Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CofE General Synod Affirms ACNA

from ACNA:

Today, the General Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England, meeting in London February 8-12, affirmed the Anglican Church in North America’s desire “to remain within the Anglican family.”

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, thanked Mrs. Lorna Ashworth of Chichester for bringing the church to the attention of the General Synod. “We are very grateful to Mrs. Ashworth and the scores of other friends in the Synod of the Church of England for all they did to give us this opportunity to tell our story to the mother church of the Anglican Communion. It is very encouraging that the synod recognizes and affirms our desire to remain within the Anglican family.” said Archbishop Duncan.

A private member’s motion, put forward by Mrs. Ashworth, and subsequently amended by the Synod, states that “this synod…recognize and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family.” The motion passed by a resounding 309 – 69 margin (with seven abstentions).

The motion was amended by the Right Reverend Michael Hill, the Bishop of Bristol. His purpose, in his own words, was “(1) to encourage those who are part of the Anglican Church in North America; (2) to commend the process of recognition afforded by the Instruments of the Anglican Communion; and (3) to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to report progress back to Synod in a year’s time.”

The discussion at Synod presented an important opportunity for members of the Anglican Church in North America, joined by many friends in the United Kingdom, to share the vision and mission of the church with fellow Anglicans. “We are deeply thankful that we were given the opportunity to tell the Synod about our church, and our vision for reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. This chance to speak directly to our Anglican family was very rewarding. We look forward to working with the friends we made and reaching out to others in the years ahead,” said Bishop Donald Harvey, who, with Mrs. Cynthia Brust, Dr. Michael Howell, and the Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum, represented the Anglican Church in North America in preparation for the Synod vote.


Viola Larson said...

That is very good news Chris. Praise the Lord.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

The Lord's name be praised!

(Sorry ... liturgical reflex.)

backwoodspresbyterian said...

Rev'd. Chris,

For the novices can you explain a little what exactly this means?

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

Historic Anglicanism is tied to the historic See (episcopal jurisdiction) of Canterbury. While synodical independence is assured, the ability to transfer across jurisdictions is intimately tied to a particular bishop being invited to Lambeth Palace to make decisions and seek God's will with the other bishops in communion with the See of Cantaur. (Thus, the Anglican Communion - as different from the Roman Communion.)

The same is mostly true of the other autonomous (or autocephalic) churches that maintain catholic faith & order in the East. Russia, Bulgaria, Antioch, etc. all remain tied to one another through their relationship to the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Thus, for AC-NA to be recognized not only by the bishops of, say, the Southern Cone Province, and the Archdiocese of Sidney, and most every archdiocese in Africa & Asia, but also by the Province of England (the mother ship), it is a de facto recognition that we're authentically Anglican Christians bearing the patrimony of historic British Christianity into the next millennium. And that we can move ministers around the Communion because we truly share the same order and faith.

backwoodspresbyterian said...


That makes a ton of sense.


Fr. Chris Larimer said...

It's the same system that the Presbyterians employ - recognizing presbyteral bodies (whether synod, classis / presbytery, or session) for the purpose of shared ministry - except that it is embodied in one person, set apart in historic succession to episcope of the Church in a specific region.

Thus, just as you aren't a Presbyterian Church unless your session is recognized by the presbytery (and delegates sought), nor are you a presbytery unless synod recognizes you as such (and requests delegates), nor are you an Anglican unless the ABC recognizes your province/diocese and invites your bishops.

Lack of recognition would not stop you from being an authentic church of either tradition. But it would limit the sense of shared identity you could claim outside of your local context.

Kathy H. said...

Good for Abp. Duncan and the ACNA!

Just wondering: Were there any reps there from the apostate Episcopal church and did they protest?

Kathy H.
Beaver, PA

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

Thank you very much Rev'd. Larimer.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

Kathy - Yes, there were some clerical delegates there. And I think Mrs. Schori sent her chancellor (legal counsel) over.

Eric Gregory said...

Actually, they only affirm ACNA's desire to be within the Anglican Communion. They specifically do NOT affirm ACNA as a part of the Communion.

As Scott Gunn puts it:

Or, as another Episcopal priest puts it: "Synod declined to express "a desire to be in Communion with ACNA". That matters."

There is no de facto recognition of anything other than ACNA's desire to be Anglican. The Church of England basically said "Yes, we know that you want to be Anglican. However, let's talk about it next year."

Just wanted to keep this in perspective...

Fr. Chris Larimer said...


While TEC certainly wants to spin it that way, even the CofE has reached its limit with TEC. Not because they disagree doctrinally or on social / ethical / political issues...but because TEC evinces a complete disregard for the will of the communion as a whole. The communion in most parts has long had "impaired communion" with TEC. They now have unimpaired communion with us.

The hesitation is British sensibility on the subject: "We're not sure what this means, or how the Instruments of Unity will weigh in on the matter, but we acknowledge your 'Anglicaness' (and that 85% of the world's Anglicans enjoy communion with you) so we'd like some time to suss this out."

It's remarkably fast - and none of the schismatics (such as ACA, APA, TAC, etc.) have ever been granted even a hearing. (Mainly because they only recognize themselves...not even each other, and certainly are not recognized by even a minority in the Communion.) The real questions will be settled by the Primates and the Lambeth invitations.