Saturday, January 21, 2012

Open door to Communion membership for ACNA

ADU's 2012 campaign for ACNA membership of the Anglican Communion receives a timely boost in the form of a report to the C of E General Synod signed by ++Cantuar and ++Ebor. H/T to Thinking Anglicans. The full report is here in PDF.

Cited here (as on Thinking Anglicans) are these concluding paragraphs:

"15. Where then do matters currently stand concerning ACNA on each of these

three issues, namely relations with the Church of England, relations with the

Anglican Communion and the ability of ACNA clergy to be authorised to

minister in the Church of England?

16. The Synod motion rightly began by referring to “the distress caused by recent

divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and

Canada.” That distress, in which we share, is a continuing element in the

present situation and is likely to remain so for some considerable time.

17. Wounds are still fresh. Those who follow developments in North America

from some distance have a responsibility not to say or do anything which will

inflame an already difficult situation and make it harder for those directly

involved to manage the various challenges with which they are still grappling.

18. We would, therefore, encourage an open-ended engagement with ACNA on

the part of the Church of England and the Communion, while recognising that

the outcome is unlikely to be clear for some time yet, especially given the

strong feelings on all sides of the debate in North America.

19. The Church of England remains fully committed to the Anglican Communion

and to being in communion both with the Anglican Church of Canada and the

Episcopal Church (TEC). In addition, the Synod motion has given Church of

England affirmation to the desire of ACNA to remain in some sense within the

Anglican family.

20. Among issues that will need to be explored in direct discussions between the

Church of England and ACNA are the canonical situation of the latter, its

relationship to other Churches of the Communion outside North America and

its attitude towards existing Anglican ecumenical agreements.

21. Where clergy from ACNA wish to come to England the position in relation to

their orders and their personal suitability for ministry here will be considered

by us on a case by case basis under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry

and Ordination) Measure 1967."
The wording is careful, the acknowledgements of 'distress' are pastoral, the prospects of future membership of the Communion for ACNA are not dimmed by this report.

I suggest the following words repay studied reflection:

"its relationship to other Churches of the Communion outside North America".

++Rowan and ++John shrewdly place in this report a marker: ACNA's future in the Anglican family (broadly speaking) and in the Anglican Communion (i.e. a narrower definition of the Anglican family) cannot be denied or dismissed without consequences for other Anglican relationships. The C of E in this report does not come out as a powerful backer of ACNA but it notes that ACNA has other backers.

The door to Communion membership for ACNA remains open.

Expect the usual suspects to take a dim view of this report!


Father Ron Smith said...

This only goes to show how out of date is the Church of England's understanding of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada's stand on 'being Anglican' in North America.

However, the same lack of insight is being displayed currently by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, in their desire to protect dissidents on the issue of Women Bishops in the C.of E. So this new outreach towards the schismatics in North America is not too surprising.

I do admire the energy you are putting into this campaign of yours, Peter, even though I don't approve of your objective.

Pageantmaster said...

"Expect the usual suspects to take a dim view of this report"

Yes - already I have heard the grinding sound of teeth knawing on knuckles.

However I did enjoy Lionel Deimel's comment on TA:

"Perhaps it is time to divide the Anglican Communion into its three constituents—the liberals, the conservatives, and the clueless."

I don't agree with it, but it's very funny.

I am going to reserve comment on the statement until I have had a think about it.

Peter Carrell said...

I foresee, Pageantmaster, that there might be a fourth group, the clued up :)

carl jacobs said...

It's nothing but papered-over illusion. It's also too late. He can't avoid making a decision by getting everyone to sit inside the same tent. They walked out of the tent for a reason, and that reason hasn't gone away. There isn't going to be an Anglican Communion that includes both ACNA and TEC. It's going to be one or the other. The hierarchy at Lambeth has to decide what kind of communion it wants to be. Hot or cold. This luke-warm stuff will just be spit out.


Andrew Reid said...

