Anglican Church of North America: Great Wind, Small Sound.

On Wednesday, December 3rd, Cynthia Brust said, "The Anglican Communion has been fractured for some time. Today is the day the Anglican Communion began to be healed." Today, December 5th that healing has yet to begin. The triump felt at the service on Wednesday in which member groups in the Common Cause Partnership signed on to a provisional Provincial Constitution and took the pledge to uphold the Jerusalem Declaration has sagged a bit.

The story was that these groups would sign on and start up a new Church, get the blessing of the GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) Bishops, and start the ball rolling to become the 39th Province of the Anglican Communion. Most of the time lines suggested that the signed provisional Constitution and Jerusalem pledge would go on Thursday to the GAFCON Primates who are in London to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury. GAFCON would recognize the new province and then take that fact to the ABC for his consideration on Thursday or Friday.

The Archbishop's Office put everyone on notice, as reported by ENS, on December 4: "A spokesperson for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has responded to the Common Cause Partnership's December 3 release of a provisional constitution and canons that outline the formation of what they are calling a new Anglican province in North America.

"There are clear guidelines set out in the Anglican Consultative Council Reports, notably ACC 10 in 1996 (resolution 12), detailing the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces," the spokesperson said. "Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete. In relation to the recent announcement from the meeting of the Common Cause Partnership in Chicago, the process has not yet begun."

The ACC10 resolution is available here"

That of course slows down the process of the Anglican Church of North American becoming a Province of the Anglican Communion.

But still the hope remained that the GAFCON Primates meeting in London would recognize the ACNA as a Province on their own. Not so, it appears.

GAFCON Primates have on December 5 issued the following statement"

Primates of the GAFCON Primates' Council meeting in London have issued the following statement about the Province of the Anglican Church in North America.

We welcome the news of the North American Anglican Province in formation. We fully support this development with our prayer and blessing, since it demonstrates the determination of these faithful Christians to remain authentic Anglicans.

North American Anglicans have been tragically divided since 2003 when activities condemned by the clear teaching of Scripture and the vast majority of the Anglican Communion were publicly endorsed. This has left many Anglicans without a proper spiritual home. The steps taken to form the new Province are a necessary initiative. A new Province will draw together in unity many of those who wish to remain faithful to the teaching of God’s word, and also create the highest level of fellowship possible with the wider Anglican Communion.

Furthermore, it releases the energy of many Anglican Christians to be involved in mission, free from the difficulties of remaining in fellowship with those who have so clearly disregarded the word of God."

The careful reader will note that (i) GAFCON recognizes ACNA as a "province in formation." There is no recognition of The Anglican Church of North America, no mention of its having a provisional Archbishop or Archbishop in waiting or whatever. There is no recognition of a Province by GAFCON Primates themselves. Rather the GAFCON Primates statement essentially is an argument for such a Province. The closing paragraph is still clear about the GAFCON Primates condemnation of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. But, they could have nonetheless recognized the Church - the Anglican Church of North America - and they did not. So the end of December 5 brings no proclamation that a new Church or a new Province has been recognized. It is an "initiative."

The scenario most often mentioned was that on December 6, tomorrow, GAFCON would present the reality of a new Province in formation on the ground, one they recognized, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and push for early action on the matter. The GAFCON Primates have been meeting today with the ABC, and Ruth Gledhill is reporting that nothing has happened. She wrote, "The five primates of Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Southern Cone met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in the cathedral. They prayed, started talking at 10am, prayed, had lunch, prayed, carried on talking, prayed again and finished mid-afternoon. Discussions were pretty frank and they went over everything, from Lambeth 1:10, through 2003 to the present day. No-one blinked."

So what will happen tomorrow? Will Lambeth issue a statement about the meeting. Perhaps so. And perhaps it will say, "No one blinked."

"No one blinked" is hardly a great and massive change in the the life of the Anglican Communion.


  1. "...has been fractured so some time.."
    What does this mean?

    Was it ...has been fractured for some time...?" One hopes so, otherwise the meaning is hopelessly obscured.

  2. The new province (or denomination if you prefer) won't actually come into existence until its constitution and canons are ratified at a provincial synod to be held in Bedford, Texas in about six months. So, the GAFCON bishops accurately describe it as being "in formation."

    It doesn't seem likely that the new denomination will be accepted into the AC anytime soon. It's more likely that it will be accepted into communion with certain Provinces (e.g. Uganda and Nigeria) but not with the AC as a whole (just like the Church of Sweden is in communion with the Provinces in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but not with the rest of the AC).

  3. Phillip...I paste them as they come... I think she meant for and have changed it to read that way (in brackets.) Thanks.

