Thinking Anglicans

Church of England reports on ACNA

Updated again Saturday evening

GS Misc 1011 has been published: The Church of England and the Anglican Church in North America (PDF).

The document is published over the signatures of the two archbishops.

The final sections read as follows:

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.

Updates

Episcopal News Service reports this development with the headline Archbishops suggest ‘open-ended engagement’ with breakaway Anglicans.

The American Anglican Council comments on it in its weekly update (scroll down for the article by Phil Ashey).

ACNA itself has now published this statement: Anglican Church Embraces Working Relationship with Church of England and the bulk of it is quoted below the fold.

“We are encouraged by the desire of the Church of England to continue to embrace the Anglican Church in North America and remain in solidarity with us as we proclaim the Gospel message and truth as revealed in Scripture in the way it has always been understood in Anglican formularies,” said Archbishop Duncan…

“As we have demonstrated successfully to the GAFCON primates, the Anglican Church in North America remains committed to our growing relationships with Anglican provinces outside of North America. Our biblical orthodoxy and ministries are strengthening our bond to our Anglican brothers and sisters around the globe. We are gratified that we are already in a relationship of full communion with many Anglican Provinces and look forward to expanding that circle.”

“In that regard, we appreciate the work of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England, whose report and recommendations to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York form the basis of the document now released for General Synod, and whose content substantially advances the same ends with the Church of England,” concluded Archbishop Duncan.

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Jim Naughton
Guest

The archbishops write: “We would, therefore, encourage an open-ended engagement with ACNA on
the part of the Church of England and the Communion…”

To help me understand what this means, I would be interested to know if there are churches with which the C of E does not have “an open ended engagement.” Can anybody help with that?

Lionel Deimel
Guest

I cannot wait until The Episcopal Church has the opportunity to “encourage an open-ended engagement” when dissidents decide to leave the Church of England. Perhaps the English Archbishops do not think the Communion is in enough chaos and feel the need to stir the pot. Good Lord, preserve us!

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

Paul Bagshaw
Guest
Paul Bagshaw

Para 8 seems disingenuous. I had always believed that the members of the Anglican Communion were those listed in the Appendix the the constitution of the ACC. Therefore it is quite straightforward to determine which churches are members of the Communion: read the list. OCICBW. So, are the Archbishops looking for wriggle room for their own unstated purposes? Is the ACC (which does have a legal personality)to be marginalised if some new faux-Anglican church walks onto the lawn of Lambeth Palace? Shall we quietly forget the history of cross-border incursion of many of ACNA’s members? And what about the jibe… Read more »

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Enough is enough. It is time for the Episcopal Church to plant a standard on the ground in England. We need bishops and parishes on the ground and active Episcopal Church dioceses throughout England. Obviously, from this report, it is possible to do such a thing and to still be fully committed to being in full communion with the CoE. So let’s do it. Can a delegate in the House of Deputies of General Convention work to get a resolution put together for the next GC? Perhaps authorize a missionary diocese or two in England under the cover of providing… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

I would suggest that the archbishops read Amanda Foreman’s book ‘A World on Fire’. When the USA was engaged in a a dire Civil War the British government was sorely tempted to recognise the break-away South (‘so much better for both sides, don’t you know?’). And there was of course an understandable desire to get the cotton flowing once again into the north of England mills where thousands were out of work. It didn’t happen (I’m glad to say, as a Yank) and shouldn’t here either. There is a break-away C-of-E too isn’t there and of long standing – so… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry
and Ordination) Measure 1967

does not apply to these ministers as they are not in a Church in the Anglican Communion.

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

My first thoughts on reading the report echoed Lionel’s comment above. But then it struck me that the authors spend three pages (four if you count the almost blank one at the end) carefully laying out in discretely numbered paragraphs — well, not much of anything at all.

Still, the calm even-handedness with which they contemplate schism in a sister Province of the Anglican Communion is frustrating.

