Monday, April 27, 2009

Emerging Anglican Province Announces 28 Dioceses in the United States and Canada

From here.

Leaders representing Canadian and US orthodox Anglican jurisdictions approved applications for membership of 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation and finalized plans for launching the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Twelve Anglican organizations are uniting to form the ACNA.

The ACNA Leadership Council, in addition to accepting these dioceses as constituent members, finalized a draft constitution and a comprehensive set of canons (Church bylaws) for ratification by the provincial assembly. A list of the new dioceses, the constitution and the canons will soon be available at

“It is a great encouragement to see the fruit of many years’ work,” said the Right Reverend 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.”

The Anglican Church in North America holds its inaugural provincial assembly 22-25 June 2009 in St Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, Texas. Delegates to this inaugural provincial assembly will be selected by the 28 constituent dioceses and dioceses-in-formation according to an agreed apportionment (contained in Title I, Canon 5).

In addition to the official delegates, a number of other Anglican and ecumenical Christian leaders are expected to be present at the provincial assembly, demonstrating the breadth of recognition and fellowship accorded ACNA. Already, three prominent Ecumenical leaders are confirmed speakers at the ACNA provincial assembly:

  • Pastor Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church,
  • His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, the Archbishop of Washington and New York and the Metropolitan of All America and Canada for the Orthodox Church in America, and
  • the Rev Todd Hunter, Director of West Coast Church Planting for the Anglican Mission in the Americas.

Earlier this month, seven Primates (Archbishops leading Churches in the Anglican Communion) issued a statement recognizing the Anglican Church in North America as an Emergent Province. These Primates, who represent 70 per cent of committed Anglicans worldwide, said in their statement, “Though many Provinces are in impaired or broken communion with TEC [the Episcopal Church] and the Anglican Church of Canada, our fellowship with faithful Anglicans in North America remains steadfast. The FCA [Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans] Primates’ Council recognizes the Anglican Church in North America as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA.”

The Anglican Church in North America unites some 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes into a single church. Jurisdictions which have joined together to form the 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation of the Anglican Church in North America 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. Additionally, the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are founding organizations.

The Constitution as will be presented to the June Assembly is available here.

The Canons as will be presented to the June Assembly are available here


Robin G. Jordan said...

[I posted these comments in response to the article, "New province is a sad reflection on Canterbury & Co," on the web site where it was first posted. They are still applicable as a response to the news that the ACNA Provincial Council adopted a finalized draft of the ACNA constitution and code of canons at its Dallas/Fort Worth meeting this past weekend.]

"My reading of the provisional constitution and draft canons of the ACNA is that they bar conservative evangelicals like Sydney evangelicals from membership and ordained ministry in the ACNA since in order to become a judicatory (diocese, cluster, or network) of the ACNA a group of congregations must subscribe to the ACNA Fndamental declarations. These Fundamental Declarations affirm the Catholic position on the historic episcopate, that is, episcopacy is of the "esse," or essence of the church. The position of evangelicals has historically been that episcopacy is a very ancient and commendable church polity but it is not essential to the existence of the church. This is known as the "bene esse" position. Those desiring to minister in the ACNA must also subscribe to the Fundamental Declarations and the "esse" position on episcopacy. The draft canons require that in order to become a "mission partner" with the ACNA, a church or organization must "unreservedly" subscribe to the Fundamental Declarations,including the Catholic position on the historic episcopate. In doing so, the draft canons bar churches and organizations holding to the evangelical position on the historic episcopate from partnering in mission with the ACNA. This includes churches and organizations that support GAFCON and the formation of a new Anglican province in North America."

"I have posted two papers examining the draft canons on my web site Anglicans Ablaze drawing attention to a number of problems with the canons. The papers, “The ACNA Draft Canons: An Analysis of Their Provisions with Proposed Changes - Part I” and “The ACNA Draft Canons: An Analysis of Their Provisions with Proposed Changes - Part II,” are on the Internet at and "

"I have also posted a paper, “The ACNA Provisional Constitution: A Blueprint for Radical Innovation in Church Government,” examining the provisional constitution on the same website. It is on the Internet at "

"The Fundamental Declarations of the ACNA provisional constitution are so worded that the commitment of the ACNA to the Thirty-Nine Article is token. '7. We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.' Compare this declaration with that of the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration: 'We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.'"

"So is its commitment to the Book of Common Prayer of 1662: '6. We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.' The Books that precede the 1662 Prayer Book include the 1549 PrayerBook. In North America appeals to the precedent of the 1549 Prayer Book have been used to justify changes in the Prayer Book that incorporates unreformed Catholic doctrine and usages from the period before the English Reformation into the Prayer Book.These doctrines and usages are not found in the 1549 Prayer Book but come from the Medieval service books."

