to bring home the realisation of such precious unity.

Fr. Steve said...

Fr. Wells,

I think at one point, there was talk of a sort of slow merge, where when one Bishop retires, the Bishop left from one of the other two jurisdictions takes over the oversight of that Diocese. A sort of a slow merge, where said Bishop becomes a member of both Houses of Bishops. Eventually, everyone would be back together just be attrition of the Bishops by either death or retirement. At least, that's how I understand it. I believe it was Bishop Wiygal(sp?) of the APCK that came up with it, but I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

There can be no unity if salvation is "trusting in Jesus Christ as God's means of forgiveness." I had that growing up in my Non-Denominationly Evangelical upbringing. Anglicans have held that the two sacraments generally necessary to salvation, and the means of grace are through the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Communion.

There can be unity along as we realize there is no real conflict between the two, as partaking in the latter (the sacraments) is a prime expression of the former (trusting in Jesus Christ as God's means of forgivenss).

Doubting Thomas

Canon Tallis said...

While I am not as sure as Father Wells that all of the continuing bishops are just fine, I do believe that the way forward is for the bishops to meet and worship together on a fairly regular basis, with the worship being regulated by the regular usage of the host parish.

Anonymous said...

Doubting Thomas, (pt 1)

Using the term "conflict between the two," seems to me, to imply that the two are separate but equally valid positions. I might be misunderstanding you on this part a bit. I find the part in which you refer to the Sacraments as a means to "expressing one's faith" a slippery step into a generic, sacrament free, Church. The Sacraments become optional because "I trust in, and have faith in Jesus." as was the extent of the theology of my youth.

It is the Baptist church of my youth which claimed that one was Baptized in order to express one's faith ("the former") to the believers around me. In the case of Baptism of "those of riper years" affirming one's faith is obviously essential, or one treats the Sacraments as magic.

I understand the statement that "we are saved by trusting in Jesus." The problem is, that is not the whole picture, and that is not the Catholic (whole and universal) faith. We are actually saved by grace, through faith. The Divinely appointed means of grace, how we participate in Christ's saving acts, are the Sacraments. This is why Anglicanism has always claimed that the two Gospel Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion to be generally necessary to salvation.

The Sacraments are not magic, we participate in them through faith. I believe it was Madeleine L'Engle who said somewhere that "one can not ingest the Holy Spirit like an aspirin." Anglicans reject superstition about the Sacrament, which is why the Articles say:

"The Sacraments are not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith."

This doesn't say reserving the Sacrament of the Altar to take to the sick is "wrong" but that keeping it in the tabernacle and limiting the lay persons participation to gazing upon it was not what Christ instituted it for. Anglicans restored the Chalice and frequent Communion as the BCP provides propers for every Sunday. I have found no where in the BCP where the Sacraments are participated in merely to express one's faith. Yes, our faith is expressed through these rites inasmuch as it is through faith we participate in Grace, in and through the Sacraments.

-Aidan (cont)

Anonymous said...

Doubting Thomas, (pt 2)

The Rev. Canon John Hollister made some excellent points in The Continuum Blog's post dated "Tuesday, October 18, 2011"

All Baptized people are part of the Body of Christ, whether the believed Baptism made them so or not. A fine old Anglican priest I know loved to exclaimed "Every time Billy Graham baptizes someone he makes a Catholic!" We do share an organic unity, though not an institutional one. Any Christian tradition which has Apostolic Succession, the Creeds, a liturgy which celebrates the Sacraments with the correct intent, the correct matter, the correct form, with a valid minister, and holds to orthodox theology about the Bible, morals, the 7 Ecumenical Councils, etc.. is not a sect, but a branch of the authentic Church. Anglicans are part of a schism within the Body, not from it (as Anglican priest Vernon Staley said in "The Catholic Religion") such as those sects which deny the Sacraments and Apostolic ministry. Those outside this are a sect of Christianity. How God's grace works outside of that which has been delivered once unto the saints is not for me to say or speculate. That's above my pay grade.

