10/23/2009

The Traditional Anglican Communion: Who are they?


The Traditional Anglican Communion is touted to have some 400,000 members worldwide. They constitute the largest single group of Anglican types set to go to Rome under the new Apostolic Constitution. So who are they?

Here are some bits and pieces of information from and about them:

From the TAC webpages:
  1. The TAC is an Anglican Church.
  2. The TAC exists in Africa, Australia, the Torres Strait, Canada, Central and South America, England, Ireland, India, Pakistan, Japan and the United States.
  3. The TAC is governed by the international College of Bishops. Each bishop promises at his consecration to observe the Concordat, the document that regulates the conduct of the bishops and the life of the TAC.
  4. The Founding document of the Traditional Anglican Movement is the Affirmation of St. Louis. This inspiring document commits us to keeping the Faith that we have received."
As to what makes TAC an Anglican Church is another matter. It is "Anglican" in precisely the sense that the Roman Catholic Church things of "Anglican," that is it is a church with the Church of England ethos written into its life. TAC is not part of the Anglican Communion in any way nor does it pretend to be in such relation.

TAC proudly speaks of the languages of the TAC:

"The TAC worships and conducts its meetings in many languages - Hindi, many of the languages of Africa, Spanish, the languages of; the Torres Strait in Australia, and English"

The Prmate is:

The Most Reverend John Hepworth
P O Box 746
BLACKWOOD
South Australia 5051
Tel: 08 8278 3832 Fax: 08 8278 3833
Mobile: 0405 254 030 E-mail: plusjohn@senet.com.au

Write or phone him if you wish.

TAC was a product of the continuing Anglican movement, and the 1977 Congress of St. Louis in which a lengthy Affirmation document was drawn up. Almost all continuing Anglican movements, including the new Anglican Church in North America derived from that Congress as its starting point. There is an extensive Wikipedia article on TAC HERE.

Bits and pieces from the Wikipedia article:

"The St. Louis Affirmation has several general tenets:

  • Dissolution of Anglican Church structures: That the churches to which the delegates had previously belonged had ceased to have a valid ministry through the act of ordaining women to the priesthood.
  • Continuation of Anglicanism: That Anglicanism could only continue through a complete separation from the structures of the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada.
  • Invalidity of Schismatic Authority: That the churches to which the delegates had previously belonged had made themselves schismatic by their break with traditional order and, therefore, had ceased to have any authority over them or other members

At present the Traditional Anglican Communion consists of 16 member churches:

Africa:

Americas:

Asia:

Australia:

Europe:


Now:

TAC claims 400,000 members.

The claim to the historic episcopate derives from considerable use of wandering or perhaps idle bishops. Louis Falk, the first Primate of TAC was made bishop in the Anglican Catholic Church ordained chief consecrator James Orin Mote (Diocese of the Holy Trinity) in turn made bishop by
the Right Reverend Albert A. Chambers, retired bishop of Springfield, Illinois and so forth. The "tree" of ordaining hands spreads very wide very quickly. This is because most of the ordaining bishops had wandered from their own ordaining bodies, or those were bodies not in communion with any of the major brands - Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Anglican Communion.

There is an excellent site, the "Database of Autocephalous Bishops" that gives a lot of information on bishops ordered outside existing synods for new church communities.

We might note that Bishop David Moyers is part of the Anglican Church in America, itself part of TAC.

Had enough?

What holds all this community of people together is this:

  • They are against the ordination of women. Period.
  • They believe Anglican Churches who allow the ordination of women are failed churches. Period.
  • They believe that no matter where they might have derived their orders as priests and bishops, they are not bound by any vows made to obey the canons or bishops of any church that allows the ordination of women. Period.
I am not sure they care one way or another about gay and lesbian persons. Their fight came up long before the current struggles. They broke with The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada a long time ago, and over the ordination of women.

So this crowd may wander over into the Roman Catholic Church. Maybe there are 400,000 thousand of them world wide.

They are not part of the Anglican Communion. When they go the Anglican Communion does not change size or lose members. If these were members of TEC or ACoC it was years ago. It means the RCC gets people who are Anglican like, but not Anglican, anyway. The RCC gets the flotsam and jetsam of unhappy people. One hopes they will finally be happy, but that is not the vocation of some.

That is why headlines that say 400,000 former Anglicans set to go to Rome are correct in one sense - probably most of these 400,000 were Anglicans, but incorrect in another sense - most left a long time ago, and are not counted as Anglican by the Anglican Communion now.

May TAC be Rome's mess now.

More interesting will be if many current Anglican Communion members or communities decide it is time to join Rome. This may be more a problem in England than in the US, but who knows.


7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link to the database. I had NO idea that there were so many of these people.

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  2. I wonder... did you mean to say "wandering bishops" (episcopi vagantes)?
    - Allogenes

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Flotsam and jetsam" -- wow. Pretty harsh.

    But then again, I think that it a delightful description of the People of God -- despised by the powers of the world, the poor of the earth, scruffy disciples, fishermen, widows with their mites, the people who don't know how to use escargot forks.

    Flotsam and jetsam! Thank God that God looks for the flotsam and jetsam of our world!

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  4. I wonder how accurate the membership numbers are. As we've seen (FOCA, ACNA, etc), it's not unusual for these people to, um, overestimate actual membership and attendance.

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  5. One priest ministering was rushed to retirement from the Anglican church for fondling boys.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ha! My sister belongs to an ACA parish...she claims it's the Episcopal Church the way it's "supposed to be." Hard for me to see her going RC, but maybe...

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  7. Sydney's largest (and perhaps only) TAC parish meets in a nursing home chapel not far from where I live. They claim to have 15 (yes, that's fifteen parishioners, but the day I spied on them there was only 8.

    Somehow I suspect John Hepworth's figures might be just a little exaggerated...

    ReplyDelete

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