"In adopting the African practice of the provincial house of bishops choosing the bishops of a judicatory (diocese, cluster, or network) as the principal and preferred mode of selecting bishops, the ACNA provisional constitution and draft canons has not only weakened the autonomy of the judicatory (or diocese) in the ACNA but also has declared in so many words that there is no room in the ACNA for North American Anglicans who value the autonomy of the judicatory, including its right to elect its own bishop or bishops, and a synodical form of church government in which the clergy and laity share with the bishop or bishops in the governance of the church. The ACNA fundamental documents rely heavily upon church order to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the church rather than sound doctrine. The particular mode of selecting bishops that the draft canons imposes upon all new judicatories admitted to the ACNA and commends to the very small number of founding entities of the ACNA that still elect their own bishops is seen as a deterrent to liberalism and heterodoxy. Together with a number of other provisions in the ACNA provisional constitution and draft canons it represents a decided shift toward a more authoritarian form of church government in the ACNA."

"I use the term 'African practice' in relation to how the bishops of the 'founding entities' of the ACNA that are an extraterritorial jurisdiction of an African province are chosen. I recognize that all African provinces do not use these mode of selecting bishops but it is a mode of selecting bishops that is commonly used in a number of African provinces, particularly those who have extraterritorial jurisdictions in North America. The Anglican Church of Rwanda's Provincial House of Bishops chooses the bishops of the AMiA. The Church of Nigeria's House of Bishops chooses the bishops of its dioceses. The canons of the Church of Nigeria provide for the appointment of administrators of extraterritorial convocations and chaplaincies by the General Synod. The Anglican Church of the Province of Uganda's Provincial House of Bishops chooses the bishops of its dioceses. I was not able to ascertain the mode of election of bishops of the Anglican Church of Kenya. The particular mode of episcopal selection that the ACNA has adopted is modeled on that of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.This mode of election represents a significant departure from how bishops have been chosen in North America. They have historically been elected by the diocesan synod or convention and confirmed by the provincial bishops and the diocesan standing committees or the General Convention in case of the USA and by the provincial bishops in the case of Canada."

[In the Anglican Church of the Province of the Southern Cone of America, a GAFCON member and parent Province of the Convocation of the Southern Cone, a 'founding entity' of the ACNA, the autonomous dioceses elect their own bishops, including the new autonomous dioceses. Only dioceses in formation have appointed bishops. The provincial bishops and the provincial executive council confirm the election of bishops elect. If an autonomous diocese repeatedly fails to elect a bishop, it may request that the provincial executive council elect a bishop for the diocese. The provincial executive council then proceeds as if it was a diocese, appointing an epsicopal search committee to nominate candidates and then electing one of the candidates. When the provincial executive council elects a bishop, the provincial bishops confirm the election of the bishop elect. If the see of a diocese is vacant more than two years, the election of the new bishop autmatically passes to the provincial executive council. In the Diocese of Sydney, another GAFCON members the archbishop is elected by the general synod and he need not be a bishop to be elected archbishop. Regional or auxiliary bishops are appointed by the archbishop with the advice and consent of the standing committee which has twice as many lay members as clerical members. ]

"I believe that the adoption of this particular mode of episcopal selection is actually an American initiative. The ACNA leadership and the ACNA Governance Task Force see it as a deterrent to liberalism and heterodoxy, a view also held by its supporters in the ACNA. They see a need for a strong central authority like the Roman magisterium in the ACNA. A number of its supporters speak highly of the notion of an Anglican 'pope'."

[Among the reasons the Governance Task Force may have adopted the "African" practice is to cement relations with the African Provinces of which a number of ACNA "founding entities" are extraterritorial jurisdictions.]

"In the case of the AMiA the Rwandan Primate and Provincial House of Bishops will continue to play a substantial role in the selection of that organization's bishops. I have not been able to ascertain the extent of the continued role of the hierarchy of the other African provinces in the selection of the bishops of their extraterritorial jurisdictions."

[The draft canons do not rule out the parent Provinces of ACNA dioceses playing a substantial role in the nomination of the bishops of these dioceses.]

"Among the problems with this particular mode of episcopal selection is that it gives a minimal role to the clergy and the laity in the selection of a bishop of a judicatory. In the AMiA the Council of Missionary Bishops selects nominees and the Primatial Vicar has authority to veto their nominations. As the ACNA draft canons are worded, a retiring bishop could nominate his successor. The ACNA College of Bishops is not bound to choose any of the nominees of a judicatory. The draft canons are silent on what happens if the College of Bishops rejects all a judicatory's nominees. It says nothing about the judicatory being able to make further nominations."