We aught to pray for one another, and have charity as the rule. It does not good however to muddy the waters with a generic "faith" in Jesus as the only binding factor. Many in ECUSA claim to have faith in Jesus... but many believe Jesus was just a wise teacher- and faith in a wise teacher is not what Christians consider a saving faith. My father has faith in Jesus - and when I converted to Anglicanism he once yelled "I don't need your priests and your sacraments! I have faith in Jesus. My creed is JESUS PLUS NOTHING! JESUS PLUS NOTHING!"

My father isn't always so wound up. He has a deep love for God and for Jesus. But his denial of the Sacraments as the means of Grace has affected his entire notion of what the Incarnation and the Christian life is all about. There is no further repentance needed after his conversion and sinners prayer at the age of 12. Both my father and I believe we have saving faith in Jesus - but this lived faith is so remotely different as to be unrecognizable. To claim unity for the sake of unity does not good.

lex credendi, lex orandi – What you pray becomes what you believe” The Book of Common Prayer expresses quite clearly:

Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and EFFECTUAL signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.

-Aidan.

charles said...

Another 5-10 years before passing judgment on the Continuum are fair terms, given the response to the Ordinariate and resulting Reaffirmation Congress(es) are indeed genuine signals of change. But upon the elapse of generous time frame, especially if it bears no fruit, what then?

We can't borrow time forever. Nor can we dodge questions of provincial growth and mission by simply pointing to catholic church(es) elsewhere (Canon Hollister's argument?).

Perhaps we're reaching a consensus that North American Anglicanism is finally important, trumping even ecumenical concerns with ROC and RC. Northern Anglicanism's orthodoxy, in the main, seems conveniently marked by a dozen solemn declarations shared between a like number of continuing and realignment Anglican jurisdictions. Yet what visible ties are we willing to express? (Regarding this 'confessional' frequency, click here.)

I personally believe what's at stake is substantially bigger than the what remains of St. Louis churches. Likely debatable, the ACC, ACA, and PCK are probably no the last reservoirs of catholic faith and order in North America.

Despite the ACNA's obvious heterodoxy, the ACNA remains a factor simply because it is a 'last stand'. It should be noted, ACNA has a 'feudal' rather than absolutist character which means its orthodoxy is hard to peg down. Nonetheless, what transpires in ACNA will determine-- for better or for worse-- the final chapter of American Episcopalianism. Perhaps the saddest footnote to this troubled history is the continuing exodus of 1976 will abstain from the final outcome, leaving bodies like REC and a couple Fifna dioceses to do it by themselves. Either Anglicanism will be "big" and visible, or the lack of critical mass (failure of FACA) will condemn traditional Anglicanism to the utter margins of society, leaving it a micro-denomination largely unheard and irrelevant.

A word of advice for those concerned about this North American or trans-Atlantic future, which I call Ascendancy. Please dump dogmatic notions about 'canonical territories' as found in the Athens' statement. The ACC (and many others) need to seriously reconsider traditional church boundaries, moving toward parallel dioceses that relate by doctrinal affinity. I believe this territory has been a supreme problem with continuing ventures.

charles said...

corrections:
"the ACC, ACA, and PCK are probably *NOT* the last reservoirs of catholic faith and order in North America."

"I believe *territorialism* has been a supreme problem with continuing ventures."

Anonymous said...

Bishop Peter! Amen! Finally, some honesty.
-Blake Schwendimann

Anonymous said...

Charles, I don't mean to be rude, but you sound like a David Virtue "toady" with your (unfounded) prognostication that continuing Anglicans have 5-10 years left to get their act together or essentially be irrelevant to the future of American Anglicanism. Why do you subtlety promote the David Virtue line that continuing Anglicans are a bunch of irrelevant non-churches and non-persons?

We have been around much longer than ACNA. In my opinion it is ACNA that has 5-10 years to prove what they are, not the continuum. Will the shaky "heterodox" (your words, not mine) ACNA alliance hold? Only time will tell. All I know is that the continuum has been around, survived, and prospered in albeit small but important ways.

