Saturday, January 21, 2012

Church of England takes steps forward in building bridges with the Anglican Church in North America

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York have formally released the report to the General Synod of the Church of England of their study on the continuing relationship of the Church of England (CoE) and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).  At the February 6-9, 2012 sessions of the Church of England Synod, Archbishop Rowan Williams and Archbishop John Sentamu reported on their findings as requested by the February 2010 Church of England Synod resolution that recognized and affirmed the ACNA's desire to remain in the Anglican family of churches.

UPDATE FROM THE ACNA from here including comments from Archbishop Bob Duncan:


Church of England General Synod Report Encourages “Open-Ended Engagement” 


The General Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England, released a report this week providing further clarity on its working relationship with the Anglican Church in North America, and encouraged an “open-ended engagement with ACNA on the part of the Church of England and the (Anglican) Communion.”

“We are encouraged by the desire of the Church of England to continue to embrace the Anglican Church in North America and remain in solidarity with us as we proclaim the Gospel message and truth as revealed in Scripture in the way it has always been understood in Anglican formularies,” said Archbishop Duncan.

The Church of England General Synod report can be viewed here.

“As we have demonstrated successfully to the GAFCON primates, the Anglican Church in North America remains committed to our growing relationships with Anglican provinces outside of North America. Our biblical orthodoxy and ministries are strengthening our bond to our Anglican brothers and sisters around the globe. We are gratified that we are already in a relationship of full communion with many Anglican Provinces and look forward to expanding that circle.”

“In that regard, we appreciate the work of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England, whose report and recommendations to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York form the basis of the document now released for General Synod, and whose content substantially advances the same ends with the Church of England,” concluded Archbishop Duncan.

In July 2009, a resolution was brought forth to the Church of England’s General Synod to recognize its common faith and fellowship with the growing Anglican Church in North America. The following February, 2010, representatives and ecumenical friends of the Anglican Church in North America shared directly with the General Synod the vision of the church for reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.  At the 2010 meeting, the General Synod first affirmed the Anglican Church in North America’s desire “to remain within the Anglican family.” 

Read it all here.


Key sections are this:
15. Where then do matters currently stand concerning ACNA on each of these three issues, namely relations with the Church of England, relations with the Anglican Communion and the ability of ACNA clergy to be authorised to minister in the Church of England?

16. The Synod motion rightly began by referring to “the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada.” That distress, in which we share, is a continuing element in the present situation and is likely to remain so for some considerable time.

17. Wounds are still fresh. Those who follow developments in North America from some distance have a responsibility not to say or do anything which will inflame an already difficult situation and make it harder for those directly involved to manage the various challenges with which they are still grappling.

18. We would, therefore, encourage an open-ended engagement with ACNA on the part of the Church of England and the Communion, while recognising that the outcome is unlikely to be clear for some time yet, especially given the strong feelings on all sides of the debate in North America.

19. The Church of England remains fully committed to the Anglican Communion and to being in communion both with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church (TEC). In addition, the Synod motion has given Church of England affirmation to the desire of ACNA to remain in some sense within the Anglican family.

20. Among issues that will need to be explored in direct discussions between the Church of England and ACNA are the canonical situation of the latter, its relationship to other Churches of the Communion outside North America and its attitude towards existing Anglican ecumenical agreements.

21. Where clergy from ACNA wish to come to England the position in relation to their orders and their personal suitability for ministry here will be considered by us on a case by case basis under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967.
This is a very positive development.  No door is closed, no windows are locked.  We are asked to deal gently with one another and there are those within our Episcopal and Anglican communities who are very good at speaking truth gently but firmly and building trust.  That does take time.  We do recognize, as Jesus said, that our peacemakers are blessed, and in their work they shall be called the children of God.  A sobering thought indeed.  The conversation is not over, which means the relationship is not over. It's realistic to understand that we do not know the outcome - this is indeed a walk of faith.  The topics on the table are good ones and with malice toward none and charity toward all, by the grace of God we may find a way.  


Have not yet receive official response from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of The Episcopal Church.  ENS based at the NY offices of the Presiding Bishop does have a story on the report here but no official reaction yet from TEC.


