This post is the last of a four-part series on the future of the Continuing movement and it potential impact on North American Anglicanism. The earlier commentary can be read at “Continuing Politics” under AR’s Scriptorium.
Otherwise known as the World Consultation, the Anglican futures conference held in Brockton, MA in 2011 may have been the most important event to hit the Continuing Anglican movement since the 1998 REC-APA unity talks. While the precise consequence of the Brockton conference is elusive, two possible outcomes that impact North American Anglicanism seem immanent. ”Post-Brockton” not only can unite the majority of the continuum, but it also risks cutting ties with ACNA (more specifically the REC-FiFNA coalition inside ACNA). Some of these contours have already been examined in the earlier yet equally lengthy article: the Bartonville Factor.
The Watershed: In his manuscript, Saints and Buccaneers (2011), the Rt. Rev’d Brian Marsh looks back upon ecumenical adventures launched by continuing Anglicans since advent of Deerfield Beach in 1991. One of the more significant developments was FACA, yet FACA is mentioned in a lackluster way. Marsh says, “The FACA got off to a promising start and is still mutually supportive, but other events transpired that mitigated its effectiveness” (p. 63). What are these ‘other events’? Bishop Marsh goes on to discuss the rise of the Ordinariate, causing a significant split in ACA. However, the World Consultation (or Brockton Congress) was hailed as a new dawn for the Continuum. Marsh explains the ‘watershed’:
“Two conferences, one in Victoria, British Columbia in June 2011 and another in Brockton, Masschusetts in November, 2011, underscored the need for Anglicans to join together for mutual support and cooperation.
It seems clear that 2011 represented a watershed year int the life of the Continuum. In many ways, the cooperation between the leaders of the Continuing Churches have sought to find ways to come together for mutual support. Indeed, each separate jurisdiction brings its own special gifts. The Anglican Church in America, for example, operates a seminary program, Logos House of Studies; The Anglican Catholic Church maintains a publishing house; the Anglican Province of America has a superb process of building parishes.”p. 66
Although the Consultation had the same objectives as FACA (e.g., mutual support and cooperation), Brockton specifically attempted to rally the continuum, excluding churches (like AMiA and REC) that are aligned with the Global South (thus, the Anglican Communion). So, the Consultation was specifically an event internal and insular to the Continuing movement. Also, Brockton proposed a federation (see below) that included ACC as its primary partner. Brockton is a landmark in this respect since the ACC usually abstains from ecumenicism wherever cross-pollination with the Chamber’s succession is doubted (1). At Brockton, Haverland added a further criteria that (if recieved) would effectively kill future relations with REC and former-ECUSA traditionalists:
“For the ACC full communio in sacris requires adherence to the Affirmation, and that in turn means no communion with either the ordainers of women or with those who are in communion with the ordainers of women… the bad theology that it [WO] implies was not definitively rejected by the majority through the explicit breaking of communion with the innovators and by the explicit breaking of communion with those who tolerated the innovation.”
Such a rigid non-involvement policy is beyond anything mentioned in the St. Louis Affirmation. Archbishop Haverland was likely expanding upon the Athens Statement despite the Affirmation’s commended tolerance for faithful Anglicans inside Lambeth (read Section V). Nonetheless, the net effect of the ACC’s current policy is to place a wedge between APA and ACNA whereby a substantial portion of the Continuum– namely, those churches involved in FACA– are alienated from Realignment Anglicanism. Strict non-involvement would naturally pull ACA and APA into an ACC orbit, thereby isolating irenic continuing churchmen like Bishop Paul Hewett. In an email (dating Sept. 8th 2012) +Marsh was asked the difference between FACA and the World Consultation:
“While I don’t mean to misstate the case, I offer this observation: FIFNA has done – and is doing – good work for the orthodox Anglican faith. However, some groups fulfill their purpose and live on after their usefulness is over. Is this the case with FIFNA? With FACA?”
While it’s hard to determine the precise meaning such a cryptic statement, quite a few continuing Archbishops have described the World Consultation as hearkening a new beginning. This compels the layperson to take seriously what’s been said at Brockton, especially ‘federations’.
