Saturday, February 12, 2011

ACNA Encouraged By English Synod a year ago ... any update?

This item originally referred to an article published in the Church News Ireland and, on further investigation, and with thanks to commenters below, it appears to be an erroneous republication of last year's news about a motion which was agreed to by the C of E GS - erroneous, that is, to the extent that it implies a newly agreed resolution this week. So (with some italicised changes) I am recasting the post!]

This blog has long argued that ACNA should be recognised as a full Anglican church with membership of the Anglican Communion. It is good therefore to read this resolution of the General Synod of the Church of England as reposted in an article this week which erroneously gives the impression it has been discussed again by the English Synod:

“That this Synod aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America, recognize and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican church in North America (ACNA) to remain within the Anglican family; acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.”

The republished report about this is very upbeat. Read it here. But the resolution is the thing, not the upbeat (not least because it is not quite the 'recognition' some think it is). I think it keeps the pot boiling on recognising that the situation in North America is such that it warrants an unusual-by-church-history-standards' arrangement in which those Anglicans adhering to traditional teaching of the universal church at least have the choice of belonging to a church where they have confidence that teaching will not be constantly challenged.

It would be very interesting to see what positive effect it might have on Communion relationships if (1) TEC and ACCan would recognise ACNA (2) ACNA would cease rhetoric about displacing those two churches (3) Property issues were resolved (4) ACNA becomes a member church of the Communion. Might that be sufficient compromise to see Nigeria, Uganda and co back at the table?

Consequently it is intriguing to recall this resolution and to wonder aloud where the C of E investigations are going re ACNA and what report will be made back to the (presumably) July session of the Synod.

UPDATE: Thinking Anglicans now carries a report from General Synod (C of E) on Lorna Ashworth's enquiry into the fate of her question. Read here.


Brother David said...

There are some errors in this matter which should have been cleaned up before passage. There is only one official Anglican church in the USA and one in Canada. ACNA is a cross border church in North America, intruding on two provinces, both the USA and Canada, so I believe that the resolution should have read that there was a division in the Anglican churches in North America, not the USA. As it is, it is a bit of a slap for Canada, as if they do not even exist in all of this. Is not ACCanada at least as big as ACANZ&P?

I do not believe that this is a Church of Ireland report. I can find no notice that this periodical, Church News Ireland, to whose article you link, is an official publication of the Church of Ireland. I think that it is similar to the so called Church of England News. I think that a report from the actual Church of Ireland would show a more even keel, this paper reveals its con evo slant by its unrepressed jubilation regarding news for ACNA.

And it needs to get its facts better sorted. The TEC General Convention in Anaheim was not last summer, it was nearly two years ago, in summer 2009.

ACNA is as likely to be honest about not replacing the North Am heretics as the Vatican is about ecumenical dialog.

Paul Powers said...

I think the Church of Ireland News is talking about the General Synod resolution that was adopted last year. The wording is the same (or very close too it). One would expect some mention of a resolution being passed by this latest general synod by Thinking Anglicans or by George Conger in either the Church Times or the Living Church, and there has been none.

It should be clear that even if the C of E were to declare itself in communion with the ACNA (a final decision which I understand would have to be made by +Cantuar and +York after consultation with the General Synod), this would not make the ACNA a Province of the Anglican Communion any more than the Church of Sweden is even though it's in communion with the C of E.

I suspect that +Williams is in no hurry to make any pronouncements about the status of the ACNA unless he has to. There's no particular advantage to his doing so, and it wouldn't make sense for the ACNA to push the issue.

Paul Powers said...

It's a reprint of a post on Virtue Online from 10 Feb 2010.

John Sandeman said...

I can't find this motion is not listed in the record of this years synod. I think its the motion from last time.

Father Ron Smith said...

"This blog has long argued that ACNA should be recognised as a full Anglican church with membership of the Anglican Communion."
- Peter Carrell -

And that is the reason, Peter, why I question your wisdom in your aiding and abetting of the intentional schism of the dissident faux-Anglican community (ACNA) in North America, whose bid to be recognised by the Anglican Communion as a member Church has never been accepted.

Whatever ACNA's advocates in the UK may have said about their desire to cut off TEC and the A.C.of C. in favour of acceptance of ACNA in their place, nothing has been done by the Church of England or by the ACO to accommodate ACNA's plea.

Your friendship with ACI and the various agents of their potential schismatic activity does not help onlookers to understand the true state of ACANZP's relationship ot TEC and the A.C.of C. - which is as fellow members of the world-wide Anglican Churches in communion with Canterbury. I would have thought that, as a disocesn educator of future clergy within the Christchurch Diocese, you might have been a little less eager to procliam your affinity with intentional schismatics.

I can see why Sarah Hey finds your blog an attractive outlet for her fellings against her P.B. in TEC.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
I have not aided and abetter schism in the Anglican Communion. But schism having occurred I seek as a servant of the God who is love to ask the question what would be pastorally responsive love to those who are closest to me in the universal body of Christ, that is, those who identify themselves as Anglicans.

Rather than dismiss convinced and passionate Anglicans in North America with words such as 'faux' and 'dissident' and (not used by you, but encountered on the internet) 'wannabe', I am choosing to understand their pain (and, yes, the pain they cause with property disputes etc). Out of that pastoral care and discernment it is my conviction that ACNA should be included in the Anglican Communion provided (1) it is not at the expense of TEC or ACCan, (2) it is a true communion, i.e. with TEC and ACCan as much as with the CofE etc. (They are pretty stiff conditions for ACNA to meet, and right now I understand that they would not meet them).

In this way I suggest my approach to ACNA is inclusive, pastoral, and, in the best sense of the word 'Anglican'.

I think you will find that in the diocese I serve there is a range of views on these matters: some would vote for ACNA to be member of the AC at the expense of TEC and ACCan; some would agree with my approach; some would agree with your approach; many, of course, would be unaware of the issues we are discussing.

For me the overriding concern is what response the Communion should make in the love of God to Anglicans who find themselves at this time to be dissenting from the jurisdiction of the historic Anglican church in their locality.

Paul Powers said...

Admission of the ACNA to the Anglican Communion would require the approval of 2/3 of the primates. The votes aren't there. It's not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. Possibly never. That's a reality to which the ACNA needs to adjust itself.

Instead, the ACNA needs to continue to develop one-on-one relationships with Anglicans in other Provinces (and with other Christians), and it needs to continue to focus its ministry on bringing the un-churched to Christ.

Anonymous said...

A note about The Church of England Newspaper. Every so often someone unfamiliar with religious publishing will complain about the name of the publication, saying it's not really the Church of England's newspaper.

It is correct to say the publication is not an official organ of the Church of England. There is no official news sheet put out by the church.

The Church of England Newspaper is a weekly that has been in continuous publication since 1828. It is the oldest church newspaper.

In the Nineteenth century religious publishing was in the hands of the various church parties. The CEN, the Record and a few others where the papers of the Evangelical or low church party. Over time these papers were merged together ... now the Record is a section within the CEN.

The Church Times, founded about 25 years or so later, was the paper favored by the Oxford movement. Other papers were around, but is these two that have survived to the present day.

The CEN's editorial view is conservative and evangelical, while the Church Times is more liberal and catholic. However, these terms do not mean what they did 150 years ago. Today the papers have different base audiences, but also have a high degree of shared readership.

To get a sense of milieu in which these publications were born, a profitable and pleasant afternoon could be spent reading Trollope. Obidiah Slope, for example, is identified as being a subscriber to the Record ... a give away to his theological leanings for contemporary readers.

George Conger