A group of conservative Anglicans in Canada and the United States has finalized plans to begin forming an alternate church in North America.
Leaders of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a collection of 12 Anglican organizations that began to unify last November, approved applications for the creation of 28 new dioceses in the church. The new church’s leaders also finalized a draft constitution and church laws ahead of its provincial assembly.
“It is a great encouragement to see the fruit of many years’ work,” said the Right Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop-elect of the Anglican Church in North America and bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. “Today 23 dioceses and five dioceses-in-formation joined together to reconstitute an orthodox, Biblical, missionary and united Church in North America.”
According to the ACNA’s Web site, the jurisdictions that make up the 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation of the new church are: the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin; the Anglican Mission in the Americas; the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; the Anglican Network in Canada; the Anglican Coalition in Canada; the Reformed Episcopal Church; and the missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda and South America’s Southern Cone. The American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are also founding organizations.
ACNA largely took cues from a 2008 gathering of bishops upset with widespread liberalization of doctrine in Canada and the U.S., particularly with provinces in the Anglican Communion that want to ordain openly gay bishops. The conference, known as the Global Anglican Future Conference, served as a rallying point for traditional Anglicans and bishops who boycotted the once-per-decade Lambeth Conference for the whole Anglican Communion.
The fledgling church has gained support from bishops around the world, receiving recognition as being legitimate this month from seven archbishops who are members of a group called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA).
“Though many provinces are in impaired or broken communion with [the Episcopal Church] and the Anglican Church of Canada, our fellowship with faithful Anglicans in North America remains steadfast,” said the FCA Primates’ Council in a statement. “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.”
ACNA will hold its first provincial assembly on June 22 to 25 in Bedford, Texas. The 28 dioceses approved by ACNA leadership this week will each send delegates to the assembly.
The new church includes 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes.
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