This post is the last of a four-part series on the future of the Continuing movement and it potential impact on North American Anglicanism. The earlier commentary can be read at “Continuing Politics” under AR’s Scriptorium.
Otherwise known as the World Consultation, the Anglican futures conference held in Brockton, MA in 2011 may have been the most important event to hit the Continuing Anglican movement since the 1998 REC-APA unity talks. While the precise consequence of the Brockton conference is elusive, two possible outcomes that impact North American Anglicanism seem immanent. ”Post-Brockton” not only can unite the majority of the continuum, but it also risks cutting ties with ACNA (more specifically the REC-FiFNA coalition inside ACNA). Some of these contours have already been examined in the earlier yet equally lengthy article: the Bartonville Factor.
The Watershed: In his manuscript, Saints and Buccaneers (2011), the Rt. Rev’d Brian Marsh looks back upon ecumenical adventures launched by continuing Anglicans since advent of Deerfield Beach in 1991. One of the more significant developments was FACA, yet FACA is mentioned in a lackluster way. Marsh says, “The FACA got off to a promising start and is still mutually supportive, but other events transpired that mitigated its effectiveness” (p. 63). What are these ‘other events’? Bishop Marsh goes on to discuss the rise of the Ordinariate, causing a significant split in ACA. However, the World Consultation (or Brockton Congress) was hailed as a new dawn for the Continuum. Marsh explains the ‘watershed’:
“Two conferences, one in Victoria, British Columbia in June 2011 and another in Brockton, Masschusetts in November, 2011, underscored the need for Anglicans to join together for mutual support and cooperation.
It seems clear that 2011 represented a watershed year int the life of the Continuum. In many ways, the cooperation between the leaders of the Continuing Churches have sought to find ways to come together for mutual support. Indeed, each separate jurisdiction brings its own special gifts. The Anglican Church in America, for example, operates a seminary program, Logos House of Studies; The Anglican Catholic Church maintains a publishing house; the Anglican Province of America has a superb process of building parishes.”p. 66
Although the Consultation had the same objectives as FACA (e.g., mutual support and cooperation), Brockton specifically attempted to rally the continuum, excluding churches (like AMiA and REC) that are aligned with the Global South (thus, the Anglican Communion). So, the Consultation was specifically an event internal and insular to the Continuing movement. Also, Brockton proposed a federation (see below) that included ACC as its primary partner. Brockton is a landmark in this respect since the ACC usually abstains from ecumenicism wherever cross-pollination with the Chamber’s succession is doubted (1). At Brockton, Haverland added a further criteria that (if recieved) would effectively kill future relations with REC and former-ECUSA traditionalists:
“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 through the explicit breaking of communion with the innovators and by the explicit breaking of communion with those who tolerated the innovation.”
Such a rigid non-involvement policy is beyond anything mentioned in the St. Louis Affirmation. Archbishop Haverland was likely expanding upon the Athens Statement despite the Affirmation’s commended tolerance for faithful Anglicans inside Lambeth (read Section V). Nonetheless, the net effect of the ACC’s current policy is to place a wedge between APA and ACNA whereby a substantial portion of the Continuum– namely, those churches involved in FACA– are alienated from Realignment Anglicanism. Strict non-involvement would naturally pull ACA and APA into an ACC orbit, thereby isolating irenic continuing churchmen like Bishop Paul Hewett. In an email (dating Sept. 8th 2012) +Marsh was asked the difference between FACA and the World Consultation:
“While I don’t mean to misstate the case, I offer this observation: FIFNA has done – and is doing – good work for the orthodox Anglican faith. However, some groups fulfill their purpose and live on after their usefulness is over. Is this the case with FIFNA? With FACA?”
While it’s hard to determine the precise meaning such a cryptic statement, quite a few continuing Archbishops have described the World Consultation as hearkening a new beginning. This compels the layperson to take seriously what’s been said at Brockton, especially ‘federations’.
Federation Models: Of the bishops speaking at Brockton, perhaps Bishop Grundorf’s address revealed the most about possible continuing Anglican futures. Though the need for unity was presupposed by each participant, only Bishop Grundorf offered two models which provided a tangible vision for further cooperation. Grundorf said :
“Looking at the future of the continuing church and trying to find a way forward towards greater unity, we have possible options. I am certain that there are others that will be suggested during the panel discussion.
The Federation model with a defined goal along with firm parameters for membership is an option. At some point we will have to deal with mutual acceptance of Episcopal orders. Membership in the Federation would be based upon a number of factors including stability, size of membership (based on annual reports), history and declaration of belief. A federation could be modeled after the diverse Eastern Orthodox Church’s ‘Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America’ (SCOBA). Another possibility could be the Benedictine model, which was presented to the continuing churches in the late 1990’s by the Anglican Benedictines in Bartonville, Illinois. Unfortunately, after a couple of well attended meetings by Continuers at the Bartonville Monastery, the effort faded away. No one has real good reason why this did not continue, but some good relationships developed from this attempt.”
Something should be said about both the ‘SCOBA’ and ‘Benedictine’ models. First, the Benedictine approach has been attempted more than once, and it usually fizzles. A Benedictine approach is basically a dressed-up catholic term for “confederation”. The Fairfield Symposium created the first confederation of Anglican bishops in 1986, but, like Bartonville, its depth of cooperation was thin and short lasting.
After noble attempt at Deerfield Beach, a rump of old-AECNA and ARJA in 1995 went on to form ‘Anglican Church in the US’. The Anglican Church US was also a fellowship of jurisdictions loosely predicated upon ‘good will’, but the AC-US Bishops went their own way as soon as deeper questions of unity arose. Bartonville likewise aimed to create an inter-jurisdictional relation that might create an eventual federation. Of the half-dozen churches that participated, only the REC and APA continued to move forward with active unity, eventually creating FACA(2). Bartonville is often pegged a failure relative to FACA, but each attempt to push unity laid a precedent that benefited future efforts.
Common Standards: Unfortunately, Grundorf and the other Bishops at Brockton give little detail regarding their ‘SCOBA model’. Among the Eastern Orthodox sojourning in America, SCOBA has been notorious for accomplishing nothing. However, SCOBA (like FACA) did lay the basis for greater canonical cooperation. In SCOBA’s case, it morphed into the assembly of orthodox bishops . Perhaps this is what Bishop Marsh meant by pushing beyond FACA? Nonetheless, the only other source on a proposed ‘SCOBA model’ comes the UECNA’s Presiding Bishop, Peter Robinson. Robinson outlines the first steps for unity the Continuum:
“I see the first stage as being what I call CABC – the Continuing Anglican Bishops Conference – consisting of the bishops of those jurisdictions closest to the St. Louis Congress, and gradually expanding to incorporate more and more groups as various misunderstandings are cleared up. The first name I came up with was the Standing Conference of Anglican Bishops – but, as a former Union man, SCAB seemed, well, inappropriate. This would have a dual role. Firstly it would act as a clearing house for discussion about and actions towards unity. Secondly, it would act as a clearing house to allow clergy to transfer between jurisdictions without it causing mutual recrimination, and also impose discipline across jurisdictional lines. Too often bishops and clergy have escaped the consequences of their actions by quietly slipping away to another jurisdiction. This process has done little to promote mutual trust. Thirdly, it would facilitate joint action on matters of mutual concern, and be a forum for the bishops of the various jurisdictions to get to know one another. Nothing breeds fear and mistrust better than being strangers to one’s colleagues.
