* AR usually avoids news items, but this event will likely have consequences in North American Anglicanism that will last for some time.
The World Consultation of Continuing Anglican Churches, held Nov. 3-5th 2011, in Brockton MA, recently provided a showcase of ‘lesser’ St. Louis jurisdictions in North America. In attendance were ACA, APA, and DHC. Surprisingly, two of the ‘big three’ churches (PCK, UEC) were absent. Mark Haverland, as the Archbishop of the ACC, represented the mainline of the St. Louis Congress. The Consultation itself was hosted by the Anglican Church in America (ACA) which recently declined membership in the Roman Ordinariate allowing ACA’s anglo-papist wing to go their own way.
The Consultation wasn’t unique. Back in 1999, the same “lesser” St. Louis churches were represented at Bartonville where unity in the continuing movement was likewise considered. The first Bartonville gathering occured with the witness of REC. Bartonville would eventually loose momentum, later gaining a second wind in FACA. But FACA’s involvement in ACNA has caused some to move away from REC toward the St. Louis’ “big three” (1), changing their point of unity from a revised 1893 Solemn Declaration to the St. Louis Affirmation. This signals a new direction for Bartonville churches but not without painful withdrawals from FACA-style ecumenicism.
The genealogy of Continuing jurisdictions is complex. Rather than get entangled in their long history of in-and-out turf wars, the “lesser” St. Louis jurisdictions basically stem from parishes that left TEC between 1963-1974, mainly under the auspices of clergy like James P. Dees, Anthony Clavier, and James George. These bodies kept to a more ‘protestant’ identity than ACC, openly admitting the 39 articles into their standards while placing little emphasis on the St. Louis Affirmation. Through a series of splits and mergers, many of these pre-St. Louis churches eventually found their way into the 1977 Congress bodies. A fairly decent example of extant pre-St. Louis churchmanship might be read in the 1999 Articles of Ecclesiastical Fellowship (click link, scroll down) signed at Bartonville. Readers also might notice the commonality of these articles with Solemn Declarations frequently used in North America. To avoid any insinuation of insult, this essay hence forth shall refer to “lesser” St. Louis churches as the Bartonville Convocation(2).
In 1990 at Deerfield Beach Bp. Anthony Clavier (AEC), along with Louis Falk (ACC), merged the pre-St. Louis (AEC) and Affirmation churches (ACC) together forming the ACA. After a coterie of bishops led by Falk seized control of the newly formed ACA, Clavier’s ‘low church’ diocese was expelled (3). Clavier’s suffragan, Bishop Grundorf, turned this diocese into the APA. Meanwhile, the ACA bishops slowly marched toward Rome, taken what they could from the merged ACC and AEC parishes, planning to enlarge the Pope’s 1980 pastoral provision. Since the Provision’s evolution into Anglican Coetibus, three-quarters of the ACA reversed course, leaving the papist clergy to fend for themselves at the door of Cardinal Wuerl.
Among the handful of bishops who refused to cross the Tiber, the rev. Brian Marsh led the about-face. Marsh has described the Ordinariate a catalyst for the ACA’s return to the continuing movement. An immediate result of this return has been restoring ties with APA. At this year’s Reaffirmation Congress Marsh said,
“We might have gone on our merry way. Except that a year and a half ago, we received something called Anglicanorum Coetibusor the Apostolic Constitution. It has been called a great gift. And it Is! It is a great gift to the Anglican world because it has asked us to look at ourselves and to decide, with God’s help, whether we are truly Anglican or not. Anglicanorum Coetibus has demanded that we consider whether the Anglican world is worth preserving—or whether it might better be folded into the welcoming arms of the Roman Catholic Church.”
The ACA’s intercommunion pact with APA is likely the biggest event to hit the Continuing movement since Deerfield Beach. It poses to place ACA-APA back at the helm of traditional Anglicanism. With that prestige, ACA-APA might eventually pull ahead the ACC as the Continuum’s flagship. This could take traditional Anglicanism in a different direction other than the “non-involvement” policy ACC would have against non-Affirmation churches. Given the history of APA, there might even be a consideration to move toward ACNA. However, this would require breaking ranks from the St. Louis churches since ACC has maintained a strict policy of shunning groups that depart from the Affirmation, particularly with bishops who are in communion with WO. In order to appreciate the difference between ACA-APA and ACC, an overview of ACC policy is in order.