  4. Please TECUSA people, realise we are living in a post GAFCON world....

    Do you think the GAFCON Primates were asking Rowan's permission for anything?? You think he is telling them to get in line??? He is never going tobe able to do that in a post GAFCON world....bending over backwards to avoid discipline on TECUSA has robbed him of all authority and he knows it. Now he has to choose what his legacy will be - the AC without small groups of revisionists in TECUSA and its little friends ....or without the majority of Anglicans in the world who are in GAFCON

    He will choose to have GAFCON fully back in the fold with all in the AC genuinely upholding Lambeth 1.10 (with integrity, that is, even if disagreeing with it) and respecting the authority of scripture as well as Communion positions

  5. I find the amazing ability of the uberoly to renew their own history amazing. Last week(!) they were trumpeting the imminent arrival of a new province in full status with the Gaf(fe)con primates shoved up the throat of Dr. Williams. Now of course, when we know it simply did not happen, they never meant that! And they call us "revisionists!"

    Pleeaze! Here is what actually happened. The uberholy failed in Wheaton. Oh they cobbled something together that says they are a something or other. But no one can accuse it of being a church or a functional province. Already ever one from Mr. Iker to various wrong wing thinkers are dismissing or impared Communion-ing or not joining what ever it is.

    And so the gang of 5 meets in London and counts the money and votes and "welcomes" as opposed to recognizing whatever this thing is. They see nothing profitable and do not want to go the mat with the ABC so they pray together and talk, then they slink out of town.

    Now we have Observer inter allia announcing that of course that was the plan all along! Yup, ok, whatever. Does anyone else hear laughter?


  6. Er, Paul Powers, you should know that the Church of Sweden has been in full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada since the 1920's.

    The trouble with any other member of the Anglican Communion recognizing the so-called new Province as a legitimate Anglican entity is that they will thus be importing recognition of Orders which cannot be canonically recognized in the rest of the Communion. We are speaking here of: people who had legitimate Orders but were deposed; people who had legitimate Orders but voluntarily relinquished them; and people who never had legitimate Orders (e.g., REC). The flip side of recognition of Orders is respect for the canonical processes of deposition from and relinquishment of those Orders. By recognizing the Orders of the ACNA types, any other member of the Communion risks caling into question the recognition of its Orders in the rest of the Communion.

  7. Observer, aren't you on the wrong blog? You can find plenty of like minded folks over at Virtue on Line who will agree with you 100%. We can hear them calling your name, "Observer, Observer, where are you???" So why don't you just leave.

  8. Mark, it's truly a pity that angry fundamentalists have taken over your blog.

  9. More of the same, monotonous bovine fecal matter, ad nauseam, from the ever observant Observer.

    Hail the mighty provinces of GAFCON, her righteous primates and their innumerable, blind-faith minions, who now dictate to us all; the historic, but inadequate, Anglican churches of the West and we who are the little friends. We will be assimilated, resistance is futile.

  10. Thanks for the analysis, Mark. I continue to rely on you.

    These stooges continue to entertain me with their strutting and preening. For some reason, I find myself remembering Shakespeare's line about "sound and fury, signifying nothing." The Gafconians certainly have become skilled at sound and fury. I wonder how long their hatred of TEC will hold them together.

  11. Please TECUSA people, realise we are living in a post GAFCON world

    Please Observer, switch to decaf?

    [Personally, I'm gonna stick to "The Earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof". Neither TEC *nor* GAFCON have any ownership rights (and ALL the people have been pretty p*ss-poor stewards of it. Lord have mercy!)]

  12. "AC genuinely upholding Lambeth 1.10 (with integrity, that is, even if disagreeing with it) "

    Lambeth 1.10 will not be fully upheld until the asked-for conversations on human sexuality happen in every province. To date, that has not yet happened.

  13. Please, folks, it does not good at all to simply belittle those with whom you do not agree and show them the door. Observer has as much right to be here as Mark gives him and the rest of us. Argue with the with him if you must, but do not belittle him. That is hardly Christian charity!

  14. Caminante - have you considered the possibility that the conversations have already been had on human sexualityin in many of the provinces, and that even so, the majority have not been convinced there is any reason to change their thinking away from the orthodox interpretation of the Bible, and so Lambeth Resolution 1:10 ought to remain as the AC's standard on human sexuality? It about time the revisionists simply came to terms with the reality, and turned away from their divisive path.

  15. Brian F, the Anglican Communion website provides a summary of the status of the so-called "Listening Process" in the various provinces of the Communion.


    So, yes, it occurred to me that the process might possibly have happened but that no views were changed.

    Then I stumbled on some actual facts.