Below is the entire statement from here:


GENERAL SYNOD
The Church of England and the Anglican Church in North America
Church of England Synod
  1. On 10 February 2010 the General Synod debated a Private Members Motion concerning the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The Motion passed by the Synod, incorporating an amendment moved by the Bishop of Bristol on behalf of the House of Bishops, was as follows:
    „That this Synod, aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada,
    1. (a)  recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the
      Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican
      family;
    2. (b)  acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with
      the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
    3. (c)  invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011
  2. This note constitutes our response to the request in the final part of the Synod motion. It is necessarily a report on work in progress since the consequences of the establishment of ACNA some two and a half years ago are still emerging and on a number of issues any assessment at this stage must necessarily be tentative.
  3. We are grateful to the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) for devoting some time to studying the relevant issues and drawing together for us a range of resources on the underlying ecclesiological questions.
  4. As was explained in the background note prepared for the Synod debate (GS 1764B), there are at least three different sorts of question, which arise for the Church of England in considering the implications of the creation of ACNA:
    •   What is the range of relationship with other Christian churches that is possible for the Church of England?
    •   How does a particular local Church become accepted as part of the Anglican Communion?
    •   In what circumstances can the orders of another Church be recognised and accepted by the Church of England so that someone ordained in that church can be given archiepiscopal authorisation for ministry here?
  5. The location of responsibility for determining each of these questions is distinct.
  1. Thus, it is for the decision making bodies of the Church of England to determine the nature of its relationship with other Christian churches. Since the creation of the General Synod in 1970 the mind of the Church of England on such matters has been discerned in the General Synod, which, because issues of theology and ecclesiology are involved, necessarily looks for guidance to the House of Bishops.
  2. This has been the case whether the issue has been about the Church of England entering into communion with another Church, as with the Porvoo Churches in the 1990s, or whether it has concerned a formal agreement of a different kind, such as the Covenant with the Methodist Church in 2003.
  3. In relation to the second question, the concept of membership of the Anglican Communion is not entirely straightforward. The Communion itself (in common with the Church of England) has no legal personality. In addition (and unlike the Church of England) it does not have a set of canons which set out its core beliefs and regulate aspects of its internal governance.
  4. Thus, from the time of the first Lambeth Conference in 1867, those Churches whose bishops have been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury of the day to attend, participate fully and vote in the deliberations of the Conference have been regarded as part of the Anglican Communion.
  5. The creation of a new legal entity in the 1960s the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) created the need for a more formalised basis for membership of that body. Under the ACC‟s constitution a Church can be added to the ACC schedule of membership by decision of the Standing Committee of the Communion and with the assent of 2/3 of the primates of the Churches already listed in the schedule.
  6. The third question- how a judgement is made over whether someone‟s orders are recognised and accepted by the Church of England- is not dependent on whether the Church from which that person comes is in communion with the Church of England or a member of the Anglican Communion.
  7. The criteria set out in a report of 1980 from the Faith and Order Advisory Group on Episcopi Vagantes remain helpful namely:
    “. . . that the minister of ordination must be a bishop, himself validly consecrated, the recipient must have been baptised, the right matter must be used which is the laying on of hands, and the right form which consists of words of prayer referring to the special gift and showing the object of the laying on of hands.”
  8. Thus, those ordained in other churches which accept the historic episcopate- for example the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church- may be received into the Church of England and authorised to minister, as may clergy from the Church of England in South Africa.

  1. Authorisation by the Archbishop of the Province is considered on a case by case basis and will take a number of relevant considerations into account. It is not the case, therefore, that ordination in another Church of this kind confers any entitlement to minister here. But it does involve the conferring of orders which the Church of England is able to recognise and accept.
  2. Where then do matters currently stand concerning ACNA on each of these three issues, namely relations with the Church of England, relations with the Anglican Communion and the ability of ACNA clergy to be authorised to minister in the Church of England?
  3. The Synod motion rightly began by referring to “the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada.” That distress, in which we share, is a continuing element in the present situation and is likely to remain so for some considerable time.
  4. Wounds are still fresh. Those who follow developments in North America from some distance have a responsibility not to say or do anything which will inflame an already difficult situation and make it harder for those directly involved to manage the various challenges with which they are still grappling.
  5. We would, therefore, encourage an open-ended engagement with ACNA on the part of the Church of England and the Communion, while recognising that the outcome is unlikely to be clear for some time yet, especially given the strong feelings on all sides of the debate in North America.
  6. The Church of England remains fully committed to the Anglican Communion and to being in communion both with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church (TEC). In addition, the Synod motion has given Church of England affirmation to the desire of ACNA to remain in some sense within the Anglican family.
  7. Among issues that will need to be explored in direct discussions between the Church of England and ACNA are the canonical situation of the latter, its relationship to other Churches of the Communion outside North America and its attitude towards existing Anglican ecumenical agreements.
  8. Where clergy from ACNA wish to come to England the position in relation to their orders and their personal suitability for ministry here will be considered by us on a case by case basis under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967.
Rowan Cantuar: December 2011
Sentamu Ebor: 

Read it all here.

