The Anglican Church in North America is about meet in Texas, June 22-25, formally adopt a Constitution and Canons and install its first Archbishop and Primate, Robert Duncan.
Supposedly twenty-eight dioceses or diocese-like entities will come together to form this new church. ACNA will be called a Province, but it is unclear what it is a province OF. It is not a Province of the Anglican Communion. It will be a church and no doubt accorded church status by various other churches including churches in the Anglican Communion.
As yet we do not know what these twenty-eight dioceses/ entities are called, which are area and which are network entities, what sort of overlap there is among various entities, etc. The number 28 has been announced by ACNA. But numbers are just numbers. We know the sources for the episcopal leadership, but beyond that there has been very little said about merging various source ecclesial structures or building new dioceses out of existing congregations in particular areas. The Diocese of Western Anglicans and the Diocese of Cascadia seem to be entities of this sort.
Two expressions of hesitation about the whole thing have arisen in the past few days.
David Virtue has posted a letter from the head of the Anglican Catholic Church, in an article titled, "Anglican Catholic Church Primate Declines Invitation to attend ACNA Provincial Assembly."
From the Primate's letter: "In summary, then, we see in the ACNA the fundamental alterations in traditional Anglican faith, worship, order, and practice that led to the formation of our own Continuing Church in 1978. We would be glad to establish conversations with your ecclesial body in hopes that you may, having freed yourselves of the Episcopal Church, continue further on the same path by decisively breaking from a corrupt Anglican Communion and by returning to the central tradition of Christendom in all matters, including the male character of Holy Orders, the evil of abortion, and the indissolubility of sacramental marriage. We recommend to your prayerful attention the Affirmation of Saint Louis, which we firmly believe provides a sound basis for a renewed and fulfilled Anglicanism on our continent."
The Affirmation of Saint Louis has now re-entered the conversation as a determining agreement (can anyone say covenant?).
The Anglican Catholic Church was not part of the ACNA group, but the presence of the ACC Primate would have added more to the festivities as will the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of America if he comes. Be sure that there will be representatives of some of the non-Anglican Communion Anglican churches in the mix at picture taking time.
On a more immediate front Bishop John Rodgers of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has written a brief arguing FOR the adoption of the Constitution and Canons by those gathered in Texas. His essay appears on the Common Cause Partnership web pages as "The ACNA Constitution - An Evangelical View The fact that Bishop Rodgers must make a plea for the constitution of ACNA is of some interest.
He says, "I am aware that there are several concerns articulated by various individuals concerning the Proposed Constitution and most particularly by Evangelicals concerning language about the Historic Episcopate being integral or inherent to the nature of the Church."
Evangelicals (and I suppose this means in part the Reformed Episcopal Church) in the ACNA community of churches seem to have some reservations about either the fact of bishops or their particular role in governance in ACNA.
So there is gnawing at the bone going on from both ends - some Anglican Catholic mutterings about those women, and some evangelical muttering about those bishops.
I doubt that these hesitations will bring things to a stand still. But, regarding the second of the hesitations, Bishop Rodgers warns, "If we do not agree with the Proposed Constitution at this founding Assembly then no Church is formed at this point." There will be a train to catch in Texas, whether it is as widely inclusive as it promises to be is unclear. Perhaps there will be separate coaches. Who knows who will get tickets to ride. And who knows where the train is headed?