Tuesday, 11 February 2014

General Synod: Questions about ACNA

The Revd Canon Giles Goddard (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:

Q. Has an assessment been made of any implications of the appointment of the Revd Tory Baucum as one of Canterbury Cathedral’s Six Preachers from the point of view of the relationship between the Church of England and ACNA (with which the Church of England is not currently in communion)?

The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Chair of the House of Bishops:

A. Careful thought and assessment has certainly been given to the appointment of Dr Tory Baucum from the point of view of the relationship between the Church of England and ACNA and also the relationship with The Episcopal Church of course with which the Church of England is in communion, and for that matter with the relationship with the Anglican Church of Canada who feel implicated in this, and also by a number of other churches around the Communion, particularly in the group known as the Global South. An invitation to be a Six Preacher is a personal appointment of the Archbishop and has no implications in itself as to ecclesial relationships. However this particular appointment is of a person who has a distinguished ministry in reconciliation, which he exercises carefully in his context. There was consultation with a number of people and the appointment has been enthusiastically welcomed by the local bishop of The Episcopal Church, bishop, Shannon Johnston, the Bishop of Virginia.

Supplementary question from Canon Goddard:

… Could you just say what steps have been taken to ensure that this appointment is not taken to mean that clergy ordained in this country by overseas bishops, without the permission of the diocesan, are nevertheless recognised in the Church of England.

A. Thank you. I’m straying slightly onto thin ice here. It is true that permission would need to be given under the 1967 Measure, which is presumably what you are thinking about, in order for Tory to preach here. But it will not be breaking new ground, because Tory having been ordained in The Episcopal Church, the permission can be given under Section 1 of the Measure. That is, on the basis that he has been ordained by a bishop of a church in communion with the Church of England. It will not therefore be based upon the recognition and acceptance of the orders conferred by the ACNA.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 at 10:43pm GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 16 January 2014

ACNA priest to become a Six Preacher at Canterbury Cathedral

Lambeth Palace has announced: Archbishop appoints US priest as Canterbury preacher

Archbishop Justin hopes the Revd Dr Tory Baucum’s presence as one of Canterbury Cathedral’s Six Preachers will help promote ‘reconciliation and unity’

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, is delighted to announce the appointment of the Revd Dr Tory Baucum, Rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral.

Dr Baucum will be installed as one of the Six Preachers during Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral on 14 March. The Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral unanimously approved the nomination of Dr Baucum shortly before Christmas.

The College of Six Preachers was created by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1541, forming part of his plans for a new foundation to replace the dissolved Priory. Canterbury was unique in this; no other cathedral had a group of preaching priests and was a reflection of Cranmer’s determination to give greater prominence to preaching. Today, the Six Preachers are called to preach on various occasions at Canterbury Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion. The preachers serve five-year terms, which can be renewed.

While Dr Baucum has extensive experience of preaching, evangelism and peace-making, his appointment is also recognition of his commitment to reconciliation, which is one of Archbishop Justin’s ministry priorities. Truro Church seceded from the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in 2006 and subsequently became part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

When Dr Baucum became Rector in 2007, the church and the diocese were involved in litigation over property rights. Dr Baucum, a priest in ACNA, developed a close friendship with Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, the Rt Revd Shannon Johnston, and a settlement was subsequently reached.

Commenting on the appointment, Archbishop Justin said: “Tory is a fine scholar, an excellent preacher, and above all someone with a holistic approach to ministry. The close friendship he has forged with Bishop Shannon Johnston, despite their immensely different views, sets a pattern of reconciliation based on integrity and transparency. Such patterns of life are essential to the future of the Communion. I hope and pray that Tory’s presence as one of the Six Preachers will play a part in promoting reconciliation and unity among us.”

The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, said: “In recent times, the Six Preachers have become a significant and diverse group from across the whole Anglican Communion and fulfil a role of preaching and teaching from time to time in Canterbury. We look forward to welcoming Dr Baucum, whose particular gifts will enrich the group still further.”

Dr Baucum said: “I am deeply moved by the honour bestowed upon ACNA and especially the congregation of Truro Church in this appointment by Archbishop Welby to be a Six Preacher of Canterbury Cathedral. I am devoted to Archbishop Welby’s vision for the Anglican Communion and I hope this appointment might help, in some small way, translate that vision into reality.”

