I am very proud to present several facsimiles by Mr. Stephen Cooper (below). These facsimiles are about pamphlet-size, yet offer a vital apologetic against the ecclesiastical isolationism of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), enshrined by their constitution and canons by men of dubious opinions like Andrew Stahl (1). Most of these writings date back to the 1990’s, providing an interpretation of the Affirmation of St. Louis common among a majority both before and after the 1977 Congress, namely, those “middle-of-the-road” Episcopalians who identified with a church simultaneously “protestant” and “catholic”. Mr Cooper tells us something of the “old-ACA” as coming from earlier jurisdictions like AEC and AECNA. Cooper also provides something of a gravity against the unstable vertigo of Clavier’s broad churchmanship. From Cooper we get a feel for what once counted as authentic ‘continuing epsicopalianism’.
Mr. Cooper’s writings are extremely important for Continuers since they generally outline a pro-unity stance against an otherwise ossified ecclesiology. This pro-unity stance deserves study and has been described in Douglas Bess’ notorious book, Divided We Stand (see pp. 90, 96, 98-99, 126-7, 151-55, 161-2, 170, 172, 176, 195-6, 198-200). For better or for worst, North American Anglicanism today is undergoing tremendous change. Continuing Anglicanism will either influence orthodox parts remaining in North America (see Section V), or the Continuum will fall into an unfortunate but self-imposed oblivion.
I hope to update the .pdf list below as further writings are obtained form the perspective of old-ACA apologetics. This post may indeed become something of a depot for old continuum writings. There are a number of articles worth republishing from the defunct FCT/FCC magazine, Christian Challenge, as well as copies borrowed from Mr. Cooper’s archive at his home in Fairbanks, Alaska. Mr Cooper’s parish is presently a member of the new Anglican Episcopal Church-USA (AEC-USA), and he can be contacted through the Alaskaland Chapel. More about Cooper’s parish can be found here. Perhaps a collection of several authors, starting with Mr. Cooper, will provide a sense what was (and still is) at stake as pro-unity debates between ACC and ACA develop. After the Reaffirmation Congress of 2011, it appears the ACC, APA, and ACA might attempt a raproachement. Bess says , “elements in the AEC could not accept the ACC canons under any circumstances, and that it would be necessary to seek Canons from some agreed orthodox Province within the Anglican Communion [rather than adopt Stahl’s C&C]” (Divided, p. 196). Until the mid-nineties, this negative view of ACC canons represented the majority opinion within the continuum. ACA rather than ACC was identified as the central continuing church.
Mr. Cooper was an early member of the American Episcopal Church which established the first continuing “Diocese of the West” in conjunction with the early Anglican Episcopal Church before the formation of ACA about a decade later. Mr. Cooper served as a diocesan and sometimes provincial Chancellor for the AEC and ACA. He has written articles for Virtue Online (included below).
The Broken Body
1. Regarding the influence of Stahl upon the ACC, an anonymous email, dated Feb. 10 2012, said, “Back in 1977-81 three of the original four bishops wanted, essentially, the old church without the heresy and goofiness – Doren, Morse and Watterson. However, the Mote-Knutti-Burns faction – which to some extent was financed by Andrew Stahl – had other ideas including a thorough Romanisation of the Canon Law Code as well as loading the theological curriculum in favour of a very rigid Anglo-Catholic theology. This issues that forced +Morse out of the ACC were practically the same as Doren’s, and that was that the ACC had stepped away from Anglican norms in Canon Law…as a result the dominant party in the ACC is more of an ‘Old Catholic Church of Anglican heritage’ than regular Anglo-Catholic… The PCK code is essentially that of 1964 – the one originally embraced by the ACC before the Stahl revision – and the UECNA Code is that of 1958…”