Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anglican Primates recognize the Anglican Church in North America; full communion recommended

UPDATED: From here. Names of the Primates signing pending. The following has now been confirmed as the draft. Final will be posted shortly.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

We meet in the week after Easter, rejoicing again in the power of the risen Lord Jesus to transform lives and situations. We continue to experience his active work in our lives and the lives of our churches and we rejoice in the gospel of hope. From its inception, the GAFCON movement has centered on the power of Christ to make all things new. We have heard this week of the great progress made in North America towards the creation of a new Province basing itself on this same biblical gospel of transformation and hope. We have also envisioned the future of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans as a movement for defending and promoting the biblical gospel of the risen Christ.

Yet we are saddened that little progress seems to have been made in resolving the present crisis in the Anglican Communion of which we are a part. The recent primatial meeting in Alexandria served only to demonstrate how deep and intractable the divisions are and to encourage us to sustain the important work of GAFCON.

The GAFCON Primates’ Council has responsibility of recognizing and authenticating orthodox Anglicans who have had to leave their original churches, and promoting the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) as a bulwark against this false teaching and a rallying point for orthodoxy. It is our aim not to divide the Communion further, but to provide a way in which faithful Anglicans many of whom are suffering much loss, can remain as Anglicans within the Communion while distancing themselves from false teaching.

At this meeting highly significant progress was made on both fronts.

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

We met with Bishop Bob Duncan and a number of the Episcopal leaders of the proposed new Province. Careful consideration was given to the new ‘Province in formation’ in North America. This is made up so far of approximately 100,000 Anglican Christians in Canada and the US who wish to be known as Anglicans and to be in fellowship with the Anglican Communion world-wide. We have asked whether we can recognize and authenticate this movement as truly Anglican.

As a result of this process, we celebrate the organization and official formation of ACNA around the same principles that gave rise to the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and now the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA). Though many Provinces have expressed impaired or broken communion with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, our fellowship with faithful Anglicans in North America has remained steadfast.

The FCA Primates’ Council recognizes the Anglican Church in North America as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA.

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA)

The membership of the FCA in its initial stages has attracted a membership by individuals, churches, dioceses, provinces and organizations which involve over a million Anglicans. We are heartened by the numbers of Anglicans who share a commitment to the theological formularies of Anglicanism that provide a firm foundation of our faith. Clearly FCA is a much needed fellowship of those committed to the defense and proclamation of the gospel.

We have therefore reviewed the strategy and structures of the FCA. to better reflect the demands now made on it. We were glad to receive from the FCA Theological Group their Commentary on the Jerusalem Declaration. We note with pleasure the establishment of the FCA web-site, http://www.fca.net. Likewise reports were received from those involved in partnership development work in the Sudan and elsewhere. We see an inexorable link between practical physical care and spiritual health. FCA is addressing this through the proposed establishment of an FCA Economic Development Council.

The FCA provides means to pursue our common mission through the establishment of regional FCA chapters and through networks of Anglicans who will strengthen and assist each other. We heard about the development in the United Kingdom of an active branch of the FCA and the proposed launch on July 6th in Westminster Hall. In addition The Advisory Board of bishops, clergy, and other Anglican leaders from around the world reflects the growing breadth of support and our shared commitment to pursue Gospel mission to serve and extend Christ’s Kingdom together.

Anglican Covenant

It is too soon for us to comment at depth on the latest version of the Covenant. While we support the concept of an Anglican Covenant, we understand that its adequacy depends on the willingness to address the crisis that has “torn the fabric” of the Communion. If those who have left the standards of the Bible are able to enter the covenant with a good conscience, it seems to be of little use. This is one of the questions to be resolved. It is also important to recognize the reality that the success of a covenant is related to genuine accountability.

Relationships

We value our relationships within the Anglican Communion and those with our ecumenical friends beyond. Already, regional chapters and links are forming in many parts of the world of those who share the commitments expressed in GAFCON and FCA. We look forward in real hope to a positive response amongst the Churches and Diocese and Provinces of the Communion to our call to enter into communion with the new Anglican Church in North America. Only in this way, we believe will the need for the so-called ‘cross border incursions’ come to an end and a measure of peace be restored.

Great contributions have been made in the three previous gatherings of the Global South and the clarion sound of the “Trumpets.” We look forward to sharing in gatherings in the future.

Conclusion

We remain committed to the Anglican Communion and to being a faithful and creative voice within it to recapture focus on mission. Conscious of our frailties, nevertheless in the light of Christ’s resurrection power, we speak with confidence and seek only to serve the Lord and the people of the Anglican Communion. We are aware that millions of Anglicans look to the leadership which was recognized at GAFCON, especially given that the institutional structures as yet have not provided adequate response to the crises in the Communion and the world.

We are encouraged by the Word of the Lord: The Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ is our only hope and our focus. We continue steadfastly in our commitment to share the fullness of the Gospel in our nations and around the world.

The Lord is risen: He is risen indeed!

2 comments:

Kevin said...

Very nice.

Jill C. said...

Wow! Praise the Lord!