About the Revd Dr Tory Baucum

The Revd Dr Tory Baucum is the Rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, a post he has held since 2007. He holds degrees from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and Asbury Theological Seminary. He also teaches at Virginia Theological Seminary. His areas of expertise include St Augustine, Wesley, homiletics, evangelism and contextual theology. He has ministered and taught in several Anglican provinces and theological colleges, including the Diocese of London, St Augustine’s in Lima Peru and Bishop Barham College in Kigezi, Uganda. Dr Baucum is Chairman of the Board of Fresh Expressions USA and a Board Member of Alpha-USA. He is married to Elizabeth and they have three teenage daughters.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 16 January 2014 at 10:36am GMT | Comments (35) | TrackBack
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Friday, 10 May 2013

Los Angeles court rules against Newport Beach church

Episcopal News Service reports: Court orders return of Newport Beach property to Los Angeles diocese

Orange County Superior Court Judge Kim G. Dunning today reaffirmed her May 1 final orders that property occupied by St. James Church, Newport Beach, is held in trust for the current and future ministry of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the wider Episcopal Church.

“All the church property acquired by and held in the name of St. James Parish is held in trust for the Episcopal Church and the diocese, which have the exclusive right to possession and dominion and control,” Judge Dunning ordered. “The diocese is entitled to enforce the trust in its favor and eject the current occupants.”

This is the fourth and final case involving congregations in which a majority of members, having voted to disaffiliate from the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church, sought to retain church property for themselves. In each instance, however, courts have ruled that the property rightfully belongs to the diocese and Episcopal Church…

The congregation issued this press release and a prominent conservative lawyer issued this analysis of the decision.

Anglican Mainstream issued this Letter of support to St James Newport Beach:

The following letter was sent to the rector and congregation of St James’ Newport Beach and read out at the three main services on Sunday May 5.

To the Rev Richard Crocker and people of St James, Newport Beach

Dear Friends and Fellow Christians

We were very disturbed and saddened to read the news that legal proceedings against you by other Anglicans mean that you may soon be deprived of your property at St James and have to find alternative accommodation.

We wish first to assure you of our fellowship with you as you continue to take your stand on biblical and orthodox Anglican teaching. We share with you a passion to proclaim the gospel of our risen Lord Jesus Christ and affirm you in your faithful discipleship.

Although we have not experienced the depth of hostility that has led some people with responsibility in the Church of Christ to act in this way against you, we do want to assure you of our love, our prayers and our support. You are not alone: anyone who touches you, touches us.

This further evidence of continuing litigious acts against those whose only “wrongdoing” is to stand firm on biblical and orthodox Anglican teaching should convince all those in authority in the Churches of the Anglican Communion that your stance is the mark of authentic Christian discipleship and fellowship. For this reason we are copying our letter to Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Eliud Wabukala.

With warmest greetings in our risen victorious Lord

Dr Philip Giddings (Convenor, Anglican Mainstream)
Bishop John Ellison (Chairman, Anglican Mission in England Panel of Bishops)
Rev Paul Perkin, (Chairman, Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (UK and Ireland))
Canon Dr Chris Sugden (Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 10 May 2013 at 6:36pm BST | Comments (40) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Free Church of England orders recognised by CofE

This press release: Free Church of England Orders recognised.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have recognised the Orders of the Free Church of England under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967. The Measure gives the Archbishops authority to determine whether the Orders of any Church are ‘recognised and accepted’ by the Church of England.

The recognition of the Orders of the Free Church of England follows approximately three years of contact between the bishops of the Free Church of England, the Council for Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission, which recommended that the Orders of the Free Church of England be recognised. That recommendation was subsequently endorsed by the Standing Committee of the House of Bishops…

Much information about the Free Church of England can be found on its websites:

The Free Church of England

The Northern Diocese

The Southern Diocese

The following pages may be of particular interest:

One FAQ is this:

Is the Free Church of England an Anglican Church?

The Free Church of England is required by its Constitution to ‘conform to the ancient laws and customs of the Church of England’. Our doctrinal basis, structures, organisation, worship, ministry and ethos are therefore recognisably ‘Anglican’. Anyone coming from an Anglican background would find much that was familiar to him or her – including the layout of our Churches, robes, churchwardens, church councils and the like. Our worship is that of the Book of Common Prayer or conservative modern-language forms that belong to the Anglican tradition.

