ACNA "Approached by ...Canterbury and its party..."

Bishop David Anderson, President and CEO of the American Anglican Council, writes a weekly column. This week he opined that,

"We're aware that a few of our readers hold beliefs and opinions very opposite from ours on matters theological, spiritual and social, and they read our material to keep their communities informed of what the bad old orthodox Anglicans are up to. That's actually OK with us, though we wish God's grace might break through in something said or posted that might change their minds and hearts to align more closely with God's Word and God's heart."

It is certainly true that I read up on what Bishop Anderson and others on the AAC weekly bulletin have to allow, but I cannot honestly say that things here change my mind and heart to "align more closely with God's Word and God's heart." Then again that does not often happen with writers from the progressive left, save of course for the occasional radical tidbit from people like William Stringfellow. Oh well. God's Word and God's heart will just have to suffice in themselves as the instruments of unity with the Source of all Creation. 

No, David Anderson, I read the weekly AAC message to get a sense of what you and yours are thinking. So I found it most interesting that in this week's  message The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey, J.D.,

Chief Operating and Development Office had this to say:

"The ACNA Governance Task Force gathered again to review our Constitution and Canons, now that we have had some time to "live into them" since their ratification in Bedford, Texas, in June of 2009. We reviewed the realignment of North American Anglicanism in the light of Acts 15 - like the Gentile Christians, we too are a movement "outside" the existing recognized structures of the "synagogue." Like the Gentiles, we have been approached by certain leaders and asked to conform our governance to the laws of the institution in order to be properly recognized as brothers and sisters in Christ. (In our case, it is Canterbury and its party asking us to be "circumcised" by the "purported" schedule of requirements for a new Anglican Province, administered by the Anglican Consultative Council rather than by the Primates). " (I have put in bold the interesting part of this posting.)

So... AAC claims that the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, or he himself, or "its party" (whatever that means) has asked the Anglican Church in North America to "conform" its governance to the laws of the institution (the Anglican Consultative Council). ACNA seems to view this as a purity code thing, a kind of circumcision party demand.

Aside from all the tom-foolery of the imagery, the sense here is that Canterbury or some wider "office" of the Anglican Communion has approached the ACNA with some demands. No where here is there any sense that ACNA approached the ACC with a desire to be recognized. 

If, and it is a big if...if Canterbury or "its party" in fact initiated the asking, it would seem to mean that the ACC or Canterbury or someone out there in Anglican Land is inviting ACNA to apply. If that is true, shame on Canterbury or the ACC or whoever.  If it is otherwise, that ACNA has made an initial request to join, then the ACC response is quite in order, and Ashey has deliberately misspoken, twisting the matter to make it look like the ACC is demanding, rather that ACNA requesting. In which case shame on them.

Would Canterbury or "its party" care to respond to this?  Is AAC telling the truth?  


  1. we wish God's grace might break through in something said or posted that might change their minds and hearts to align more closely with God's Word and God's heart.

    Well (in the style of Dickens and his Carol), may that be true of us, and ALL of us.

    Now---what does "God's Word and God's heart" have to do w/ ACNA again? O_o

  2. It is time to get over the idea that Rowan Williams is anything other than an implacable enemy of The Episcopal Church. (I am not, of course, discounting the possibility that the AAC is lying.)

  3. Yes, Lionel, I think they've done it before. . .

  4. Since I don't have any "sources" with the leadership of the ACNA or with the ACC or the ABC's office, this is pure speculation, but my guess is that it's not so much either/or, but instead a little of both. You may remember that shortly after the ACNA was organized, a spokesperson for the ACC stated something to the effect that recognition of the ACNA as a Province of the Anglican Communion would happen (if at all) after a long process which at that point hadn't even begun. It seems logical that there would have been some discussion between the ACNA and the ACC about what would be required to start the process. Also, a little while back the Church of England's General Synod invited the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to report back the the Synod in 2011 on the possibility of the Church of England's being in communion with the ACNA (which is not the same thing as the ACNA being made a part of the Anglican Communion). So, it's easy to imagine that there have been some quiet talks between the ACNA leadership and the Archbishops' offices on this topic. These talks could easily involve a certain amount of "reaching out" on both sides. So, what Canon Ashley reported may be the middle of the conversation, not the beginning of it.

    Also, what I am reading (or very possibly misreading) between the lines of Canon Ashley's entire message (not just the part you extracted) is that what the ACC and/or Canterbury are demanding is too high a price to pay and that official recognition of the ACNA as part of the Anglican Communion is not likely to happen. So, instead the ACNA's efforts should be concentrated on developing its relationships with sympathetic Provinces, especially in the global south, and on its mission work in the U.S. and Canada, which contrary to what some believe, is focused more on the unchurched than on people in the EC or the AC of C.

  5. We've got Ashey's word on this? Right!

    And no, Lionel, I don't buy that "Rowan Williams is .... an implacable enemy of The Episcopal Church".

  6. ps Male genital imagery, particularly undisguised male genital imagery, is not infrequently an indicator that we are, if you'll pardon the term, in fruit & nut country.

  7. Given Dr. Williams notorious anti-North American views why would anyone be shocked?

    I say that reserving the obvious possibility that they made it all up.


  8. I see from a post (11:14 am) at Baby Blue's that the Virginia court has denied CANA's jury trial request.

  9. I tried to post something earlier, but I think it got lost in the ether)
    Not having any "sources" in the leadership of the ACNA or the ABC's office, I obviously don't know for certain, but I suspect that the answer is that both can be said to have "initiated" the discussions. In its constitution the ACNA states its intention to "represent orthodox North American Anglicans in the councils of the Anglican Communion." So in that sense, the ACNA can be said to have started it in Bedford back in 2009, but since it's hardly a big secret, Canon Ashley may have assumed that those who read his message already knew it. On the other hand, in February 2010, the C of E's General Synod adopted a resolution inviting the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to report back to the Synod in 2011 on the issue of the ACNA's relations with the Church of England and with the membership of the Anglican Communion. This would almost certainly involve some discussion between the Archbishops' offices and the ACNA leadership over whether and under what conditions the C fo E might be able to be in communion with the ACNA, which isn't the same as the ACNA being recognized as part of the Anglican Communion, since membership in the Communion isn't just up to the English Church to decide.

    Also, what I am reading (or misreading between the lines) of Canon Ashley's message is that communion between the C of E and the ACNA--and ACNA membership in the Anglican Communion--isn't going to happen anytime soon (if ever), and that the ACNA should concentrate its efforts on mission, aimed primarily at the unchurched, not on Episcopalians or members of other Christian denominations and on strengthening its bilateral ties with sympathetic Provinces. This is exactly what I personally think the ACNA should do (which may be affecting how I read it).


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.