United Episcopal Church of North America
|United Episcopal Church of North America|
The UECNA crest.
|Polity||Episcopal, (with Apostolic Succession)|
|Leader||Peter D. Robinson|
|Associations||Inter-Communion with Anglican Catholic Church, Diocese of the Great Lakes and the Anglican Province of Christ the King|
|Founder||Charles D.D. Doren|
|Separated from||Anglican Catholic Church|
|Congregations||20 parishes and missions |
The UECNA describes itself as orthodox, catholic and evangelical in scope, "embracing the broad base of ceremonial practice inherent in the Historic Anglican Communion - The Anglican Catholic Episcopal Tradition." The UECNA uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
The changes in the mainline denominations that it and other continuing churches object to include the acceptance of abortion, the ordination of women, and changes to the theology of the Book of Common Prayer. They also object to more recent innovations such as the ordination of openly homosexual clergy, but these were not at issue when they broke with The Episcopal Church.
- 1 History
- 2 Intercommunion agreements
- 3 Current leaders
- 4 Doctrine
- 5 Ordination and lay leadership
- 6 Order of St. Benedict
- 7 Publications
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Founding of the UECNA
Bishop Charles D. D. Doren is considered the founder of the UECNA. The church was established in 1981 after he and three parishes left the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) to create the UECNA as a home for Anglicans of the Low Church orientation.
In more recent years, it has described itself as representing Central Church as well as Low Church Anglicans. The church's Constitution and Canons have been modelled on the PECUSA's 1958 Code with some amendments, including the provision for the Presiding Bishop to be at least 40 years of age, and a provision for the erection of dioceses in Canada. The reference to the Presiding Bishop as "Archbishop", which developed during the administration of Bishop Stephen Reber, was addressed by the 2011 General Convention by amending the canons to allow the use of either title at the discretion of the bishop holding that office.
Under the leadership of Bishop Doren (1981–1989) and Bishop Knight (1989–1992), the UECNA grew to over forty congregations. In 1988-90 these were divided between the Diocese of the Ohio Valley and five missionary districts - New England, Midwest, West, South and East. So far this has represented the high-water mark of the church's prosperity.
The UECNA underwent a protracted decline during the early 1990s due to the illness and increasing incapacity of Archbishop Gramley. When the summons to General Convention was issued in 1996 only seven parishes responded, and they proceeded to place the three Missionary Districts into suspension, and the church was administered as a single diocese from then until April 2010. The Rev. Stephen Reber, Sr., was elected as bishop-coadjutor and consecrated in September 1996. Archbishop Gramley died shortly thereafter.
During the late 1990s, Bishop Reber traveled many thousands of miles reactivating old UECNA parishes and receiving new congregations into the jurisdiction. He also relaxed the rather aggressively Low Church stance of the jurisdiction allowing the range of churchmanship within the United Episcopal Church to broaden. However, unlike the ACC and APCK, the UECNA still requires from candidates for the ministry a commitment to uphold the doctrines contained in the Thirty-nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer. In 1999 the UECNA entered into a short-lived intercommunion agreement with the Anglican Province of America which caused the ACC to suspend its intercommunion agreement with the UECNA. However, that action was not mirrored by the Anglican Province of Christ the King.
In 2007, intercommunion with the ACC was restored after a lapse of eight years, so that the UECNA now has cordial relations with both the ACC and the APCK. Currently, the three churches are exploring opportunities for greater cooperation and the possibility of achieving organic unity. Bishop Presley Hutchens of the ACC addressed delegates to the UECNA convention of 2008 and discussed the possibility of uniting the ACC and UECNA. Subsequently, Archbishop Robinson of the UECNA pointed out that the two bodies will have to reach agreement on the status of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion in order for further progress to be made.
At the 2008 General Convention, the clergy and delegates elected three suffragan bishops with the intention that they would serve the UECNA and also assist the ACC and APCK when requested. Two of them subsequently departed the UECNA for the Reformed Episcopal Church, leaving the Right Rev. Peter D. Robinson as the sole suffragan bishop in UECNA until his appointment as Bishop of the Missionary District of the West in November 2009. Bishop Robinson succeeded the Most Rev. Stephen C. Reber as Archbishop of the UECNA on September 6, 2010.