The Free Church of England is not a member of the Anglican Communion – though the Provinces that make up the Communion are currently re-defining their relationships with each other and with the See of Canterbury. Since the 1870s the Free Church of England has been in full communion with the Reformed Episcopal Church in the United States and Canada. The REC is a full member of the recently-formed Anglican Church in North America. The fact that the ACNA has been recognised by some Provinces of the Anglican Communion means that the Free Church of England now stands in some degree of relationship with them, though the precise details have not yet been worked out.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 at 9:03am GMT | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 13 January 2013

ACNA comments on bishops in civil partnerships

The Anglican Church in North America included this comment in its latest Communique:

We noted the communication of the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) concerning the recent decision of the House of Bishops in the Church of England to allow those in civil partnerships to be eligible to serve as bishops. This impacts both the doctrine of marriage and that of episcopacy. The Nigerian bishops wrote:

When the Church of England failed to exercise its legal and moral right to opt out of the civil partnerships legislation in 2005 warnings were given in England and around the Anglican Communion that this was a first step towards the recognition and institutionalization of behaviour contrary to the plain teaching of scripture and reaffirmed for all Anglicans by the 1998 Lambeth Conference in its Resolution 1.10. Sadly those warnings were ignored and we now face the next step in a process that could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion….

As a House of Bishops, while we acknowledge that we all fall short of God’s call to holiness, we dare not compromise the clear teaching of our Lord on faithfulness within Holy Matrimony and chastity outside of it. Sadly we must also declare that if the Church of England continues in this contrary direction we must further separate ourselves from it and we are prepared to take the same actions as those prompted by the decisions of The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada ten years ago.

The College agreed with the principle articulated in the Windsor Report that “what affects the communion of all should be decided by all.” The experience in North America has been that that the theological departures from historic Anglican norms have brought devastating consequences. The admonishment from the Nigerian Bishops will, if heeded, avoid further anguish.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 11:10pm GMT | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

General Synod Questions about ACNA and South Carolina

Two questions were asked at General Synod on Monday which were answered by the Bishop of Guildford. The full list of all Questions is available here (PDF).

53. Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:

Q. Has consideration been given to whether the Church of England is in full and unimpaired communion with Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina?

54. Mrs Lorna Ashworth (Chichester) to ask the Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:

Q. Following the recent issue of a Certificate of Abandonment of the Episcopal Church in relation to the Rt Revd Mark J Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, and recognising that Bishop Lawrence has been one of the declining number of theologically conservative bishops who has sought to remain and to keep his people within TEC, in the light of paragraph 6 in the statement offered to the Synod in GS Misc 2011 by the Archbishops, are there any plans to consider proposing to the Synod fuller recognition of the Anglican Church in North America than has been considered to be appropriate up to this point.

The Bishop of Guildford’s answer (transcribed from audio recording available here)

With your permission sir, I will answer this and Mrs Ashworth’s question together.

The withdrawal from The Episcopal Church of most of the clergy and people of several dioceses, led by their bishops, after diocesan convention decisions, is a development novel in kind as well as in scale. Our North American sisters and brothers have been often involved in a litigious and sometimes acrimonious debate. We should try to remain on good terms with all parties and avoid inflaming matters further. Our response should be deliberate, and not hasty.

As the Archbishops noted in GS Misc 1011, the creation of the Anglican Church in North America raises questions of recognition of orders – ministry – as well as a relationship of communion. The former question is in some respects simpler, because the considerations are more objective, and it is also the more pressing, by reason of requests for transfer. Nevertheless there are some matters that require clarification before any decisions can be taken.

Clergy ordained in several churches with which we are not, or not yet, in communion are seeking permission to minister in the Church of England. The Council for Christian Unity has therefore established a small group to offer advice to the Archbishops through the Faith and Order Commission on the relevant issues. The question about the Anglican Church in North America’s orders (whether it is a church and whether its orders are such, whether they such that we can recognize) will be addressed in that context. This will necessarily involve direct ‘engagement with the Anglican Church in North America’ which was envisaged in the Archbishops General Synod miscellaneous paper that I have referred to, GS Misc 1011, and that will be the context for subsequent exploration of relationships between our churches.

On Saturday, a Special Diocesan Convention endorsed the South Carolina withdrawal from The Episcopal Church. The Bishop has stated that their position would be to remain within the Anglican Communion as an extra-provincial Diocese. The Episcopal Church on the other hand maintains that General Convention consent is necessary for any withdrawal. So the legal and indeed theological and ecclesiological position is extremely complicated. And it is absolutely not certain.

