Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Designations for Anglican groups

I'm currently editing a chapter manuscript for an edited volume.  In the chapter I compare the Anglican Communion Covenant and the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.  Because I deal with ecclesial groups that are within the Anglican tradition but outside of the Anglican Communion, some complicated maneuvering is required simply to clarify who exactly I'm talking about.  Opinions are nuanced in the various groups and certain assertions that may be largely correct will not provide an exhaustive account for these churches.  I attempt to boil down the taxonomy of relevant non-Communion Anglican groups for the purposes of this chapter in an early footnote, and I thought I'd post the current version here to see if it seems clear and correct.  I'm thankful to the editors for offering helpful corrections on this footnote already.  If anyone knowledgeable of current happenings in Anglicanism has anything that they would add or change in the following note, please feel free to make suggestions!

In particular: is the international presence of the Anglican Continuum simply made up of missionary endeavors based in North America, or are there free-standing churches elsewhere?  If the latter, were these churches "founding" members, that is, is a clarification of the origins of the Anglican Continuum necessary? ––or simply of the fact that other non-North American member churches have joined more recently?

[3] Concise identification of these bodies presents significant problems, as there are dozens of churches that identify themselves as Anglican, but not in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The term “Continuing Anglican” refers to those churches that broke from the American Episcopal Church and subsequently the Anglican Communion in the 1970s following women’s ordination, in particular. I will use the relevant acronyms to describe those bodies that have broken off from the Anglican Communion more recently, most notably the Anglican Mission in America (hereafter, AMiA) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (hereafter, CANA). There is no shared point of origin for these latter groups.  They are most closely associated with the present dispute over sexuality in the Communion following the consecration of Gene Robinson to the episcopate, although AMiA predates this event.  To varying degrees, these groups are working towards creating a new Anglican province in North America, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The ACNA is currently in full communion with the provinces of Nigeria and Uganda, but not with the Archbishop of Canterbury. These designations do not exhaust the number of Anglican churches beyond the Anglican Communion, but will suffice for the purposes of this essay. Finally, “Traditionalist Anglican” refers to Anglicans within the Anglican Communion who share many of the sentiments of Continuing Anglicans, the ACNA, etc.


  1. There are at least a couple of branches of the Anglican Church in India that are not in communion with Canterbury, but these are not directly attributable to North American outreach by Continuum Churches, although they are in communion with NA-based Continuum Churches: the Anglican Church in India (ACA/TAC) and the Church of India (Anglican Catholic Church, second Province), both of which have their origins in the Anglicans who withdrew from the Church of South India scheme that united Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists and Anglicans.
    The unification scheme was of great concern to many Anglicans concerned with ecclesiology at the time (Michael Ramsey and Gregory Dix, for example), much as the Bishop of Jerusalem was in the time of Newman. Part of the Covenant that established the Church of South India was the option for the Anglicans to back out. But that left them apart from the Canterbury Communion.