The CANA Council gathering in Akron, Ohio voted overwhelming to support the development of the Common Cause "federation" and its future development as a new Anglican province encompassing both the United States and Canada.
RESOLVED, that the Convocation Council hereby supports the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) desire to embrace the invitation by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) leadership to recognize CCP as
anthe emerging Anglican province in North America. As we set forth plans for the future of Anglicanism in North America, our prayer is that our Common Cause federation will continue to grow and mature as an Anglican province.
There was a friendly amendment offered by one of the CANA delegates to the original draft of Resolution 3 to replace the phrase "recognize CCP as an emerging Anglican Province in North America" to "recognize CCP as the emerging Anglican province in North America," since there aren't any other movements underway to take steps toward establishing a new province in that area. The CANA delegate who offered the friendly amendment pushed further to amend the second "an" in a later phrase and replace it with "the" to read, "our prayer is that our Common Cause federation will continue to grow and mature as the Anglican province," but Bishop Martyn Minns rightly considered that suggestion as outside the realm of friendly. He did not accept it.
What this means is that CANA is on board in establishing a Common Cause "federation," styled with all its members in one federation as the United States was a federation of states in its early years. Bishop Minns encouraged the delegates to actively and enthusiastically engage in mission with members of the Common Cause federation for growth will be based on the deepening of Gospel-mission relationships with one another.
The first change of the article "an" to "the" indicates the reality "on the ground." There is no other overwhelming cry from the laity on up to the Anglican Primates that the situation in North America is serious and action must be taken to move forward. The only plan on the table is this one. There is no other one and from the latest news reported by The Living Church, the initiatives coming out of Lambeth are in danger of being caught in a bureaucratic quagmire.
I will be honest, since it was public. I was quite alarmed, after the time at Lambeth, to hear the suggestion that the final phrase might be changed from the word "an" to the word "the" and spoke to that on the floor. Possibly for a lot of the delegates that change seemed minor (what's the difference between "the" and "an" in the last phrase?), but here's a case where a tiny little article could wreak such havoc as to make the 1968 Democratic Convention look like a love-in. I initially voted against the friendly amendment because I thought it included the change in the final phrase as well (it wasn't always easy to hear in the large room with so many people). I was quite concerned that without the benefit of significant discussion it was imperative that we wholeheartedly remember our friends both at home and abroad in the Lambeth network and pause before we inadvertently start getting trigger happy on articles of speech.
I continue to wonder what the initial concept brought forward by the Windsor Continuation Group of putting us all in a kind of "escrow" for a period will mean on the ground here in the United States and Canada. It's clear after these past few days spent with these amazing CANA leaders from all over the United States and Canada that many have walked through extraordinarily painful times. CANA is filled with refugees, make no mistake about that, Anglican refugees. How do we recover from these very painful years - with the certainty of even more challenges in the future, how do we move forward in Gospel mission, building deeper relationships with one another, while at the same time working to restore Anglican Christianity back to its biblical and prayer book roots?
The readings for this week give us a clear indication of how we may do it:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.This position of meekness is so contrary to the American-way of life, where we pride ourselves in taking charge and taking names and winning one for the Gipper. While we press forward, at the same time we must be listening - carefully, transparently, joyously, soberly, compassionately, and with a big heart eager to forgive.
There was lots of time over the past few days to engage in worship and prayer and to engage in relationship with each other (big time thank you to Transfigurations for the photos!). The CANA delegates come with stories - many of them still unfolding on the hour - but also with a desire to worship Jesus and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The eagerness of the delegates to see this all work was palatable - you could feel the hope. Born on that hope is a promise that whatever happens, we must resist praying for our will but for Thy will be done.
There were many highlights, the workshops were terrific and very well attended, the significant conversations in the halls between sessions where relationships were made and renewed, the worship which was offered from those at the host church, showing a commitment to Spirit-filled worship and a wonderful gift of letting go. It was great to see old friends and find other friends have made the jump into the CANA ship (with the blessing of their TEC diocesan bishops, I might add, thank God for those bishops). And it was great to make new friends - to meet some of you who drop into the Cafe for conversation and a chai - what a wonderful surprise! But also to meet brand new friends and hear their stories from the heart.
We saw a very funny - and quite moving - skit that retold the story of Jesus' feeding of the five thousand in a very unique way. The punch line was "If it's tough, He can do it." If there's anything I can say with all certainty following both the Lambeth Conference on one side of the Atlantic and the CANA Council on the other is that it is tough - but He can do it.
Last night a large group of us convened for some fellowship in the lobby of one of the myriad of hotels that line West Market Street here in Akron. We reflected over the past few days of events, of time spent listening to one another, recounting both funny and tender stories, of transparent moments of pain and fear and in those dark hours, of finding a small ember of hope still kindling - a hope that was revived in the worship, teaching, and fellowship of this Council.
But the journey is only just beginning. It is clear that some of the toughest and most challenging days lie ahead, make no mistake about it. As we sat together last night and shared our stories, we also reflected on those beyond our own borders, to those far behind the lines - for those working tirelessly to find a way through, who's names we may know and names we will never know, and praying for a way through, that as we continue this journey our own hearts will not grow hard - for blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.