It has therefore not been possible to consider the consequences for our relationships at this immediate stage. And, in my view, any statement just at this point would be premature.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at 12:30am GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bishop Mark Lawrence & Bishop John Guernsey

From Titusonenine:

A Crucial Apr. 25 Presentation—Bishop Mark Lawrence, S. Carolina, and ACNA Bishop John Guernsey

The Guildford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship invite you to an An evening with Bishop Mark Lawrence (TEC Bishop of South Carolina) and Bishop John Guernsey (ACNA Bishop of Mid-Atlantic) On 25th April 2012 at 8 pm At Holy Trinity Claygate, Church Road, Claygate, Surrey, KT10 0JP

We are delighted that Bishop Mark Lawrence, the Episcopal Church Bishop for the Diocese of South Carolina, and Bishop John Guernsey, the Anglican Church in North America Bishop for the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, have agreed

  • to bring us up to date with developments amongst Anglicans in North America;
  • to tell us why some orthodox Anglicans have considered it appropriate to work within TEC whilst others have considered it appropriate to work within ACNA; and
  • to explain to us how people within the two organisations who hold similar views are generally able to continue to support each other in spreading the Gospel.

Kendall Harmon adds:

Please note this is is a long evening of some 1 hour and 40 minutes. During the introduction the following people are mentioned—it is opened by Philip Plyming, vicar of Holy Trinity, Claygate, and then chairman, Stephen Hofmeyr, QC. There is then a message from Bishop Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford given by the Ven. Julian Henderson, Archdeacon of Dorking. Both Mark Lawrence (who goes first) and John Guernsey then give presentations of some twenty minutes which takes you to approximately one hour. After that there are questions from those present to the two bishops about the matters at hand. Archdeacon Julian Henderson then offers brief concluding remarks.

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Friday, 20 January 2012

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.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 20 January 2012 at 5:00pm GMT | Comments (57) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Court rules for Diocese of Virginia in property dispute

From the Diocese of Virginia: Court Rules in Favor of Diocese

1/10/2012

Tonight, the Fairfax Circuit Court issued its ruling in favor of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in litigation seeking to recover Episcopal church property. “Our goal throughout this litigation has been to return faithful Episcopalians to their church homes and Episcopal properties to the mission of the Church,” said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia.

The court ruled that the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia have “a contractual and proprietary interest” in each of the properties subject to the litigation. The court ordered that all property subject to its ruling be turned over to the Diocese.

“We hope that this ruling will lead to our congregations returning to worship in their church homes in the near future, while finding a way to support the CANA congregations as they plan their transition,” said Henry D.W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese and chief of staff.

Bishop Johnston added, “While we are grateful for the decision in our favor, we remain mindful of the toll this litigation has taken on all parties involved, and we continue to pray for all affected by the litigation.”

The ruling can be found here (PDF).

From the CANA website: Statement by the ACNA Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic

(January 10, 2012) – Seven Anglican congregations in Virginia that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia are reviewing today’s ruling by the Fairfax County Circuit Court that the property should be turned over to the Episcopal Diocese.

The Circuit Court heard the case last spring after the Virginia Supreme Court remanded it in June 2010. The congregations previously had succeeded in their efforts on the Circuit Court level to defend the property that they bought and paid for.

“Although we are profoundly disappointed by today’s decision, we offer our gratitude to Judge Bellows for his review of this case. As we prayerfully consider our legal options, we above all remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith. Regardless of today’s ruling, we are confident that God is in control, and that He will continue to guide our path,” said Jim Oakes, spokesperson for the seven Anglican congregations.

The Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, a historic property involved in the case, stated, “The core issue for us is not physical property, but theological and moral truth and the intellectual integrity of faith in the modern world. Wherever we worship, we remain Anglicans because we cannot compromise our historic faith. Like our spiritual forebears in the Reformation, ‘Here we stand. So help us God. We can do no other.’”

The seven Anglican congregations are members of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a member diocese within the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop John Guernsey of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic has expressed to leaders of the seven congregations, “Our trust is in the Lord who is ever faithful. He is in control and He will enable you to carry forward your mission for the glory of Jesus Christ and the extension of His Kingdom. Know that your brothers and sisters in Christ continue to stand with you and pray for you.”

The Anglican Curmudgeon has his analysis of the judgment here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 at 10:05am GMT | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Monday, 26 December 2011

More AMiA correspondence from the Rwanda House of Bishops

The previous report on this: AMiA will negotiate with ACNA was updated with a link to one additional letter last Thursday.

Other correspondence has now emerged, and can be found here: Communique from House of Bishops of Rwanda. The original letter is dated 9 December, but was issued with a covering letter from two AMiA bishops, only on 16 December.

