Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ecumenical Recognition of the Anglican Church of North America

The following is from a fellow parishioner, now attending the ACNA provincial assembly and live-blogging on it. I've included this section in particular to highlight a very important point about the ecumenical legitimacy of the new province. All those who think that the current actions are the result of renegade conservatives unconcerned with church unity or even outright abandoning it, this is important to read:

One of the major developments I think has gone virtually unnoticed. During the ratification process, we heard greetings delivered by representatives of those Anglican Provinces which had sent delegations to the assembly in support for the ACNA. The six GAFCON provinces were represented. Kenya and West Africa sent their primates. Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and the Southern Cone sent official representatives since the dates for the ACNA assembly coincided with their own synods.

All this was to be expected, since those six primates had called for the forming of the ACNA nearly a year ago at the GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem. What was not expected was the addition of three new provinces that have sent official delegations (and de facto recognition) of the ACNA: Myanmar, Southeast Asia and Jerusalem and the Middle East. These last two are highly significant. ++John Chew of Southeast Asia and ++Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East were the two Global South primates who attended Lambeth and not GAFCON. They indicated at the time that they would work for reform through the structures of the Anglican Communion as constituted in the instruments of Unity (Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Conference, Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meeting). These two, ++Chew and ++Anis, have now indicated their willingness to support developments outside the present structures of the Anglican Communion. The "inside strategy" of ++Chew and ++Anis and the "outside strategy" of ++Akinola, ++Orombi, ++Kolini, ++Nzimbi, ++Venables and ++Akrofi have come together in support and recognition of the ACNA as fellow partner in the Anglican Communion.

It was also interesting to note that the Church of England sent unofficial observers and that the Anglican Communion Office sent a Pastoral Visitor, presumably at the request of ++Rowan Williams. I'm not sure exactly what that signifies, but I do know that there will be some consternation in the leadership of both TEC and the ACoC that Lambeth Palace recognized that something important was going on in Bedford, Texas.

The list of ecumenical guests was surprising, both those who are present -- and those who aren't. Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America will give one of the plenary addresses. The Roman Catholic bishop of Fort Worth is here along with Bp. Walter Grundorf of the Anglican Province of America. The Missouri Synod Lutherans sent a representative along with Saddleback Church. Apart from Rick Warren of Saddleback, all of the ecumenical observers are from the historic liturgical churches (Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran). Missing in action are all the mainline denominations. Somewhat surprisingly, there are no observers here from the conservative, non-liturgical denominations like the Southern Baptists and the PCA.

1 comment:

  1. the PCA did send someone. he brought his greetings on the last day.