30 comments:

jschwarz42 said...

bb: This is a small point, but I would respectfully suggest that one small way to "build trust" would be for members of CANA, ACNA, etc to stop distinguishing our church communities in terms of "Episcopal" and "Anglican" (as you do here - and it seems to be an increasing tendency). In fact The Episcopal Church ["TEC"] IS an "Anglican" church; indeed it is still (last time I checked) THE only officially recognized church of the Anglican Communion in the United States. I have no problem with ACNA etc. identifying themselves as within the Anglican tradition (which clearly they are). But I do confess it is a little troubling to see its members increasingly trying, it seems, to "co-opt" the name of "Anglican" by talking as if they are the "Anglicans" among us, and Episcopalians are somehow something else! (Perhaps some in ACNA do actually think that; but it is not the reality.) I am hoping that this is unintentional on your part, and that you do not realize the implication of such usage - but I am sure that there are some within ACNA for whom it is a deliberate attempt to make a point (such as when Republicans insist on talking about the "Democrat" Party [which does not exist] - instead of "Democratic").
- Peace, John

Anonymous said...

It may be a bigger point than JS gives it credit for. I, too, hope that the term "Anglican" doesn't become by common use a differentiating term between Episcopalians and the recent offshoots. "Anglican" is a very useful term because of its clear reference to the history of the Church. Episcopalians should use it more frequently to describe themselves.

Scout

Steven in Falls Church said...

I would not put too much stock into what ++Canterbury says, given that he has puked on himself in keeping some semblance of order and discipline in the global Communion. And yet, one can read in this communique as well as blog commentary (see comments on ENS) the increasing realization that the camp in which TEC and Canada sit is more and more depopulated and marginalized within the Communion. The recent broadside from ++Sudan had to have had an impact. I have not done a tally, but I expect that more Anglican adherents worldwide are in full and unimpaired communion with ANCA than with TEC. Continuing to grasp to the legal instruments of Anglican communion is of little import when you have, in fact, alienated yourself from the bulk of Anglican adherents.

RalphM said...

There is no doubt that Episcopalians are Anglicans. However, the name is "The Epicopal Church". If i were to ask a member of TEC what they are, they would say "Episcopalian".

Members of ACNA, CANA, AMiA, AMA, etc are Anglicans in practice and known to the AC as Anglicans. If you ask a member what they are, they will say "Anglican".

It's a simple refernce to distinguish between the flavors of Anglicanism in this country.

Dale Matson said...

TEC may own the Anglican franchise in the US just like Canterbury England is the historical center of Anglicanism. Ultimately it is Christ who decides where He places the lampstands.

Anonymous said...

As an Episcopalian, I am very comfortable describing my religious orientation as "Anglican." I think it important that Episcopalians use the term much more freely, lest it be viewed as a distinguishing term.

Scout

Daniel Weir said...

There really is nothing new in the report. It simply recognizes the reality of a denomination in North America that sees itself as Anglican, has close relationships with many member churches of the Communion, and would like to be a member church. Whether that desire is realized in the near future is an open question.

St. Peter's Church in Niagara Falls, NY has had both Episcopal and Anglican on its sign, recognizing that for Canadian visitors Anglican has a familiarity that Episcopal doesn't.

Anonymous said...

You fellas are late to the party. The effort to use the term Anglican as a differentiation device, with the barely hidden implication that ACNA et al are "true Anglicans" and the Episcopal Church is not, has been under way for six years.

The resolution of the property issues will free ACNA from its entanglements. And clarity will follow - for everyone. The sham will end.

RalphM said...

Conspiracy theories circulate in TEC, and they are not flattering to those who spread them.

Why is TEC so paranoid about the franchise? Is there a fear that freedom to choose between TEC and ACNA will not go well for TEC?

If TEC's theology and actions honor God, there is nothing to fear.

Anonymous said...

RE the update: it's a bit embarrassing to see Archbishop Duncan reduced to being a spin-meister on this. I'm not sure what the significance of the statement was - it seemed very guarded and careful not to say much of anything or to put the CofE anywhere near the American turmoil. To call that an "embrace" of ACNA makes one uncomfortable for Robert Pittsburghus.

Scout

Dale Matson said...

Scout,
I didn't recognize you as the poster initially since the word "property" was not included in your narrative.

BB,
I keep getting the message Shockwave plug in has crashed. What is that about?

BabyBlue said...

I don't believe Bob Duncan is spinning anything, Scout. It is clear in this statement from the Archbishops of York and Canterbury that the door is open to BOTH The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America to exchange clergy and the door also is open for the Church of England to recognize the members of the Anglican Church of North America as Anglicans. The separate issue is whether the bishops are recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury and that is an issue that is done bishop by bishop (not province). But the status of the bishops does not seem to affect the status of individual Anglicans as being recognized as Anglicans or for clergy to be exchanged in a case by case basis. Currently both TEC and ACNA Clergy are being recognized by bishops in the Church of England and COE clergy are permitted on a case by case basis to serve in both TEC and ACNA parishes.

bb

BabyBlue said...

Dale, I haven't been able to recreate the Shockwave plug message - can you tell me more? I am wondering if that is a message being sent by your system? Has anyone else received that message?

