Network Moderator Commends Virginia Churches
Pittsburgh, PA - Bishop Robert Duncan today commended eight Virginia churches which announced the decisions of their congregations to re-affiliate with another branch of the Anglican Communion. He also assured them of the Anglican Communion Network’s prayers and continuing support. All but one of the parishes which announced the results of their congregation-wide votes are affiliates in good standing of the Anglican Communion Network, and will remain so.
“There is no question that the clergy and people of The Falls Church, Truro Church, Church of the Apostles, Christ the Redeemer, St. Stephen’s, Church of the Word, St. Margaret’s and Potomac Falls remain fully and faithfully Anglican,” said Bishop Duncan. “Their deliberate decision-making process and patient efforts over the last two years to chart a peaceful and prayerful course forward should be an example to all those contemplating their future relationship with The Episcopal Church. It is now up to the leadership of the Diocese of Virginia to choose between embracing a charitable parting of ways or pursuing destructive litigation. I pray they can see their way to selecting the first course,” he added.
Led by Bishop Martyn Minns of Truro Church and the Rev. John Yates of The Falls Church, a number of Virginia parishes began a 40–day process of discernment this fall. As that process has concluded, parishes who participated have held congregation-wide referendums to determine whether to remain within the Episcopal Church or to seek Anglican oversight from another source. A number of other parishes are expected to announce the results of their own congregational votes in the coming days.
“This is much more than a vote about property and ecclesiastical lines of authority. This vote is a statement by our parish about our understanding of Holy Scriptures and biblical orthodoxy,” wrote Jim Oakes, Senior Warden of Truro Church.
Following decisions to chart a course away from orthodox Christianity at The Episcopal Church’s 2003 and 2006 General Conventions, many provinces in the world-wide Anglican Communion have declared their ties with The Episcopal Church to be severed or highly impaired. Those provinces have continued in relationship with orthodox North American parishes and dioceses both inside and outside The Episcopal Church. In situations when a parting of ways has occurred between orthodox parishes and their dioceses committed to the new direction of The Episcopal Church, a number of Anglican provinces have responded favorably to those parishes’ requests for episcopal oversight.
Many of the Virginia parishes who have recently announced decisions to sever ties with the Episcopal Church are expected to join the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a mission of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. CANA is a member of the Common Cause Partners, an alliance of ten Anglican jurisdictions and ministries with some 200,000 Anglicans under their care committed to a unified orthodox Anglican witness in North America. Common Cause member ministries and jurisdictions are the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, Anglican Essentials Canada, Anglican Mission in America, Anglican Network in Canada, Anglican Province of America, CANA, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church. The alliance is currently drafting articles for the formation of a federation.