There will also be a need to come up with a common Constitution and Canons. This will help dispel the notion that one jurisdiction is swallowing another. One difficulty which will have to be resolved is the balance of authority between the various Houses of Synod. At present, there are slight differences of emphasis among the various major Continuing groups, though in the final analysis we all function in much the same way.
Unlike a Benedictine fellowship, a federation or SCOBA model is anxious about establishing common standards. At Brockton, Grundorf admitted membership “would be based on declaration of belief”. Regarding standards of belief, none of the participants at the earlier Victoria Congress jumped on Bishop Redmile’s (XnEC) 12pt-proposal (see ‘basis of communion’ at link) for a common statement of belief. While the proposal carefully skirted around the Affirmation and 39 Articles, it asked that traditional Anglicans accept three norms: the Standard KJV, the 1662 Prayer Book, and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Redmile thought this formula of prayer book with quadrilateral was a sufficient basis for continuing anglo-catholics, “And so, in essential matters, the old Catholic Religion was left untouched [by Elizabeth I], and remains still the Religion of the Church of England today.” Bishop Brian Marsh (ACA) also suggested the adequacy of the Quadrilateral (said at DNE’s 2011 clericus, mp3). At the same clericus Marsh praised Redmile’s proposal as ‘well-recieved’ despite the evidence that Redmile’s specific points fell flat.
However, any continuing federation wishing to include the ACC under common standards will face problems. The ACC generally dismisses the authority of Settlement and/or Quadrilteral formula while treating the Affirmation as a ‘confessional document’. The ACC would be even less excited about the Quadrilteral as a basis for continuing unity. The ACC repeatedly insists the Affirmation is a precondition for any canonical merger, accepting no less than full-subscription. Anglican Rose has quoted the ACC’s stance numerous times– lest concerned churchmen forget– Haverland said at Brockton:
“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 ”
In other words, a federation which includes the ACC won’t go beyond a “tea and biscuit” fellowship until the Affirmation is taken as prescriptive, without equivocation. Preferably this would be the Affirmation as read through ACC canons and synods. That leaves historical Anglican norms– e.g., a Solemn Declaration (like APA’s), the Jerusalem Declaration, or especially the Quadrilateral– as a material barrier for the ACC.
Depending on how far continuing Bishops cherish unity, ACC will either leave broad churchmen (like Robinson or Grundorf) to spin their wheels in a moribund Benedictine fellowship, or the ACC will allow a Federation with common canons given standards that might point to ACNA are disavowed, particularly anything that includes the 39 articles. This abstinence would prove difficult for +Grundorf (as well as +Marsh and perhaps +Robinson) who is a broad churchmen at heart. For example, Bishop Marsh’s Diocese of the North East in Maine has monthly worship services with local Episcopalians in downtown Dresden. Also, APA has a number of formal (yet inactive) ministry partnerships with ACNA and FACA members that must be distanced before closer ties to ACC can be had.
Anti-FACA: Given FACA is a bridge to ACNA, a criticism of one includes the other. It goes without saying that women’s ordination has been the biggest obstacle for continuer participation in ACNA. Surely, it was the main reason cited by Grundorf (3) for pulling out of the Common Cause Network. As a consequence, many of the APA clergy who wanted to go forward with the making of a ‘giant’ Anglican Province simply left APA for ACNA. The largest transfer was by Bishop Boyce who took nearly every parish in APA’s on the West Coast. Several APA clergy in the eastern states also bolted. However, in the process of excusing the APA’s ‘about face’ some false statements gained currency. For example, significant misinformation about ACNA has been spread by Fr. Glen Spencer’s 2008 letter, addressed to the Deanery of Virginia:
“while CCP currently is only an alliance of various Anglican jurisdictions, it has all appearances of the precursor to a jurisdiction Many of its leaders have made clear their intention to make one giant jurisdiction the North American Anglican Province, under the oversight of the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference (GAFCON). Its members would thus lose their own identity, their individual canons and constitution, and become a part of the jurisdiction of CCP. This is no small matter, particularly if that giant jurisdiction contains women priests. We all desire unity and a common cause with other Anglicans; the question is at what cost, and at what point do we slip into heterodoxy under the purported purpose of unity”
Though Spencer admits ACNA is composed of various alliances, he assumes ‘one giant jurisdiction’ necessarily entails the loss of individual canons and constitutions. Rather, most partners in the ACNA remain affinity networks, and ACNA has officially suspended geographic dioceses until sticky questions like women’s ordination or prayer book revision are hammered out. Until then, ACNA will continue on the basis of parallel jurisdictions, keeping separate canons, requiring no further unity other than what is volunteered or otherwise stated in the minimal canons of ACNA. As a consequence, more conservative bodies– like REC, PEARusa, and FiFNA– refer to themselves as “self-governing, sub-provinces” inside ACNA. This is a very different situation from churches that seek geographic uniformity. The ACNA constitution permits:
“Article IV. 4. Dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) may band together for common mission, or as distinct jurisdictions at the sub-Provincial level.
Article IV.7. This Constitution recognizes the right of each diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based) to establish and maintain its own governance, constitution and canons not inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution and Canons of this Province.”
Latitude for ‘self-government’ was dervied from Kingdom Norms previosly established in 2002. Even the APA signed these Norms and presumably are still beholden:
“Our common allegiance is to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and to the historic Catholic faith and morals. We are, therefore: [are] committed to unity among orthodox Anglicans, both within and without the Anglican communion as presently constituted, respecting one another’s callings in different judicatories, and respecting our differences regarding the Book of Common Prayer and the ordained ministry of women during this continuing period of reception and discernment.”
