Thinking Anglicans

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.


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.


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.



Court rules for Diocese of Virginia in property dispute

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


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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):


         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


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


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.


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.



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…


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.


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.


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


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.


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

Episcopal Café Vincent’s dean defends rejection of student

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