[The draft canons also do not rule out one person such as in the case of the AMiA Primatial Vicar having the final say in who is nominated as a candidate for the office of ordinary or suffragan of an ACNA diocese.]

"In the United States self-identified 'evangelicals' sit rather loosely to the beliefs and principles that have historically defined classical evangelical Anglicanism. This can be attributed to a number of factors. The former Protestant Episcopal Church had no evangelical wing from 1900 to the 1960s. The church was dominated by the Anglo-Catholic and Broad Church movements. The Episcopal Church experienced something of an evangelical revival during the 1960s and the 1970s. The charismatic renewal movement, the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, and a small group of English evangelicals and evangelicals trained or influenced by English evangelicals were major contributing factors. The result was a rediscovery of the Bible and some evangelical distinctives. However, a significant number of those influenced by the charismatic renewal movement came from a High Church background. Since the Episcopal Church had no evangelical wing, the remainder of those affected by this evangelical revival came from a Broad Church background. When the evangelical Reformed Episcopal Church broke away from the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1873, evangelicals remaining in the Protestant Episcopal Church were absorbed into the Broad Church movement. Even with the evangelical revival in the Episcopal Church in the closing decades of the 20th century classical evangelical Anglicanism remains at a low ebb in the USA. I cannot speak for Canada."

"The proposed code of canons of the Anglican Church in North America was not released for public comment until April 3, 2009, twenty-one days before the meeting of the Provincial Council at which they were to be considered for adoption. Interested parties were given until noon on April 20, 2009 to submit their comments and suggestions to the Governance Task Force. While the length of time was totally inadequate for a careful study of the document, it was a vast improvement upon the period of 'public comment' on the provisional constitution and canons. It consisted of a brief question and answer session before the vote of the Common Cause Leadership Council meeting at which they were adopted this past December. The two documents were kept under wraps up to the day of their adoption and were not really made public until their adoption. Compare the amount of time that interested parties were given to study the draft canons with the amount of time that the constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia normally gives the dioceses of the ACA to study a proposed canon—at least 90 days."

"The ACNA leadership appears to be driven to present a code of canons for ratification at the Inaugural Provincial Assembly in June. I do not know what is driving them except perhaps the desire to have a fully operational church before the 2009 General Convention of The Episcopal Church, complete with constitution and canons. My own study of the draft canons within the limited time allowed for public comment indicates that they need a lot more work. So does the provisional constitution, which will also be presented at the Inaugural Provincial Assembly for ratification. For this reason I recommend the adoption of an Interim Instrument of Governance in place of the provisional constitution and the draft canons to provide more time to complete this work. I also recommend the formation of a new and expanded Governance Task Force to undertake the revision of the two documents and the establishment of a Constituent Assembly to adopt the constitution and canons in their final form before their submission for ratification to the governing bodies of the ecclesiastical organizations forming the ACNA."

"The attitude that I have run into here in the United States is that no one wants to talk about the draft canons. If I raise the subject on the Internet, I receive no response. When I drew attention to the problems in the provisional constitution, I was told that I did not have all the information and that the ACNA leadership did. If the provisional constitution had any problematic provisions, they could be fixed later after the provisional constitution was adopted. In other words, I should not question or criticize what the ACNA leadership was doing."

[I have not yet examined the finalized draft of the ACNA constitution and canons that was adopted at the Dallas/Fort Worth meeting of the Provincial Council so I do not know if it addresses any of the problems in the provisional constitution and the proposed code of canons that I brought to the attention of Bishop Robert Duncan and the Governance Task Force and to what extent.]

Anonymous said...

Congrats! That's great! Now you have your very own canons to ignore and the first American archbishop! Good luck!

BabyBlue said...

Robin, though I know you hear silence, your are being read. I'd also encourage folks to read the Communion Partners Statement again - very important:

There are some major issues with the current draft of the proposed ACNA constitution and canons, including issues of whether we are organizing a legislature-governing body or a political party. Right now it reads like a political party.

We must build a legislature, not a political party. You can't create dioceses without the parish's consent. I don't get this headline either. Parishes create dioceses, dioceses create legislatures - we learned that from the American Revolution. The legislature is the dioceses in convention. Central Committee-models, as the current constitution and canons for the proposed ACNA spell out is for political parties (and some other rather notorious organizations) not governing legislatures.

And no trappings of royalty, no archbishop - I don't know where that came from.