Anglican Church in North America
|Anglican Church in North America|
|Orientation||both Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic orientations|
|Associations||Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Global South|
|Region||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|
The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a Christian denomination in the Anglican tradition in the United States and Canada. The church reports that it has 29 dioceses and 983 congregations serving more than 112,000 members in North America. The ACNA's provincial office is located in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. The first archbishop of ACNA was Robert Duncan, who was succeeded by Foley Beach in 2014.
The ACNA was founded in 2009 by former members of the Episcopal Church in the US and the Anglican Church of Canada who were dissatisfied with increasingly liberal doctrinal and social teachings in their former churches, which they considered contradictory to traditional Anglican belief. Prior to 2009, these conservative Anglicans had begun to receive support from a number of Anglican churches and provinces outside of North America, especially in the Global South. Several Episcopal dioceses and many individual parishes in both Canada and the US voted to transfer their allegiance to Anglican provinces in South America and Africa. In 2009, many Anglican groups who had withdrawn from the two North American provinces united to form the Anglican Church in North America. This process of Anglican realignment has created disagreement within the worldwide Anglican Communion over the status of these realigned dioceses and parishes.
From its creation, the Anglican Church in North America's stated goal has been to replace both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada as the official province of the Anglican Communion in North America. It has not received official recognition, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other instruments of unity. Nevertheless, friendly relations exist between ACNA and other Anglican provinces outside North America, including the Church of England in some respects. The ACNA is in full communion with three provinces in the Anglican Communion: the Church of Nigeria, the Church of Uganda, and the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan. It has also received recognition and support from the Global South Anglican churches, a grouping of 24 Anglican Communion provinces.
The ACNA has attempted to incorporate the full spectrum of conservative Anglicanism within Canada and the United States. As a result, it accommodates Anglo-Catholic, charismatic, and evangelical theological orientations. It also includes those who oppose and support women's ordination. Women can serve as clergy members in some dioceses, while other dioceses maintain an exclusively male clergy. Women are ineligible to serve as bishops. The ACNA teaches that Christian marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman and that homosexual relationships are sinful. The church holds a pro-life position on abortion and euthanasia.
The Anglican Church in North America was founded by Anglicans who had left the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the United States over concerns that the teaching of those churches had grown more liberal. The new body charged that the two existing churches "have increasingly accommodated and incorporated un-Biblical, un-Anglican practices and teaching". Two major events which contributed to ACNA's formation both involved human sexuality. The first was the 2002 decision of the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada to authorise a rite of blessing for same-sex unions; the second was the General Convention's ratification of the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay non-celibate man, as Bishop of New Hampshire the following year.
The new Anglican group also charged that the existing churches had abandoned the traditional Christian belief that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. In particular, Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church since 2006, has been strongly criticised for her comments to that effect, (although the "Core Beliefs and Doctrines" of the Episcopal Church make no mention of possible salvation apart from Christ).
Conservative opposition to both the Episcopal Church's 1979 edition of the Book of Common Prayer and to the ordination of women priests led to the founding of an earlier wave of independent Anglican churches, often called the Continuing Anglican movement.
Common Cause Partnership
|Part of a series on the
|American Anglican Council · Anglican Coalition in Canada · Anglican Communion Network · Anglican Network in Canada · Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas · Forward in Faith|
|Anglican Mission in the Americas · Anglican Province of America · Convocation of Anglicans in North America · Episcopal Missionary Church · Reformed Episcopal Church ·|
|Anglicanism · Windsor Report · Ordination of women · Homosexuality and Anglicanism
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 Reformed Communion
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. There were provinces in the Anglican Communion who sent official representatives to the assembly, namely the Church of the Province of West Africa, the Church of Nigeria, the Church of Uganda, the Anglican Church of Kenya, represented by 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. 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 Church of the Province of South East Asia, Archbishop Peter Jensen of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and Mouneer 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.
Withdrawal of the Anglican Mission
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".
