The American body named Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes also known as the Anglican Communion Network will hold its Annual Council Meeting on 30-31 July at St Matthew’s Cathedral in Bedford Texas, which is near Fort Worth. Here is the official announcement:
Over 80 representatives of the Anglican Communion Network will gather at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas for two full days July 30–31 for the Network’s Annual Council Meeting. This will be the third meeting of its kind since the birth of the Network in March 2004. The Bible teacher for the meeting will be the Most Rev. Greg Venables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone.
The press is welcome to attend plenary sessions of the council meeting. Press credentials can be obtained by registering online at www.regonline.com/annualcouncil2007. Suzanne Gill, Director of Communications for the Network Diocese of Fort Worth, will be coordinating press on site and can be reached at (817) 244–2885. The meeting is otherwise closed to the public.
And here is this morning’s report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Episcopalians’ struggle comes home
Area residents will get a close-up look this month at the decades-long rift that is continuing to tear apart the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church.
About 80 representatives of the Anglican Communion Network, of which Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker is a leading member, will meet July 30-31 in Bedford at St. Vincent’s Cathedral.
The network — formed three years ago by Episcopal members appalled by church actions such as the 2003 consecration of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire — likely will be a sounding board for more attacks on leadership of the U.S. church.
The Rev. Ryan Reed, dean of the Bedford cathedral, said network representatives will discuss how to work more closely with other conservative Anglican groups. Archbishop Greg Venables, a conservative who leads the Anglican province that includes Venezuela and Bolivia, is the main speaker. Some sessions are not open to the public, but general gatherings are open.
The Anglican Communion Network and similar conservative groups contend that the American church no longer represents those abiding by the historic faith.
The network, based in Pittsburgh, represents 200,000 laity and 2,200 clergy in the U.S., said the Rev. Daryl Fenton, chief executive. It has 10 member dioceses, including Dallas and Fort Worth, and also has alliances with some 40 smaller U.S. Anglican groups that have left the Episcopal Church in opposition of what they say are departures from biblical Christianity by Episcopal leadership…
Back in December 2006, TA published this article: What size is NACDAP really? which included this:
The American Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes or Anglican Communion Network has published this map, showing at the time of writing a total of 737 parishes that are said to be affiliated with them in some way.
Curiously though, the same website also says:
We are currently ten dioceses and six convocations stretching from coast to coast, border to border. As of January 2005, ACN dioceses and parishes count 200,000 Episcopal Christians in more than 800 congregations, and the number of affiliated parishes grows weekly.
The map on the ACN website now lists a total of 845 “parishes” though from an English perspective “congregations” would be a more accurate term to describe them. Nevertheless the claims made by Daryl Fenton above are identical to the now updated page of the ACN website quoted previously which currently says:
We are currently ten dioceses, six convocations and the international conference stretching from coast to coast, border to border. As of January 2007, ACN dioceses and parishes count 200,000 laity and 2,200 clergy in more than 900 congregations, and the number of affiliated parishes grows weekly. We have received support throughout the Anglican Communion, including encouragement from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Fourteen leaders of the international Anglican Communion, representing 75 percent of the world’s 60 million Anglicans, have offered their recognition and pledged the full weight of their ministries to the Anglican Communion Network.
There are clearly a number of inconsistencies in these claims. An earlier attempt to get to the bottom of the numbers claimed by the Network was done in February this year: A Modest Analysis of NACDAP’s “Anglicans in the United States” by Lionel Deimel, Joan Gundersen, and Christopher Wilkins. You can read that here. The data provided to the primates in Dar es Salaam by Bishop Robert Duncan can be read in this PDF file here.
And much more recently, on 29 June, epiScope had this comment on the slightly different issue of counting “breakaway” churches:
…there may be 250 congregations within the continental United States that claim to answer to various Anglican bishops in Africa and Latin America—but that’s not the same thing as “up to 250 of the 7,000 congregations in the U.S. church.”
The numbers, as we’ve said before, are hard to pin down, because—as we all know—”congregations don’t leave, people do.” The vast majority of the congregations listed under foreign bishops appear to be fledgling “new church plants” meeting in homes and hotels, not established, full-bore, paid-up TEC parishes.
In fact, so far your editor has found less than a dozen TEC congregations that were officially listed by their dioceses as “closed” when a significant group chose to depart and re-form as an “Anglican” congregation. (More later; watch this space!) The rest remain open as TEC congregations, in many cases greatly renewing their mission and ministry in the absence of the controversy du jour.