The fact that ACNA is under a “period of reception and discernment” on women’s ordination (WO) is conveniently ignored. Unlike ECUSA and Canterbury, ACNA is re-examining WO according to the method of scripture and tradition. In all fairness, contra Spencer, the elimination of women’s ordination is on the table. Furthermore, over the last five years ACNA has maintained a 50/50 split among their Bishops over WO. Thus, ‘two-integrities’ is far from any ‘settled’ conclusion. Recently, Bishop Duncan commissioned ACNA-wide study on the legitimacy of women orders. Amazingly, the study is chaired by the REC’s Bishop Hicks. It’s hard to imagine how a task force that pledges to enlist catholic tradition and chaired by REC might manufacture excuses for female priests? That means 2003 Anglicans will either be compelled to admit WO is a theological innovation, or they will simply end the practice.
Moreover, the Diocese of Fort Worth has increased the heat on +Duncan by declaring a recent moratorium on women deacons. The moratorium on women deacons may very well expand by including other groups who left ECUSA before the gay consecration controversy, e.g., PEARSusa. Not surprisingly, these are jurisdictions which were ready to leave ECUSA well-before 2003. Indeed, a good part of ACNA ought to count its formation in 1997 when ECUSA required all dioceses to accept women clergy. A strong front is emerging in ACNA against WO on the eve of Duncan’s last year of presidency. In the emerging change of guard, it’s possible a ‘reception’ of male Holy Orders will tilt to the advantage of traditionalists. Iker announced last month (Nov. 2012):
“Therefore, I am announcing today a moratorium on the ordination of women deacons in this Diocese, at least until such time as the Theological Task Force completes its study. In no way does this affect the continuing ministry of the current women deacons in the Diocese, now or in the future. They have my continuing support, respect and appreciation. Nor does it have any affect on women who are currently postulants or candidates for ordination. It only applies to women aspirants from this date forward.”
There is much to be hopeful about ACNA. What happened to the irenicism of the broad church continuers like APA since 2008? For example, read Bishop Chandler’s defense of AMiA, and Robert Mercer’s optimism about unity with former episcopalians. A stark contrast to Spencer. Either by negligence of the facts or out-right slander, continuers have failed to communicate an accurate picture of the work of the FiFNA-REC coalition, thoughtlessly lumping this party together with neo-liberal leaders in ACNA.
More is at stake for the Continuum then denominational strutting. Nor is ACNA a vain exercise. A new Province has been raised in North America to restore a weaker brother– in this case, 2003 episcopalians. ACNA has will eventually become an orthodox voice for Anglicans in North America, pulling resources into a ‘giant’ jurisdictions, and thereby rebuilding the Kingdom. Justifying his departure from APA, Bishop Boyce pleaded for such benefits typical in a giant church:
“We need a united voice, a good seminary or two, a Christian education resource, a national magazine, a profile to help announce the Gospel to a needy nation. We need to be part of a world of inspiring orthodox Anglican leaders.”
Anglicans certainly need such. But for REC the prize is much bigger than accumulating cultural prestige or concentrating material resources. The REC’s project is theonomic, and they want to restore the Constantine church. This is not surprising considering the REC-MDA grew from Tyler TX (formerly ‘reconstructionist). The REC concluded its 2006 report on True Unity, repeating the ‘theonomic’ theme:
“North America requires re-evangelizing. It will not happen without the union of Christendom, beginning with that branch of the Church that was so instrumental in the founding of this great part of the world. Orthodox Anglicanism has in its spiritual DNA the capacity to lead the way for Christ.”
Unfortunately isolationist-purity movements like the ACC have proven spoilers that seek to neutralize cooperation among North American Anglicans so that ACC may appear the “only option”. Spencer is just one cleric among many that have been influenced by ACC’s views. What is missing is the generosity of spirit that prevailed a decade prior. We might note Fr. Louis Tarsitano’s (ACA) advice on Basic Polity,
“In the meantime, as the goal of the formation of a provincial communion is pursued, traditional Anglicans must recognize that reformation is not a seamless process in a nation as large as the United States. When the first provincial communion was formed in the United States, thirteen years had passed since the Declaration of Independence. During those years, the Churches in the various States struggled, not only for their own survival, but to find Scriptural ways of working with one another.
The same must be true today. As our fellow Anglicans struggle to survive as Anglicans in the various regions and jurisdictions within our nation, we must not abandon them to their own devices. If they are truly Anglicans, or even if they only have managed to locate themselves within the boundaries of the Quadrilateral, then we are truly in communion with them, even if the details of a better order for our common life have yet to be arranged. To be voluntarily out of communion, when Christ has provided the necessary basis for communion, is sin.”
The years between 1998 and 2006 represent a renewal of influence for the Continuum in North American Anglicanism. This was largely enabled by the REC-APA concord which, sadly, is currently on hold. While relations with REC has presently cooled, the APA’s merger with ACA has been presented as a substitute. Though the merger with ACA portends dragging DEUS into a position closer to the ACC with respect to an ACNA boycott, other factors work against ecclesiastical hardening.
First, the ACA-APA merger is predicated upon the previous mission of the Federation-Union, namely, eventual union among FACA members when such is deemed practical. Regarding FACA’s early purposes, the REC’s 2006 True Unity paper said:
“To move toward our desired goal of merger, yet not a step forward without careful prayer, discussion and growth, a Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (FACA) has been created to allow separate organizational structures. At the same time, through FACA we want to forge deeper union between us. It facilitates growing into unity that we possess. Articles of federation have been adopted by federated partners. Archbishop Greg Venables has agreed to be an Archepiscopal patron (advisor) to the Federation, offering his godly wisdom to guide us while at the same time linking us with the thinking of the Global South Primates….FACA therefore also helps form a subordinate structure to the Common Cause Partners promoting greater bilateral union among among the fragments of continuing Anglicanism. We ask your prayers and support of FACA. It offers a way forward between the REC and the APA as well as among many other Anglican jurisdictions. By the grace of God, it will play a role in the larger realignment of Anglicanism”. p. 14
By approving FACA, the ACA-APA concord arguably reaffirms FACA’s larger project of cooperation among extramural Anglicans. FACA was originally instituted to expand the unity pact between REC and APA, particularly among ‘broad churches’ in the continuum. Consequently, the Diocese of the Holy Cross (DHC), Anglican Church in America (ACA), and the Episcopal Missionary Church (EMC) were drawn into that accord. The ACA already had a history of involvement with REC prior to Bartonville. In 1991 ACA assisted REC in establishing the Cranmer House Seminary in TX . The APA-ACA merger is therefore built upon such intercourse, citing authority from FACA, and thereby implicitly to the REC pact. The endorsement came by the language of “FACA-compliant”:
“We the undersigned, in the interest of restoring full union among all orthodox Continuing Anglicans, and in compliance with the stated mission of the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, sign this agreement of Intercommunion.” p.2.