ACNA will definitely be a factor in the future of American Anglicanism (as will the Episcopal Church), but inasmuch as it has been founded on theological compromise one can only shudder at what effect it will have on that future.

As for the REC, it is a supreme disappoint that their leadership threw their lot in with the semi-heretics. I know that many of their clergy and laity are extremely embarrassed to be associated with the WO-affirming postmodern theological association known as ACNA.

I would rather be part of a tradition that is not officially "united" than be part of one that is "united" under false pretenses (like ACNA).

JGA

Canon Tallis said...

I had breakfast with a friend this last Tuesday whose wife is a member of the local ACNA parish. Their rector has a doctorate in Church History, but does not know how to do either Morning or Evening Prayer. My friend commented that this priest will one day be an ACNA bishop because of the prestige that he has already acquired among them as well as the possession of a Ph.D. The parish does Holy Communion on Sundays and sometimes on Wednesdays as well, the prayer book concept of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer is something which they don't seem to understand at all. Perhaps they don't think they or the Church needs it, but it makes me wonder why they bother to call themselves Anglicans. But the same seems to equally apply to TEC and their new religion of Episcopaganism. The big dividing issue between them seems to have been an openly homosexual bishop while thirty years or more of bishops (male and female) whom everyone knew were non celibate homosexuals didn't seem to bother them at all. Making and accepting Duncan as archbishop seems to say it all. Even he has verbally recognized that his acceptance of female clergy makes him less than orthodox.

charles said...

Dear JGA,

First, I don't subscribe to the 'invisible church' line. I think it's a cop out against what was formerly known as Christendom. Call me crazy, but Episcopacy seems to have intrinsic interest in visible unity, especially where faith can be singularly expressed. As someone who values Episcopacy, I likewise value visible unity. Not at all costs, but so differences might be worked out by common authority.

Second, the "5-10 yr." reference did not come from David Virtue (lol) but from an earlier post above that commended the gradual progress PCK and ACC have made, and will continue to make, etc.. If this unity is slow going, taking up to 5 to 10 years, let's give it a shot, but keep people accountable to it. Falling back on the invisible or catholic church line is not the sort of progress I believe laity would like to see.

Third, ACNA is integral to the future of North American Anglicanism. Why? Because it's the first time entire dioceses left PECUSA with the support provincial bishops outside the USA. This has turned into an epic gambit over the future of Lambeth as well as TEC. It's not going to happen a second time, so I tend to see ACNA as the last stop for Anglicanism as a "big church" where an orthodox leaven can make a play. Bishop Boyce's 2008 letter is basically correct.

Last, ACNA is heterodox. Is this really surprising? What do you expect from various groups that departed PECUSA between 1873 to the present time, each for different reasons? By definition ACNA can only begin as a broad church, so your observation adds little. The question is if any segments of ACNA are moving away from WO and/or the 1979 prayer book.

When discussing ACNA, often ignored are orthodox elements, more specifically jurisdictions like REC and certain Fifna members. Indeed, it will be up to these 'lone' elements to direct and influence the development of ACNA. This is where I believe folks should keep their eye, not Duncan, who represents one of many tendencies inside ACNA.

Again, ACNA does not have canonical territories, nor does it have a single set of C&C, so, to be honest, you ought to specify which member, diocese, or partner you have in mind when speaking about the ACNA.

The ACC had over thirty years to prove itself, and make the St. Louis Congress a rival to TEC. Given the fire of the Ordinariate and ACNA, perhaps another five or ten years are deserving. But after that, then what? Do we wait forever to see the Continuing flagship set sail? Anyway, AB Robinson is correct to question the status qua as mostly unsustainable. I heartily concur.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

JGA, you may fell a bit silly when I report on real progress in unity that ought to kill that 5-10 years talk. Right now I am in an airport, and simply can't write it yet. And, as for ACNA being recognized as part of the official Anglican Communion, we say, it's not worth the price of doctrinal corruption and rebellious practice. We don't want their recognition.

