The New Shape of Anglicanism?
Leaders of 1,300 Anglican/Episcopal churches seek status as new North American Province.
Timothy C. Morgan
Less than 1 week after the official opening of the Lambeth conference in the UK, the conservative Common Cause Partnership has issued a press release, declaring their joint intention to request that leading Anglican primates recognize their 1,300 congregations as the new North American Province.
Granted, this was a widely anticipated move. But this effort puts the fat in the fire on a day when Lambeth attendees are having tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace following their very public march through official London for adoption of the Millennium Development Goals to fight global poverty and improve the standard of living for the world's 3 billion poor people.
Here's the full press release below.
July 24, 2008
COMMON CAUSE PARTNERSHIP WELCOMES JERUSALEM DECLARATION
The Common Cause Partnership leaders issued a statement today welcoming the Jerusalem Declaration and the statement on the Global Anglican Future and pledging to move forward with the work of Anglican unity in North America.
"We, as the Bishops and elected leaders of the Common Cause Partnership are deeply grateful for the Jerusalem Declaration. It describes a hopeful, global Anglican future, rooted in scripture and the authentic Anglican way of faith and practice. We joyfully welcome the words of the GAFCON statement that it is now time 'for the federation currently known as the Common Cause Partnership to be recognized by the Primates Council.'
"The intention of the Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that their Moderator be seated in the Primate's Council.
"We accept the call to build the Common Cause Partnership into a truly unified body of Anglicans. We are committed to that call. Over the past months, we have worked together, increasing the number of partners and authorizing committees and task groups for Mission, Education, Governance, Prayer Book & Liturgy, the Episcopate, and Ecumenical Relations. The Executive Committee is meeting regularly to carry forward the particulars of this call. The CCP Council will meet December 1-3, 2008."
The Common Cause Partnership links together nine Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America.
Together, 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, the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church represent more the 1,300 Anglican parishes in the United States and Canada.
The Common Cause Partnership Executive Committee is: The Rt. Rev'd Robert Duncan, Moderator; The Venerable Charlie Masters, General Secretary; Mrs. Patience Oruh, Treasurer; The Rt. Rev'd Keith Ackerman, Forward in Faith North America; The Rt. Rev'd David Anderson, American Anglican Council; The Rt. Rev'd Donald Harvey, Anglican Network in Canada; The Rt. Rev'd Paul Hewett, Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas; The Rt. Rev'd Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America; The Rt. Rev'd Chuck Murphy, Anglican Mission in the Americas; The Rt. Rev'd Leonard Riches, Reformed Episcopal Church; The Rt. Rev'd Bill Atwood, Anglican Church of Kenya and The Rt. Rev'd John Guernsey, Church of the Province of Uganda.
Here's my admittedly instant analysis:
1. It suggests that conservative Anglicans are pressing their agenda forward, while the rest of the Anglican Communion is spinning its wheels in fruitless 'indaba' meetings.
2. It illuminates a strategy that GAFCON primates plan to address this issue of the legitimacy of a new North American Province by placing the new Primates Council as the emerging new center of Anglicanism.
Thus, the new global Anglicanism transcends recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury. There will no longer be a single answer to this question: Who is Anglican?
3. My follow up point is that if this new Province gains recognition and credibility, Canterbury-based Anglicanism becomes severely weakened in almost every way. It becomes a photo-op site of pilgrimage, not the hub of a worldwide communion.
4. What's the metaphor? Well, this seems too convenient perhaps, but the Indymac Bank take-over crosses my mind.
Just as federal regulators have taken over the failed Indymac Bank, one of the largest bank failures in American history, conservatives perhaps aspire to running the Anglican Communion by cutting it into two pieces the "good bank" with good assets and the "bad bank" with bad/non-performing assets.
And, you can just guess what happens to the bad bank.
PS The British press is following the money or lack thereof at Lambeth. Some are reporting that the conference is 1 million GBP or more in the red.