Murdoch Matthew
Guest
Murdoch Matthew

It’s no good arguing that the church must catch up with society. It only lets people like the Rev’d Rod Thomas, chair of the conservative group Reform, respond, “The question is, at the end of the day, is the Church of England willing to stick … to the Bible’s teaching. . . . There are people who argue that we need to be alongside or ahead of trends in society, but actually that is simply an argument for fitting in and sanctifying what society decides it wants to do. It means the church has lost any kind of distinctive voice.”… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“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.”

Nobody’s suing ACNA for using the term “Anglican”: isn’t that affirmation enough?

Ian Montgomery
Guest
Ian Montgomery

Point 13 is of interest as it seems to envisage a parallel sort of situation with the Church of England in South Africa.. “Thus, those ordained in other churches which accept the historic episcopate- for example the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church- may be received into the Church of England and authorised to minister, as may clergy from the Church of England in South Africa.” In the current situation with ACNA we have recognition of a quasi province by several of the AC and whose membership/attendance numbers vastly outnumber those Provinces of the “west.” We also have several… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

This is a transparent and rather desperate attempt by the Archbishops to increase pressure on the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church.

Sorry, but it isn’t going to work.

The Covenant effort is falling apart. The Covenant will fail of passage in at least half a dozen provinces, and quite possibly in the Church of England itself.

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

I thought it was odd when Crockfords 2012 and the current Cof E year book, both list two ACNA Bishops of Forth Worth and Quincy as bishops of TEC and the anglican communion.

Hope they don’t use it as courtroom evidence!

Good to see the new Ordinary of the Ordinariate in the US, says “we do not employ the title Anglican..we are Catholics and we make no pretence of being Anglicans” He also praises the kindness of the presiding bishop! He also wisely says bitter ex Anglicans should not join.

Derek Gagne
Guest
Derek Gagne

This is disturbing to Anglicans/Episcopalians in Canada and the U.S., since it seems that the Archbishops have just stopped short of throwing us under the bus. How much farther will they go? In the light of ongoing property issues and the conflict and pain sown by ACNA, it is sad they they will feel that much of their rancour and vindictiveness has been vindicated. In my Canadian diocese, the ACNA people have no shame in accusing other Anglicans of being apostate and saying cruel and untrue things, while wrapping themselves in sanctimony. How painful to see that this reality is… Read more »

Bill Albinger
Guest
Bill Albinger

I would advise their graces the Lords Archbishop to review the history especially the memos detailing all the plotting and conniving. Then they can review all the litigation history. As a priest in a resort location I have spoken to more than a few parishioners from parishes that turned ACNA. They speak of the pain and unanimously say that the dissent was clergy driven. These are the people you want to invite into your house? Be my guest, but you might want to consider exactly which end you might be leaving open.

Richard
Guest
Richard

What would the archbishops be saying if the ACNA were the ACUK? Would they want an open-ended relationship with such a group?

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

I suppose I see some hope here. The Archbishops do say that “The Church of England remains fully committed … to being in communion both with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church (TEC).” They’ve never really said that before. Before, they were given to making multiple and increasingly onerous demands on us. They thought that if we did a good enough job of complying with their demands, they might consider not breaking communion, but only if, and they’d be the judges of whether or not we did a satisfactory job of complying. So now, perhaps, they’re trying… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Perhaps, 150 years ago, Her Majesty’s government should have maintained an open-ended engagement with the Confederate States of America? No?