ACC Non-Involvement Policy:
Based on numerous statements by ACC, + Haverland has articulated a rather steady shunning policy rooted upon two principles.
1) Full unity with ACC is based on the Affirmation, together with ACC C&C, as a confessionalist document. There can be no nominal or qualified interpretation. At the Consultation Haverland said,
” It is not enough for us to ask for a positive statement of faith from each other under current circumstances. We may accept the Affirmation of Saint Louis nominally while undermining its substance by treating some of its vital points as inessential…The ACC is quite clear on this point. While we are happy to talk with anyone, full communion with our interlocutors will require acceptance of a hard-line similar to the one we have adopted, lest bad theology drive out the good that we have embraced. That is what I mean by theological integrity on the basis of the Affirmation of Saint Louis. For us this issue will quickly come forward in all of our ecumenical conversations “
But, the Affirmation deals with a lot more than disavowing Women’s Ordination. The Affirmation opens a rather wide door for ‘holy’ Tradition or what Haverland dubs “central Tradition”. According to Haverland, ‘central tradition’ demands acquiesce to certain dogmas shared between post-patristic Orthodoxy and Romanism. This basically means approving a number of medieval errors as well as those arising after seven centuries. Haverland seems somewhat indifferent, “In the long run this principle will impel Anglican Catholics towards the Roman Catholic and Eastern Churches, and that is entirely appropriate” (p. 6, Keynote Address 2006)
Particular suspicion might be given to the Affirmation’s statement on seven sacraments and councils, “If asserting ‘seven and seven’ is in some sense an Anglican novelty, we are, again, not concerned” (Address June 2 2011). Several problems derive from ‘seven and seven’ . The language of the Affirmation, especially with respect to the enumeration of sacraments, is largely unnecessary and provocative. Terms like ‘effacious’ and ‘objective’ are used to ascribe natures akin to the Supper and Baptism to church rite like marriage and confirmation. By enshrining these idiosyncrasies the Affirmation forces a wedge with classical formulas. Haverland insists,
“Anglicanism can only continue in a form that is clearly both Catholic and Orthodox and which submits Anglican formularies and all that is peculiarly Anglican to the higher authority of the consensus of the central Catholic Tradition…How many sacraments are there? Anglican formularies suggest that there are ‘two only’. Many Anglican theologians say, ‘There are two only that are generally necessary for salvation, but there are five others.’ But Rome and the Orthodox and the Affirmation of St. Louis all say clearly and unambiguously, ‘seven’. So seven is the answer. So too with the number of ecumenical councils. So too with the real, objective presence of our Lord in the Eucharistic elements quite apart form the subjectivity of the recipients of the sacrament. So too with the invocation of the prayers of our Lady and of all saints. ” (p. 5, Keynote Address 2006).
Taking ‘Central Tradition’ as Orthodoxy with Romes’ post-patristic consensus basically eviscerates justification-in-worship as understood by historic Anglican standards, leaving the 39 articles contradicted and prayer book incoherent. The ACC is able to reconcile Settlement standards to medieval doctrine by giving ‘supplementary texts’, namely, the Missal, Affirmation, and their C&C. Among the “big three”, the ACC drives theology and anyone who might stake a claim to St. Louis will likely need to reckon ACC formula.
2.) the ACC requires jurisdictions in communion with St. Louis churches to maintain a strict non-involvement against ‘pseudo-apostolic’ organizations like ACNA. Haverland explains this second article:
“For the ACC full communio in sacris requires adherence to the Affirmation, and that in turn means no communion with either the ordainers of women or with those who are in communion with the ordainers of women… the bad theology that it [WO] implies was not definitively rejected by the majority [Lambeth or ACNA] through the explicit breaking of communion with the innovators and by the explicit breaking of communion with those who tolerated the innovation.”