Fr Richard Sutter said...

Hart: "We don't want their recognition."

Amen!
I cannot for the life of me figure out why communion with Canterbury matters--AFAIC being NOT in communion with Canterbury should be the single biggest benefit to any jurisdiction!

AFS1970 said...

I agree that being in Communion with Canterbury is not the badge of honor that some folks think it is. However from what I have read it was the goal in 1977 although that all changed in 1992. It is the goal for ACNA #2 simply because they do not know any better. This is like the connection to any of the Lambeth communion churches. We talk allot about Africa & GAFCON but there are various forms of WO practiced there and a refusal to see Canterbury for what it is.

The continuum has stood on it's own, and sadly that is what I think made our internal splits easier than they should have been to perform. However now as we look towards greater unity we should not worry about artificial timelines and pay little attention to what others are doing.

If some think that the continuum with not be relevant to Anglicanism in 10 years time, I would simply ask this: What do they mean by Anglicanism? Do they mean TEC? ACNA #2? CoE? Well then I would be proud to be considered irrelevant by those bodies.

My first church experience that I remember was in a continuing church. Yet I do not ever remember attending daily Morning or Evening Prayer. I remember Evening Prayer once when the Priest was on vacation and we had a service lead by a lay reader. However we had no building of our own and were renting from a local Lutheran parish so that might be why.

However as practices like that have been lost is it any wonder that they are not retained by relatively new groups like ACNA? How can we expect those that are new to keep that which is old when we have been erratic at best with it ourselves.

I had a great Aunt who was RC, she spent most of her life in Boston and went to Mass every morning. When she moved to the suburbs she could not understand why the local RC church did not have daily Mass and was quite upset to reduce to Weekly. This was close to 30 years ago.

As the word has become more secular, all churches have begun to loose some of our history and practice. Let us not add faith to the list of things we are loosing.

Anonymous said...

Amen and praise God, Fr. Hart!

JGA

Charles said...

Communion to Canterbury, or any member of Lambeth, doesn't matter. However, the point is not to be merely "united", because ACNA partners are not so in the substantial sense, but to be 'united' in order to correct the errors of a brother.

Unfortunately, there has to be some point of contact to genuinely do such. Haverland contrasted to Bishp Jonah's response to Bradford TX was a big reason I felt ACC was opting out of larger influence. OCA didn't "merge" with ACNA, yet it engaged in a critical dialogue and still attends ACNA conferences with the same complaints. Is OCA suddenly apostate as a consequence?

Not just OCA, but the REC are examples of constructive engagement. REC is part of ACNA, yet recently passed canon refusing women seminarians, closing all possible loopholes in the RE jurisdiction. Meanwhile, REC promotes 'women deaconesses' in the exact sense as the St. Louis Affirmation joined with very active involvement in Fifna via Fort Worth. That's engagement. It's also keeping your own jurisdiction clean while correcting those who might listen.

Anyway, exercising charity is important, and my experience in ACC is a hope the ACNA fails rather than succeeds. REC rationale can be read in the following paper, True Unity by the Cross. How do you share a light except by, sometimes even proactively, engaging discussion?

Colin Chattan said...

Charles,

Those of us in the St. Louis Continuing Churches can and should talk in charity and truth with the members of the ACNA and even with members of the Canterbury "Communion" - as in fact we should with all branches of Christendom. To enter into any kind of association with them, however, is, logically, either to acquiesce in their heresies and apostasies or to reduce them to mere adiaphora. It would be the same as if we were to join the Worldly, I mean, World Council of Churches. If we do that we undermine the very ground we're standing on and demoralize and confuse our own people - and, ultimately, ourselves. He who sups with the Devil must use a long spoon. What you're advocating is, in essence, political manoeuvring and compromise, which has no place in the Kingdom of God, which is, if you'll forgive me for quoting from a Hollywood production, "either a place of conscience, or nothing." As God's adopted sons through Jesus Christ we are entitled to His full heritage; why, in all logic, would we accept anything less? Why give up our birthright for a mess of pottage? Let the ACNA and the rest of the Canterbury gang with whom they're so anxious to be in communion (and, again, I don't see the logic here: how can you reject communion with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, which are distinguished from the other branches of the Canterbury crowd chiefly in that they are more honest, consistent, and up front in their embrace of heresy and apostasy, but remain in communion with Canterbury, which is also in communion with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada? Talk about "cognitive dissonance"!) recant and repent from their disobedience, their dishonouring of God, and then the road will be open for unity. Otherwise, no retreat, no surrender, no more Anglican fudge.