On December 20, 2011, Archbishop Duncan announced that, due to the resignation of the majority of Anglican Mission bishops from the Province of Rwanda on December 5, the Anglican Mission had lost its "ministry partner" status with the ACNA and that most of AMiA's bishops had lost their status in the ACNA's College of Bishops. Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and Archbishop Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America issued a Joint Communiqué on April 28, 2012, to address the future of the AMiA. Meanwhile, the House of the Bishops of Rwanda decided to establish the Missionary District in North America (PEARUSA) to pursue the same work in the United States. The AMiA members were given three alternatives: to join the PEARUSA, to join another Anglican jurisdiction through letters dimissory, or remain in the AMiA. A deadline of August 31, 2012, was established for the clergy and the congregations of the AMiA to decide their future. In April 29, 2012, Archbishop Henri Isingoma expressed his official approval for the temporary admission of the AMiA at the Anglican Church of Congo until its future was clarified. Bishop Chuck Murphy, of the AMiA, expressed his will that the fracture between the AMiA and the ACNA could be solved in an answer letter to Archbishop Duncan, on 8 September 2012.
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.
In addition to the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer, the ACNA has authorized the use of later versions, including the 1928 and 1979 editions produced by the Episcopal Church and the 1962 edition produced by the Anglican Church of Canada. In 2013, the College of Bishops approved on a trial basis Texts for Common Prayer, a collection of liturgies made specifically for the Anglican Church in North America. Texts for Common Prayer includes morning prayer, evening prayer, the Eucharist or Lord's Supper, and an ordinal.
The ACNA has both Anglo-Catholic and evangelical members and is considered to be more theologically conservative than the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. 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 and euthanasia, 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 is associated with Anglicans for Life for promotion of the pro-life ministry.
According to the constitution, the member entities of the Anglican Church in North America are groups of congregations, each group called a diocese or network. Dioceses can be organized regionally, whereas 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 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 50 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 Anglican 1000 (a church planting initiative).
- See also List of dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America, List of bishops of the Anglican Church in North America.
The Anglican Church in North America is organized into the following 29 dioceses:
- Missionary Diocese of All Saints
- CANA Armed Forces and Chaplaincy Jurisdiction
- Anglican Network in Canada
- Diocese of the Carolinas
- Diocese of Cascadia
- REC Diocese of the Central States
- CANA Diocese of the East
- 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
- International Diocese
- REC Diocese of Mid-America
- Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
- Anglican Diocese in New England
- REC Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic
- Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh
- Diocese of Quincy
- Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others
- Diocese of San Joaquin
- Anglican Diocese of the South
- REC Diocese of the Southeast
- Anglican Diocese of the Southwest
- CANA Missionary Diocese of the Trinity
- Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest
- CANA Diocese of the West
- REC Diocese of the West
- Diocese of Western Anglicans
- REC Diocese of Western Canada and Alaska
- Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast
PEARUSA is a missionary district with equivalent status to a diocese.
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 later a ministry partner, until December 2011, 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
- June 2010: 614 congregations (after the decision of the Anglican Mission in the Americas to change from full membership to the status of a "ministry partner")
- July 2013: 908 congregations
The ACNA's constitution expresses the goal to seek recognition as a province of the Anglican Communion. A total of nine Anglican provinces sent formal delegations to the inaugural assembly. 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. The office of the Archbishop of Canterbury has said it would possibly take years for the ACNA to gain official recognition from the rest of the Anglican Communion.
ACNA's relations are not friendly with the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, despite the presence of many theologically conservative Anglicans in both churches. Many ACNA parishes, clergy, and bishops were originally members of these churches. The re-alignment process has seen both sides charge each other with heresy and schism. In several cases there have been protracted legal disputes over church property (for example, when the ACNA's Diocese of Fort Worth split with the Episcopal Church's Diocese of Fort Worth), with some of these lawsuits ongoing for years.
