Updated Thursday evening
There have been many reports from the meeting being held in Bedford, Texas.
Official reports can be found at http://acnaassembly.org.
Some media reports:
Religious Intelligence George Conger New US Province is formed.
But what about those 100,000 members that ACNA claims? Shortly after it launched last February, the group actually lowered that number to 81,311 people in the pews every Sunday. In June, ACNA lowered that number again to 69,197.
For some context, the Episcopal diocese with the largest average Sunday attendance in 2007 was Virginia, with 25,300.
It’s not unusual for membership numbers to be much higher than average Sunday attendance. But that usually happens in large, longstanding churches, like the Episcopal Church, which may have people on the membership rolls who stopped attending church long ago, or who are Easter-Christmas attenders only. One would assume that in a new church committed to orthodoxy, the gap between average Sunday attendance and membership would be quite a bit smaller.
Speaking of leavers, this site reported (emphasis added):
Rumors abound that Ft. Worth Bishop Jack Leo Iker’s long term goal is to take his diocese to Rome. Not true. Numerous sources have told VOL that he is deeply committed to the new North American Anglican Province and he will work with his fellow bishops over the thorny issue of women’s ordination.
A number of his Ft. Worth priests were recently seen at the Anglican Use conference in Houston. He has told them that if they want to go to Rome, they can do so, but they can’t take their property with them.
Thursday evening update
Colin Coward has helpfully summarised the support for ACNA that can be found in England, see Why are Church of England bishops betraying the Communion?
…On behalf of the Church of England Evangelical Council, Bishop Wallace Benn of Lewes and Archdeacon Michael Lawson sent greetings and expressed delight to be in full communion with the dissident Province. On behalf of Anglican Mainstream Canon Chris Sugden (who is present at the meeting) and Philip Giddings sent very warm greetings, rejoicing at this very significant stage of development and expressing their fellowship and communion in the Lord with the dissident body. Philip Giddings is Vice Chair (House of Laity) of the General Synod of the Church of England.
A report posted by Anglican Mainstream says that Archbishop Bob Duncan informed the assembly on Tuesday that greetings had been received from the Bishops of Rochester , Winchester, Chester and Chichester. The Bishop of Rochester is speaking at a meeting on Sunday 5th July in support of the launch of FoCA.
The bishops of Lewes, Rochester, Winchester, Chester and Chichester and the Lay Chair of General Synod are all supporting a dissident, ultra-conservative, reactionary movement which aims to destroy and replace the Anglican Communion as at present constituted.
The plan doesn’t end with replacing Provinces in North America. The FoCA launch on the 6th July is the first step in a movement to replace the four UK Anglican Provinces. The only names missing from this list of usual suspects are the bishops of Blackburn and Exeter who signed a letter of support for Bishop Bob Duncan last year…
TA Note: The Bishop of Rochester has formally resigned his see effective from 1 September 2009 although he has already ceased public engagements in the diocese.
There is a long article by Ann Rodgers profiling the new Archbishop of ACNA and the history behind ACNA in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette headlined Bishop Robert Duncan is trading sacred places.
It includes this quote from one of the Episcopal Church’s most respected retired clergy, a former President of the House of Deputies of General Convention:
But a retired Pittsburgh cathedral dean said Bishop Duncan followed his own agenda. “The only program he has kept to totally for the past 11 years has been developing this parallel universe and his position in it,” said the Rev. George Werner.
An earlier NPR report Conservatives Push For Rival U.S. Anglican Church included this quote from Susan Russell:
“It would be as if Sarah Palin were to take a small, but vocal, percentage of very conservative Republicans and decide that they were going to create a parallel United States without having the White House at the center,” Russell says.
and this from George Pitcher:
George Pitcher, an Anglican priest at St. Bride’s Anglican Church in London and religion editor at the Daily Telegraph, agrees. He says the communion welcomes conservative views.
But, he says, “when they want to say this is the one true way, and we want to impose it on all Anglicans, then it’s at that stage that the broadly tolerant Anglican Communion says, ‘Well that’s not the way we do things.’ ”