Invoking FACA concedes something to the ACNA’s genealogy. In fact, APA still has ministry partnerships with ACNA, giving the APA a voice and seat in the Anglican Church of North America. At the 2008 synod Grundorf explained that associated relation:
“It has been argued that the APA will have no voice at the table to defend our theological position as classical Anglicans. This is not true. In October 2007, the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, which we of the APA helped to create a couple years ago, voted to become a new member of the CCP. At the April 2008 meeting, the Rt. Rev. Paul Hewett was elected to serve as the new Moderator of FACA. Although his jurisdiction, the Diocese of the Holy Cross, like the APA, are not voting members of CCP, through the FACA we do have a voice and a vote on the direction of the New Province.” ibid
Not surprisingly, FACA is one of several obstacles for ACC, hindering the APA’s evolution into a kind of “confessional” anglo-catholic church. Other blisters for ACC is the lingering covenant agreement with APA and evangelical churches like Nigeria and especially REC. The 2011 report drawn by APA and REC gracefully admits an ongoing affection between their jurisdictions, “The relationship between the Bishops of REC and the APA remains warm and meaningful. In almost all ways except jurisdictional union, we have achieved a sense of unity”. In otherwords, unity between APA and REC has been “maxed-out”. Grundorf explained how ‘warmth’ translates in practice. It remains surprisingly substantive:
“The REC and APA have been sharing and transferring clergy over this 10 year period which has helped fill the clergy shortage gap to mutual advantage. We also share a clergy/church worker pension plan that all participate in. Part of the work we have done with the REC has been to help form the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (FACA).” 2011 synod
Thus, the APA’s ongoing ties with evangelicals obstructs ACC’s greater influence. Another factor militating against a hardened anglo-catholicism in the older branch of the continuing movement is the Ordinarite. Ironically, the Ordinariate ‘cleansed’ ACA. As ardent Papist Bishops depart for Rome’s provision, a younger set of Ordinaries (like Bps. Strawn and Marsh) have assumed the reigns of leadership eager to be ‘Anglican’. At a 2011 clericus, Bishop Marsh said:
“We’ve been very fortunate here in the ACA. The leadership has changed…and the leadership that is currently in the House of Bishops have said, ‘Look. We are Anglicans. We chose to remain Anglicans. We choose to remain Anglicans and build God’s church. Those who want to go to the Ordinariate are certainly welcome to go but they will leave the ACA and TAC eventually and join the Roman Catholic Church (:31 min.)… It’s time to make a final decision. Most have but there are still some pretty much sitting on both sides of the fence. (6:47 min)…My address was very focused on coming together as Anglicans (8:34min)…Let’s gather together as Anglicans, as groups of Anglicans…or gathering of Anglicans. We can come together, share our gifts, and not have to deal with those sticky issues like mergers, who’s going to be the Primate, who’s going to be the Archbishop, whether we’re going to have to follow some special kind of special liturgy. Why not we just recognize we’re all Anglicans, it’s a big tent, and support each other (9:45min.)… Why not pull our resources and recognize that, yes, we might be a very diverse group of Anglicans but there’s no reason why we cannot come together and share our gifts (10:15).”
Bishop Marsh has called this return to Anglican fundamentals as a “Back to the Future” solution. Evidently, Marsh is talking about reversing the clock to the earlier unity that made Deerfield Beach possible, likely meaning the ACA will return to the original goal of uniting extra mural Anglicans under a broad orthodoxy. The APA-ACA merger is a first step to returning to the spirit of Deerfield Beach, and not surprisingly the merger’s Reconciliation Committee commends adopting the 1991 ACA canons. This would ‘wind the clock back’ roughly to the early nineties where two provinces (DEUS and DMA-ACC, see p. 11) existed within a single church-– a lot like the parallel jurisdictions in ACNA (4). The ACC would never approve of such a plan since parallel dioceses have been anathema to her. Nor would ACC want to formalize a broad orthodoxy by ACA-style canons. So, Marsh’s prescriptions will ultimately go nowhere with ACC, most likely keeping Haverland at bay.
The influence of FACA combined with the purpose of Deerfield Beach could preserve a ‘broad church’ ideal against the ACC-UEC compact. Remaking a ‘broad orthodoxy” for the Continuum has been a key objective of UECNA Archbishop, Peter Robinson. However, Robinson fails to see the difference between his pact with ACC vs. that of the ACA-APA merger. The ACA-APA agreement, for reasons noted above, is the only suitable vehicle for Robinson’s broad orthodoxy. Indeed, the ACC will resist any SCOBA-like federation, holding a “SCOBA model” hostage until deeper commitment to the St. Louis Affirmation (and ACC canons) are adopted. This has been an admitted worry for the ACA Missouri Valley Bishop, Stephen Strawn, who confessed it might take the ACC ten to fifteen years before it softens canons.
However, the ACC’s confessional approach will likely exhaust broad churchmen in a relatively short period of time. Once the enamor with ACC wears off, broad church anglo-catholics will seek more dynamic relations. FACA is presently being replaced by the APA-ACA merger, and any larger Federation will likely be an extension of the APA-ACA union. Thus, it will stand in the spirit of FACA– not the ACC-Reber compact. Initial partners to a wider ACA-APA merger will more likely be FACA members, such as DHC and EMC. It may be the case, over the next 5-10 years the Continuum’s fragmentation will indeed recede — but with little help from the ACC (who’s strategy is one of attrition). Instead, eyes should be glued upon ACA-APA which, in short, is an anglo-catholic church broadened through mandates dating back to FACA’s creation and the Deerfield Beach convention (5). For more thoughts on ‘Continuing Anglican Futures’, I direct readers to Bp. Robinson’s 2011 post, “The Future of Anglicanism“.
1. The doubt of “tactile succesion” through Albert Chambers has been the cause of significant trouble in the Continuum despite the Old Catholic orders of APA and ACA having adequate recognition with Rome. Nonetheless, the common denominator between APA and ACC has been identified with Bishop Robert Mercer who since left for Rome to join the Pope’s Ordinariate.
2. OAC, ARSA, and UAC eventually dissolved into larger churches. The OAC was the most recent victim of catastrophe, splitting 50/50 between UECNA and ACA. About a decade ago ARSA and UAC merged into ACA. These dissolutions and adsorptions demonstrate a maxim: smaller jurisdictions eventually join bigger ones.
3. In 2008 Bishop Grundorf expressed his personal wish that APA did not disengage ACNA, “Although personally I would like to be at the table of the CCP, I am well aware that I do not have the necessary support of the majority of the APA to be there. The Theological Statement and the Articles of Federation of CCP have my personal support, but I realize my first responsibility as Presiding Bishop and Diocesan Bishop of the DEUS is to care for that to which I was elected and consecrated.”.
