- Anglican Church in North America
Anglican Church in North America Classification Anglican Orientation both Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic orientations Polity Episcopal Moderator Archbishop Robert Duncan Associations Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Geographical areas Canada and the United States Origin June 22, 2009
Bedford, Texas, United States
Separated from Anglican Church of Canada and Episcopal Church USA Merge of Common Cause Partnership Congregations c. 694 Members c. 100,000 Official website anglicanchurch.net
The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a Christian denomination in the Anglican tradition with 21 dioceses in the United States and Canada. The church reports that it has 690 congregations serving more than 100,000 Christians in North America. In 2009, the Most Reverend Robert Duncan was elected its archbishop and primate. The ACNA's provincial office is in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.
- 1 History
- 2 Beliefs
- 3 Structure
- 4 Relations with other churches
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Anglican Church in North America was founded by Anglicans who had left the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the USA in the aftermath of the introduction of more liberal policies on homosexuality and claims that those churches no longer taught that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. The new body charges that the two churches "have increasingly accommodated and incorporated un-Biblical, un-Anglican practices and teaching".
Conservative opposition to both the Episcopal Church's liberal-leaning 1979 edition of the Book of Common Prayer and to the ordination of women priests had led to the founding of an earlier wave of independent Anglican churches, the so-called Continuing Anglican movement.
Common Cause Partnership
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Anglican Church in North America · Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
American Anglican Council · Anglican Coalition in Canada · Anglican Communion Network · Anglican Mission in the Americas · Convocation of Anglicans in North America · Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas · Anglican Network in Canada
Global Anglican Future Conference · Departures from the Episcopal Church
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In June 2004, the leaders of six conservative Anglican organizations—the Anglican Communion Network, the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Anglican Mission in America, Forward in Faith North America, the Anglican Province of America, and the American Anglican Council—sent a public letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, pledging "to make common cause for the gospel of Jesus Christ and common cause for a united, missionary and orthodox Anglicanism in North America". They called their alliance the Common Cause Partnership and drafted a theological statement in 2006.
In September 2007, fifty-one bishops met in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to discern direction and to bind themselves constitutionally, saying they intended to found an "Anglican union". Some of the bishops present were foreign bishops, including a retired archbishop. Features of note from the result of the initial meeting include a broad sharing of clergy between the varied groups, an intention to be a "missionary" or church-planting entity, and an intention, after a brief time, to seek international organizational recognition.
Key members of the partnership participated in the June 2008 meeting of conservative Anglicans in Jerusalem, the Global Anglican Future Conference, which in turn prompted the formation of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. A final statement issued by the conference stated that: "we believe the time is now ripe for the formation of a province in North America for the federation currently known as Common Cause Partnership to be recognised by the Primates’ Council" of the Anglican Communion.
Establishing the province
In December 2008, the Partnership met at Wheaton, Illinois, as a constitutional convention to form a "separate ecclesiastical structure in North America" for Anglican faithful distinct from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. There the Partnership's executive committee approved a constitution and canons for the new Church which were to be submitted for formal adoption at the new Church's first Provincial Assembly.
The members of the Common Cause Partnership at the founding of the ACNA were:
- The American Anglican Council
- The Anglican Coalition in Canada
- The Anglican Communion Network
- The Anglican Mission in the Americas
- The Anglican Network in Canada
- The Convocation of Anglicans in North America
- Forward in Faith, North America
- The Missionary Convocation of Kenya
- The Missionary Convocation of the Southern Cone
- The Missionary Convocation of Uganda
- The Reformed Episcopal Church
The Anglican Province of America participated in the Partnership until July 2008.
On June 22, 2009, delegates of the ACNA's founding bodies met at St. Vincent's Cathedral in Bedford, Texas for an inaugural Provincial Assembly to ratify its constitution and canons. At this meeting a number of major steps were taken to officially establish the new province including the election of Robert Duncan, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, as archbishop.
Rick Warren, a leading American evangelical, and Metropolitan Jonah, leader of the Orthodox Church in America, addressed the audience. Nine provinces in the Anglican Communion sent official representatives to the assembly including the Church of the Province of West Africa, the Church of Nigeria, the Church of Uganda, the Anglican Church of Kenya (Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi), the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone (including Archbishop Gregory Venables), the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Church of the Province of Myanmar, the Church of the Province of South East Asia and the Church of the Province of Rwanda.
