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.