New Province, of Something, Begun

As promised, the Common Cause Partnership put into play a "provisional constitution" for The Province of the Anglican Church in North America" on Wednesday, December 3rd. It is unclear just what this entity is a province of. The provisional constitution simply states, "We seek to be and remain in full communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacraments and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." It is not yet clear just who among the Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces are ready to be in full communion with them. So at the moment at least this is a "new province of something."

The Provisional Constitution holds few surprises and confirms matters already in play in the realignment community of churches and agencies. Several items to note:

(i) The name of the new entity is "The Province of the Anglican Church in North America" hereafter known as PACNA, or perhaps ACNA.

(ii) The Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership will be the first primate of this new province and will, at least from within be known as "The Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America." The first Primate of this new Province of Something is the deposed Bishop of Pittsburgh.

(iii) In the future "the Archbishop will be elected by the College of Bishops." No mention is made of any reference point beyond that body. In particular there is no mention of a cognate body of clergy or laity involved in either nomination or affirmation.

(iv) Regarding the ordination of women, "The Province shall make no canon abridging the authority of any member dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) and those dioceses banded together as jurisdictions with respect to its practice regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate or presbyterate." There is no mention of the possibility of women being ordained as bishops and we can assume that means no women bishops, and most particularly no women primates.

(v) The founding members entities of the Common Cause Partnership joining in this Province are:
The American Anglican Council
The Anglican Coalition in Canada
The Anglican Communion Network
The Anglican Mission in the Americas
The Anglican Network in Canada
The Convocation of Anglicans in North America
Forward in Faith – North America
The Missionary Convocation of Kenya
The Missionary Convocation of the Southern Cone
The Missionary Convocation of Uganda
The Reformed Episcopal Church

Note that the four groups, now constituted as dioceses of the Southern Cone, that are part of CCP are called "The Missionary Convocation of the Southern Cone." This, of course, is a name and group made up out of thin air.

Of the groups involved, several are not ecclesial entities - The Anglican Communion Network, Forward in Faith - North America, the Anglican Network of Canada, and the American Anglican Council. Of the remaining only one is a church not related to one of the rogue Provinces with US or Canadian "convocations."

(vi) The Provisional Constitution begins with a strange preamble that wanders through a brief revised standard realignment version of history - it begins with a lament,"We are grieved by the current state of brokenness within the Anglican Communion prompted by those who have embraced erroneous teaching and who have rejected a repeated call to repentance."

(vii) It does as the GAFCON Primates required. In Section 1 of the Provisional Constitution it states, "We affirm the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Statement and Jerusalem Declaration issued 29 June 2008." In doing so they seal their commitment to reject churches and bishops who are in error - namely the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

(viii) In watching the AnglicanTV video of the proceedings it appears that Bishop Ackerman was present which means, one assumes, that he has assented to the formation of this Province of Something and has cast his lot with them.

(ix) The canons, nine in number, give a skeletal form for canons to come. Among the canons is one that spells out the oath of conformity:“I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation, and I consequently hold myself bound to conform my life and ministry thereto, and I do solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the Anglican Church in North America.”

The only difference, aside from the reference to the Anglican Church in North America and the absence of the phrase "I do solemnly declare that...", is the phrase, " ..and I consequently hold myself bound to conform my life and ministry thereto..."

(x) Everyone is allowed to use whatever book they were using before, and lip service is given to "The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, are received as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship." (Canon 6)

So, there you have it: There is now a New Province of Something, whose name is the Province of The Anglican Church in North America. It's Primate and Archbishop is Robert Duncan, deposed bishop of Pittsburgh and Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership. Bishops will be men, women priests and deacons will, or will not be, allowed in the dioceses of ACNA. The Archbishop will be elected by the bishops. Everyone will use whatever prayer book they came with and the Province will begin to develop their own. Doesn't this sound like fun?