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

The Roman Catholic Church faces the same issues: Two Churches, one progressive and one backward looking and fearful of anything new or modern. Fearful of change. You have the Vatican II Catholics and the Restorationist Catholics. The divide is already a reality, no different from the Anglican Communion’s issues regarding human sexuality and disenfranchisement of the glbt community. Two parallel Churches. It is very important for the Archbishops to be held accountable should they harm the glbt community with words or deeds in order to accommodate the ACNA group. Homophobia must not go unchallenged, be it in the Anglican, Roman,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

This statement by the Archbishops is not too surprising – given the fact that they are probably, even at this moment, trying to think of ways of avoiding the message of the dioceses of the Church of England: that most people do not want ‘special provisions’ for the opponents of Women Bishops that would not allow them to have due pastoral authority over what happens in their own diocese, episcopally. I’m all for diversity, but not at the expense of: (1) the catholic understanding of episcopal authority, with non-sexist qualifications; and (2)in the case of ACNA, Eucharistic conciliarity without prejudice… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I think there is something of an over reaction here. I agree with those who note the document says very little. I would not be encouraged if I were an ACNA person – though I note some have fallen for the diplomatic language and are hopeful. I too thought the comparison with the Church of England in South Africa was an interesting one. North American contributors to TA might already know that the CofE has relatively recently seen Reform organise ordinations through CESA – http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001400.html . So they are not seen as friendly folk! The bishops statement on Civil Partnerships… Read more »

Adam Armstrong
Guest
Adam Armstrong

Charlotte said “I suppose I see some hope here. The Archbishops do say that “The Church of England remains fully committed … to being in communion both with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church (TEC).” They’ve never really said that before.” Yet why would such a statement even be necessary? Since when is that in doubt? All the conniving of ACNA is because they want to be recognized as the “legitimate” Anglican Church in Canada and the U.S. The Archbishops have not seemingly thrown cold water on such an idea by being “open ended”. But it’s nice… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

People, if ACNA bishops were invited to Lambeth, and TEC bishops weren’t, would it really matter?

The Episcopal Church ought not wrap itself up in knots trying to achieve a modus vivendi with bigotry and intolerance.

York and Canterbury are trying to yank TEC’s chain. The proper response to this sort of maneuvering is to politely decline the shackles.

Nat
Guest
Nat

History repeats itself. Great Britain remained “neutral” during the civil War, but allowed Confederate gunships to be built in British yards, thus prolonging the war. The Archbishops need to learn that we are no longer a colony, that our internal affairs are our own, and that they have no footing whatever. They need to stay OUT, or they will lose us entirely – which would be unfortunate. TEC is is playing a prophetic role in accepting GLBTQ people as full members of Christ’s body. If this thing is of God, it will go away; if it is not, the Archbishops… Read more »

Geoff
Guest

“Thus, those ordained in other churches which accept the historic episcopate … may be received into the Church of England and authorised to minister, as may clergy from the Church of England in South Africa.”

Contrast this with the situation of clergy in the “old” ACNA (which evolved into the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada) who were deemed some years ago by the Canadian House of Bishops to require conditional ordination if reconciled with Church House. (Whether the issue ever came up, I could not say).

Lionel Deimel
Guest

Two thoughts—

ACNA has declared that it is ready to adopt the Anglican Covenant. Could this obsequious drivel be an attempt to advance the Covenant project?

Questions such as how “Anglican” ACNA is are rather beside the point. ACNA is a church that has accumulated most of its assets by theft from The Episcopal Church. Does “biblical Anglicanism” not accept the Ten Commandments? Or is the Anglican Covenant seen as more important?

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

So in fact..it means turn your garage into a chapel and register it for public worship…
(in England you could then avoid property tax) use a Book of Common Prayer.. secure ordination from a retired bishop and you are part of the Anglican family.

Nice one!

Maybe the MCC churches should secure Anglican episcopal ordination and become part of the Anglican family!

LaVallette
Guest
LaVallette

@ Chris Smith on Saturday, 21 January 2012 at 4:07am GMT

There may very well be “the Vatican II Catholics and the Restorationist Catholics. The divide is already a reality, no different from the Anglican Communion’s issues regarding human sexuality…” but there is only ONE Magisterium. Therefore there is only ONE of the ‘lable’ Catholics who is genuine. Unlike Anglicanism there is no room within the Catholic Church for “living together in tension” on theological and moral issues. The old “latae sententia” applies.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I thought Lionel that despite a much earlier trail that implied other groups might be welcome to adopt the Covenant (spit twice, make rude gesture, cross my fingers and toes) – only those qualified by membership of the communion were now so invited.