What is helpful in this report is that it recognises the two separate issues at stake - recognition by CofE and recognition within the broader Communion.
In terms of the CofE, they try to steer a line between formal recognition of ACNA and treating them as schismatics. That gives the CofE maximum move to manoeuvre - they can keep talking to them, but are unlikely to do anything formal for a while yet.
With the Communion, the key figures are the ABC and the ACC. I can't see the ACNA getting the 2/3 majority of primates necessary to join the ACC. So, the issue becomes will the ABC invite them to Primates' Meetings and/or Lambeth?
The key moment will be when TEC considers the covenant at their General Convention. If they reject it as their committee has proposed, they will have ignored the Primates Meeting warnings, not abided by the Windsor moratoria and rejected the Covenant. Given that pattern of walking apart from the Communion, that would give the ABC more flexibility to invite the ACNA to participate more closely in the Communion. However, I am doubtful he will choose to do that, because he will want to keep TEC inside the tent, and they will refuse to share a tent with ACNA.
What ACNA ought to do is continue to build relationships with like-minded provinces and dioceses, and get on with their church planting and ministry in North America. What will build a case for their formal recognition by the AC is their adherence to traditional Anglican faith, representation of a large group of Anglicans, and recognition by other Anglican dioceses and provinces.

Father Ron Smith said...

With the majority A.C. contact of ACNA being that with the GAFCON Provinces - and GAFCON becoming increasingly combative with the rest of the Provinces in the A.C., perhaps the best plan for both ACNA and GAFCON would be to declare their liasson in North America as the GAFCON Church in North America. But please don't call them 'Anglican'.

This title ought to be reserved for those Provinces of the Anglican Communion that can live easily with the modern world's understanding of the ABC's seminal dissertation 'The Body's Grace', which explains the authentic and God'given place of the LGBT community in the Church and the World.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
I reckon less than half the member churches of the Communion as currently constituted could live "easily" with the document your refer to; and a mostly white grouping at that. Are you saying that real Anglicans are those characterized by their liberal/progressive theology and the light colour of their skin? It seems a very exclusive approach to determining who are Anglicans and who are not!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
You are missing my point which sought to respond to the language you used in your previous comment.

In that comment you were talking about member churches/provinces of the Anglican Communion with a view to determining which of those churches were really Anglican and which were not.

You did not talk about people of gay orientation. I did not talk about them. The conversation was about who are Anglicans in relation to which churches (not individuals) could "easily" accommodate ++Rowan's essay. Please do not jumpt to conclusions about what I think or how I understand gay people when I have not actually written about them.

I put it to you again: your view of who constitute real Anglicans is exclusivist and would lead to a Communion disproportionately represented by white Westerners. I would be interested in knowing whether you are comfortable with the thought that that is where the Anglican Communion will end if we dance to the progressivist theological tune.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, I'm not quite sure of what you are asking of me here.

If it is whether I think that the emancipation of LGBTs; the abandonment of a 'sola scriptura' ethic; together with a modern outlook on what is meant by the Freedom of Christ in the Gospel:

Then the the fact that; inclusion among that provenance of the South African Province (with Archbishops Makgabo and Desmond Tutu) seems to me a more truly representative way of following the Scipture, Tradition and Reasonable way of being Anglican than the way of the GAFCON Provinces, answers you.

There is no actual racial division between members of the Communion who accept the more liberal understanding of the Gospel, it is mostly the hierarchical leaders of the Provinces.

Anonymous said...

Ron said,

"If it is whether I think that the emancipation of LGBTs; the abandonment of a 'sola scriptura' ethic; together with a modern outlook on what is meant by the Freedom of Christ in the Gospel"

So basically you want to define Anglican by first repudiating genuine Anglicanism and replacing it with modern liberalism.

In other words, you do not want the Anglican Church to be Anglican, you want it to be secular liberalism with a bit of catholic ritual thrown in.

Thats been tried before. All it leads to is vast numbers of faithful Anglicans abandoning the Church and moving to Evangelical/Pentecostal denominations. Its a recipe for Anglican suicide, with the once great Church reduced to a tiny number of white Western urban liberals.

Liberalism has been tried, and it has failed. It produces no fruit. It does not lead to church growth. It leads to dying parishes, heresy and apostacy.

It is time to let a new generation of young Evangelicals take the reins.