There is no third position. There’s no pro-active to way to tackle ‘bad theology’ through secondary mediations like ministry partnership or speaking at mutual synods. No other choice but complete banishment. This sort of isolationism prevents work for greater reformation inside sick communions like ACNA . There is no middle state between spiritual death and life. The Bishops of Quincy, Diocese of Fort Worth, and REC are all anathema. According to Walter Spaulding, the ACC has been surprisingly consistent in this policy,
“The original, direct descendants of the 1978 Chambers Denver consecration, the ACC, APCK, and UECNA, are today in communion with each other and nobody else on the basis of no relationship to the regular Anglican Communion or any group in communion with it. This was made clear in ACC Archbishop Mark Haverland’s letter of July 3, 2007(44). But it came as little surprise as, among other things, the ACC’s College of Bishops had issued a statement more than a decade earlier that referred to the APCK and UECNA, and no others, as “related jurisdictions.” This automatically excluded the ACA and ACCC, which as members of the Traditional Anglican Communion were in communion with FIF-NA, the bulk of whose members were at the time in communion with Canterbury. Almost immediately, the new APCK Archbishop, James Provence, echoed Haverland’s 2007 remarks.(This same month, July, the UECNA was noted as having rescinded its concordat with the APA and signed one with the ACC). Provence’s reaction also might have been influenced by the removal of an obviously pro-ACA faction from the APCK in the defection of the Florenza group, also in July 2007.”
Even more shocking, the ACC has virtually excommunicated every Anglican that’s not from the Chamber’s line. The Athen’s statement for all apparent purposes drives ACC ecumenicalism:
“We repeat that the Anglican Catholic Church is an integral part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, and with its two related jurisdictions remains, in its claims to the loyalty of orthodox Anglicans, the sole legitimate successor to the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church in the USA and certain other apostate Churches of the “Anglican Communion.” It is not a congregationalist sect and still less an ad hoc “movement” or part of such a movement. Accordingly, we must say in all humility that no matter how sincere their founders, that the multiplicity of other bodies claiming to be “Continuing Anglican Churches” established apart from the Anglican Catholic Church has arisen in grave violation of those canons of the ancient Church which declare it a sin to to establish an altar in rivalry to that of one’s legitimate bishop and entirely without the benefit of the Catholic doctrine of economy. The onus is upon them to prove otherwise.”
This theoretically leaves Haverland as the sole patriarch of worldwide Anglicanism. Additionally, if canonical territories are taken seriously, as done with Eastern churches, the ACC would have first bids by inheritance through the Church of England, leaving all catholicism in North America properly under ACC. Anyway, the implications are fantastic.
However, the ACC finds itself in a tenuous position where it must diplomatically enforce an embargo among former-Bartonville churches that shaped in-part from Clavier’s dynamic brinkmanship rather than Haverland’s strict “non-involvement”. Brockton’s keynote speakers must have put Haverland on edge, reminding ACC that Bartonville’s shadow persists. Especially painful must have been Bishop Hewett’s (DHC) repeated praise of ACNA affiliated groups during the plenary address of the Consultation,
” Today I bring you greetings from Bp. Keith Ackerman, President of Forward in Faith, North America. He would very much like to be with us, but sends his regrets. We just had several days together in London at the Forward in Faith Assembly. He will convey my regrets to next week’s Forward in Faith Council Meeting, and so you see how we are covering for each other now. Dr. Wallace Spalding, President of the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen (FCC), also sends his best wishes and regrets.”
Bishop Ackerman is the retired Ordinary of the Diocese of Quincy (ACNA) while Dr. Wallace Spaulding has written a scathing report in 2009 about the Continuum’s self-imposed ecumenical isolation. Hewett went on dropping more unspeakable names; especially the work of REC’s +Ray Sutton,
“The ACNA’s Ecumenical Relations Task Force, under the brilliant leadership of Bp. Ray Sutton of the REC, has brought us into partnership with the LCMS, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Roman Catholics, evangelical protestants and Messianic Jews.”
It sounds like the ACNA’s Ecumenical Task Force has managed to keep the principles of FACA alive, or, at least, DHC is very involved. Bishop Hewett happens to be the current president of FACA which pledges to maintain good will with Common Cause Partners. After acclaiming the work of the Task Force, Hewett went on to commend GAFCON,
“What Rome is asking of the bulk of us is first, to get our act together in the great re-alignment. This convergence has been accelerating since the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem in 2008. First, we get our act together. Secondly, we clean up our act. Anglican dioceses that ordain women have to stop and reform and get it right on holy orders. The Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, comprised of six continuing bodies, is working to magnify the biblical office of deaconess. As the priestess door closes, the deaconess door opens. We can magnify women’s ministries based on Scripture and Tradition: deaconesses, catechists, nuns, Church Army officers, lay canonesses, and above all, wives and mothers. And we have to get it right on holy matrimony.”