charles said...

But in order to exhort, you have to engage. ACNA is not TEC. ACNA possesses within it a number of dioceses that are opposed to WO (in fact, DoW has carried over APA's solemn declaration and is thus a St. Louis Affirming juridiction withint ACNA). Not only this, but most conservatives favor a revision of the 1979 toward historic prayer books. So, unlike TEC, ACNA has a different proportion of conservatives that so far have been able to gain greater representation on committees. This is why I keep saying you can't treat a church that is very broad and decentralized as if its homogeneous. In fact, doesn't a plain reading of the unaltered St. Louis beg we treat 'orthodoxy' on a bishop-to-bishop basis despite relations to TEC or Canterbury? Thus, in my book, DoW is much closer to the spirit of St. Louis than ACC. Again, the REC and DoW (formerly APA) joined ACNA not for a warm-fuzzy sense of unity with Canterbury as the posts above seem to suggest, but to engage for the sake of reforming the larger church. Read the links I provided above, please.

Anonymous said...

The REC is not orthodox, nor is it catholic having denied effectual sacraments quite clearly in their own version of the BCP and their own articles of religion. People need to read what they believe before they suggest that they are orthodox Anglicans. That was the entire point of them leaving PECUSA in the late 1800's in the first place.

Saying that some REC folk believe in sacraments and are actually "anglo-catholic", or some use the 1928 BCP, or that some ANCA people don't believe in women's ordination is irrelevant in regards to unity. Either that body stands firm on Apostolic Succession, effectual Sacraments, the Real Presence, the 7 ecumenical councils, the Creeds, a spiritual tradition rooted in historic practice (daily liturgical offices, the Eucharist, and private prayer and devotion) - or they do not. Private opinions on theological matters are different from what that body actually believes and stands for.

The REC officially state the following:

"Apostolic Succession," by which it is taught that the ministry of the Christian Church must be derived through a series of uninterrupted ordinations, whether by tactual succession or otherwise, and that without the same there can be no valid ministry, no Christian Church, and no due ministration of Baptism and the LORD's Supper, is wholly rejected as unscriptural, and productive of great mischief. This Church values its historic ministry, but recognizes and honors as equally valid the ministry of other Churches, even as God the Holy Ghost has accompanied their work with demonstration and power."

"By the word Sacrament this Church is to be understood as meaning only a symbol or sign divinely appointed. Our LORD Jesus Christ hath knit together his people in a visible company by sacraments, most few in number, most easy to be kept, most excellent in signification, viz.: Baptism and the LORD's Supper."

Regarding Holy Communion the REC most certainly does not believe in The Real Presence, nor that it conveys any grace whatsoever:

"Consubstantiation (or the doctrine that Christ is veiled under the unchanged bread and wine, arid that his very body and blood are present therein and separate the one from the other) is utterly without warrant of Scripture, is contradictory of the fact that Christ, being raised, dieth no more, and is productive, equally with transubstantiation, of idolatrous errors and practices.

We feed on Christ only through his Word and only by faith and prayer; and we feed on him, whether at our private devotions, or in our meditations, or on any occasion of public worship, or in the memorial symbolism of the Supper."

"Private confession of sins to a priest, commonly known as Auricular Confession, has no foundation In the Word of God, and is a human invention. It makes the professed penitent a slave to mere human authority, entangles him in endless scruples and perplexities, and opens the way to many immoralities."