You know! You Americans are SO confusing!!!

Ever since I found out about polyamory from David Virtue I have been waiting for it to be upheld as a new social value by a radical episcopalian bishop – instead it is a conservative Roman Catholic Republican Presidential candidate who is promoting it …….

I’ll never understand you guys!

Malcolm French+
Guest

One is never quite sure how to parse such things. That said, the comparison to the schismatic quasi-Anglican body in southern Africa is interesting.

I’d read this as meaning that ACNA is essentially the same as CESA – which is a pretty apt and accurate comparison. If so, this is bad news for ACNA.

ACNA is damned with faint praise while ACoC and TEC are praised with faint damnation.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Careful, MartinR: you stick your tongue THAT far into your cheek, you’re liable to put a hole in it. ;-p

Newt Gingrich wins ?Mark Lawrence’s diocese: coincidence? :-X

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Just a little light relief you understand JCF ….. but you’re right …. my cheek is more than badly bruised!

And Yes, Malcolm that is precisely how I read it.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

With the current problems re AMiA and Rwanda lately (2 international Coventions at enormous expense, that still haven’t resolved anything – see ‘virtueonline’s latest report) – not to mention ACNA’s intervention on the spat – the climate for schism between the schismatics seem unending. GAFCON Primates seem to have taken on more than they can chew. Why do the English Primates think they can do any better with the ill-assorted ex-Anglican bitty-groups that are being spawned by the day in North America. Best for the Church of England to keep onside with their traditional partners in TEC and the A.C.of… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Did the Phil Ashley piece vanish?

The link doesn’t work and I can’t find it on their website, just a copy of the document itself.

ED NOTE: Link now repaired, but if it fails again another copy is at
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2012/01/20/response-to-archbishops-report-on-acna-from-american-anglican-council/#more-55078

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Is the potential for, not to say likelihood of, ongoing fracture between the already unstable schismatic groups, an aspect of the “unclear outcome” remark? And might the document be intended and timed to sweep the issue under the rug in advance of General Synod?

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

Sooner or later – and probably sooner – the ACNA malcontents will start whining about something else they don’t like about the heading of the English archbishops. What then, my Lords? You’re making yourselves slaves to small-minded, petty tyrants.

Good luck.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

When you make a deal with the devil you get two things: a deal with the devil and the reputation that you will make deals with the devil.

Is that the choice the English archbishops want to make?

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Best for the Church of England to keep onside with their traditional partners in TEC and the A.C.of Canada – at least, their jurisdictional structures arer sound. Plus, they are the official Communion Members there.

Not only that, but attendance in all three denominations is continuing its steady decline, so (in the words of the great prophet Billy Joel), ‘We can all go down together’.

(This is by way of pointing out the extraordinary disparity in comments between this post and the earlier one about continuing attendance decline in the C of E. Deckchairs on the Titanic, anyone?)

Simon Butler
Guest
Simon Butler

Laurence Roberts said much earlier: “the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 does not apply to these ministers as they are not in a Church in the Anglican Communion.” However, this is a clause from the Measure, which qualifies his comment and would appear pertinent… Application to clergymen episcopally ordained in other Churches.. The foregoing provisions of this Measure shall apply to any person who has been episcopally ordained priest or deacon in a Church not in Communion with the Church of England whose Orders are recognised and accepted by the Church of England and desires to… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Continuing Attendance Decline simply isn’t News. This might explain the disparity, Tim.

Geoff
Guest

“but you’re right …. my cheek is more than badly bruised!”

Careful, Fr Martin – depending how the “Issues” review goes (and given how stacked the deck it may not be that much of an “if”), bishops may soon be taking the state of our cheeks upon themselves as their business!