  16. Brian F, some time back the communion provinces were polled and very few have had the conversations.

    Certain high and mighty African archbishops are of the mind, "We do not need any stinking conversations!"

  17. Speaking of Lambeth 1.10, I believe that particular text, which has apparently assumed the status of Holy Scripture, speaks of heterosexual marriage as a lifelong union.

    So when are the so-called "orthodox" going to stop treating remarriage after divorce--which Jesus Himself flatly condemns as adultery--as a mere faux pas along the lines of eating the entree with the salad fork?

    The sheer vim and vigor with which the so-called "orthodox" have taken up serial polygamy gives the lie to all their concern for Lambeth 1.10, traditional teaching on marriage and the family, and all their other favorite buzzwords.

    When Bishop Wantland and Canon Roseberry and all the other "remarried" so-called "orthodox" abandon their adulterous relationships and return to their spouses, then I will believe that they are sincere in all their blather about the authority of Scripture. But not until then.

  18. nlnh reminds us of the "lifelong" aspect of Christian marriage. Yes, but. Jesus said the law allowed for divorce becasue of hardness of heart, by which I understand the usual impossibility of sinful humans always being able to live up to our own ideal standards.

    There are a couple of possible responses to this. One is to allow what nlnh would call "serial polygamy", which would be remarriage no questions asked. But I must commend the Canadian approach to you. Although the canon does not use this specific language, what it allows for is a dispensation from the impediment of prior bond for pastoral reasons.

    In RC canon law the impediment to marriage of a prior bond (i.e., having been previously married to someone who is still living) may not be dispensed. RC canon law actually does not, on my reading, prohibit divorce; rather it prohibits remarriage after divorce due to the impediment of prior bond. The only solution is to get an annulment, thus declaring that there is in fact no prior bond.

    In the Canadian canon, remarriage after divorce is prohibited unless permission has been granted. In other words, the impediment of prior bond continues to exist, but it may be dispensed from. Thus the canon continues to affirm that marriage is intended to be lifelong, whilst allowing that actual individuals are not always able to live up to that ideal and should not necessarily be banned from a second chance. In a sense, you actually can have it both ways.

    Just thought I'd point it out.

  19. Always amusing how quickly some "liberals" want conservative voices to go to another blog....listening goes 2 ways, right?

    The "listening process"- well, people have been listening for decades but still are not persuaded that TECUSA voting to say something is suddenly compatible with scripture actually stops it being incompatible with scripture.....even the Lambeth Conference at which TECUSA had a quarter of the bishops did not overturn 1.10...why??

    GAFCON - pls, just deal with the realities re numbers, growth and the ABC's loss of authority of most Anglicans in the world because of his attempt to keep contradictory views in the AC.

    Here is the other side of the coin:
    http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/ASA_by_Prov__Diocese_97-07.pdf Why is TECUSA's "new thing" so unattractive to Americans?? Forget GAFCON and the AC - managing the decline of a tiny, aged denomination is TECUSA's real problem.....according to TECUSA's own nos..... parable of the sower and the soils being played out in front of our eyes

  20. Why is TECUSA's "new thing" so unattractive to Americans??

    Because it's not "of this world" just "in it."

    You might want to check your own reality, there, unobservant Observer, given that your statement

    The "listening process"- well, people have been listening for decades ...

    is put to the lie by the results provided by those same people who were abjured to be part of the listening process . . . refer to the above post from Dah-veed:

    Brian F, some time back the communion provinces were polled and very few have had the conversations.

    Certain high and mighty African archbishops are of the mind, "We do not need any stinking conversations!"

    I remember this fact being presented some time last year by the ACC, as I'm sure you do.

    Finally, as for your leaving, don't worry, it's not that you challenge, you're just boring. And, of course, you, BrianF, any Reasserter talking about dealing with "reality" is absurdly humorous, rather like fish telling us all about the Gobi Desert.

  21. Observer, what is the trend in ASA among your schismatic group?

  22. Mark Brunson - that is not a convincing excuse........pls remember that someone once said that his followers would be like the great tree that comes from a mustard seed....not a tiny, declining US denomination.... the US is the developed country with the higest church attendance in the world...still TEC is dying out slowly....why is your "new thing" so unpopular, especially with young Americans? Maybe the parable of the sower and the soils would indicate that TECUSA might be stony ground or being choked by weeds.

    Malcolm - let's talk in 2018....let's see if TECUSA is smaller than ACNA by then.... it might be! ACNA is already 14% of the ASA of TECUSA...(100/700=14%).

    Still too much denial round here....ACNA is a minority in TECUSA, sure, given how many have left TECUSA in the last decades of revisionism being in the ascendant....but ACNA is not in a minority in the AC - you guys realise that TECUSA is in a small minority in the AC, right?