"Priestly absolution is a blasphemous usurpation of the sole prerogative of God. None can forgive sins as against God but God alone."

-Aidan (pt 1)

Anonymous said...

In the REC version of Baptism the words of Christ to Nichodemus are removed. The prayers about those coming to Baptism for the remission of sins and spiritual regeneration are utterly removed. "Give thy Holy Spirit to this child/servant" is removed. The "release him from sin and sanctify him with the Holy Ghost" is removed. "by our office and ministry" is removed. There is no sanctification of the water, and "mystical washing away of sin" is removed.

In the Concecration of Bishops, the rubric says a Bishop shall lay hands, and three presbyters on the candidate. However, the prayers have removed the part "by the imposition of our hands" in reference to the reception of the Holy Ghost. This is a Presbyterian commission, not a Sacrament.

In the burial of the dead- there is no commending of the soul.

Their "ministers" have NO authority whatsoever other than to teach or preach.

How the ACA can go from looking to Rome to the REC in a year is beyond me.

It is expected that we be charitable, to pray for one another. But unity for the sake of what based on what? Numbers? Some warm-and-fuzzy "can't we all get along" notion? In the same way that few wanted to answer the hard theological questions regarding the Ordinariate - few are asking the important theological questions with unity between groups such as ANCA/ACA/ACNA/REC who either believe very different things, or don't seem to know where they stand on theological issues the first place. Or - they just don't care as long as everyone gets to do and believe whatever they want.

-Aidan. (pt 2)

charles said...

Dear Aidan,

The DoW-REC (formerly APA & presently the first St. Louis Affirming diocese inside ACNA) uses the 1928 BCP. There is also a 2011 BCP written by Fr. Keith Acker that probably has more in common with St. Tikhon's WR liturgy than the 1549 which Acker claims to have modeled his proposed version upon. Mind you, DoW functions under both REC and ACNA, and some find this quite amazing.

I have no copies of the REC's most recent prayer book, but FACA enabled REC-DMA to bend much of the Cummin's Declartion away from the controversies of the late 19th century toward the fullness of historic Anglicanism, more particularly Anglo-Catholicism. Since 2003, the REC adopted a mix of the 1928 and 1662 books, dumping altogether the 1785. REC also tossed Cummin's 35 articles for the historic 39 articles of 1563. And, in order to ensure zero feminism crept in, this year the RE canonically barred women from seminary. The REC is really taking a hardline, and you're describing a church that basically no longer exists, and, in fact, is now a member of Fifna, early Anglo-catholic, etc..

Finally, why shouldn't numbers be important? When ecumenical discussions happen with either Rome or the East, you don't think a parity of size helps? While most ecumenicalism isn't worth dime, even the ACC of late has approached ROCOR. It's a rather ugly thought, but if such talks or gestures of charity are to establish genuine mutuality with Russians, ACC needs 'parity'. Not only this, but a person would hope orthodoxy would accompany banal numbers. I see no reason ACNA cannot have this through the work of REC and Fifna at some future point. Duncan has one year left (the ACNA Primate's office rotates every 5 yrs), and Fifna/RE presently has an upper-hand in council. So, I think ACNA might prove more than you realize.

Meanwhile, this bunker mentality in the ACC isn't going to win any ecumenical talks with sister catholic churches, and I think TAC's asymmetric collision against the Ordinariate is a case in point, namely, both Rome and EO expect Anglicans to make all the concessions, starting with the 'mistake' of the English Settlement.

This one-way evisceration is really what you're up against, but numbers combined with orthodoxy are the only factors that can swing the momentum the other way in favor of Anglicanism (historically conceived), which certainly is the most perfect of catholic churches.

Besides this, there's this little thing we had about four hundred years ago called "Christendom". Yeah, it'd be nice to get that back. From Constantine to George III, the church had the privileges of state. The 19th century national church proposals coming from PECUSA attempted to reverse this loss, and it would have put Anglicanism at the 'head'.