4. Anthony Clavier was kind enough to comment on the informal ties that will keep APA a distinct entity from parts of ACA as well as any larger federation. Thus, the two province model for union will likely persist. Fr. Clavier shared the following insight, “I’d add another factor. The various jurisdictions, and particularly the APA have constituencies which have been together for decades. The ties which bind them are now more than their initial blueprints. The leaders of the APA have known each other now from AEC days. +Walter Grundorf entered the AEC in 1971 for instance. These shared bonds and histories,conflicts, successes have made them what they are. The APA/ACA people were only together for four stormy years, although the ACA leadership has changed and there remain parishes and clergy who were AEC before the merger. These distinct identities and histories frame the manner in which they look outside themselves in as formidable manner as churchmanship and canon law.”
5. This is the opinion of UECNA Presiding Bishop, Peter Robinson, who said in a Feb. 6th 2013 email: “I can see ACA_APA leaving FACA and it regrouping as a Central to Low organisation consisting of EMC, DHC, REC and possibly UECNA with some sort of loose relationship with ACNA.” As it turns out, the APA will approve the 1993 ACA Solemn Declaration, making APA-DEUS a member of a non-Ordinariate TAC. However, the change to APA C&C will beg the St. Louis Affirmation to be read in a more prescriptive way, yet the final interpretation of the Affirmation’s 7/7 will remain dependent upon the province and diocese in question. Previously, TAC has received Provinces who’ve dealt with the doctrine, morality, and theology of the Affirmation (compared to the 39 articles) selectively. Robinson said of the broad approach TAC has taken with resepct to membership, “The way the Affirmation clause of the TAC Concordat played out varied from Province to Province. In Ireland it was essentially a dead letter, but in the USA and Australia it meant the ACC version of Continuing Church history tended to become dominant.” Overall, TAC in the USA (ACA) will remain constitutionally receptive to the 39 articles as a possible norm, regardless of inconsistencies with the Affirmation.
I find the notion that the Chambers succession is the only legitimate source of orders in the St Louis Continuum to be a bit rich. The accusations anent Old Catholic orders are ‘trayf; to be risible. After all, the other consecrator at Denver was Francisco Paghtakan.
I really do wish that certain people would get over their Catharism, which is the great hindrance to unity.
I also re-commend John Anthony Corcoran’s “Augustinus contra Donatistas” as a cautionary tale anent our modern-day Donatism.
I was present as a guest at this meeting. If anyone is interested you can listen to the actual plenary sessions and all of the Q & A’s as they are uploaded to my Vimeo Channel:
These are unedited so there was no attempt to alter what was said by the participants to meet an “agenda.”
Thank you Fr. Castellano. As I look back on this article, I was very gentle on ACA and APA. Short-term prognosis looks like the APA will be tightening its theology around the ACA’s solemn declaration, dropping the “spirit of” clause in exchange for the TAC condordat. This represents an overall movement in the continuum toward ACC. The ACA was created to have appearance of a ‘broad church’, but in actuality the TAC concordat ensured supremacy of the St. Louis Affirmation against Settlement standards. Thus, the TAC concordat was a back door to making the ACA similar to ACC. Consequently, upon the adoption of the TAC concordat, the APA will be officially shutting-out protestant opinion which is usually critical of seven sacraments. That’s pretty huge because it means, at least, a formal end of AEC’s broad theology. However, in the long-term, I think the broad and dynamic attitude of both ACA and APA will prove resilient and eventually resurface. I’ll stand behind my prognosis that an ecumenical itch will eventually cause ACA to break rank from ACC, and most unity efforts in the continuum will increasingly happen about the FACA churches, aka. the ACA-APA pole. Once this “pole” is consolidated, I think the enamor of ACC will wear off, and we will see more independence. That was the point of my article above.
I still lament the general absence of a protestant Anglicanism that knows the importance of making a “giant” Anglican church. Most of this is currently happening in the anglo-catholic sphere, namely, FiFNA. In the short-term, it seems anglo-catholicism (as an imagined old, re-reformation catholicism) generally defines both continuing and realignment Anglicanism in North America. “Short-term” I am pessimistic, but “long-term” I am hopeful. That’s being generous as well. However, for those of us interested in a church that canonically approves of Protestantism, the APA and UECNA have made both problematic by their positive relation to ACC. What remains is the dismally small AEC-US, of which Stephen Cooper is a member. AEC-US can be read about here. Also, EMC and DHC remain conservative broad catholics with nothing in their standards to prevent a protestant expression. In this respect, their formula is similar to Redmile’s proposal for unity at the Victoria Congress, namely, sticking to prayer book, KJV, and Quadrilateral.
Many thanks for the excellent articles on Anglican Rose- they are most informative and thought-provoking. Pardon my observations from one who is not in North America, ( I’m just an Aussie from Down Under) but wouldn’t the Reformed Episcopal Church be the perfect spiritual home for protestant-minded tradtional Anglicans? The REC is soundly reformed and protestant in her origins, theology and constitution and canons. She posseses solid Cranmerian liturgy and she has not purported to ordain women as either deacons, priests/prebyters or bishops. Additionally the REC is a sub-jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America and is therefore a part of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and thus recognised by many of the Global South Provinces of the Anglican Communion, ( even the holy mother Church of England has acknowledged through her General Synod that the ACNA ( and thus the REC) is part of the “Anglican Family”. Wouldn’t the AEC-US and other traditional protestant Anglicans be better off to join the much larger REC/ACNA? I would be interested to hear any ideas about this please.
Best wishes for a happy and holy Advent.
I’ve had the same optimism about REC. But circumstances have compelled RE Bishops to move in a more anglo-catholic direction given their alliance with FiFNA. Since 2008, there has been a steady movement to a wider embrace of catholicism with a mind on convergence with more strident Romish catholics like Bishop Ackerman. Most of this has occurred through an appropriation of sacramental and incarnation theology as demonstrated in the REC’s recent Book on Occasional Services as well as the AWI lectures delivered by Bp. Sutton. It’s unclear what this means for the Cummin’s Declaration, but it appears the REC will let it fall as a dead letter. The move toward a fuller expression of faith, or at least an anglo-catholicism approximating the classical kind, began through the APA-REC merger’s Joint Affirmation Statement. It might also be said that the move toward anglo-catholicism began some time ago, perchance the early 1990’s when the rev’d Louis Taristino was invited from ACA to become the first dean at Cranmer’s House. I think one needs to consider the REC’s limited options in ACNA where FiFNA members like the Missionary Diocese of All Saints, the Dioceses of Quincy and Forth Worth have been their only reliable partners. Anyway, it’s been a slow climb. I wouldn’t call REC Romish, but it’s in some sort of transition, yet the bulk of its clergy remains solidly classical in their approach to Settlement divinity. Nonetheless, the REC remains one of the best jurisdictions out there, and I believe in time conflict with the Cummin’s Declaration will resolve itself.