Other ecumenical observers included Bishop Walter Grundorf of the Anglican Province of America; the Rev Dr Samuel Nafzger of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod; and Bishop Kevin Vann of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.
Leaders from three Anglican provinces (The Most Reverend John Chew of the Anglican Church of the Province of South East Asia, Archbishop Peter Jensen of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, the Most Reverend Mouneer H. Anis, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East) formally announced support for the ACNA. From England, Bishop Wallace Benn and Archdeacon Michael Lawson sent greetings from the Church of England Evangelical Council.
Anglican Mission withdrawal
The Anglican Mission in the Americas was a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America and, at the same time, maintained its status as a mission of the Church of the Province of Rwanda. This "dual citizenship" was defined by protocol between the Province of Rwanda, the Anglican Mission, and the ACNA. However in a May 18, 2010, communiqué, the Anglican Mission announced its decision to transition from full ACNA membership to "ministry partner" status, a designation provided for in the governing structure of the ACNA, and remain a part of the Rwandan province. Reasons cited for the change were that the "dual citizenship" model had caused "significant confusion within the Anglican Mission and the ACNA regarding membership in two provinces, and more importantly, is inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Province of the Anglican Church in Rwanda".
In its Fundamental Declarations, the Anglican Church in North America declares itself part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, confessing Jesus Christ to be the only way to God the Father. Consistent with this, it identifies the following seven elements as characteristic of the "Anglican Way" and essential for membership:
- The Bible is the inspired word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and is the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.
- Baptism and the Lord's Supper are sacraments ordained by Christ and are to be ministered with unfailing use of his words of institution and the elements ordained by him.
- The historic episcopate is an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.
- The church affirms the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three ecumenical (catholic) creeds: the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian.
- Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided church, it affirms the teaching of the first four Ecumenical Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Bible.
- The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the ordinal attached to it, is a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline and, with the Books which preceded it, is the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.
- The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, express the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and express fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.
The Church allows dioceses to decide if they will or will not ordain women as priests, although it does not permit women to become bishops. Concerning marriage, it holds that it is between one man and one woman; therefore, it does not bless same sex unions. Concerning abortion, the ACNA holds a pro-life stance, proclaiming "all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death". The ACNA has authorized several different versions of the Book of Common Prayer for use, including the l979 edition produced by the Episcopal Church. It is in the process of creating a prayerbook for ACNA use.
According to the constitution, the member entities of the Anglican Church in North America are groups of congregations, each group called a diocese, cluster or network. Dioceses can be organized regionally, whereas clusters and networks are groupings led by a bishop and based on some affinity. A member entity has the authority to leave the province if it so chooses.
The Provincial Assembly, meeting at least every five years, is a representative body with delegates from each diocese, cluster, and network. Each jurisdiction is represented by its bishop, two clergy delegates, and two lay delegates. In addition, jurisdictions are entitled to one additional clergy and lay delegates for every 1,000 constituents, calculated by average Sunday attendance. The assembly's duties include electing the Provincial Council from among the members of the assembly and ratifying all constitutional amendments and canons adopted by the Provincial Council. Measures not adopted by the Provincial Assembly are returned to the Provincial Council for revision.
The Provincial Council, meeting at least annually, is the governing body of the province. Every jurisdiction is represented on the council by a bishop, a clergy member, and two lay persons; and the council may also appoint up to six other persons as members. The Provincial Council elects 12 of its members, 6 clergy and 6 lay members, to the executive committee of which the archbishop is chairman. The executive committee acts as the board of directors of the Church.
All bishops in active ministry are members of the College of Bishops. The college elects the archbishop, the presiding officer of the Church, who convenes the Provincial Assembly, the Provincial Council, and the College of Bishops. The college also has authority to approve diocesan elections of bishops, or in some cases actually elect bishops. There are 35 active bishops sitting in the college. The archbishop has a cabinet composed of leading bishops within the church which functions as a council of advice. The Provincial Tribunal is an ecclesiastical court empowered to rule on constitutional and canonical disputes.
Local congregations hold their own property and the province disavows any claim on the property of local congregations. Existing property-holding arrangements within the founding member entities are not affected by their relation to the province. The province also disavows any authority to control the member entities' policies regarding the question of the ordination of women as deacons or priests.