By October, 2013, there were 20 UECNA congregations in 13 states including: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The UECNA also has clergy in Canada.
The UECNA traces its succession from the Church of England as follows:
- John Moore, Archbishop of Canterbury 1783-1805, who in 1787 consecrated
- William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania (PECUSA), Lambeth Palace, Who in 1811 consecrated
- Alexander Viets Griswold, Bishop of the Eastern Diocese, Who in 1841 consecrated
- Alfred Lee, Bishop of Delaware, who in 1885 consecrated
- William Paret, Bishop of Maryland, who in 1909 consecrated
- John Gardiner Murray, Bishop-Coadjutor of Maryland, and subsequently XVI Presiding Bishop of PECUSA, who in 1928 consecrated
- Norman S. Binstead, subsequently Episcopal Bishop of the Philippines, and who in 1948 consecrated
- Isabelo de los Reyes, Jr., Osbispo Maximo of IFI, who in 1957 consecrated
- Francisco Paktakhan, Bishop of ?, who in 1981 consecrated
- Forrest Ogden Miller, Bishop in the Anglican Rite Jurisdiction of the Americas, who in 1996 consecrated
- Stephen C. Reber Bishop-coadjutor of the UECNA, and subsequently IV Presiding Bishop of UECNA, who assisted by Bishop Wiygul of the APCK and Bishop Hutchens of the ACC, on 10 January 2009 consecrated,
- Peter D. Robinson, as a suffragan bishop in the UECNA, who subsequently became Bishop of the Missionary District of the West, and V Presiding Bishop of the UECNA.
And from the Scottish Episcopal Church the line is traced from:
- Samuel Seabury, who joined with Bishops White, Provoost, and Madison in the consecration of
- Thomas Claggett, first Bishop of Maryland, who is one of the three named consecrators of
- Abraham Jarvis, II Bishop of Connecticut, who in 1811 was one of the three consecrators of * Alexander Viets Griswold, then as above,
The UECNA also shares in the "Chambers Succession" via the co-consecrators at Bishop Robinson's consecration.
The UECNA has effected intercommunion agreements with a number of other Continuing Anglican churches. Those presently in effect are with:
House of Bishops
- The Most Rev. Peter D. Robinson, Presiding Bishop of the UECNA, Bishop Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of the West, and Rector of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Prescott, AZ
- The Right Rev. Glen Hartley, Bishop Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of the South and Ozarks, and Rector of St Francis Anglican Church, Ava, MO.
- The Right Rev. Joseph Hamlin Dobson, IV, Episcopal Visitor to the Missionary Diocese of the East, and Rector of St John's Anglican Church and Pro-Cathedral, St Mary's County, MD.
- The Right Rev. Steven Murrell, Assistant Bishop, Missionary Diocese of the East (former Presiding Bishop of the Primitive Episcopal Church).
- The Most Rev. Stephen C. Reber - Archbishop Emeritus, Rector of All Saints' Church, Hillsborough, North Carolina
The National Council is composed of the Presiding Bishop, two other bishops, three priests and six laypersons. The Bishops are elected by the House of Bishops and the clergy and lay members are elected members by the House of Deputies. The Council also contains two representatives from the women's auxiliary, the United Episcopal Church Women (UECW). The National Council meets regularly each year, usually on the second Friday after Easter. However, the Presiding Bishop has the authority to convene special meetings should circumstances require.
The doctrinal position of the United Episcopal Church is defined by the Declaration of Conformity contained in Article VIII of the UECNA Constitution which grounds the doctrine of the Church in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Common Prayer (1928) and the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (1571/1801.)
This means that, unlike some other Continuing Anglican groups, which talk about perfecting or reforming Anglicanism, the UECNA prefers to stress its continuity with the English Reformation and the old Protestant Episcopal Church, and to place its doctrinal emphasis on 'Classical Anglicanism' as contained in the formularies of the Church; the Thirty-nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer. These, in turn, refer us back to the inerrant Holy Scriptures and the Ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church.