Regarding the picture of Bishops Sutton and Duncan kissing the Pope’s ring: I think the Continuum should note the very real possibility that the ACNA is now the official conduit for discussion with Orthodoxy (ROC and OCA) as well as the Vatican. Not only has the ACC sufficiently isolated itself and the remainder of the Continuum from North American Anglicanism but also ‘catholic sister churches’ like PNCC, RCC, OCA, and ROC.
Sutton kissing the Pope’s ring. The Pope kissing the Jewish ring (though this is Francis not Benedict, is a ring a ring?)..
Charles, many thanks for your comprehensive and informative answer to my previous question about the Reformed Episcopal Church. Your good deed has not gone unpunished 🙂 I have another question! I would be interested to hear what you(and others) think about the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas becoming simply a Federation of Anglican Churches? By this I mean opening its membership to any classical Anglican jurisdictions wherever they may be found around the world. Does this idea have any possibility of getting off the ground and might it be a way of building links between like-minded Anglican Christians across the globe and bringing those on the edge of the official Anglican Communion even closer to her? I have in mind groups like the Free Church of England ( the REC’s sister church), the Church of England in Southern Africa, some of the various traditional Anglican jurisdictions in India, the Anglican Orthodox Church around the world etc. Or is something that the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans has undertaken already? Pardon my ignorance. Thanks in advance.
That’s a tough one. I’ve gone back and edited this article, “post-brockton”, already several times. From everything I’ve read or patiently inquired about, it really sounds that FACA is drawing to an end. REC’s position is that further ecumenical work with the continuum needs to happen in ACNA rather than through belabored ministry partnerships. The APA-ACA merger might also supplant FACA, especially if this merger becomes an invitation to other churches.
Furthermore, most traditionalist activity is happening in FiF-UK/NA. Since continuers are overwhelmingly anglo-catholic, they’d naturally be more comfortable with FiF theology and politics. TAC and DHC both have active relations with FiF churches whereas ACC-orbiters tend to boycott anything remotely connected to Lambeth. Even the REC has heavily invested itself in FiF, and I’d imagine REC would expect their counterparts in England to do the same.
FiF-AU would probably be your best bet, but that doesn’t change the problem of Protestant non-representation. Unlike the TAC, FiFNA (for example) says nothing against the 39 articles. Nor does it try to expound on the number of sacraments, etc.. It simply intends to preserve the male character of the priesthood while maintaining a policy of communion with Lambeth. FCA/GAFCON doesn’t take a position on holy orders, but they do affirm important Anglican formula like the 39 articles and 1662 bcp. Sadly, FACA was the only body that came close to doing both.
We can hope that the principles of FACA will continue through ACA-APA. However, if ACA-APA continue in their slow drift toward ACC theology, then all bets are off. The ACC will own the ecumenical strings of the cc, pulling the remainder of broad churchmen completely away from the Lambeth, the southern cone, as well as reducing the 39 articles and Quad to historical documents (rather than a normative common law).
If you’re an extramural Anglican, I recommend you think in terms of ‘networks’, overlapping circles, and emerging webs. I’ll give you two routes: First, affiliate yourself with FiF and look for simultaneous partnerships with Sydney, TAC, or anyone else related. FCA is the highest level, so ultimately these bodies ought to have a connection there; otherwise, they aren’t constructive.
Today, a church can have several mediating relations with Lambeth rather than possess anything direct. Nearly all such relations are less than full-communion, happening on the level of mutual society and mission rather than ecclesiastical uniformity. Ministry partnerships have their own strengths and weaknesses, but at this stage of renewal I believe it there’s more good to be had. The important thing is to obtain a working and friendly relationship with other extramural Anglicans, moving in the direction of FCA as it develops a deeper and fuller theology. Remember, FCA is tackling all issues related to christian anthropology– it’s not just opposing gay blessings. Continuers overlook this fact.
I’d like to see AOC become the umbrella jurisdiction for low church continuers, like AECUSA and ACAA, but that’s unlikely (though there is much informal cooperation with Bishop Ogles) since low churchmen appeal to the invisibility of the church militant. Like the ACC-orbiting churches, the AOC self-isolates. They really believe ecumenicism is unnecessary, if not evil. But, a good case could be made that the FCoE already is part of FCA through the REC.
I uploaded the latest minutes of FACA from April 2012. I don’t know if I added notes to the file or not. Nonetheless, it will give you an idea about their activity. It’s mostly between EMC, APA, and ACA. Bishop Hewett (DHC) is the FACA president. One way or another, I believe churches need to be part or at least supportive of FCA. You might be interested in the London Papers and Bishop Nazir-Ali’s speech which outlines FCA’s future framework. I tried to write about FCA’s eventual widening of churchmanship (and therefore hermenuetic) to include traditionalists, and I am already committed to the Jerusalem Declaration. Anyone can do so, but I think commitment has deeper significance if parishes and dioceses acquire formal relations to actual confessing partners like FiF, parts of TAC, or DioSydney. See statement and commitment. Meanwhile, the extramural Anglicans you mentioned (FCoE, CoESA, and AOCC, et al) ought to make their own federation and become part of the FCA process. I think FACA’s constitution provides an excellent model, particularly something like article 2.2, and a solid protestant presence is needed. Nor does the episcopal patron have to be from the Global South but any notable evangelical bishop from Australia or England? Maybe even +Ray Sutton? Again, we’re talking about parallel relations rather than a single center. Nonetheless, the aim is a confessing movement that applies a robust hermenuetic to questions of anthropology which eventually might lead to greater like-mindedness and visible unity. Sutton’s phone number is actually given at the bottom of the FACA webiste (Telephone- 972-248-6505), and I know Bishop Hewett is very good at responding to emails (email@example.com).
Charles, many, many thanks for another comprehensive and informative answer. I am a member of Forward in Faith International ( Australasia) and we recently had a very successful annual conference in Sydney in which,( in addition to the “regular crowd”) a goodly number of Chinese Anglican parishes were represented for the first time. FiF down here has a good mix of evangelicals and anglo-catholics and our guest speaker this year was the Revd Dr Michael Poon from the Diocese of Singapore and the Global South Anglican movement.