But still the question remains: Of what are they a Province? But of course that does not matter, because the Constitution and Canons, provisional though they may be, make no reference to any point outside the province except to say that they will be in communion with those they wish to relate to, and who will relate to them. There is no mention of the Archbishop or the See of Canterbury.

It's not your mother's Anglican Communion, or your father's Anglicanism. It is a brokenness.


  1. What exactly is this "Anglican Church" they are a province of? I know of no worldwide Anglican Church. Now, there is a worldwide Anglican Communion of churches, but that apparently is not what they are a province of...

  2. "It's not your mother's Anglican Communion, or your father's Anglicanism. It is a brokenness. "

    Yes - and who tore the fabric of the Communion in 2003, despite ALL the Primates of the AC begging for divisive actions not to be taken??

  3. It's not Anglicanism in anything except appropriated name. It's Presbyterianism with bishops.

    They have created more problems for themselves than they solved.

  4. Tim

    If they're looking for an acronym, how about this:

    Province of the ANglIcan Church in North America, or PANIC-NA! for short?

  5. Please allow me to add to your thoughts, James: Apologies are in order to any Presbyterians who may pass this way.

    To associate any Christian body with the likes of Duncan, Iker, and Ackerman is an insult to the highest degree.

  6. Echos of the 70's when a variety of Episcopalians broke awayover the issues of the ordination of women and the revision of the Prayer Book, consecrated their own bishops, even I think had an archbishop or two, fought like cats and dogs over who came more clearly in line with various Nicene canons, and came to nothing. One such remnant of the faithful set up just behind a parish I was serving in Warrenton, Virginia in a former woodworking shop once known as "Ralph's" Everyone in town called it St. Ralph's. They had a rapid succession of rectors, since hardly anyone worked to their satisfaction. Once the Senior Warden had lunch with me seeking a back channel to a possible return to Episcopal Church. It went nowhere. In that conversation, I remarked, quietly, "You know, you are not recognized as a legitimate part of the Anglican Communion by anyone." He replied."We know that." I anticipate that this most recent conglomerate is headed down the same path.

  7. ECUSA is also not my mother's or father's - or any other generation's - Anglicanism - not by a long shot.

  8. Mark,

    Worthy of notice: The constitution and/or canons say nothing about the Anglican Communion or the See of Canterbury. So far, their only pledge is to the 1662 (and earlier) BOC(s), which is nothing more than what other ersatz Anglican bodies have said before.

    The question now that needs to be addressed by the Exec Council/GC is what will be the relationship with provinces that will (by virtue of recognizing The Anglican Thingy, TAC) formally break communion with us.

    There are a number of issues that need be considered, I believe, sooner rather than later, such as Missionaries in those provinces, financial assistance, and other contacts. I am not saying that we would need to withdraw, but may be we may need to study some other form of continuing assistance without pretending that nothing has happened. One way, may be, would be to channel our support through the Lutherans or other Anglican Province (A similar system that nations use when they break diplomatic relations). But certainly, I believe that the elephant must be acknowledged. Otherwise, there is no road to (eventual) reconciliation.

  9. Sounds kinda like the English Reformation.

    Ideas that found a home and supporters. Objections and aspersions. A jurisdiction that wasn't recognized. Out-of-favor clerics abominated and then burned.

    ...and then the Lord blessed this reformation and simultaneously chastized the dominant Church that rejected it in the first place.

  10. I like the statement from Lambeth:

    "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. 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."

    In other words, "New province? I don't see any new province."

    -Barry Fernelius

  11. Judging from that picture, it looks as though Duncan had an even taller, pointier mitre constructed just for the occasion.

  12. Oh, Observer,

    No one church is capable of tearing the fabric of the communion, it has not happened, the cloth is not that weak. And the Body of Christ is never broken through acts of love and acceptance. While you might think that "full inclusion" is just a misguided trend, it isn't.