From the covering letter:

We also have delayed sending these letters because we needed to clarify with the Rwandan HoB the second bullet point in the letter to clergy and churches. While AMiA affiliated congregations are under the pastoral oversight of Archbishop Rwaje, they are also affiliated with the U.S. non-profit corporation, The Anglican Mission in the Americas. As a result, churches have had a type of “dual citizenship” with Rwanda and the AMiA. Unfortunately, while many of us had been led to think differently, the churches in the AMiA have never been canonically resident in the Anglican Province of Rwanda or anywhere else in the Anglican Communion. We are currently working with the Rwandan HoB to discern ways to rectify this for those congregations that desire a true membership in the Anglican Communion. At the same time, the canonical status of the clergy is clear. If you are clergy in the AMiA, (other than the 8 active bishops who resigned*) you are canonically resident in PEAR.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 26 December 2011 at 12:09pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

AMiA will negotiate with ACNA

Updated again Thursday evening

We reported recently on the upheaval in the Anglican Mission in the Americas: AMiA withdraws from Anglican Church of Rwanda.

Since then, there have been two developments:

First, a meeting was held in London:

Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini, Moses Tay and Yong Ping Chung, founding archbishops of the Anglican Mission, met with Bishop Chuck Murphy December 12-14, 2011, in London, England, and were joined by Cynthia Tay, Julia Yong, Susan Grayson, Canon Mike Murphy, and Canon Kevin Donlon.

They issued this Anglican Mission in the Americas Communiqué from the London Meeting (PDF).

In the midst of what must be recognized as a challenging transition, we believe God is showing us His direction for the future of the Anglican Mission. Our current situation necessitates a clear response based on what we have heard from the Lord, and therefore we commit to the creation of a missionary society as a cherished and honored model recognized within the wider Eastern and Western traditions of the Church. We look forward to the opportunity to give specific form and shape to this normative structure of a missionary society, seeking the input of our bishops, clergy, network leaders and laity. We are encouraged to be still before the Lord and to discern His leading to a new canonical provincial relationship. In addition, we pledge our commitment to the eight-member Council of Bishops and all of the Anglican Mission leadership and congregations. Living out this model within our Anglican context allows us to be a mission…nothing more, nothing less in North America and beyond. Finally, we recognize and affirm the development of a Pastoral Declaration designed to provide the necessary order for developing a constitution.

Second, the Anglican Church of North America has published this Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Duncan.

Recent events within the Anglican Mission in the Americas have challenged us all. This letter is a brief report to you all about those events and about our efforts to find a path forward. The present reality is brokenness. The vision, however, that governs our fledgling Province remains unchanged: a Biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.

The resignation of nine Anglican Mission bishops, including the Bishop Chairman, from the House of Bishops of Rwanda, changed relationships with Rwanda, with fellow bishops and with the Anglican Church in North America. The resigned bishops lost their status in our College of Bishops as a result of their resignation from Rwanda. The Anglican Mission also lost its status as a Ministry Partner, since that status had been predicated on AMiA’s relationship with Rwanda. In addition, confusion and hurt has been created in Rwanda and in North America, and there is much serious work ahead of us.

Representatives of the Anglican Church in North America and of the Pawleys Island leadership met today in Pittsburgh. For the Anglican Church in North America the starting point was the importance of our Provincial relationship with the Province of Rwanda (a sister GAFCON Province) and with His Grace Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, of our relationship with the North American Bishops Terrell Glenn and Thad Barnum and all the clergy licensed in Rwanda, and of our relationship to those represented by the Pawleys Island group with whom we were meeting. We, as the Anglican Church in North America, have been deeply connected to all three, and we can only move forward when issues and relationships have been adequately addressed and necessary transitions are in progress…

Updates

Mark Harris at Preludium has commentary on all this: So who do ACNA bishops go for jurisdictional connection?

He quotes the latest statement from the Southern Cone:

In response to these novel practices the Southern Cone had held churches in North America under its wing for some time while the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) was formed. However, the Province has not maintained jurisdiction over any local churches there for over a year…

And then asks:

…Now it would appear that Archbishop Duncan et al believe that “jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican” involves being part of a Province of the Anglican Communion as currently constituted. So the AMiA bishops “belong” to Rwanda. The Bishops of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) “belong” to Nigeria. The Bishops of ACNA “belong”…where?

And there is a further letter to AMiA members from some bishops: A Letter from some (formerly Rwandan) Bishops to the AMiA.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 at 9:49am GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Friday, 9 December 2011

AMiA withdraws from Anglican Church of Rwanda

The Anglican Mission in the Americas has withdrawn from the pastoral oversight of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.

Yesterday there was an official Statement to the Clergy and Laity of the Anglican Mission.

As you may know, on December 5, in response to unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances, the Anglican Mission in the Americas withdrew from the pastoral oversight of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. In addition, Bishop Chuck Murphy resigned as Primatial Vicar and Bishops Murphy, Sandy Greene, Todd Hunter, TJ Johnston, Philip Jones, Doc Loomis, John Miller and Silas Ng, as well as retired Bishop John Rodgers, resigned from the House of Bishops of Rwanda.

