My head is spinning. I never would have imagined that it would happen so fast, but then it really didn't. It has been in the offing for four years.
The Common Cause Partnership (CCP) is born.
This is Explosion Number One, as predicted here just a few days ago:
"Anglican bishops from ten jurisdictions and organizations pledged to take the first steps toward a “new ecclesiastical structure” in North America. The meeting of the first ever Common Cause Council of Bishops was held in Pittsburgh September 25-28.
"The bishops present lead more than 600 Anglican congregations. They formally organized themselves as a college of bishops which will meet every six months. They also laid out a timeline for the path ahead, committed to working together at local and regional levels, agreed to deploy clergy interchangeably and announced their intention to, in consultation “with those Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion offering recognition under the timeline adopted,” call a “founding constitutional convention for an Anglican union,” at the earliest possible date agreeable to all of the partners.
"'We met deeply aware that we have arrived at a critical moment in the history of mainstream Anglican witness in North America. God has led us to repentance for past divisions and opened the way for a united path forward. To him be the glory,' said Bishop Robert Duncan, convener of the council."
Read it all here.
The Episcopal Church has been hit by the first major blast, as a whole host of groups and jurisdictions come together to form a new church. They are the American Anglican Council (AAC); the Anglican Communion Network (ACN); the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA); the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC); the Anglican Province of America (APA); the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA); the Anglican Essentials Federation (AEF); Forward in Faith, North America (FIF/NA); and the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC).
Therein lie the elements that will cause Explosion Number Two, as I see little hope of such a disparate group maintaining any sort of real unity.
In the short term, however, we face the prospect of Avignon versus Rome -- two entities vying with each other as the true face of "mainstream Anglicanism" and seeking to convince the world of their bona fides. The Episcopal Church will no doubt retain its recognition by Canterbury, while the CCP will be embraced by the so-called Global South.
There will be more explosions to come, as catholic individuals, parishes and dioceses now belonging to the ten founding entities of the CCP find that there is no place for them in an institution that, in all likelihood, will continue to "ordain" women and worship with the 1979 "book of common prayer."
On that first point, the declaration says as much, when it states that one issue that will have to be dealt with is "How we will live together with bishops and congregations and dioceses that do ordain women and others that do not ordain women, affirming that we will not violate anyone’s conscience on this matter."
As to the second point, it hints as much when it says that two other issues to be dealt with are common worship and stating and maintaining a common Anglican ethos.
Both of these points are a far cry from the clarity provided by the Affirmation of St Louis.
I would so very much like to think that I am wrong, and that there will be no second or subsequent explosions; that the CCP could indeed be the foundation of a truly orthodox and catholic jurisdiction. But I fear that I will be proved right.
Let us pray for Bishop Duncan and all those involved in this bold venture, that they might take the steps necessary to prove me wrong. May God bless them.
And let us in the continuing movement not stand on the sidelines, pooh-poohing. Instead, let us seek dialogue with the CCP. They have already thought of that. The very final point included in their list of issues to be dealt with is this: Consistent with resolutions of Lambeth Conference, seeking to draw continuing churches, not members of the Common Cause Partnership, into fellowship.
Meanwhile, watch as the implosion now begins in earnest, as liberal, faithless "Anglicanism" begins to wither before our very eyes.
At least they'll save on their electricity bills.