Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Second Province and the Continuum

As the primates of the Anglican Communion prepare to begin their historic meeting in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, the rumour mill has turned out an interesting bit of information. As the story goes, and quite in line with long-standing expectations, the primates of the Global South are expected to propose the creation in the United States of a second, or parallel, province of orthodox Anglicans alongside the apostate Episcopal Church.

That is not news. What is news is that, according to various sources, notably The Living Church, this new province would include not only orthodox members of The Episcopal Church, but also the In addition to current members of The Episcopal Church, the new province would include the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

AND, it would be open to reunion with the Continuing Anglican churches in the United States.

For the general lines of this story, read more here. Also, thanks to reader AP Biddle for alerting me to this.

Given the wide divergences in ecclesiology among those in the TEC pushing for a separate province (and mirrored in one suggestion that the REC and Continuum would be lumped together in this "offer"), the whole thing would seem to me to be a non-starter. My gut feeling is that any new province that might emerge would be too broad church to attract any, much less all of the continuing churches.

Even so, the Continuum needs to be there for those who ultimately will not be comfortable with it. Sadly, though, the Continuum is too divided to offer a common welcome mat, and I fear many people/parishes/dioceses will fall through the cracks.

Your thoughts on this would be welcome, particularly as the events in Dar es Salaam unfold.

In the meantime, I bid your prayers for the primates and their work.


Alice C. Linsley said...

The reluctance of The Continuum to be part of such a configuration is understandable and highlights the real issue, which is ecclesiology. As I wrote in Observations Upon Entering Orthodoxy (posted at Drell's Descants): "As much as I wish that the fighting would stop, I wonder what a separate structure would accomplish if it carries the same fundamental flaw: lack of clarity as to what the Church is. Consider this experiment: Place Bishops Duncan, Schori, Iker and Wolfe in separate rooms and charge them with the task of defining the Church. The likely result of such an experiment would be four different definitions of the Church. Here is the fundamental problem in The Episcopal Church."

ACC Member said...

Ruth Gledhill, a reporter for a London paper, said today that it is time for the Anglican Communion to split up into smaller Anglican churches with the same beliefs. I think this idea that all Anglicans must be united into one body is unrealistic and pointless. As Ruth Gledhill said, why should they put on a pretense of being united just so they can keep fighting? Methodists have lots of different jurisdictions, Presbyterians have lots of different jurisdictions, Eastern Orthodox have lots of different jurisdictions, catholics have lots of different jurisdictions,etc. So why should Anglicanism be any different? I agree the scriptures call for unity, but there can be unity in spirit of what we have in common. I don't think Christ demanded unity in political jurisdiction.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I think that Ruth Gledhill is missing the point. The Church is defined by its message and that message is not popular. The message is salvation by faith and repentance through the divine Person of Jesus Christ, as the only way to the Father. Any group that teaches a different gospel is not the "church" no matter how much it dresses up like the Church.

~Rick. said...

I hate to be a stick in the mud but my view point is entirely simplistic. I do agree in unity, total unity (if ever possible) between the continuing churches. At this time in history, it almost seems silly that they are not doing everything possible to do so.
That being, in my humble opinion, the prefered route over being 'allowed' in a 2nd province of discouraged EUCASA members and their counterparts. Why should 'we' join with 'them' when 'they' (AMiA etc) still have no problem accepting 79 prayer books and pretend female priestesses?
Just my stubborn thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Alice, and, on a separate note, much admire you and what you have done. As I wrote in another post to The Continuum:

"Achieving organizational unity among different religious groups is almost never easy. The reasons why the ACC and the APCK are separate ecclesiastical bodies are complex and not reducible to differences regarding churchmanship, doctrine, or liturgy. Those who have been around the Continuing Church since its beginnings know that matters of the human heart--of power, money, control, prestige, and personality--are powerfully at play.

"One question that needs to be faced squarely is this: have Anglicans EVER really been unified (i.e., since the C of E became independent of Rome in the 16th century)? If you take away the one thing that actually forced Anglicans to be organizationally united--namely, the church establishment and underlying infrastructure--is there anything left that will really cause us to cohere?

"Let's recall that, historically speaking, the Anglican Communion was itself formed as a once-a-decade tea party hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. And as long as everyone agreed to be gentlemenly and keep everything within the club, it worked perfectly fine.

"The fact that the new "Continuing" Anglicans in the US--those fleeing the apostasy evident in GC 2003 and the consecration of Gene Robinson--have themselves affiliated with different groups (AMiA, CANA, Southern Cone, Network, etc.) is perhaps but another illustration of this underlying lack of organizational unity."

On the other hand, I believe that there is a genuine sense in which the many of the Continuing Churches are already one in Christ and in faith, worship, and tradition.

Similarly, the Eastern Orthodox Churches are not organizationally unified; rather, their unity is a doctrinal, sacramental, and ecclesiological one.