Thinking Anglicans

ACNA bishops invited to Lambeth Conference as “observers”

The Anglican Communion News Service has published a news article titled: Archbishop of Canterbury invites ecumenical observers to the Lambeth Conference. This reports that such invitations have gone to a much wider group of churches than at previous conferences.

It also says that:

In addition to leaders of Churches in Communion and ecumenical partners, representatives from Churches formed by people who left the Anglican Communion are also being invited to send observers. These churches – the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), the Anglican Church of Brazil and the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) – are not formally part of the Anglican Communion but are recognised to different extents by some of the Communion’s provinces.

This has provoked the following response from Archbishop Foley Beach of ACNA:

Yesterday I received a letter from Archbishop Justin just moments before the invitation was reported online. I read the online report first and was disappointed to see that the original “news” source had furthered a partisan, divisive, and false narrative by wrongly asserting that I left the Anglican Communion. I have never left the Anglican Communion, and have no intention of doing so.

I did transfer out of a revisionist body that had left the teaching of the Scriptures and the Anglican Communion and I became canonically resident in another province of the Anglican Communion. I have never left. For the Anglican Church in North America to be treated as mere “observers” is an insult to both our bishops, many of whom have made costly stands for the Gospel, and the majority of Anglicans around the world who have long stood with us as a province of the Anglican Communion.

Once I have had a chance to review this with our College of Bishops and the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference I will respond more fully.

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Geoffrey McL.Tobias Stanislas HallerCynthia KatsarelisT PottJo B Recent comment authors
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Richard Grand
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Richard Grand

Incredible how Foley Beach (the “Archbishop”, no less) has made this about him and his martyrdom for his “sacrifice.” I had assumed that Welby would do this, once he asked for ecumenical observers. Incredible the sense of false outrage, self-righteousness and entltlement on Foley’s part for public consumption. Wait for the GAFCON bishops to ride to his rescue. “We didn’t leave, they left us” is their cry. Don’t forget that they left to ensure that the oppression of gay people and the enshrining of unAnglican conservative fundamentalism can be maintained within their church of judgement and exclusion. Not to mention… Read more »

Fr John Emlyn Harris-White
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Fr John Emlyn Harris-White

It appears utter stupidity on the part of Welby to invite folk who still live in the dark ages, and do not want to express and feel the full love of God for themselves or those to whom they ‘minister’.

If I were a pessimist, which I am not, I would suggest it is a management ploy by Welby to increase the pressure on those Provinces who have moved forward in their expression of love for ALL God’s children, regardless of gender orientation.

Fr John Emlyn

Jo B
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Jo B

Seeing the absurd, petulant reaction from ACNA actually goes a long way to helping TEC in the eyes of those provinces that are, as it were, in the middle. Nobody can read this and take Foley Beach seriously as an Anglican primate. They’re just Anglicanism’s answer to sedevacantism.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

The thing is, if an ACNA Bishop is formally invited to Lambeth, then there is nothing to prevent liberal provinces from establishing beachheads in more conservative provinces. Then there could be two Anglican-Communion bishops of Lagos, or two bishops of Nairobi.
Even two Anglican-Communion bishops of London. Or three, if the conservatives do the same.
That would undermine any pretense of unity that the Communion might still maintain.
So I think the line being drawn here will remain where it is.

Paul Waddington
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Paul Waddington

Surely this has already happened. We have, for example in England, the Free Church of England, The Traditional Anglican Church, the Anglican Catholic Church and many others.

Richard Grand
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Richard Grand

Keep in mind that ACNA is playing a propaganda game within the Communion, aimed specifically at their GAFCON allies. They import African bishops to do their ordaining and Foley is now one of the top players in GAFCON. ACNA is campaiging to be regarded as THE Anglican entity in the United States, if not North America, displacing the recognized Churches already in the Communion. This has always been their stated goal. Even to admit that they are not “in the Communion” (and they are not) is for them a loss of their propaganda message and the claims they have made.… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

I think actually Welby may have hit ACNA where it hurts, intentionally or not. ACNA and its allies within the Communion have been demanding that they be included as a “legitimate” Anglican province. By inviting them with the same status as another group that broke away from Anglicanism almost 200 years before, and with churches like ELCA and ELCIC that are in communion with Anglican provinces, Welby has made it clear that they are NOT part of the Communion. It is a lose-lose proposition for Foley Beach, and his response shows he is fully aware of the trap that Welby… Read more »

T Pott
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T Pott

To describe ACNA and Reach-SA as “Churches formed by people who left the Anglican Communion” is like saying the Church of England was formed by a King who left the Catholic Church. In the right context it is an arguable, though controversial, point of view. The ACNS news article lists many Churches whose representatives are invited to observe, without making any comment at all about their origins. In that context, to give a description of ACNA etc, with which they profoundly disagree, is more than controversial. It is gratuitously offensive, and this seems to be what has upset Archbishop Beach,… Read more »

Jo B
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Jo B

Nobody excommunicated ACNA, unlike King Henry. They left voluntarily because they were no longer allowed to force their opinions on the rest of their church. They may resent that, but it is what happened.