During this interim period, the Anglican Mission is under the oversight of our founding Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini, Moses Tay and Yong Ping Chung until we have a new provincial home within the Anglican Communion. Bishop Murphy is meeting with these overseeing archbishops in London next week to discuss options for the best way forward…

Background documents, in PDF format, are all linked from this page.

And there is another news article today, Addressing Finances with Rwanda.

The AMiA was formally founded in 2000, six months after Bishops Chuck Murphy and John Rodgers were consecrated bishops by Archbishop of Rwanda, Emmanuel Kolini and Archbishop of Southeast Asia, Moses Tay, at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore. Its origins are in a conference held in South Carolina in 1997.

When the Anglican Church in North America was formed in 2009, the AMiA was a founding member, but subsequently in 2010 changed its status to Mission Partner.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 9 December 2011 at 10:50pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

PA Supreme Court rejects Archbishop Duncan's appeal

Updated Wednesday evening

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has rejected the last appeal made by the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh (ACNA).

From the court document (PDF):


ORDER

PER CURIAM
         And now, this 17th day of October, 2011 the Petition for Allowance of Appeal is hereby DENIED.

From the diocesan website:

On October 17, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the request of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh to appeal the ruling of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

18th October, A.D. 2011
Feast of St. Luke

TO ALL CLERGY AND LAY LEADERS OF THE ANGLICAN DIOCESE:

Dearest Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

I write to you today to inform you that our appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been rejected. We accept that the courts have not found in our favor and will, of course, comply with all court orders.

We remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Episcopal Church diocese. In light of this judgment by the courts, we will redouble that commitment to reaching a final resolution of all issues between the Episcopal Church diocese and the Anglican diocese through negotiation.

We intend to persevere in our mission, which is to be Anglican Christians transforming our world with Jesus Christ. We do this chiefly by planting congregations. As at every annual Convention since realignment, congregations are being added to our diocese both locally and across the country, for which we give thanks to God. We pray God’s continued favor on our mission, his grace towards those who remain within the Episcopal Church, and his help for our beloved Communion as we move into the challenges and opportunities of this new millennium. May the Gospel of our Lord Christ find a fresh hearing all across his Church and his world!

Faithfully your Bishop and Archbishop,

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America

Update

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued this statement: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal of Property Rulings.

n an order issued October 17, 2011, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rejected an appeal seeking to challenge lower court rulings holding that, under the terms of the 2005 settlement of the Calvary suit, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church was the rightful trustee of diocesan-held property.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision. The issues presented to the court had been adequately reviewed and ruled on, first by the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County, then on appeal by Commonwealth Court. Each ruling consistently supported the position of the Episcopal Diocese. We hope that all litigation over these issues will now cease.

The Court’s ruling also affirms that the Episcopal Diocese holds the title to the property of a number of parishes where congregations had ceased to actively participate in the Diocese. We will continue to encourage them to return to active participation in the Diocese, and in the meantime to be good stewards of the property. This Diocese remains committed to working through these issues with each of the affected congregations.

A previous diocesan statement, which includes a link to the Commonwealth Court decision, is available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 18 October 2011 at 11:45pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Friday, 15 July 2011

ACNA and the Church of England

Several Questions were put down for answers at Question Time last Friday relating to the Anglican Church in North America. Only one of them was reached during the session, but the written answers prepared for the others were issued afterwards (and are reproduced below the fold).

Question 40.
Ms Susan Cooper (London) to ask the Chairman of the Faith and Order Commission:

Q. Father Thomas Seville CR, ‘of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England’ was welcomed as a ‘participant and observer’ at the Provincial Council 2011 of the Anglican Church of North America in Long Beach, California. What was the status of his attendance from the point of view of the Faith and Order Commission?

The Bishop of Chichester to reply as Chairman of the Faith and Order Commission:

A. Fr Seville attended the ACNA Provincial Council as an observer at my request following a resolution of the General Synod in February 2010.

The Archbishop of Canterbury had subsequently highlighted certain questions on which he and the Archbishop of York would value the thinking of the Faith and Order Commission in preparing the requested report.

As Fr Seville is one of the two members of the Faith and Order Commission most closely associated with its work on “continuing churches” in the light of a resolution of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, he attended as an observer on behalf of and reporting to the Commission in order to assist our work in advising the Archbishops.

Supplementary Question by Ms Cooper:
Would the bishop clarify how the visit… was funded?