    No one's sexuality is their whole being, and likewise, most are not whole without it. LGBT human beings are not to be pitied, they are not a social cause for those running out of ways to make changes in society. They are people, the churched variety are not ruled by carnality, and they have far more compassion for those that vilify them than I could ever find in my heart.
    This isn't the first the that the Puritans have set sail to make a new world. Let them go and hope they will return, and pray that we will know how to love those that do. Meanwhile, here's our cue to rock it and roll it on out. The "worst" that could happen has started, but history tells us it isn't anything new. The Anglican Communion is not broken, it is changed.

    The second is like unto it...let's show our Lord that we are still listening. There's a lot to do.

  13. You folks sure spend a whole lot of time telling each other why those other folks' actions are unimportant. Methinks thou dost protest too much. Even to the point of complaining about Bishop Duncan's mitre. If it wasn't so pathetic, it would be deserving of a hearty laugh. You can't stop talking and complaining about people and events that are irrelevant to you? Yeah, right!

  14. Them Reformed Episcopal folk amongst them must have loved that mitre and a corpus hanging on that cross (as seen in the photo - it had to have been brought in - can't imagine those evangelicals having such a thing as that in their worship space- did they also have candles too? Isn't this what the Reformed bunch left the Episcopal Church 145 years ago over? How pathetic and ironic

  15. "...and then the Lord blessed this reformation and simultaneously chastized the dominant Church that rejected it in the first place."

    Oh? What makes you say that he "chastized" theRoman Catholic Church? They seem to be doing well enough.

  16. Phil wrote, "ECUSA is also not my mother's or father's...Anglicanism"

    ::tongue firmly planted in cheek::

    So if it's not far right, socio-politically conservative, Protestant congregationalism in Episcopal drag it's not Anglican ? This is a definition of "Anglican" I'm not familiar with...

    ::more seriously::

    Perhaps (if you are the "Phil" I'm thinking of) you can convince Bp. Stanton of this and get some of the more extreme right-wing parishes in our diocese to follow you to the "New Province of Something."

    If nothing else, it would certainly make for a far more pleasant diocesan convention (for all concerned ;)

  17. Oh fiddlesticks, George! I would never begrudge Bob D. a pretty new outfit after all he's been through lately.

    I just find it very apt that he scored some new finery for the shindig in Wheaton, since from the beginning all this drama has been about coming up with something--anything!--that he can be the primate of.

  18. George, dear brother in Christ, do you fail at recognizing the irony of your own statement? How sad!

    It is those whom have left TEC (repeatedly and quite loudly, with much fanfare) that can't seem to quit TEC-centric blogs and TEC folk and generally inserting themselves into the middle of everything TEC!

    Didn't you folks just declare yourselves a separate church, an entity out of communion with and shunning, as in error, all things TEC?

    Yet here you all are attempting (very poorly) to gloat over your new "Reformation". (I nearly split my gut laughing over that one!) So Brokeback Mountain -- not being able to quit TEC!

    As is continually done, ad nauseum, comments are dropped about things "not being the same" as they once were in TEC. As if that in and of itself were a scandal of some sort.

    Well, no. My dear friends, that is the very nature of life itself. Change. Science has proven that without a shadow of a doubt. There is no jury out on the inevitability of change and yet conservatives insist on sitting astride history and shouting "Stop!" anyway, to no avail.

    I am not the same person my parents were nor is the world the same place nor were any of us, grandparents and beyond, anything remotely similar to those who came before them. We are absolutely nothing like Jesus and his followers nor Henry the VIII and his church. Never have been, never will be. This isn't considered a bad thing by sane people but rather a mature way of accepting reality.

    I am saddened by such a myopic view of Jesus Christ as that put forth yesterday by ACNE or whatever they are calling themselves today, and the limitations they strive in vain to place on His church. Jesus can't be confined to a narrow little box (as stated in the new cannons of the church of whatever) where change never happens and everything stays the same as it always was.

    I'm truly sorry for the rude awakening that life, the world, the church, and God herself have in store for those who subscribe to this stasis view of faith. I am praying for you ceaselessly.

  19. Laurie Goodstien says in the New York Times that "Conservative leaders in North America say they expect to win approval for their new province from at least seven like-minded primates, who lead provinces primarily in Africa, Australia, Latin America and Asia."