Federation Models: Of the bishops speaking at Brockton, perhaps Bishop Grundorf’s address revealed the most about possible continuing Anglican futures. Though the need for unity was presupposed by each participant, only Bishop Grundorf offered two models which provided a tangible vision for further cooperation. Grundorf said :
“Looking at the future of the continuing church and trying to find a way forward towards greater unity, we have possible options. I am certain that there are others that will be suggested during the panel discussion.
The Federation model with a defined goal along with firm parameters for membership is an option. At some point we will have to deal with mutual acceptance of Episcopal orders. Membership in the Federation would be based upon a number of factors including stability, size of membership (based on annual reports), history and declaration of belief. A federation could be modeled after the diverse Eastern Orthodox Church’s ‘Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America’ (SCOBA). Another possibility could be the Benedictine model, which was presented to the continuing churches in the late 1990’s by the Anglican Benedictines in Bartonville, Illinois. Unfortunately, after a couple of well attended meetings by Continuers at the Bartonville Monastery, the effort faded away. No one has real good reason why this did not continue, but some good relationships developed from this attempt.”
Something should be said about both the ‘SCOBA’ and ‘Benedictine’ models. First, the Benedictine approach has been attempted more than once, and it usually fizzles. A Benedictine approach is basically a dressed-up catholic term for “confederation”. The Fairfield Symposium created the first confederation of Anglican bishops in 1986, but, like Bartonville, its depth of cooperation was thin and short lasting.
After noble attempt at Deerfield Beach, a rump of old-AECNA and ARJA in 1995 went on to form ‘Anglican Church in the US’. The Anglican Church US was also a fellowship of jurisdictions loosely predicated upon ‘good will’, but the AC-US Bishops went their own way as soon as deeper questions of unity arose. Bartonville likewise aimed to create an inter-jurisdictional relation that might create an eventual federation. Of the half-dozen churches that participated, only the REC and APA continued to move forward with active unity, eventually creating FACA(2). Bartonville is often pegged a failure relative to FACA, but each attempt to push unity laid a precedent that benefited future efforts.
Common Standards: Unfortunately, Grundorf and the other Bishops at Brockton give little detail regarding their ‘SCOBA model’. Among the Eastern Orthodox sojourning in America, SCOBA has been notorious for accomplishing nothing. However, SCOBA (like FACA) did lay the basis for greater canonical cooperation. In SCOBA’s case, it morphed into the assembly of orthodox bishops . Perhaps this is what Bishop Marsh meant by pushing beyond FACA? Nonetheless, the only other source on a proposed ‘SCOBA model’ comes the UECNA’s Presiding Bishop, Peter Robinson. Robinson outlines the first steps for unity the Continuum:
“I see the first stage as being what I call CABC – the Continuing Anglican Bishops Conference – consisting of the bishops of those jurisdictions closest to the St. Louis Congress, and gradually expanding to incorporate more and more groups as various misunderstandings are cleared up. The first name I came up with was the Standing Conference of Anglican Bishops – but, as a former Union man, SCAB seemed, well, inappropriate. This would have a dual role. Firstly it would act as a clearing house for discussion about and actions towards unity. Secondly, it would act as a clearing house to allow clergy to transfer between jurisdictions without it causing mutual recrimination, and also impose discipline across jurisdictional lines. Too often bishops and clergy have escaped the consequences of their actions by quietly slipping away to another jurisdiction. This process has done little to promote mutual trust. Thirdly, it would facilitate joint action on matters of mutual concern, and be a forum for the bishops of the various jurisdictions to get to know one another. Nothing breeds fear and mistrust better than being strangers to one’s colleagues.
There will also be a need to come up with a common Constitution and Canons. This will help dispel the notion that one jurisdiction is swallowing another. One difficulty which will have to be resolved is the balance of authority between the various Houses of Synod. At present, there are slight differences of emphasis among the various major Continuing groups, though in the final analysis we all function in much the same way.
Unlike a Benedictine fellowship, a federation or SCOBA model is anxious about establishing common standards. At Brockton, Grundorf admitted membership “would be based on declaration of belief”. Regarding standards of belief, none of the participants at the earlier Victoria Congress jumped on Bishop Redmile’s (XnEC) 12pt-proposal (see ‘basis of communion’ at link) for a common statement of belief. While the proposal carefully skirted around the Affirmation and 39 Articles, it asked that traditional Anglicans accept three norms: the Standard KJV, the 1662 Prayer Book, and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Redmile thought this formula of prayer book with quadrilateral was a sufficient basis for continuing anglo-catholics, “And so, in essential matters, the old Catholic Religion was left untouched [by Elizabeth I], and remains still the Religion of the Church of England today.” Bishop Brian Marsh (ACA) also suggested the adequacy of the Quadrilateral (said at DNE’s 2011 clericus, mp3). At the same clericus Marsh praised Redmile’s proposal as ‘well-recieved’ despite the evidence that Redmile’s specific points fell flat.
