Friday, June 8, 2012

Anglican's in Assembly

I have made it a point to post concerning the various Methodist denominations meeting in General Conference this summer.  First was the United Methodist Church.  The Wesleyan Church has just concluded their General Conference, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church will begin their G.C. later this month.

However, I have failed to make any report on the Provincial Assembly 2012 of the Anglican Church in North America.  They began arriving in Ridgecrest, North Carolina this past Sunday, and they are scheduled to continue through tomorrow, Saturday, June 9.

For those who may be interested in ACNA happenings, news of the Assembly can be found, here.

Archbishop Robert Duncan's State of the Church Address can be read, here.

One disappointing note is that,  especially with the transition of former AMiA churches into the ACNA, they have had difficulty coming up with any accurate statistical information.  Another disappointing note is that there does not seem to be any word on the newly developed (or developing) Eucharistic services.  I don't recall if these were expected to be approved at this Assembly, or just prior to it, or if the approval had been expected next month.  (I suppose I could go back an read one of my earlier articles to find out!)

Nevertheless, despite these slight notes of disappointment from the perspective of this "outsider," it seems that God is at work in the ACNA!  For this we give praise to our Lord!

I am especially excited to watch two aspects of the ACNA's activities unfold.  First is their effort in church planting.  It is exciting to learn how they go about planting a church in the Anglican tradition.  While, certainly, there are those among them who plant churches that really don't look Anglican, there are others who plant churches that do look very Anglican.  It seems that the latter must, to some degree, work against what has become the dominant "church growth" model that makes cultural relevance the primary determinant for worship.  I am very interested in learning more about how they go about planting Anglican churches.

The second exciting thing for me is how involved the ACNA is with ecumenical dialogue partners.  This seems unusual for such a new church, yet their dialogue partners have tended to seek them out.  -  I would love for the Church of the Nazarene to seek to dialogue with the ACNA.  I do think that we have much to contribute, and, certainly, we could learn much about our Wesleyan/Anglican liturgical and sacramental heritage.  My concern, I suppose, is that we are really not used to such ecumenical dialogues.  We are used to cooperation with other Wesleyans, and we are members of the National Association of Evangelicals, but one-on-one ecumenical dialogues with those outside of our immediate tradition seems to be a bit new to us.  Still, I think it would be a great move.

According to ++Duncan's address, a new catechism is in development.  I look forward to seeing the finished product.  I also look forward to seeing how the groups that make up the ACNA solidify as one church, rather than just a federation of churches.  I did not find any word on how they are coming concerning the one divisive issue among them, viz., women's ordination (a topic recently discussed in other articles on this blog).

For those who would prefer to watch ++Duncan's State of the Church Address, rather than read it, the video has been provided, below.  -  May God's guidance and blessings be upon the ACNA!


James Gibson said...

When I interviewed Bishop Thompson, chairman of the Prayer Book committee, last February, he said the eucharistic rite they were working on would be used at the Assembly, but it would not be in its final form. The complete ACNA prayer book will not be published for several more years, but electronic technology will make much of it available before then. You can read the interview article here:

Todd Stepp said...

Thanks, Fr. James! I appreciate the link! I very much look forward to getting a copy of the Eucharistic services and hope that they will be available for download, soon.

danielhixon said...

I am quite eager to see what sort of prayerbook they do finally come up with. I suppose the catechism will be included in it, along with the already adopted ordinal.
Maybe there is a video of the Eucharist service on their site to try to get a feel for what the current form of the liturgy looks like?

I believe they struck a compromise regarding women's ordination in the ACNA's constitution so presumably every group who joins is "on board" with it - or can at least live with the compromise. If I'm not mistaken the ACNA constitution requires that bishops be male (and at least 35 years old); but allows local dioceses to make their own decisions regarding ordaining women to the prebyteriate and diaconate; and the denomination cannot restrict their right to make that policy decision.

D. Straw said...

Daniel: The issue of women's ordination is not over by a long shot. In fact, it is the only thing keeping the ACNA (besides some lawsuits with TEC)apart in regards to the various groups that are affiliated with it. This issue still has potnetial to tear the ACNA apart.