Paul Waddington
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Paul Waddington

Rather than say “they were no longer allowed to force their opinions on the rest of their church”, you could say that they held fast to the teachings of Anglicanism, which had been accepted for centuries.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Actually, even on a most charitable basis, I don’t think you can say that, since an ongoing, critical and reasoned review of teaching is also part of Anglicanism. Indeed one of things which distinguishes Anglicanism from Catholicism is the intention that Anglicanism is progressive. But even then they aren’t even holding fast to traditional Anglican teaching that marriage is a lifelong union of one man and one woman since divorce has been embraced. So we are down to selectively holding fast to the traditional Anglican view of marriage in relation to sexual orientation while ignoring teachings on divorce and the… Read more »

Jo B
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Jo B

You could say that, but it wouldn’t explain why they left, because no-one prevented them from following their consciences on either human sexuality or the ordination of women. All they were prevented from doing was forcing those who disagreed with them to abide by their opinion, and THAT is why they stomped off in a huff.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

Nobody excommunicated Henry. The Bishop of Rome pretended to do so, but as he had no jurisdiction in England, or anywhere else outside Italy, that is irrelevant. Henry, and England, had already voluntarily repudiated the pretensions of the Pope to lead the Catholic Church. The Church of England is part of the Catholic Church. The Pope has no business to deny that, and is no way a leader, never mind head, of the Catholic Church. He does not determine who is, or is not, a member. Similarly ACNA are clear that they have not left the Anglican Communion. What right… Read more »

Kennedy Fraser
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Kennedy Fraser

Similarly ACNA are clear that they have not left the Anglican Communion. What right has the Archbishop of Canterbury, never mind the ACNS news clerk, to say otherwise?

I thought that it was the ACC who determined which provinces were members of the communion – they hold the membership list.

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

Given that the ABC is one of the instruments of communion? Quite a bit I’d say.

As for the Pope, previous ABC’s have acknowledged his status as primus inter pares among the bishops of the western church, so it’s wrong to say that he is not a leader, for all that he has no metropolitan jurisdiction.

ACNA’s departure is a matter of fact. They may well be in communion with some member churches of the Anglican Communion but, guess what? So are a great many Lutheran churches in Europe and the US. That doesn’t make the Lutherans members of the Anglican Communion.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

A very large number of people do believe that the Pope has the right to decide who is in the Catholic Church. It is a coherent and arguable position to hold. As are your and Mr Fraser’s views on what constitutes the Anglican Communion. ACNA, however, are adamant they have not left the Anglican Communion. I don’t know how they define Anglican Communion, or what they mean by saying they have not left it. It is really just semantic whether Henry left the Catholic Church and formed the Church of England, or ACNA was formed by people who left the… Read more »

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

I’m sorry, T Pott, but the ACC did make it clear a year or so ago, that the ACNA is not a member of the Anglican Communion. I can’t recall all of the circumstances, but the ABC and Idowu-Fearon both said it directly. Since the ABC and the ACC are two of the crucial “instruments of communion,” they are indeed the arbiters of membership. It doesn’t matter how adamant ACNA is. They left the Anglican Communion when they left TEC. I suspect that the ACNS was simply stating the truth as they saw it, without understanding that it would give… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

The Anglican Communion as a fellowship of churches in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury is free to define itself and its membership, through the ACC and said Archbishop. At the same time ACNA can claim to be part of “the Anglican Communion” but it isn’t part of the same Anglican Communion to which the ACC and Archbishop (and by extension the Lambeth Conference) relate. As this is all about invitation to Lambeth, that is the crux of their being invited as guests, rather than as members.

Geoffrey McL.
Guest
Geoffrey McL.

I would go further and say that when it comes to REACH (the former Church of England in South Africa) it is not really an arguable view. They didn’t leave anything: they simply declined to join the Church of the Province of Southern Africa on its formation in 1870 (just three years after the first Lambeth Conference – so the notion of an “Anglican Communion” at all was, if not quite anachronistic, at least still brand new).

Father Ron
Guest

Foley Beach -.”I never left the Anglican Communion” has the stamp of the Gafcon/Foca/Acna sodality, which did not exactly sleepwalk into secession from the world-wide Anglican Communion. The real problem here is that the ABC is still obviously under the impression that ACNA-ites will be very keen to take up their Invitation To Lambeth, but what good will it prove to be for loyal Anglicans around the world, for whom this ‘Cuckoo in the Nest’ is seen to be a backdoor route to ACNA’s claim to Anglican Orthodoxy?

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

I think that ecumenism is good and is an OK role for ACNA and the other breakaways, especially given the very long list of observers. For example, the invitation to the Lutheran Church in North America is nice, given the relationship that TEC has with them. Of course, I don’t appreciate the machinations towards replacing TEC with ACNA. Finally, ACNA exists because they were no longer allowed to impose their views on the whole church, TEC. I see that there are still people who cling to the view that they’ve maintained “centuries-old orthodoxy” on marriage. But that is intellectually dishonest… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Agree generally, but the case for abandoning the biblical view of marriage is even stronger than you put it.
How many wives did Solomon have? Jacob? Esau? Elkanah? David?

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Yes. I was putting it into a more modern change. But Biblically, women were chattel. I have a feeling that some of the conservatives prefer that, as equal marriage vis-à-vis women isn’t registering as a cataclysmic change in the “centuries-old accepted view of marriage.” How this could get past anyone is a mystery to me. It certainly shows intellectual dishonesty and/or complete disinterest in the dignity of women. Dignity for human beings who aren’t male, and generally white, is what is at issue for women, LGBTQ+, and people of color (those these can get mixed up, note the patriarchy from… Read more »