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. Archbishop Robert Duncan was present at the Global South Fourth Encounter that took place in Singapore, from 19 to 23 April 2010, where he presided at the Eucharist and met Primates and representatives from 20 Anglican provinces. The Global South Encounter final statement declared: "We are grateful that the recently formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a faithful expression of Anglicanism. We welcomed them as partners in the Gospel and our hope is that all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy and people of the ACNA and the Communion Partners."
In March 2009, the Anglican Church of Nigeria declared itself to be in full communion with the Anglican Church in North America, followed by the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Uganda in June 2009, and the Episcopal Church of Sudan in December 2011. Inasmuch as these churches report approximately 30,500,000 members, and the Anglican Communion reports over 80,000,000 members, the ACNA is in communion with churches comprising somewhat one-third of the membership of the Anglican Communion. 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 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. Published in December 2011, the Archbishops' follow up report recommended "an open-ended engagement with ACNA on the part of the Church of England and the Communion" but also stated that a definitive outcome would be unclear for sometime.
Archbishop Robert Duncan met following his invitation the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in May 2013, to discuss the recognition of the ACNA religious orders in the near future. Welby announced on 16 January 2014 that the Rev. Tory Baucum, Rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, a parish of the ACNA, had been elected unanimously to serve as one of the Six Preachers of the Canterbury Cathedral. The Very Rev. Robert Willis, dean of Canterbury Cathedral, stated on the occasion: "In recent times, the Six Preachers have become a significant and diverse group from across the whole Anglican Communion and fulfil a role of preaching and teaching from time to time in Canterbury. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Baucum, whose particular gifts will enrich the group still further." Baucum was installed on 14 March 2014, attended by both Justin Welby and Robert Duncan. In October, 2014, Welby stated that "Tory Baucum was ordained before ACNA emerged, many years before, and is validly ordained with Anglican Orders and for that reason was eligible to be a Canterbury Six Preacher." He further stated that "ACNA is a separate church. It is not part of the Anglican Communion." 
On 9 October 2014, following the ceremony of investiture of Foley Beach as Archbishop and Primate of ACNA, an official statement, which recognized Beach as "a fellow Primate of the Anglican Communion", was signed by the seven Anglican Archbishops there present: Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, Stanley Ntagali of Uganda, Onesphore Rwaje of Rwanda, Stephen Than Myint Oo of Myanmar, and Héctor "Tito" Zavala of the Southern Cone of 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" between Orthodox and Anglicans in the United States. 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. Archbishop Foley Beach met Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church at a ecumenical meeting that took place at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, in Yonkers, New York, at 8 November 2014, which main purpose was the prosecution of the Anglican and Orthodox dialogue in the United States. Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America was also present and invited Archbishop Foley Beach to the Orthodox All-American Council, to take place in Atlanta, Georgia, in July 2015.
The ACNA established dialogue with several Lutheran groups. In March 2010, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod announced that it and the ACNA would hold discussions to "explore dialogue". The ACNA is the first non-Lutheran denomination to enter into any sort of dialogue with LCMS. The ACNA has approved a request from the North American Lutheran Church to share clergy where there are vacancies. In addition, there is a Lutheran group which has requested to be admitted into the ACNA as a diocese.
It was held a "Marriage Summit", in Dallas, Texas, from 3 to 5 May 2013, with representatives of ACNA and three Lutheran denominations, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Church-Canada and the North American Lutheran Church, which resulted in an official joint document, "An Affirmation of Marriage", approved by the heads of all the four church bodies and described as "a strong example of biblical ecumenicism at work", defining the divine nature of "marriage to be the life-long union of one man and one woman".
The ACNA has held three ecumenical dialogue meetings with the Polish National Catholic Church, being the most recent at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Snows, in Belleville, Illinois, at 15-16 July 2013.
The ACNA has been involved with evangelical movements such as the Laussanne Conference on World Evangelism and has observer status with the National Association of Evangelicals. It is working to begin dialogue with the Presbyterian Church in America and the Assemblies of God USA. The ACNA is also partnering with Messianic Jewish groups.
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 ACNA College of Bishops and Missionary Bishop of 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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