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Folks should be reminded that CESA was not a schism from CPSA…as it was never part of CPSA. In the nineteenth century some Anglican churches refused to join the Anglo catholic CPSA.

ACNA is a schism from TEC.

CESA orders have been recognised since 1966 and there have been joint consecrations with CPSA, but the two churches are further appart than ever.

They have a revised Prayer Book in which baptismal regeneration has been expunged and the prayer of Humble access re-written. They use grape juice for communion, do not ordain women and, and they are very liberal on divorce.

Father ron smith
Guest

As the ACNA malcontents have been spawned mainly by GAFCON Provinces (who seem to be having a problem currently controlling the Rwanda/AMiA split) – against the No Border-Crossing polity of the A.C. – perhaps the best plan would be for GAFCON to form its own international Church. It could simply be called The GAFCON Church. But please dopn’t let it steal the title ‘Anglican’; this ought be reserved for churches that are neither homophobic nor misgynous. Oh dear! Is this why the C.of E. wants to court ACNA! – Because it has its own problems in those areas of openness… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I believe the acceptance of CESA clergy in the Church of England under the Overseas Clergy Measure dates from the time of Archbishop Coggan, probably in relation to one particular case. This policy then seemed to just establish itself probably without any wider implications being thought through. I think about a dozen CESA clergy now minister in the C of E. As a DDO I had to deal with a case about 10 yrs ago..there was then some discrepancy between the advice I received from Lam beth and Church House.

Cantabrigian
Guest
Cantabrigian

From a Church of England perspective: TEC is a club with a few members who are counted because they make a pledge, and its concerns are fueled by the American media. The Episcopal Church is theologically and numerically insignificant compared with any other province in the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Church of Canada is more influential in scope and proportion to the population of Canada. It’s not about viewing America as a colony, its about naming the Episcopal Church as a theologically and spiritually bankrupt institution that has no sense of what the scope of pastoral responsibility entails. If you… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cantabrigian,
of course! Thanks for referring to that well known verse 1 Cor 21 Footnote that reads:
The eye must say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head is commanded to say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

1 Cor 12:22 Footnote supports this amply:
On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are absolutely dispensable.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

re ‘Cantabridgian’s remarks, above; It is to be hope that he comes from Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Cambridge, England, and not Canterbury, N.Z.

I am be very disappointed at his/her scurrilous comment about the value of TEC within the world-wide Anglican Communion. ECUSA, after all, was one of the Founding members of the Communion, and does not deserve these dismissive comments.

TEC has certainly carried more than its own weight of fiscal responsibility for keeping the Anglican Communoion alive. Unlike the dissidents who now spend money like water, on continuing disputation of jurisdictional rights of territory gained by piracy.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

If TEC is “theologically . . . insignificant” then why was the proposed Anglican Covenant ever proposed? Surely it is because some members of the Anglican family cannot abide another member of the family doing anything of which they disapprove. Rhetoric about “insignificance” aside, the fact that some Anglican provinces have established churches, and that TEC is not established, does make a difference. The C of E has a local need to carry out a legal mandate. TEC has no such mandate and no such need. Indeed, in the US such a mandate would be unconstitutional. Surely this difference supports… Read more »

Geoff
Guest

“If you think it’s a lot of work to take care of a club of 200 members that you call a “parish”, try 25,000+ souls who live in your geographical parish whom you have a legal and spiritual imperative to care for and whose concerns go far beyond creating boutique liturgies.” Oh come off it now. Establishment or none, England is every bit as secularized as Canada and *more* so than the United States. The Church of England may have a national mandate to the unchurched legally and historically – rather as the Episcopal Church has an informal, non-exclusive, and… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

I’m happy being theologically insignificant. Puts us right in there with Jesus, St. Francis, Mother Jones, soooo many others who were, according to their contemporaries, theologically insignificant.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Thank you, Mark. Kenosis was always a sign of the Gospel presence. Hubris, on the other hand, has only a limited life-span.