Monday, December 10, 2007

A new US church - a decade away?

While the 1940 Hymnal is a great hymnal, at some point the various traditionalists will stop paying money to support the PECUSA pension fund and produce their own hymnal. This is an effort I'd like to help. I was wondering if that is going to happen any time soon, but (in a purely selfish sense) later would give me more time to get ready.

The most plausible basis for a new denomination is the Common Cause Partnership, a hodgepodge of current PECUSA members (AAC, ACN, FiFNA), recent defectors (AMiA, CANA), the first of the postwar defectors (APA), and the earliest of all defectors, the 19th century REC. While the APA (now merged with the REC) has a laudable record in opposition to the late Bp. James Pike, it has strained relations with the various Continuing Anglican churches formed in the wake of the 1977 Congress of St. Louis.

Even among CCP, there is considerable divergence of theology. Despite claimed adherence to formularies of the 1662 BCP, there are real questions as to whether constituent members are most devoted to 1662, 1928 or 1979 prayer books. Disagreements over ordination of women has been deferred but not forgotten.

Now Rev. Peter Toon (of the Prayer Book Society) has tried to estimate what it would take to turn this loose confederation into an Anglican province:
To create from the present fledgling Common Cause an autonomous and inter-dependent Province in North America of the Anglican Communion is a task that is enormously difficult and time-consuming. It cannot be done in less than 3 years, maybe in less than five or even ten.

Indeed, bearing in mind the entrepreneurial skills of some of the major players—especially in CANA and AMiA—and recalling the powerful centrifugal forces of American religion and culture, many rational persons would say that it is impossible, and that at best, what will occur is loose kind of federation of Anglican groups who meet irregularly to cooperate in various ways on matters of shared concerns.
Five years seems like a best case, given how far CCP has come (or not) in the three years since it was founded.

So it seems like I will have plenty of time to work on my studies, both the formal studies and independent reading on Anglican hymnody.

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