Tuesday, July 21, 2009


One of the reasons I think ACNA deserves a place in the Anglican Communion fold is that I trust its leadership, and I trust those who have made the decision to walk from TEC (and ACCan), that in their judgement the best way forward for Anglican mission in North America is to not be a part of a church which has made its particular decisions in respect of homosexuality. This trust is partly on the basis of what I have been reading over the years, it is also partly, and importantly, on the basis of personal knowledge of some Anglicans in ACNA.

Clearly there is another way forward in mission, as each of ACCan and TEC believe. Also clearly there are conservative Anglicans in each church who believe it is viable for them to remain as a minority within each church.

I realise the remaining presence of conservatives in TEC and ACCan raises the question whether the ACNA departees needed to depart since, apparently, it is viable to remain as a conservative in TEC. But I suggest that the 'viability' of remaining will vary from diocese to diocese, church to church, and from person to person. Some churches will not be pressuring their clergy to lead them out of TEC; others will have done so, or be currently doing so. Some clergy will have a different staying power to remain in a difficult situation.

The fact is, for all sorts of reasons, some of which are less laudable than others (one supposes), a significant major new grouping of Anglicans has been formed in North America. It is keen to remain Anglican in structure, tradition, theology, and liturgy. It is particularly keen to be in communion with the Anglican Communion. Though some think it a fly-by-night operation that will fall over at the first dispute, there are grounds for thinking that this new formation will not just survive but thrive. It has, for instance, some pretty solid leadership, some good theologians, and some strong support from the Communion of which it is not formally a part.

By contrast, TEC, which remains a very strong Anglican church numerically and financially (for the time being, see my post below), is out of kilter with much of the Anglican Communion. Being out of kilter is not grounds for expelling it from the Communion, but might it be grounds for considering the claims of an alternative Anglican province which is thinking and acting significantly in harmony with much of the Communion? Including TEC and ACNA (and ACCan) in the Communion would be a way of including a balanced Anglicanism from North America in the Communion!

Some might say that it is unprecedented to have two such provinces operating in the same land mass. Apart from the response that it may not be completely unprecedented when one observes the two dioceses of Europe, are we not in unprecedented territory in any case with Anglican churches making formal moves to accept the ordination of gay and lesbian bishops and to provide pastoral resources for the blessings of same sex partnerships with the explicit authorization of the General Convention?

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