Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What is the Continuum?

There is some interesting discussion in the blogosphere (see the Continuing Anglican Churchman and Philorthodox, as well as Sacramentum Vitae) on just who comprise the continuing Anglican movement.

I am new to the movement, and have adopted without any sort of rigorous academic examination what has appeared to me to be the most obvious definition of a continuing church -- that it adheres to the principles of doctrine and morality set forth in the The Affirmation of St Louis.

That, I am pleased to see, is the the approach that would seem to be suggested by Wikipedia, which traces the growth of the continuing movement out of the 1977 meeting which adopted that document.

But are Wikipedia and I correct?

That is ultimately a rhetorical question, because we have no ultimate authority to pronounce on it.

What does matter, however, is what criteria will be applied when individual jurisdictions consider moves toward intercommunion and even unity. As many of you know, this is already an issue in the developing merger between the Anglican Province of America and the Reformed Episcopal Church.

So, as a discussion starter, what do you say? Are Wikipedia and I right?


ACC Member said...

There is a discussion to define just what the "continuing churches" are on the Blogspot "Ecclesia Anglicana Continua" anglicancontinua.blogspot.com Check it out.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Whether or not the Wikipedia is correct is impossible to say. That this Blog will only list the churches that openly affirm the Affirmation is a good policy, and so it should remain.

Anonymous said...

Actually, since you mentioned APA and REC: both groups pre-date the St. Louis Congress. APA from AEC, which separated from ECUSA in 1968; REC separated from ECUSA in 1873.

Jurisdictions emerging from 1977 (St. Louis) tend to look askance at pre-congress continuers, but especially are wary of the REC. Unity movements with AEC/APA have gotten underway (and crashed) in the past. APA cites St. Louis Affirmation as an important document.

Anonymous said...

Albion, I think you are right. Language is determined by convention -- that is general usage. And, since it popular use, "The Continuum" has referred to St. Louis-Statement jurisdictions.

Of course the REC and the APA are similarly placed to the Conituum in that they are "Not-In-Communion" with Canterbury. And with the REC's on-going catholic renewal, it may eventually join in an broader Anglican realignment, for which I pray. But, as a matter of usage, onyl a handful of jurisdictions can make plausible claims to be in the Continuum proper.

But, over time, Continuum and Not-In-Communion may merge in popular usage. The Enhglish Language is fluid, hence we always have to be careful about the menaning of terms in historical texts -- when written, they may not have meant what they do today!