The constitution and canons specify that other non member groups (such as a seminary, monastic order or ministry organization, or a diocese, congregation or other entity) may be considered for association as ministry partners. Ministry partners may have representation in provincial and sub-provincial bodies as determined by the archbishop or bishop with jurisdiction. Ministry partners may withdraw from affiliation or have their affiliation ended with or without cause. ACNA affiliated ministries include Anglican Global Mission Partners (a missionary organization), Anglican Relief and Development Fund, and Anglican1000 (a church planting initiative).
The Anglican Church in North America is organized into the following 21 dioceses:
- Diocese of Cascadia
- Diocese of Fort Worth
- Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes (Not to be confused with the older Diocese of the Great Lakes, an autonomous Continuing Anglican jurisdiction.)
- Gulf Atlantic Diocese
- The International Diocese
- REC Diocese of Mid-America
- Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
- Anglican Diocese in New England
- REC Diocese of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Eastern Canada
- Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh
- Diocese of Quincy
- Diocese of San Joaquin
- Anglican Diocese of the South
- REC Diocese of the Southeast
- REC Diocese of the West
- Diocese of Western Anglicans
- REC Diocese of Western Canada and Alaska
- Missionary Diocese of All Saints
- REC Missionary Diocese of the Central States
- Anglican Network in Canada
- Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The College of Bishops is currently formed by 45 active bishops.
A unique aspect of ACNA polity is the possibility that a diocese or group of dioceses may be under the dual jurisdiction of the ACNA and a province of the Anglican Communion. The Dioceses of Quincy, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, and Fort Worth were formed when majority factions in the corresponding dioceses of the Episcopal Church voted to secede from that body in order to align themselves with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. The Anglican Mission, a founding member of the ACNA but now a ministry partner, during its membership possessed "dual citizenship" with the ACNA and the Church of the Province of Rwanda.
- June 2009: 703 congregations; average Sunday attendance: 69,167
- April 2010: 809 congregations
After the decision of the Anglican Mission in the Americas to change from full membership to the status of a "ministry partner":
- June 2010: 614 congregations
Relations with other churches
The ACNA's constitution expresses the goal to seek recognition as a province of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Church in North America has not yet requested formal recognition by the Anglican Communion office as a province recognized by the instruments of communion. In 2010, the General Synod of the Church of England affirmed "the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family" and called upon the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to report back to the synod after further study in 2011. The office of the Archbishop of Canterbury has said it will take years for the ACNA to possibly gain official recognition from the rest of the Anglican Communion.
In March 2009, the Anglican Church of Nigeria declared itself to be in full communion with the Anglican Church in North America, and the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Uganda declared full communion with the ACNA in June 2009. Inasmuch as these churches report approximately 26,000,000 members, and the Anglican Communion reports over 80,000,000 members, the ACNA is in communion with churches comprising somewhat less than one-third of the membership of the Anglican Communion.
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans primates' council has said that the new church is "fully Anglican" and called for its recognition by existing provinces of the Anglican Communion. A total of nine Anglican provinces sent formal delegations to the inaugural assembly. The Diocese of Sydney passed on the final day of its 2009 synod a resolution welcoming the creation of the ACNA and expressing a desire to be in full communion. The resolution also called for the diocese's standing committee to seek a general synod motion affirming the Anglican Church of Australia to be in full communion with the ACNA. In April 2010, Archbishop Duncan presided at the Eucharist with primates and representatives from 20 Anglican provinces at the fourth Anglican Global South to South Encounter in Singapore. The Global South Encounter called for all Anglican provinces to be in "full communion" with the Anglican Church in North America.
At the ACNA's inaugural assembly in June 2009, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America, while recognizing theological differences, said that he was "seeking an ecumenical restoration". An agreement was announced between Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary and Nashotah House, an Anglican seminary, to guide ecumenical relationships and "new dialogue" between the two churches. Similarly, in March 2010, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod announced that it and the ACNA would hold discussions to "explore dialogue".
In October 2009, ACNA's leadership reacted to the Roman Catholic Church's proposed creation of personal ordinariates for disaffected traditionalist Anglicans by stating that although they believe that this provision will not be utilized by the great majority of its affiliated laity and clergy, they will happily bless those who are drawn to participate in this proposal.
In August 2010, the executive committee approved the creation of a task force on "Islam and interfaith engagement". Regarding the task force, Julian Dobbs, a member of the executive committee and archdeacon for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, stated, "we need to undertake a prayerful, sensitive and honest approach to the issues involved".
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- ^ ACNA: Our Genesis
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- ^ Anglican Church in North America responds to Vatican offer
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