    I really don't get why you guys want to stay in the AC and are willing to sacrifice your principles to do so (eg BO33) .... but I know TECUSA has the sort of "integrity" which can keep BO33 but ignore it on the ground....but do remember we are living in a post GAFCON world and the time for that kind of "integrity" and doublespeak is gone - and the ABC needs to get GAFCON back as their ASA is somewhat better than TECUSA's 0.7m (and falling)

    Seriously, we are told TECUSA has a modern, sophisticated, intelligent, inclusive message....why do so few Americans join TECUSA? Especially the under 60s....why so few in TECUSA in the developed country with the highest rates of churchgoing in the world? Even the limp CofE does better....no point being in denial...TECUSA is failing in its own back yard

  23. Mark Brunson - that is not a convincing excuse........pls remember that someone once said that his followers would be like the great tree that comes from a mustard seed....not a tiny, declining US denomination.... the US is the developed country with the higest church attendance in the world...still TEC is dying out slowly....why is your "new thing" so unpopular, especially with young Americans? Maybe the parable of the sower and the soils would indicate that TECUSA might be stony ground or being choked by weeds.

    Or many are called, few chosen?

    And I am not trying to convince, nor am I offering an excuse, simply the summation of the situation.

    We are the mustard seed.

    I do see you guys as tares, though, if that helps.

  24. The only denial I see, Observer, is the denial of one who makes great pronouncements about ASA but refuses to deliver a number.

    What is the ASA of ACNA?

    I won't hold my breath waiting for your next non-answer or undocumented "statistic" pulled out of the air.

    What is the ASA of ACNA?

    On what basis (other than your own personal revelation) do you make the claime that the ASA of ACNA is 14% of the ASA of TEC? What is the documentary evidence to support this entirely uncredible assertion?

    Round my way, folk are usually offered two options. One is "put up." I'm sure you know the other.

  25. Malcolm - you obviously think you have some powerful point but I really cannot see it....I hope you realise Bishop Duncan has said ACNA has ASA of about 100k.... you can doubt that and you can pretend TECUSA has 2.2m if you like but the reality is 0.7m and falling fast.....

    I note the ABC invites Bishop Duncan to Lambeth and I note the GAFCON Primates were there just last week....and nobody told them not to cross boundaries into the oh so faithful Communion member that is TECUSA... hope you are not in denial re these things too.

    You guys would have a point if GAFCON had not been so big and if TECUSA had not had 1/4 of the bishops at Lambeth but still not achieved anything (1.10 stands, you know?). You would have a point if the ABC was ignoring ACNA and GAFCON - he ain't and you don't....... get ready to reaffirm BO33 if you want to stay in Rowan's club! (and TECUSA is desperate to stay in because it has no platform apart from the AC...hence BO33 hypocrisy...)

  26. Observer, I get the impression that you believe the purpose of the Lambeth Conference was to discuss 1.10 and either abolish it or elevate it to the level of the Creeds. From what I recall, that was not the purpose of the Lambeth Conference.

    As far as your "Post GAFCON world" is concerned, we're also living in a post Lambeth world. And tomorrow we'll all be living in a post Thursday world (and some may already be there, depending upon where one is in relation to the International Dateline).

    Yay! Word verification is ramen. That's what I have for breakfast!

  27. You should pay attenttion, Observer. I believe you'll find that the former Bishop of Pittsburgh claimed a MEMBERSHIP of 100,000 - a number already being disputed for several reasons but most particularly a) the double counting of members from AAC and FiF who are also members of schismatic parishes and proto-dioceses, b) the inclusion of AAC and FiF members who, to date, have not actually left the Episcopal Church, and c)the inclusion of numbers from the proto-dioceses which included the thousands of members who chose to remain loyal to the Episcopal Church.

    So the question remains, of the something significantly less than 100,000 members, what is the ASA for ACNA?

  28. Yes, Mickey...a post Lambeth world in which the ABC was embarrassed by the unrepresentative conference.....a Lambeth Conference in which 1/4 bishops were from 0.7m ASA tiny TECUSA.....and still TECUSA could not and has not got its revisionist agenda accepted....... ever wonder why?

    But the more I think about it, all I want to say to TECUSA people is forget about the AC, GAFCON etc....pls look carefully at what is going wrong with what you are doing in the US. Pls look at why TECUSA is dwindling and will not even exist in a few decades at current rates of decline and given your demographics. Perhaps it is more comfortable to be pursuing a minority agenda in the AC and feel good about that, but TECUSA really needs to get its own house in order..... 815's own nos do not paint a good picture


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.