Sunday, April 19, 2009

Unamerican Church of North America

One of the big question marks for me has been why ACNA is not uniting all the Schism I and Schism II churches. I thought that perhaps it’s just a matter of time or perhaps it’s a matter of personalities and egos (the “purple shirt” problem oft-remarked in Continuing Anglican circles). But now I’m wondering if there’s something more.

Robert Jordan has a fascinating analysis of the proposed ACNA constitution in his blog Anglicans Ablaze. While I encourage Anglicans to read the entire story, there is one part that I found particularly troubling. By vesting all significant power in the provincial council and making the provincial assembly mostly an advisory polity, the ACNA adopts an undemocratic view of polity that violates all the norms of 230 years of American Anglicanism. (Apparently this is adopted from the sponsoring Nigerian church).

He is also right in noting that ACNA is (falsely) claiming supremacy among Continuing Anglicans in North America.
The Province will seek to represent orthodox North American Anglicans in the councils of the Anglican Communion.
The absence of many (although not all) Schism I churches suggests that there will be other orthodox Anglicans who will not be represented by ACNA.

On the other hand, I don’t agree with Jordan in his concern about a statement of episcopacy. It demonstrates (as in his previous criticism of the 1928 BCP) his bias towards the Reformed and against the Anglo-Catholic theological side of disuptes going back to the 16th century Church of England. He devotes a long criticism to
We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.
Jordan is certainly correct that the 17 day public comment period is inadequate for a document of this importance.

I encourage all Anglicans (ACNA or not) to read the proposed Canons, Jordan’s annotated critique and to send comments by the April 20 deadline (tomorrow):
The principal time for suggesting changes to the draft canons is between now and the April meeting of Council. Comments and suggestions should be given to the jurisdictional representatives who compose the Common Cause Leadership Council by April 24th or sent to the chair of the Governance Task Force, Mr. Hugo Blankingship (governance@theacna.org), no later than noon on Monday, April 20th.

2 comments:

KJC402 said...

Members of the Continuum have little interest in ACNA. Womens Ordination, at any level is not acceptable to any continuing Anglican body that upholds the Affirmation of St. Louis.

9.West said...

There are some anti-WO groups within ACNA, although their ability to get what they want is questionable.

However, on the issue of governance, ACNA ignored all the criticisms about the the un-democratic nature of the governance (the toothless Assembly) and went ahead and did what they wanted:
http://www.united-anglicans.org/about/provisional-constitution.pdf