    There will be no approval from Australia's primate who is not, as some suppose, the Archbishop of Sydney, but the Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Revd Dr Phillip Aspinall.

    Brian McK

  20. You can't stop talking and complaining about people and events that are irrelevant to you? Yeah, right!

    I wouldn't care, or complain, about "PANIC" (good one!) George, except for 2 things:

    1) They're trying to get TEC kicked out of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion, I might add, that TEC was instrumental in founding (to say nothing of sustaining, financially and otherwise)

    2) Religious groups whom I might otherwise not give two fiddlesticks about (see re Mormons and RCC), nevertheless have no compunctions about taking away my civil rights.

    So, George: as Priscilla suggests, why can't you quit US (in TEC)? What's your excuse?

    Lord have mercy!

  21. Sounds kinda like the English Reformation.

    Ideas that found a home and supporters. Objections and aspersions. A jurisdiction that wasn't recognized. Out-of-favor clerics abominated and then burned.

    ...and then the Lord blessed this reformation and simultaneously chastized the dominant Church that rejected it in the first place.

    Well, I haven't seen anyone burned, or abominated - other than by those Reasserters referring to TEC's "abominations."

    The problem for the Reasserters is, if this is like the English Reformation, they're the ones sticking with the foreign power doing things "the way they've always been done" and TEC is the provincial church making changes independent of the "head" of the communion.

  22. Lynn - it looks like you are taking a revisionist stance towards recent history....sorry, but it is a fact that 2003 rejected a call of all the Primates and their warning that TEC would "tear the fabric of the Communion". We are now living with the consequences of that torn Communion.

    Also, please remember that we now live in a post GAFCON environment....the ABC is meeting the leading GAFCON Primates today - and he needs them back on side because Lambeh without the bishops of more than half the AC's members (those who turn up on a Sunday, not the 2.2m TECUSA and the 26m the CofE misleadingly claim)was a bit of a joke and an expensive one which still has not been paid for....

    TECUSA had a quarter of the bishops at Lambeth (for 0.8m per week in TEC!!!) and still could not swing the conference to support its revisionism.... the ABC cannot lose more than half the AC (and all the growth) so he has to get GAFCON back in ......he cannot sacrifice the AC for tiny, revisionist TEC which does not even attract many Americans (0.26% of the US population.....not very popular this "new thing" of TECUSA, is it?)

    Whatever you say,Lynn, the ABC knows who has blighted his time as ABC and who rejected his call and that of ALL the other Primates in 2003 not to tear the fabric of the Communion - he was there!

  23. Observer-

    what, exactly, dose 2003 have to do with the the creation of the AMiA? That was at least 4 years before. We've been heading down this path since BEFORE then.

    Get over yourself.

  24. Frair John Do you think you have made a strong point? AMIA starting before 2003 is not aproblem for my argument...they just saw what was happening in TEC before TEC made it obvious to the whole AC in 2003....but it is obvious to the AC now and that is why we got GAFCON.

    As for your last argument ("Get over yourself"), I don't find myself stumped by that either.....but maybe you should think about what GAFCON means to the ABC when his conference was left with the bishops of a minority of Anglicans in the world.....an embarassment of decline and irrelevance in fancy clothes. Today he meets the GAFCON Primates....he needs them back and tiny TECUSA with its 0.26% of the US population attending on a Sunday ain't going to be able to delay everything forever with BO33 type political compromise....TECUSA is so small, aged and declining while claiming to be modern and relevant (a certain paradox....must be irritating to see large churches like Truro!) - people would listen if this "new thing" was bringing anything but decline and division to TECUSA

  25. You ask: "So, George: as Priscilla suggests, why can't you quit US (in TEC)? What's your excuse?"
    I never claimed that what TEC does and how it does it is irrelevant. As you folks are fond of saying, we should name evil and wrongs when we see them. That is especially true of heresy and apostasy. They damage the entire Body of Christ.

