"Confessing Communion," the new pitch and cry.

It's been around for a while - the phrase "confessing Anglicans." It was supposedly used in conversations with the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2003 when the idea of a network of confessing dioceses arose. That network became the Anglican Communion Network (formally the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.) The "confessing" idea got dropped for a while, the problem being that if this network was the "confessing" church, then the assumption was that the other gatherings of Anglicans was riddled with state or culture conforming ideologies. The jump in thinking from the confessing church in Germany to the network implied a level of condemnation of the mainstream church structures that did not sit well with some allies.

But the idea has never disappeared.

Now, following the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in 2008, new uses of "confessing" have sprung up in the Communion. In the last few months there has been an increasing testing of the waters, using "confessing" in new contexts.

First there was the idea of The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, a product of GAFCON. That project is underway, although there is no way from the website to get any sense of how many people belong to FOCA. The GAFCON website now proclaims that FOCA, UK is about to be launched. This gives the "confessing" Anglican folk a foothold in England, and brings it issue into the Archbishop of Canterbury's back yard. Now he can experience the joys of a network that confesses over against the established church.

The Rev. Phil Ashey, COO and Chaplain of the American Anglican Council, wrote this in the AAC Newsletter, "There are two communions today which call themselves Anglican. The one is the Canterbury Communion. The other is the Confessing Communion." Now the notion of a fellowship of confessing Anglicans becomes "the Confessing Communion" a spiritual entity in opposition to "the Canterbury Communion."

Bishop David Anderson, the President of AAC ends his general comments in that newsletter by stating, "For those soldiers of the Cross who are on the front lines of this conflict, we pray for God's full equipage for the spiritual battle ahead, for we war not with flesh and blood but with the powers of darkness which use men and women in support of their shadowy plans."

War language continues, the "confessing Communion" is floated as the spiritual and real Anglican Communion, as opposed to the "Canterbury Communion" which is seen as involving the powers of darkness, etc.

It is not a pretty sight. And it is a trumped up one. But the test of this new idea of a "confessing Communion" will go on for a while, and then they will try something else.


  1. Can't wait for the acronym for the FOCA Dioceses of the UK.

  2. I wonder if the new acronym might be like the very eye-catching one used to great effect by French Connection -- United Kingdom?


    As for all the holy war rhetoric, I can hear Cromwell's ghost marching to Ireland determined not to repeat Saul's disobedience.

  3. Many of those confessing Anglicans have a lot to confess. I wonder when they will get around to it.

  4. Perhaps they meant to say "Confusing Communion."

    For a bunch of Southern Baptists and Pentecostals to promote themselves as Anglican like this does suggest a certain befuddlement.

    (The verification word is "wrypopin." I guess that's when someone popes but does it with a strong sense of irony.)

  5. I suggest these folks find a third, outside party/priest, to confess to...they obviously haven´t noticed the vile character defects that are on display with every lie, every exclusion, every attempted theft and worse, every instigation from the pulpit of ¨witch hunts¨ and ¨massacres¨(Uganda/Nigeria) demonization and murder of marginalized Christians/others...yes, they need ¨confession¨ but first they best get help for their deep seeded emotional problems so they can be aware they are VERY DANGEROUS and disturbed human beings (who cloak/convince themselves in/of self-righteousness/fear and selectively believe what they wish to believe as they drift away from reality).

  6. FUCA-UK comes immediately to mind. I think we should wish them well. How about a GC resolution recognizing that the unique problems in facing an apostate established church merits special consideration so TEC recognizes the need for extra primates in England?

    I think the ABC deserves the help. Besides incursion are not according to the orthodite wing morally equal to other errors so we would only be committing a minor violation.


  7. This is old IRD code for "no gays or liberals or democrats or uppity women allowed". In other words, a "confessing" communion is the same-old country club approach to church. They are the only holy ones and everyone else is damned to hell forever because they aren't conservative traditionalists. I've begun to understand that as the pendulum of history swings it seems to become necessary for this kind of split to occur periodically in order to keep us all from destroying each other and the earth herself. It's happening in our politics, our communities, and our churches.

    I'm becoming more and more comfortable with the conservative/traditionalist and the liberal/innovative communions becoming separate entities. The moderates/via media types can alternate between the two while the vast majority of human beings yawn and look elsewhere for an authentic witness of Jesus the Christ.

    Those who are inclined towards patristic, authoritarian, fear-based religion will have their home and those who are inclined towards freedom, autonomy, and belief that doesn't defy logic and common sense will have their home. Those who can't decide about anything again will be able to alternate.

    And as Christianity as we know it dies and is eventually buried due to our internecine fighting, I have no doubt that God will raise something new, beautiful, and amazing to take its tired old place. It will be hard for those of us who are sentimental (to our varying degrees) but it seems more than necessary and time for this renewal, revival, re-imagining, IMHO.

  8. Deacon Charlie Perrin23/5/09 2:15 PM



  9. FOCDUK - reminds me of that old shaggy dog story about the monogrammed tea towels ordered at Bloomies by the First Unitarian Church, Kennebunkport, ME.

    Actually Greg Griffith had a very funny piece on the problem of shortages of letters in the alphabet - I think there were no more 'A's', or 'C's' and the 'N's' were in very short supply.

  10. The Government Documents and Micro-Forms department of the library at which I used to work had a memorable acronym as well, Elizabeth.

    Keep on topic! Keep on topic!

  11. Maybe they can replace the Doxology with Onward Christian Soldiers.

    That just might be fitting.

  12. At a cub scout election many years ago, one entry was the Flick party (presumably a reference to the flicks, films) -- spelled in sanserif caps with little space between the L and the I. FLICK. I spent the evening wondering if anyone would notice.

    Murdoch Matthew

  13. Robert Dodd25/5/09 7:18 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Murdoch, In my youth, I often volunteered at the state mental hospital with the patient activity department. A local movie theater once donated cases and cases of chocolates packaged in foil-wrapped cardboard tubes and proudly emblazoned with the name: "FLICKS," done in a stencil typeface. Since it was not Christmas, Easter or a usual holiday donation time, we couldn't figure it out at first until, at last, viewing them at a bit of a distance. Then it hit us.


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