The Sydney Anglican Diocese, according to the National Church Life Survey ( which is conducted across the 23 major Christian denominations in the nation) is the fastest growing group of Christians on the continent after the Pentecostals. This is in stark contrast with the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Churches Of Christ, Presbyterians, Uniting Church ( an Australian union of Methodists, Congregationalists and half of the Presbyterians dating from 1977) and most other Christian groups which have all experienced significant declines in church attendance. The Diocese of Sydney is generally having a positive influence on the rest of the Anglican Church of Australia which bodes well for the future. Two other dioceses ( Armidale and North-West Australia) are now rural copies of Sydney and three more diocese have all elected evangelical bishops. The formerly liberal leaning Diocese of Melbourne ( the second largest diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia) is now about 60% evangelical in terms of its “parishioners in the pews”. Also, thanks be to God, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and 39 Articles are enshrined in the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia. And, as you know, the Diocese of Sydney is firmly committed to GAFCON:the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Thus things are looking brighter in Australia than they have for a number of decades. Hopefully, by the grace of God, things will start to improve in North America as well- that shall certainly be my ernest prayer. Thank you for Anglican Rose and I look forward to further interesting and informative postings when you have more time in the future. Prayerful best wishes to you and your growing family. God bless.
EPILOGUE: Somehow I can’t help but think Retro-church regularly responds to comments and posts from this blog. Recently, the ACC produced an “Appeal to the ACNA and associated churches”. Surprisingly, the FACA churches and UECNA had signed it. One might compare the Appeal’s main points to the basics of the ACC-UEC concord. For the sake of convenience, I’ll list those points belonging to the Haverland-Reber pact:
The last point was reiterated at Brockton, and, at the time, it was principally directed by Haverland to the DHC and APA. This was confirmed by Bishop Strawn (ACA). Notice the ACA and the UECNA (both of whom lean in the broad church direction) likewise signed the “Appeal”. Robinson himself has admitted that once upon a time FACA served as a counterbalance to ACC. But, when lined up to FACA articles (see articles 2-3), it’s apparent the ACC has disrupted FACA. Nonetheless, it’s unclear how long the ACC can steer the ship. If ACC makes too high a bar for broad churchmen by pressing the Affirmation, the ACA-APA will probably break off and make a new standard based on the Quadrilateral. In sum, the “appeal” was more likely written to place a reign on “broad church” Continuers rather than ACNA.
Unfortunately, broad churchmen have yet to perceive the damaging implications of ACC’s immobile ecumenical and doctrinal position(s). Most will opt for anything so long as it has nothing to do with scary WO battles. However, if there is to be a “giant” Anglican church in North America, these battles are worth fighting, especially since it’s a 50/50 division (and thus winnable) in the ACNA. Those same odds can’t be found in either the CoE or TEC, and nays-sayers should read the last secion of Spaulding’s 2009 report as well as Boyce’s 2008 letter.
For a while, I’ll try add postscripts regarding the ex-FACA churches vs. ACC in the comment section, at least until the ACA-APA merger or 2014 REC synod is finished.
Archbishop Robinson felt some corrections to the “appeal” were forth coming. He tells us the letter was indeed written by Haverland (so it reflects ACC convictions). The UECNA signed the “appeal” without catching finer points, but the overall content of +Robinson’s corrections are very good. See Barking up the Wrong Tree.
Of course, the “wrong tree” is a confessional approach to the Affirmation. As +Robinson noted (and thusly corrected), the Appeal left the Affirmation as THE central condition for continuing unity with North American Anglicanism, thus, displacing the use of Solemn Declarations– the general favorite of extra mural anglicanism. As a solution, Robinson suggests a Declaration of Principles used by pre-1977 continuers, like AEC and AECNA. I’ve mentioned the same, and the old-AECNA’s declaration can be read here. Such a statement of principles could easily fashioned into a Solemn Declaration (attempted with the UECNA), thereby, conforming continuing faith and order to the format of the larger covenanting history in North America Anglicanism. Robinson explains the superiority of the old Principles,
Amazingly, on the same day Bp. Robinson published his clarification of the Appeal, Fr. Novak wrote a similar critique of Haverland’s letter. Between the two posts we have something of a complete rejoinder. While +Robinson deals with issues more internal to the continuum, Novak hits the emerging role of FiFNA-REC inside the Anglican Communion for a constructive retrieval of orthodoxy. Both need to be read together since commendations to REC-FiFNA are rare in the Continuum, and this is likely brought about by rivalry rather than an interest in even-handedness. Novak’s commentary and response (found at the bottom-third of his article) shares recent positive developments coming from ACNA, as the work of RE-FIFNA signal an Anglican “springtime”.
If a debate over the elements of Haverland’s Appeal continues, Anglican Rose would like to hear clerics address two further points. First, they might consider Haverland’s Appeal less a criticism of the ACNA but more a warning to “affiliated churches”. Ironically, a number of ACNA “affiliated churches” are continuers who either are ministry partners with ACNA or have intercommunion agreements with traditionalists that compose certain ACNA dioceses. For example, through TAC, the ACA has certain agreements with FiFNA, implicating relations with the Diocese of Quincy and Fort Worth. Meanwhile, APA still acknowledges ‘substantial communion’ with REC, plus APA has openly acknowledged its ministry partnership with ACNA. How this implicates continuing parishes or bishops who are presently members of FiFNA or FACA isn’t totally clear, but the ACC very likely will push for a dissolution of these relationships.
A second point that ought to be brought to the fore by critics of the Appeal is how Haverland’s letter avoids any commendation of (what the Affirmation calls) “faithful Anglicans”, namely, the FiFNA-REC (even PEARusa) coalition. Perhaps future rebuttals to Haverland will remind others that a substantial number of ACNA is against WO and is making progress to reverse it. It’s almost impossible to intelligently speak of ACNA without acknowledging the significant majority of bishops and dioceses that oppose WO priests. A regular tactic of the ACC propaganda has been to treat ACNA related churches as “one lump”. This ignores the gradual reforms introduced by the REC-FiFNA group as well as past general obligations on the part of continuers to support a coming “springtime” (see Section V).
If this boycott by ACC of ACNA keeps up, a time may come when ACNA traditionalists have solved the WO question on their own and no longer have interest in collaborating with the continuum’s sectarian spirit (characteristic of ACC)… A door will then close, and the ACC (plus those who orbit around it) will earn greater isolation. [Note: The quintessential anglo-catholic fraternity, Society of the Sacred Cross (SSC), no longer accepts members from the continuum (see note on membership at bottom), and this is mostly due to the non-cooperative spirit of ACC respecting ACNA.]
Sadly, the Appeal paves a way for the unprecedented isolation of broad churchmen in the Continuum. Whether they are aware or not, respective signatories to Haverland’s letter are embracing principles outlined in the ACC-Reber Accord. The ACC-Reber Accord does two things. It allows the ACC to basically dictate foreign policy, “The ACC believes that anything which divides these three bodies from each other is regrettable and should be stopped or overcome”, and it forbids intercommunion with ACNA related bodies like REC and Diocese of Quincy, “the ACC believes that we cannot be in a state of full communio in sacris with any ecclesial body which is a member of the Lambeth Communion or which is in communion with any body that has such membership.”. Such a stance is contrary to the unaltered version of the Affirmation, and it simply neglects the fact that “intercommunion” has many levels to it… including confederations that recognize transfers, share prayers, and open seminary resources, etc.. In their public addresses, ACC propaganda often makes such cooperation an all or nothing arrangement.