The heart of the REC is DMA, and the DMA guys come from a small town called Tyler TX. If anyone knows about the Tyler conversions, then you likely have an idea why today's REC might have an interest in restoring that old Christendom.

Anyway, the REC's ecumenicalism is not without purpose.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Meanwhile, this bunker mentality in the ACC isn't going to win any ecumenical talks with sister catholic churches...

I object to that line. Bunker mentality my left hind leg. We know who we are, and the unity that is being achieved among the old jurisdictions is what matters. If you know that the RCs and EOs expect Anglicans to make all the concessions, you should have no trouble understanding us.

Fr. Wells said...

The "bunker mentality" remark was uncalled-for. As the West Palm Beach photograph shows, the ACC, APCK, UEC, APA and ACA are making substantial progress toward unity. Any kibitzing from the REC is intrusive and should be ignored. The fact is simply that REC belongs to ACNA which "ordains" priestesses. End of story.

Fr. Steve said...

Please enlighten us on the Tyler Conversions.

charles said...

Fr. Hart and Fr. Wells,

By 'bunker down', I meant with respect to larger Anglicanism. If section V says, "continuing Anglicans remain in full communion with the See of Canterbury and with all other faithful parts of the Anglican Communion", then why ignore or abstain from those bishops, dioceses, rectors, and parishes ('faithful parts') outside the St. Louis Congress?

Though I understand the principle of getting one's house first in order, I never understood why ACC would avoid relations those parts of ACNA that are indeed 'faithful'? This would include DoW and DMA, for starters. As perhaps it would even for a few priests in TEC, like the Reverend Gavin Dunbar, for example.

Whenever I mention this, people just get furious. Yet, I can't help reading Section V as a mandate for diplomacy as much as discrimination.

Fr. Wells said...

"By 'bunker down', I meant with respect to larger Anglicanism. "

Charles, what you call "larger Anglicanism" is a figment of your imagination. You evidently have bought the line that being Anglican is defined by being in a relationship with an apostate Archbishop who is headquarted not very far from London, UK.

Pointing out a few fossils of orthodoxy in an institution which has officially abandoned historic Christianity is like finding dinosaur bones and concluding that dinosaurs are still on the loose. Or finding a handful of healthy people in a leper colony and deciding that leprosy is on the wane.

Since you have cast your lot with an ultra-Protestant body which has officially repudiated the sacramental theology of the Common Prayer tradition, why are you concerned with what the St Louis/Chambers succession Churches are doing? Whatever commmon heritage we may have, we have no common future. You need to accept that and move on.

charles said...

Fr. Wells,
Given DoW-REC continues usage of the APA Solemnn Declaration which affirms the "spirit of St. Louis", and our Sunday bidding prayer unfailingly begs unity in the Continuing church, I don't see why DoW isn't a Continuing church any more than the APA. Nothing changed in our transition to REC. The only difference is our bishops and priests have a forum to press their theology whereas before there was no cause to listen. Meanwhile, REC tightened up its canons to bar women seminarians. That's not 'faithful'?

Anyway, I'll take your advice and move on since it's certain the continuers that would have joined ACNA already have. But I wish the bloggers here did likewise, and drop ACNA mudslinging altogether. If you must mudsling, at least distinguish between faithful and non-faithful Anglicans within ACNA as Section V suggests. The whole thing about lepers and dinosaurs is a perfect illustration of the knee-jerk 'anger' I mentioned above that some ACC feel obliged to unleash. A reasonable talk just can't be had. It's totally crazy,imo.

Charles said...

hmmm... looking at the dates-- Oct. 15th, for this article, and the weekend of Oct. 23rd for the ACC synod-- I'm guessing from the posts that followed something substantial happened, and Bishop Robinson has largely gotten his wishes answered. I look forward to the future Continuing Anglican Church, and I hope it can eventually engage the rest of Anglicanism per section V once the foundation of unity is stable.

Charles Bartlett
Reformed and United Episcopalian