Affirmation of St. Louis
The Affirmation of St. Louis is the founding document of the Continuing Anglican Movement churches. It was first presented to the Congress of Saint Louis, the 1977 meeting of former members of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the Anglican Church of Canada who approved the creation of a new Anglican church for the United States and Canada. The delegates also accepted the Affirmation by acclamation. Although it was not put to a vote at the Congress, most Continuing Anglican churches nevertheless consider it to be an official statement of their faith. These Continuing Anglican churches consider themselves to be the legitimate replacements for those Anglican churches which, in their view, broke with Apostolic order by authorizing the ordination of women priests.
The Affirmation has several general tenets:
- Dissolution of Anglican Church structures: That the churches to which the delegates had previously belonged had ceased to have a valid ministry through the act of ordaining women to the priesthood.
- Continuation of Anglicanism: That Anglicanism could only continue through a complete separation from the structures of the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada.
- Invalidity of Schismatic Authority: That the churches to which the delegates had previously belonged had made themselves schismatic by their break with traditional order and, therefore, had ceased to have any authority over them or other members.
- Continued Communion with Canterbury: That communion with Canterbury would continue because the Church of England had not, at that time, ordained women to the priesthood. This article of the Affirmation became inoperable with the ordination of women by the Church of England in 1990s.