A. It was entirely funded by the Anglican Church in North America.

Question 75.
The Revd Stephen Pratt (Lichfield) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishopss:

Q. What steps are being taken by the House to enable the Archbishops to respond to the resolution passed by the Synod in February 2010 on a motion moved by Mrs Lorna Ashworth in relation to the Anglican Church in North America, given that the Archbishops’ report requested in that resolution is due this year and there may not be a Group of Sessions in November.

Questions 76.
Mr Clive Scowen (London) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:

Q. What steps has the House taken or will it now take to enable and encourage the Archbishops to respond to the Synod’s invitation, in a resolution passed on Wednesday 10 February 2010, “to report further to the Synod in 2011” in relation to the desire and aspiration of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family and to the necessary further exploration by the relevant authorities of the issues raised by that aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion.

The Bishop of Chichester to reply:

A. With the permission of the Chair I should like to answer this question and a similar one from Mr Clive Scowen together.

As indicated in my earlier reply to a question from Ms Susan Cooper, the Faith and Order Commission is undertaking work on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Faith and Order aspects of any development of relations between the Church of England and ACNA. This work will help to resource a report from the Archbishops to members of Synod that will be sent out before the end of the year.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 15 July 2011 at 2:18pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Friday, 24 June 2011

C of E sends observer to ACNA?

According to the remarks of the Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Robert Duncan, speaking on 21 June:

Our global commitments remain strong and we continue to be seen as “gospel partners” and bearers of “authentic Anglicanism” (South-South Encounter IV) by most of the world’s Anglicans. The GAFCON Provinces accord our Province status as the North American Province and I am seated as a Primate in the Primates Council. I was privileged to be present at Archbishop Ian Earnest’s invitation at the All Africa Bishops Conference (of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa) last August in Entebbe and was accorded a seat there for public and state events as one of the archbishops of the provinces. It is the greatest of joys to welcome Archbishop Ian Earnest – Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean and Chairman of CAPA – to this Provincial Council as speaker, observer and friend, and to our College of Bishops as Bible teacher and consultor. It is also a privilege to welcome Fr. Thomas Seville, CR, of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England here as participant and observer, in partial response to the action of the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2010 regarding consideration of an appropriate form of recognition or relationship with the Anglican Church in North America.

Mark Harris has commented at length about this, in So, explain again just what the Church of England is up to in America?

…Participant and observer….sounds like more than just an exploratory visit. What in the world is the Church of England proposing to do “regarding consideration of an appropriate form of recognition or relationship with the ACNA”?

I presume the Archbishop of Canterbury, not in communion with ACNA as yet, knows that the Archbishop of ACNA is not the Archbishop of a Province of anything, much less a Province of the Anglican Communion. So it must be that in sending Fr. Seville over to participate and observe, the CofE is feeding the optimistic fires of ACNA’s Archbishop for recognition…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 June 2011 at 12:41pm BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Virginians form new ACNA diocese

The Anglican District of Virginia has chosen a new bishop and is forming itself into a new ACNA diocese. These congregations, which previously broke away from the Diocese of Virginia, have until now been part of CANA.

Here are some press releases:

Mid-Atlantic Anglicans Vote to Move Forward with Becoming a New Anglican Church Diocese

+Guernsey Elected for new Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic

Virginia Anglicans Vote to Become a Diocese within Anglican Church in North America

The new bishop is the Rt. Rev. John Guernsey. The other candidate was the Ven. Julian M. Dobbs.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 6:05pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Judgment in Colorado Springs

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports Armstrong sentenced to probation, $99,247 restitution.

A judge Friday sentenced the Rev. Donald Armstrong to four years probation for his no-contest plea to one count of misdemeanor theft of funds from the Colorado Springs church where he once served as rector.

Fourth Judicial District Judge Gregory R. Werner also ordered Armstrong to pay restitution in the amount of $99,247 that was diverted to pay for his son’s and daughter’s college education. The money came from a trust fund originally set up to pay for the education of seminary students…

And the Colorado Springs Independent has Armstrong avoids jail time, must pay $99,247 in restitution.

The Rev. Don Armstrong won’t have to serve any jail time for misusing funds while he was rector of Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

That ruling came Friday afternoon from 4th Judicial District Judge Gregory Werner, who upheld an earlier plea agreement that gives Armstrong two concurrent four-year probation terms for no-contest pleas involving his stewardship of a Grace scholarship fund called the Bowton Trust.