While the UECNA used the Affirmation of St Louis to reform its Constitution in 1981-84, it occupies a far less important place in the Church's life and teaching than it does in that of the Anglican Catholic Church, and the Anglican Province of Christ the King. Archbishop Robinson is on record as stating that the Affirmation of St Louis primarily addresses the controversies of the 1960s and 70s and does not materially alter the doctrine of the Anglican Church. This remains grounded on Holy Scripture, the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church, and the Articles of Religion.
On moral issues, the UECNA accepts the Affirmation of St Louis, which in itself reflects the broader Augustinian tradition of Moral theology as understood by the Western Church. The Affirmation in particular affirms
- Individual Responsibility before God for one's acts.
- The Sanctity of Human Life "from conception to natural death"
- Man's Duty to God as set forth "in Natural Law and by the revealed Word of God"
- The indissolubility and sanctity of marriage "between one man and one woman."
- The Sinfulness of Man
- That man is saved by Grace only
- The Christian's Duty to be Moral
In September 2012, the Presiding Bishop (Peter Robinson) issued a statement affirming the UECNA's House of Bishops support for those church bodies opposing the HHS Contraception Mandate. The UECNA is opposed to same-sex marriage, and condemns abortion on Biblical, moral and ethical grounds.
In ceremonial matters, Bishop Robinson points outs that the UECNA has a greater diversity of churchmanship and ceremonial practice than it did in the 1980s. However, the church is very insistent that ceremonial use conforms to traditional Anglican or Episcopalian customs. Historically, the minimum of vestments required for services in parish churches is surplice and tippet (rochet, chimere and tippet for bishops.) At the other extreme, the 1559 Ornaments Rubric represents the maximum of vesture and ornament contemplated by the compilers of the BCP.
While the UECNA is now a broader church than it was in the 1980s, and has a few High Church parishes, it still primarily serves those whose churchmanship was Central to Low/Evangelical.
Ordination and lay leadership
See: Episcopal polity
The UECNA's leadership is divided among lay leaders and ordained ministers as follows:
Those in ordained positions (including students admitted to postulancy) include the following:
- Postulant - Is a student for Holy orders, and is not yet ordained. A postulant must complete not less than one year of study consisting of Church History, Pastoral Work, Liturgics, Doctrine and Holy Scripture. He assists the local parish as a layreader in the offices of the church as called upon and allowed by the canons of the church.
- Deacon - There are two types of deacons: perpetual and transitional. A transitional deacon is training for priesthood. Both serve at the pleasure of the Presiding Bishop. A transitional deacon can be called to assist other priests in the parish. Before priesthood the deacon must serve for not less than one year and complete a course of study.
- Priest - "The priest will take part in community activities and will actively evangelize the un-churched or the lost to become an active part of the Body of Christ."
- Bishop - Bishops are "assigned a Diocese consisting of a given number of parishes, and will provide regular oversight, counsel and guidance to those parishes. An Episcopal visit to each parish will be made not less than once a year and attendance at national counsels and meetings as called."
Lay leadership positions
- Lay reader - a competent layman licensed by a bishop to read some parts of a service of worship.
- Warden - an officer of the vestry (parish council)
United Episcopal Church Women
The UECW is an official organization of women who serve the church.
Order of St. Benedict
Membership is open to married or single men and women over the age of 21 who are convicted that they are called to the religious life.
The order has no established communities and does not establish communities. Instead, "[m]embers provide for their own living quarters and obtain their livelihood through secular or religious employment".
The stages of development are:
- Postulant - one who has made application to the abbot, been accepted to the order, and awaits investiture as a novice.
- Novice - one who vows to a testing period of one year. These vows are taken in the presence of the abbot, or a priest appointed by the abbot.
- Professed member - one who takes final vows of the order. These vows are taken in the presence of the abbot.
- Glad Tidings. News and Events from the UECNA.