  26. Observer, you cannot have it both ways. the Communion was injured starting at Lambeth '98 when it was made into a circus. the road we are now on was charted then. AMiA was the tip of the iceburg and shows that the scismatic neo-Donatists had charted their course. This was the inevitable consiquence of that scismatic action. Long before most of us even knew of +Robinson the likes of +Iker and +Duncan were making noise, with the diocies of Ft worth doing it's own thing.
    Bishop Robinson is mearly a convienient excuse to cover this desire to be powers unto themselves.
    The fabric was torn long before +Robinson, and repeating that line dosn't make it true. Besides, the Primates call came after the Election, when nothing could be done. The hypocracy of the primates who said that the concecration of +Robinson (chosen according to an open process and under the cannons and recognized procediures of a provence) would tare the fabric of the communion and then turn around and break all kinds of rules to create scismatic bishops is stunning.

    Size isn't the issue. Doctrine is. To embrace this body is to embrace Donatism and scism. Your image of TEC is also based less on reality and more upon the image spun by it's enimies. renweal and reformation are on the way with a younger generation enetering the dynamic. The is more pain and discomfort ahead, but there is life here yet.

  27. "Even to the point of complaining about Bishop Duncan's mitre." I guess, George, that you're not familiar with the ongoing thread of subtle allusions to Mrs Schori's fashion sense that runs as a sub-text through Stand Firm blogs. I'm saving my laugh for when he graduates to a full-blown mitra pretiosa.

    Love that there was a primatial cross to hand, ready for action, don't you?

  28. I never claimed that what TEC does and how it does it is irrelevant. As you folks are fond of saying, we should name evil and wrongs when we see them. That is especially true of heresy and apostasy. They damage the entire Body of Christ.

    If it is heresy or apostasy, that may be true. Personally, I don't think Christ is that weak.

    You guys really have no faith!!

  29. John - pls read up on the Donatists as you misunderstand their error....the problem with them is that they would not accept people who had repented of their sins....quite different to the AC situation in which there has been no repentance but just BO33 and even that is not respected on the ground.....1 Cor 5 and 6 applies to TEC in the AC.

    I see some don't like talk of nos....but nos do matter eg when the ABC sees GAFON represents 30m Anglicans on a Sunday around the world and TECUSA has 0.7m ...maybe 0.6m by now..... Don't kid yourselves, nos matter a lot

  30. Observer-
    I do know the Donatists, and I also know the spin you're using, quite well. You seem to have confused them with the Valentinians, who refused to acknowledge repentant sinners. The Donatisits argued that even the implication of sin, as they saw it, could invalidate the ministry of a person permanently. That one of the people who was a consecrator of the Bishop of Hippo was, in their view, a sinner was enough to invalidate the sacramental act of ordination. In other words, rejecting +VGR for a perceived sin as an actual and valid Bishop is Donatism. The idea of guilt by association and rejecting and ever larger cloud of people in order to maintain ones purity follows the pattern. To follow through, the Council of Arles, whose findings were picked up by Nicaea, ruled that the moral standing, real or perceived, of a person doesn’t affect the validity of their standing as Ministers in the Church Catholic. The refusal of the Network types and their cohorts elsewhere to recognize +VGR in any way, sometimes as a fellow Christian, or even in some cases as a human being, is classic Donatism.

  31. John...nice try but the AC's position is x is "incompatible with scripture"...now if x= stealing, you would not come up with contrived arguments to justify x (I hope).... the reason TECUSA is not convincing the AC (even with weak arguments re Donatiists) is that the basic logic of condoning x for clergy does not stand up if it is incompatible with scripture (Donatist or not!).... and that is why the ABC is NOT takig against ACNA...he has no quarrel with them in reality - if you were right, he would issue a one liner and ACNA would be outside the AC....but he has not and it ain't....because the AC cannot have clergy who enjoy x when x is "incompatible with scripture" (whatever x is, it could be many things.....but only certain x's attract contrived justifications)


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.