Werner did order Armstrong to pay $99,247 in restitution to Grace for money that went from the Bowton Trust to pay for his children’s college-related expenses. Werner singled out those funds because, he said, Armstrong had fiduciary responsibility over the trust as Grace’s rector.

The judge also ordered that, during his probation, Armstrong will have to do 400 hours of community service outside his current church, St. George’s Anglican Church. The 61-year-old rector also must disclose all of his current finances and is prohibited from managing the finances of any church or group in a fiduciary role…

An earlier and very long article in the Independent Judgment day for the Rev. Armstrong reviewed the whole background to this case in considerable detail. Worth reading. It also reports that:

The 61-year-old is as comfortable as ever in pushing his conservative theology from the pulpit, as in his sermon Feb. 6 when Armstrong chastised the daughters of George W. Bush and John McCain for “speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage,” adding, “how quickly we should see it as human-centered thinking, not God’s teaching.”

Armstrong remains a priest in good standing in CANA, under Bishop Martyn Minns, which is part of either ACNA, or part of CoN (Anglican Communion) or possibly both.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 10:08am GMT | Comments (33) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

ACNA priest on Communion-wide body?

Previously, questions were asked about the participation of Mark McIntosh in the work of ARCIC III.

Now, some questions have been raised about the participation of Julian Linnell in this Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative of the Anglican Communion Office.

See the recent news report: More than 60 evangelism resources soon available for the Anglican Communion.

Questions are asked here:

Paul Bagshaw Who is the Anglican Communion Office working for?

Mark Harris Is Julian Linnell an ACNA member on an Anglican Communion group? and later ACNA priest part of Anglican Communion evangelism group

Episcopal Café Jim Naughton Of dubious appointments

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 at 10:04am GMT | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 12 February 2011

General Synod: ACNA

The subject of the Anglican Church in North America was raised twice in the course of last week’s General Synod sessions in London.

First, it was raised in the debate on the Business Committee report. This was not because ACNA was mentioned in that report, on the contrary, it was a complaint by Lorna Ashworth that the forecast of future business showed no plan to bring forward the report that had been requested a year ago. You can hear her remarks by listening to the recording of that debate here (start at minute 34), or there is a longer transcript here.

…I do wonder how is it that we come to this agenda and there is no report back? And there is no indication of the forecast agenda for July either that there will be a report back. So I would like to request the Chair of the Business Committee to see to it, that that there is a report - that we will follow this up - and nothing will be kicked into touch. Thank you.

In his response to the debate, the acting chair of the committee, Bishop Trevor Willmott commented on this request (go to minute 40):

..Finally, if I may say to Lorna Ashworth, again I think the question is that she is - not solely in this chamber that that debate takes place, and I am assured that there will be opportunity for her to listen in to, and all of us to listen in to any comments which are made back by the Archbishops and the House of Bishops on that motion which was passed at that last session of Synod.

Second, a Question was asked, as follows.

The Revd Christopher Hobbs (London) to ask the Secretary General:

Q. What procedure would have to be followed for the Anglican Church in North America to be in communion with the Church of England and/or part of the Anglican Communion?

You can hear the answer given and the supplementary question and answer, by going here (go to minute 34.5). The first answer was as follows:

Mr William Fittall to reply:

A. Under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 a determination by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York is conclusive where any question arises whether, for the purposes of the Measure, a church is in communion with, or its orders are ‘recognised and accepted’ by, the Church of England. A decision that the Church of England should enter into communion with another church outside the Anglican Communion would fall to be taken by the Synod. The one legally constituted body for the Communion is the Anglican Consultative Council, membership of which is regulated by its Constitution. That provides that the addition of a church to its schedule of membership requires the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Communion.

The second answer, to a supplementary by Fr David Houlding includes this:

…The archbishops gave a commitment in that motion that they would report back to the Synod in 2011, by my reckoning 2011 is only 5 weeks old, so I am sure that they will be reporting to the Synod in due course on what is indeed an important matter.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 8:04am GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

ACNA school in the news

Updated Saturday evening

The school is St Vincent’s Cathedral School in Bedford, Texas.

News reports:

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Bedford school turns away student because of parents’ lesbian relationship

See also, the letter to the editor (scroll down to Clarifying church ties) and there is also this.

Dallas Morning News Dallas-area school won’t take daughter of lesbian couple

CNN Texas school rejects 4-year-old over lesbian parents

Update
Episcopal Café Vincent’s dean defends rejection of student

The Very Rev. Ryan Reed, Dean of St. Vincent’s School, spoke with DallasVoice.com about the rejection of 4-year-old Olivia Harrison from his school because her parents are lesbian…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 3:25pm BST | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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