Hewett’s language is the exact opposite Haverland in respect to the direction the ACC would have the Continuers go, especially since Haverland’s speech was likely said to APA which has ministry partnership with ACNA-REC. Though not as optimistic as Hewett, the APA’s Presiding Bishop, Walter Grundorf, also dropped the FACA name during Consultation,
“At the present time, this Body is a con-federation rather than a Province and it remains to be seen what it may development into. Some of us who are members of the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (FACA) are in a “ministry partnership” with the ACNA.”
ACC has some troubles. It must maintain rank discipline and enforce an anathema among churches usually considered outside the “big three’s” immediate scope of influence. This is not going to be easy given the habit of ecumenicalism pre-St. Louis churches indulged upon. Indeed, section V of the unaltered-Affirmation permits relations with “faithful parts” of Canterbury’s communion, and, as Bishop Boyce commented in his letter 2008, ‘there are many back doors of entry between continuing and lambeth churches’.
Furthermore, ACC is trying to raise the Affirmation as the sole banner of subscription between churches that are closer to ‘Bartonville’ than St. Louis. The Bartonville churches treat the 39 articles in very broad ways. This ‘broadness’ is a two-way street for ACC since it applies to the Affirmation as much as the 39. The ACC claims the Affirmation can comprehend a tract 90-style accounting of the 39, yet it warns more protestant-minded churchmen the 39 possess no authority apart from the Affirmation. Can pre-St. Louis churches give more than nominal assent to the Affirmation, and, if not, what can persuade them to consistently shun ACNA?
Spirit of St. Louis: Whether Bishop Brian Marsh decides to recognize ACC’s boycott and keep rank will decide if the remainder of Bartonville churches will cooperate with ACC’s strict terms. If ACA surged toward ACNA, the rest of Bartonville would likely follow. This in turn would likely bring more than a few evangelical parishes out from the other St. Louis churches. Another big determinant will be if FiFNA and REC together can achieve a roll-back or moratorium on WO. What remains special about the ACA is, despite overture to Rome, it is still essentially a ‘broad’ church. At the Victoria conference, Marsh shared his opinion on Anglican orthodoxy:
” As Continuing Anglicans, we also have the Affirmation of St. Louis. And, whether we accept them with enthusiasm, mild interest or disdain, we do have the Articles of Religion. While we could add more documents, such as the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, which attempted to define (however broadly) the essence of Anglicanism, these several documents point us on our way. Anglicanism cannot be pinned down with Scholastic particularity. It is elusive. It is a little like jazz. I happen to be a fan of jazz. And I am quite sure God is, too… This evening, I do not ask anyone here to sign great charters or to effect grand mergers or to come together under the leadership of some great uber Anglican primate. Let’s face it; that’s not Anglican. We couldn’t tolerate that. “
Marsh is describing a broad and fairly open churchmanship. Is this something Haverland can rely upon? Much of it boils down to a single question: Should the Continuing movement define itself by the Affirmation, as read through the ACC’s C&C, or by a pre-St. Louis Declaration of Principles that somehow affirms 39 articles with perhaps a broad commitment to the Affirmation? Bishop Marsh’s Diocese of the North East provides a statement of faith using excerpts from the Affirmation of St. Louis while avoiding the Affirmation’s more contested parts (like as clause on seven sacraments). At the Consultation, Marsh said,
“We need to take the 39 Articles seriously and Newman’s Tract 90 the purpose of which was to establish the contention that the fundamental ecclesiological identity of the Church of England was Catholic rather than Protestant. He has given us a way to talk to one another.”
The ACC solved this dilemma by scuttling the 39 articles in favor of an Anglicanized old-catholicism. In contrast, the APA-ACA resolved the tension of the Religious Settlement by listing both 39 and Affirmation in their respective Solemn Declaration (SD), leaving either one or the other as subordinate. The APA seems to favor the 39 articles since its SD reads, “And We are determined by the help of God to hold and maintain… the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of 1801; and in the spirit of the Affirmation of St. Louis of 1977; and to transmit the same unimpaired to our posterity”. Notice the laudable clause, “the spirit of“.