Thank you all so much!

bb

RalphM said...

Scout,

Sorry, I'm just not seeing the spin. Maybe I'm not viewing all of Abp Duncan's comments, (looking at the ACNA website) but I don't see anything other than some quotes from the CoE statement and a few citations of facts.

The next time I see Abp Duncan, I'll relay your feelings of embarassment...

Anonymous said...

Not seeing the shocklwave message.

Win7, 64 bit

Anonymous said...

Guys - you're quite right. My only chronic point of difference with many of the commenters here is on the property issue. I was reacting to Archbishop Duncan's rather strained idea that the General Synod's statement was part of a continuing "embrace" of ACNA. The statement seemed very cold and distant to me. I may not be the most informed connoisseur of embraces, but this one seemed to me to be of the Venus de Milo genus: cold, stony and armless. I realize that he doesn't write this stuff, he just says it or it goes out over his name. But it did seem a bit non-reality based. Whoever put the word "embrace" in Robert's mouth did him a disservice.

Scout

Daniel Weir said...

I think the CofE is in a difficult place, given the fact that it has plenty of clergy and lay people on both sides of the issues, as well as others who have no opinion about what's happening in North America. It is also facing differences of conviction about women in the Episcopate and the Anglican Covenant. The way ahead for CofE will not be easy.

Dale Matson said...

BB,
The Shockwave Flash plugin problem was on my browser. I had two versions of the plugin and they were canceling each other out. I had to disable one of them.

Dale Matson said...

Anonymous
"Not seeing the shocklwave message."
You are not seeing the message b/c you have a 32 bit brower. win 7 64 bit with a 64 bit browser does not provide for a 64 bit version of shockwave.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the last two comments. Unity is in the air.

Scout

RMBruton said...

Perhaps there is a realization amongst some that what passes for Anglicanism on both sides of the Atlantic is not. What people presume to be the C of E is simply the Episcopal Church of England and it is now about as Anglican as its distant relatives in North America (both TEC and the Continuing-Episcopalians of various emmigrations [REC, Pre-1979,Post-1979,AMiA,and Post-2003]). They disagree over certain issues vehemently denouncing each other; but they represent a eschewed interpretation of Anglicanism. Like "Classic Coke" and its precursor "New Coke", neither are the Real Coke. What the English Reformers intended is extinct as an institution and like some of the victims of Hiroshima, only the shadows remain.

Daniel Weir said...

What the English reformers intended was not a church that would be unchanging over time but one that would bear witness to the the Good News in changing contexts. The current debates are, appropriately, about whether the churches of the Commuinion are faithfully bearing witness to the Good News in their diverse contexts.

Dale Matson said...

Daniel,
"What the English reformers intended was not a church that would be unchanging over time but one that would bear witness to the the Good News in changing contexts." I think herein lies the rub. Yes, there is a reciprocity between the culture and the church. The "locally adapted" has always been there. However,it was not intended to be understood as the culture determining what the Gospel means. Christ's charge to Peter was that the church determines what is allowed on earth, not the culture.

Daniel Weir said...

Dale,

I agree that the culture is not to determine what the Gospel means. What has been true is that Christians have often disagreed about what the Gospel has to say to the culture. That seems to be the case now as people disagree about same sex relations, just as Christians did about slavery in the 19th century.

Dale Matson said...

Daniel,
I don't believe the injustice of slavery (a human right to be free) is commensurate with a civil right to inclusion. You may say that the latter is just another form of slavery but we will have to disagree on that.

Anonymous said...

I see nothing here that helps CANA. I see bones thrown to the bishops they have so assiduously cultivated in the Church of England.

It's a long way from this to being recognized.

Daniel Weir said...

Dale,
I only mentioned slavery as an example of an ethical question on which Christians disagreed. There are other disagreements that I could have mentioned, e.g., pacifism, lending money at inteterest, taking an oath in court. My point was that one cannot fairly dismiss the position that some of us have taken on same-sex relationships as being caused by our slavery to the culture, any more than dismissing the opposite position as being caused by someone else''s slavery to the culture. It is clear that in the US there is great diversity of conviction about same-sex relationships and Christians on all sides need to be careful that our positions are grounded in Scripture and not in public opinion. I trust that your convictions grow out of careful study of Scripture and I hope that mine are as well.

Dale Matson said...

Daniel,
"I trust that your convictions grow out of careful study of Scripture and I hope that mine are as well." You and I agree here. At one time I believed that both capital punishment and abortion were options. I no longer believe this.

Daniel Weir said...

Dale,
I am always hopeful when people are able to think and pray through an ethical and arrive at a new place, even when I have not arrived at the same place. It is then for me to listen to how they got there to see if I may have gone astray. I think a great danger is to conclude that we have arrived at the right position on everything and to stop listening, praying, studying, and thinking.

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