The Appeal was a temporary victory for ACC ideology because it got the historically broad churches in the continuum, namely, FACA and UECNA, to sign a letter written by Haverland that basically recants Ministry Partnership or “affiliated status”. It shows the ACC is now directing (or believes it can) cc ‘foreign relations’, and that attitude is derivative of Stahl’s theory of original succession outlined in the Athens Statement (partly a consequence of ACC C&C). But, it remains to be seen how long this influence can last. The ACC’s character is for the status quo which means a lot of burial services. Anglican Rose bets that status quo won’t wear well, and the ACA-APA accord, born by FACA princples, will become the new pole. Time will tell.
Historically, the bulk of the continuum has identified with the broad church movement. The Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen, who convened and organized the first St. Louis Congress, were “central” in their churchmenship. Congress speakers, such as Perry Laukhuff and Fr. Carrol Simcox, soon left for the AEC over ACC C&C. When Doren left ACC it was likewise over the narrowing of churchmanship upon an anglo-catholic plank. It’s only been recently that the continuum has come to identify the ACC as ‘flagship’, converging upon a churchmanship that essentially approves of the ACC’s ‘settlement of religion’: the Athens Statement, the doctrinal points of ACC C&C, Missals, and the Affirmation. Bishop Peter Robinson has been diligent in trying to recover the original churchmanship of the continuum, and below are the relevant links to his writings on the subject. If the continuum shall unite, it will have to recover this history:
The Unity Problem
Need for a Strong Center
Thoughts on Central Churchmanship
A Broad Orthodoxy
The differences between broad, ecumenical churchmen and stringent Anglo-catholics (who would have the Affirmation become a confession) will test ACC pretensions. While I thought the greatest difficulty would emerge from the ACA-APA side, it turns out the ACC-Reber accord is more unstable and in the midst of possible dissolution. The UECNA together with DHC (rather than ACA-APA) may prove the catalyst for a continuing broad church. It remains to be seen how long the ACA-APA remain enamored of ACC, even though the APA together with DHC took the brunt of ACC criticism at Brockton. Some of this debate seems ongoing at Retro-Church. The Embryonic Parson also gives a nice summary: The Plot Thickens
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Dr. Peter Toon’s “what shall be done” advice for the Continuum:
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I am sure that my comments will not be welcome, but they need to be said. Upon reading this excellent column (though the alphabet soupiness of Continuing/Trad. Anglicanism still boggles me!) some observations need to be made.
Any comparison of an alignment of various Anglican groups with the ‘so-called’ “Standing Council of [Canonical] Orthodox Bishops in America” (they added that ‘extra c’ a decade or more ago) will- as the ‘SCOBA-dox’ have clearly done in the past- disenfranchise those who truly, seriously maintain the historic catholic faith, within Anglicanism.
SCOBA is nothing more than a ‘good ol’ boys club’ of (pardon me for being blunt) non-Western ETHNIC supremacists, who wish to stifle the one connection historic Orthodoxy has had with Anglicans, since the days of Bishop Tikhon Belavin- namely, an indigenous Western Rite. SCOBA’s basic ‘agreement’ seems to be that 1) only Chrysostom rite Orthodox are valid, and 2) only Novus Ordo, new-calendar adherents are ‘normative.’
Ignoring (and, at times gleefully cheering on the demise of) the ROCOR (the old Patriarchal Russian Church outside of Russia) for decades, SCOBA-dox clerics have succumbed to the utterly foreign Papal model of Churchmanship, because it means power, prestige and prelest. Oh, they are growing, but WHAT are they growing, is my question? Multicultural congregations the envy of the TEC, membership in the NCC/WCC, large public personas affiliated with the most demagoguic Democrats, whose public policies are utterly at odds with biblical morality- how is this “Orthodox”?
Similarly, the largest element within Trad Anglicanism seems preoccupied (as visits to ACNA churches/websites have shown my wife and I) with much of the same- how is this to be construed as an ‘Anglican ethos,’ pray tell? It’s more like the syncretistic religion of an increasingly Moloch-like state, vis a vis Israel’s apostasy in the days before the Babylonian captivity, rather than the Church of Englishmen! Also, there exists yet to this ver day, the inability to look forward, rather than looking back to the ‘fleshpots of Egypt’ in the matter of: Church buildings, pensions, colleges, Cathedrals (including, but not limited to, the National Cathedral!) on the part of Trads. The question posed earlier, still needs to be answered- yet Anglicans are squeamish about ‘acribea.’ Are the ordinations of women devoid of grace, and ‘utterly void’? Are the sacraments of same ‘Absolutely null’? At least here, the Orthodox can give you definite answers- and, once upon a time, so could Rome!
This inability (and indecisiveness) to look forward has meant that, forty plus years on, y’all still don’t have an Anglican college for your young people; I’ve not seen accredited seminaries or residential housing for your elderly, who were the backbone of your beginnings, and we (because ‘Once an Anglican in Narnia, ALWAYS an Anglican….’) still are a ‘house divided,’ because we/you cannot absolve yourselves of the sin of wanting union with Rome, when the very formularies of the Anglican ethos said, ‘Rome was no true Church.’
If the Anglicans wanted to emulate ANYTHING of Orthodoxy, go to her theology, not her ecclesial machinery! At least the Caroline divines had that much sense.
– Fr. John+
If you read the latest update on the proposed ACA-APA merger, it’s riveted with personal antagonisms. I pray these can be resolved, but the slow-down might be for the best. An ecumenical stall with ACA can give APA time to reconsider the importance of its own Solemn Declaration before trading C&C for ACA’s 1991 version.
A working group member recently told me the APA is prepared to adopt the TAC concordate as well as drop the phrase “spirit of” respecting the St. Louis Affirmation. This would basically render the points of the Affirmation (more or less) prescriptive, and, in my opinion, that would be very troubling for someone who doesn’t believe all seven sacraments have an objectivity and efficiency like Baptism and the Supper.
The APA probably sees the merger as a chance to shed the embarrassment of ‘Clavierism’, but (as Bp. Robinson has indicated) this would spell the conclusion of their older Broad Church Orthodoxy or 1950’s episcopalianism, at least constitutionally speaking.
I urge continuers to read Bp. Robinson’s essays on the churchmanship of the 1950’s, so I’m repeating the list below.
The Unity Problem
Broad and Central
Need for a Strong Center
A Broad Church
Thoughts on Central Churchmanship
A Broad Orthodoxy
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