Bartonville and FACA still cast a shadow over the ACC-wing of the Continuum, leaving the outstanding question if a Solemn Declaration or amended Affirmation(4) should be the common rally point. If Solemn Declarations drafted upon the 1893 archetype prevail, then broadness will follow unless reference to the Affirmation is either completely dropped or perhaps softened (see my asterisk proposal).
Though APA/ACA are fairly broad in churchmanship, on the whole they are also very conservative and would keep the 1928 BCP and exclusive male orders in the last instance. If historic Solemn Declarations become the normal way to define traditional Anglicanism, then what barrier is there with churches inside ACNA like FiFNA or REC? As Wallace Spaulding indicated in his 2009 Report, the participation of Continuing churches like APA and/or ACA inside ACNA would have tipped the scale against WO in early days of ACNA’s . North American Anglicanism would be very different today. Furthermore, ACNA is really a federation rather than something canonically united. However, this allows new members multiple ways to relate, often by flying dioceses rather than territorial merger. Either way, questions of alignment are coming to a head between the respective Bartonville and ACC-aligned churches, but how the Affirmation is dealt with will determine what role Bartonville Anglicans eventually will play in ACNA.
Further speculations upon the future of continuing Anglicanism in relation to ACC, FACA, and ACNA can be read here: Post-Brockton
(1.) the ‘big three’ refer to those Episcopates created in 1977 by retired PEC bishop Albert Chambers. These would be PCK, ACC, and UEC. UEC left ACC in 1981 over romanized C&C, and today it remains fairly evangelical, probably closer to APA in churchmanship than ACC. In fact, under Albion Knight the UECNA had proposed a confederation of episcopal bishops in 1989 between AEC, AECNA, ARJA, and DSW. This would have been a low to broad church federation. However, in 2006 UECNA Bishop Reber signed an intercommunion pact with ACC recognizing the Affirmation while placing the UECNA on a course for ‘rapid merger’. This pact kept UECNA tied to the mast of the ACC flagship despite AB Peter Robinson’s recent backing out. Robinson’s reversal was suggested by resurrecting something akin to the older 1989 confederation, proposing a federation rather than full-unity with PCK and ACC . The UECNA has also winked at ties with EMC. The EMC is presently underway forging a trilateral communion agreement with APA and ACA, thereby bringing FACA members closer together. Robinson supports a nominal understanding of the Affirmation saying, “The United Episcopal Church of North America came into being to represent the “minimalist” interpretation of the Affirmation. In short, the new Continuing Church was the old Protestant Episcopal Church without the heresy and goofiness. To this end, the UECNA adopted, with very little adaption, the 1958 PECUSA Constitution and Canons as its administrative standard, and required a specific undertaking to abide by the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion from its clergy.” (News from UECNA, 6/1o)
(2.) Bess described churches of the same ‘low church’ brand as the Bartonville Convocation as the “Southern Phalanx”. Peter Robinson characterizes the mid-fifties and sixties episcopalians who eventually left TEC as mostly central or MOTR churchmen. I am trying to obtain a copy of AECNA’s 1972 Solemn Declaration which predates St. Louis. Dee’s 1964 AOC SD would be gold.
(3) I stand corrected on this point. From a friend:
“A little correction on the split within ACA. DEUS was not formally expelled from the ACA. They did leave because Falk tried to hijack the election of Grundorf as Clavier’s successor. Some of this has to do with Falk usurping responsibility over the eastern province of the new ACA. Yes, originally, the ACA was a two-province Church. After the fall of Clavier, the senior bishop was Chamberlain of DNE. Falk usurped, as I said. DEUS refused to allow this and found it wiser to leave.
Other parishes transferred allegiance to DEUS, which then erected the APA and later hived off the non-DEUS parishes into another diocese or two. Now, Hanlon was the other former AEC bishop; he went over to APA with Grundorf. I lost track of him shortly thereafter.
Once the main factions involved here (ACA and APA in particular) get sorted out over the Affirmation, then some of the others (EMC, UEC, etc), including the splinters, can see their way more clearly to work out some sense of inter-communion. They all have so much in common, really.”
(4) The ACC has a solemn declaration, but it’s composition is extremely alien to the 1893 archetype. For all intents and purposes, it’s more accurate to call the ACC’s SD an affirmation of the Affirmation. It adds very strong apostolic succession language by which the Athens Statement grew.