However, any continuing federation wishing to include the ACC under common standards will face problems. The ACC generally dismisses the authority of Settlement and/or Quadrilteral formula while treating the Affirmation as a ‘confessional document’. The ACC would be even less excited about the Quadrilteral as a basis for continuing unity. The ACC repeatedly insists the Affirmation is a precondition for any canonical merger, accepting no less than full-subscription. Anglican Rose has quoted the ACC’s stance numerous times– lest concerned churchmen forget– Haverland said at Brockton:
“It is not enough for us to ask for a positive statement of faith from each other under current circumstances. We may accept the Affirmation of Saint Louis nominally while undermining its substance by treating some of its vital points as inessential…The ACC is quite clear on this point. While we are happy to talk with anyone, full communion with our interlocutors will require acceptance of a hard-line similar to the one we have adopted, lest bad theology drive out the good that we have embraced. That is what I mean by theological integrity on the basis of the Affirmation of Saint Louis. For us this issue will quickly come forward in all of our ecumenical conversations ”
In other words, a federation which includes the ACC won’t go beyond a “tea and biscuit” fellowship until the Affirmation is taken as prescriptive, without equivocation. Preferably this would be the Affirmation as read through ACC canons and synods. That leaves historical Anglican norms– e.g., a Solemn Declaration (like APA’s), the Jerusalem Declaration, or especially the Quadrilateral– as a material barrier for the ACC.
Depending on how far continuing Bishops cherish unity, ACC will either leave broad churchmen (like Robinson or Grundorf) to spin their wheels in a moribund Benedictine fellowship, or the ACC will allow a Federation with common canons given standards that might point to ACNA are disavowed, particularly anything that includes the 39 articles. This abstinence would prove difficult for +Grundorf (as well as +Marsh and perhaps +Robinson) who is a broad churchmen at heart. For example, Bishop Marsh’s Diocese of the North East in Maine has monthly worship services with local Episcopalians in downtown Dresden. Also, APA has a number of formal (yet inactive) ministry partnerships with ACNA and FACA members that must be distanced before closer ties to ACC can be had.
Anti-FACA: Given FACA is a bridge to ACNA, a criticism of one includes the other. It goes without saying that women’s ordination has been the biggest obstacle for continuer participation in ACNA. Surely, it was the main reason cited by Grundorf (3) for pulling out of the Common Cause Network. As a consequence, many of the APA clergy who wanted to go forward with the making of a ‘giant’ Anglican Province simply left APA for ACNA. The largest transfer was by Bishop Boyce who took nearly every parish in APA’s on the West Coast. Several APA clergy in the eastern states also bolted. However, in the process of excusing the APA’s ‘about face’ some false statements gained currency. For example, significant misinformation about ACNA has been spread by Fr. Glen Spencer’s 2008 letter, addressed to the Deanery of Virginia:
“while CCP currently is only an alliance of various Anglican jurisdictions, it has all appearances of the precursor to a jurisdiction Many of its leaders have made clear their intention to make one giant jurisdiction the North American Anglican Province, under the oversight of the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference (GAFCON). Its members would thus lose their own identity, their individual canons and constitution, and become a part of the jurisdiction of CCP. This is no small matter, particularly if that giant jurisdiction contains women priests. We all desire unity and a common cause with other Anglicans; the question is at what cost, and at what point do we slip into heterodoxy under the purported purpose of unity”
Though Spencer admits ACNA is composed of various alliances, he assumes ‘one giant jurisdiction’ necessarily entails the loss of individual canons and constitutions. Rather, most partners in the ACNA remain affinity networks, and ACNA has officially suspended geographic dioceses until sticky questions like women’s ordination or prayer book revision are hammered out. Until then, ACNA will continue on the basis of parallel jurisdictions, keeping separate canons, requiring no further unity other than what is volunteered or otherwise stated in the minimal canons of ACNA. As a consequence, more conservative bodies– like REC, PEARusa, and FiFNA– refer to themselves as “self-governing, sub-provinces” inside ACNA. This is a very different situation from churches that seek geographic uniformity. The ACNA constitution permits:
“Article IV. 4. Dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) may band together for common mission, or as distinct jurisdictions at the sub-Provincial level.
