The General Synod of the Church of England will be meeting next month. It offers to be fun for those of us interested in matters Anglican. The big issue will be the ordination of women bishops. In the run-up to the meeting, various reports and position papers will be produced. Just released is a document published with the signatures of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York discussing the relationship of the CoE and the Anglican Church of North America. This was produced in response to a motion that originally was intended to express the CoE’s ongoing commitment to relationship with ACNA. Here’s the document: gs misc 1011 – acna
It’s short, rather odd and a classic example of episcopal (i.e, of bishops, not of our church) fence-sitting:
18. We would, therefore, encourage an open-ended engagement with ACNA on the part of the Church of England and the Communion, while recognising that
the outcome is unlikely to be clear for some time yet, especially given the strong feelings on all sides of the debate in North America.
19. The Church of England remains fully committed to the Anglican Communion and to being in communion both with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church (TEC). In addition, the Synod motion has given Church of England affirmation to the desire of ACNA to remain in some sense within the Anglican family.
Just what is the ACNA? And in what way is it Anglican in structure and polity? Mark Harris goes through some of the jurisdictional quagmire that exists among the dissenting Anglican communities in North America here.
Of course the core problem is that ACNA, CANA, AMiA, ex Recife, all believe these interventions by Provinces in the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are “jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican.”Where the hell did they get that idea? One hopes not from Lambeth Palace, but if not there where? Who knows?But one thing is for sure. Who ever thought that propping up deposed bishops under new flags in jurisdictions already having Episcopal / Anglican oversight was “fully Anglican” was full of it.If ACNA bishops are not in “jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican” well, the deck of cards begins to collapse. And they are not. Archbishop Duncan admits as much when he writes, “The present reality is brokenness. The vision, however, that governs our fledgling Province remains unchanged…”ACNA is not yet a “province” of anything, no matter that the Episcopal Church in the Sudan recognizes it as and “orthodox” partner and the GAFCON / Global South folk considers ACNA a full fledged partner. This is because not being a recognized province these bishops and people understand that to be “fully Anglican” they need to be under the jurisdiction of an existing Province.
AMiA bishops who have left Rwanda are clearly not under jurisdiction now. ACNA bishops in Fort Worth, Quincy, San Joaquin and Pittsburgh are not with the Southern Cone. If not there where are they?
Confused? Don’t worry. You should be. It’s all quite confusing. The structures and jurisdictional relationships of these various dissenting Anglican bodies have never been clarified, and in the last few months, things have gotten even more jumbled. That the Archbishops could have written a document concerning the relationship of the CoE to ACNA without addressing ACNA’s origins, history, and current status is mind-boggling.