Saturday, November 07, 2009

Former TEC Dioceses Welcome Congregations

Former dioceses in The Episcopal Church welcome more congregations into the fold. From The Living Church:
As two former Episcopal dioceses hold conventions this weekend, they are beginning to incorporate congregations from across the nation.

The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh will vote on welcoming Harvest Anglican Church, Homer City, Pa.; Church of the Transfiguration, Cleveland, Ohio; HolyTrinityChurch, Raleigh, N.C.; and St. James Church, San Jose, Calif.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (Southern Cone) plans to receive St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church, Springdale, Ark., as a new mission station. It also will welcome two existing parishes: St. Matthias’ Anglican Church, Dallas; and Church of the Holy Spirit, Tulsa, Okla.

On Oct. 30, the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee went to court against St. Andrew’s Church, Nashville, which left the Episcopal Church in 2006 and has since announced its affiliation with the Diocese of Quincy (Ill.).

The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin (Southern Cone) has welcomed three neighboring California parishes — St. Andrew’s in the Desert, Lancaster; St. David’s, San Rafael; and Santa Maria de Juquila, Seaside — and Jesus the Good Shepherd, Henderson, Nevada.

In the context of the Anglican Church in North America’s constitution [PDF], such an elastic definition of diocesan borders is a feature and not a bug.

“Congregations and clergy are related together in a diocese, cluster, or network (whether regional or affinity-based), united by a bishop,” the ACNA’s constitution says. “Dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) may band together for common mission, or as distinct jurisdictions at the sub-Provincial level.”

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is establishing one type of network within ACNA: regional districts.

The Rt. Rev. David Bena, a suffragan bishop of CANA and a former suffragan in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, is guiding the growth of the recently established Anglican District in the Northeast.

“In the Northeast we had ten parishes that were interested in doing mission and ministry together,” he told The Living Church. “They were not connected except by bishop visitations.”

The new district will unite seven congregations in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Two other CANA districts unite congregations in Virginia and in the Great Lakes.

“We are going to coordinate on overseas missions and concentrate on the possibility of planting new churches,” Bishop Bena said of his district. “We’re also talking about trying to plant some churches up here in the rocky soil of the Northeast.”

While serving in Albany, Bishop Bena could travel from one end of the diocese to the other within six hours. Today, he travels more by airline than by car. His work also has him providing pastoral guidance to two different types of congregations: those that separated from the Episcopal Church, and those that have approached CANA from evangelical and independent backgrounds.
Read it all here.


Fr. Daniel Weir said...

It is worth noting that TLC's headline was an editorial comment, a reflection of its own opinion about the status of the new Anglican Dioceses. And calling them "new Anglican Dioceses" is a reflection of my opinion about their status. It would be better journalism if TLC confined its editorial comments to its editorials.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Daniel,
If you are secure in where you are, why the concern??


Fr. Daniel Weir said...

I don't think there is the connection between security and concern that you see. The Living Church has long seen itself as serving the Episcopal Church and my concern is that it doesn't do that well when it allows its legitimate editorial position to influence its reporting of the news. The headline was far from objective and that concerns me and I think it should concern you as well.


Anonymous said...

As posted elsewhere, I think that The Living Church has a hard row to hoe. I have watched its mission statenment change now twice in the last few years. It has always represented the more Anglo-Catholic high church position. Given that it is based in Milwaukee and Wisconsin was high church fromnits inception with Kemper, that makes sense. The problem is that many of its supporters/subscribers are now members of ACNA. It has claimed an affinity with TEC. And, clearly it got its subscriber base from TEC. But now it is publishing articles by people clearly opposed to TEC, Fr. Handy (Reformation Advocate from Stand Firm list avowedly anti-TEC) and Alison Barfoot for example. If comments on one of the liberal blogs can be seen as an indicator, The Living Church is losing TEC subscribers quickly and that bodes ill for its $ future. If it is cultivating the anglo-catholic base, there may not be enough left in TEC to support it, and, and if it continues its cultivation of the Anglo-Catholic base of the secessionists, it will kill any support it has of TEC members. Dicey and difficult. EmilyH