Anglican watchers have been waiting for a report from the Church of England Synod which has been debating a motion by Lorna Ashworth to the effect “That this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.”
David Walker reports that the final form of the amended motion is this:
"That this Synod, aware of the distress cause by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada,
"(a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;
(b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
(c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011."
This is far short of Ashworth's motion, but deep enough into the muck of things to track such muck through the houses in Anglican-land.
The Anglican Church in North America seems starved for any signs of recognition from the CofE and its Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury and at the same time ACNA claims to be quite satisfied with meals eaten elsewhere and willing to dismiss the current ABC and perhaps the CofE as hopelessly bogged down in modernity's problems. This leads to the oddities of an ACNA response today that is happy that they got air time at the Synod but which does not make a big deal of it all. On the other hand Baby Blue just can't help being, well, excited.
She gushes, "Breaking News: Church of England "recognizes" and "affirms" ACNA's desire to "remain" in the Anglican Communion." It is "The most fantastic news." "Pure and simple, the Church of England recognizes the ACNA. " What seems to excite her the most is her read that, "But they do not once name-check The Episcopal Church, but instead calls us all - calls us all - "Anglican churches of the United States and Canada." This is enormously significant."
This is a litte over the top. The resolution that passed Synod was far short of what Ashworth wanted... a clear expression that the CofE "be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America." What the Synod got was an recognition and affirmation that ACNA wants to remain in the Anglican family.... far short of CofE recognizing communion with ACNA, a notice that that aspiration raises issues (I'll say!) and invites the ABC to report to Synod in 2011.
BB reads the following phrase, "That this Synod, aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada" to mean that the CofE believes there are at least three Anglican churches in North America: TEC, the ACoC, and ACNA. Of course there are. Actually there are a much larger number of Anglican churches in North America - some forty or fifty. Quite a few are one bishop, two priests, and a congregation here and there. But there are, at the moment only two Anglican Communion related churches in North America, TEC and ACoC. (OK three if Mexico is counted as North America.) The ACNA is not a member of the Anglican Communion.
It is hard to know just what ACNA is proposing these days. It wants in, it wants out. The Synod motion gives them a bit more of an in, but what they want something quite different - a new Anglican community connected to only the pure parts of the current Anglican Communion. They are pretty sure TEC and ACoC are non starters, probably agree with GAFCON that the Episcopal/ Anglican Church of Brazil is out, as well as several other highly suspect National or regional churches in the Anglican Communion, and are very
The Synod has moved carefully back from recognition, but has stepped into the muck and is tramping though the house.