Article IV.7. This Constitution recognizes the right of each diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based) to establish and maintain its own governance, constitution and canons not inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution and Canons of this Province.”
Latitude for ‘self-government’ was dervied from Kingdom Norms previosly established in 2002. Even the APA signed these Norms and presumably are still beholden:
“Our common allegiance is to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and to the historic Catholic faith and morals. We are, therefore: [are] committed to unity among orthodox Anglicans, both within and without the Anglican communion as presently constituted, respecting one another’s callings in different judicatories, and respecting our differences regarding the Book of Common Prayer and the ordained ministry of women during this continuing period of reception and discernment.”
The fact that ACNA is under a “period of reception and discernment” on women’s ordination (WO) is conveniently ignored. Unlike ECUSA and Canterbury, ACNA is re-examining WO according to the method of scripture and tradition. In all fairness, contra Spencer, the elimination of women’s ordination is on the table. Furthermore, over the last five years ACNA has maintained a 50/50 split among their Bishops over WO. Thus, ‘two-integrities’ is far from any ‘settled’ conclusion. Recently, Bishop Duncan commissioned ACNA-wide study on the legitimacy of women orders. Amazingly, the study is chaired by the REC’s Bishop Hicks. It’s hard to imagine how a task force that pledges to enlist catholic tradition and chaired by REC might manufacture excuses for female priests? That means 2003 Anglicans will either be compelled to admit WO is a theological innovation, or they will simply end the practice.
Moreover, the Diocese of Fort Worth has increased the heat on +Duncan by declaring a recent moratorium on women deacons. The moratorium on women deacons may very well expand by including other groups who left ECUSA before the gay consecration controversy, e.g., PEARSusa. Not surprisingly, these are jurisdictions which were ready to leave ECUSA well-before 2003. Indeed, a good part of ACNA ought to count its formation in 1997 when ECUSA required all dioceses to accept women clergy. A strong front is emerging in ACNA against WO on the eve of Duncan’s last year of presidency. In the emerging change of guard, it’s possible a ‘reception’ of male Holy Orders will tilt to the advantage of traditionalists. Iker announced last month (Nov. 2012):
“Therefore, I am announcing today a moratorium on the ordination of women deacons in this Diocese, at least until such time as the Theological Task Force completes its study. In no way does this affect the continuing ministry of the current women deacons in the Diocese, now or in the future. They have my continuing support, respect and appreciation. Nor does it have any affect on women who are currently postulants or candidates for ordination. It only applies to women aspirants from this date forward.”
There is much to be hopeful about ACNA. What happened to the irenicism of the broad church continuers like APA since 2008? For example, read Bishop Chandler’s defense of AMiA, and Robert Mercer’s optimism about unity with former episcopalians. A stark contrast to Spencer. Either by negligence of the facts or out-right slander, continuers have failed to communicate an accurate picture of the work of the FiFNA-REC coalition, thoughtlessly lumping this party together with neo-liberal leaders in ACNA.
More is at stake for the Continuum then denominational strutting. Nor is ACNA a vain exercise. A new Province has been raised in North America to restore a weaker brother– in this case, 2003 episcopalians. ACNA has will eventually become an orthodox voice for Anglicans in North America, pulling resources into a ‘giant’ jurisdictions, and thereby rebuilding the Kingdom. Justifying his departure from APA, Bishop Boyce pleaded for such benefits typical in a giant church:
“We need a united voice, a good seminary or two, a Christian education resource, a national magazine, a profile to help announce the Gospel to a needy nation. We need to be part of a world of inspiring orthodox Anglican leaders.”
Anglicans certainly need such. But for REC the prize is much bigger than accumulating cultural prestige or concentrating material resources. The REC’s project is theonomic, and they want to restore the Constantine church. This is not surprising considering the REC-MDA grew from Tyler TX (formerly ‘reconstructionist). The REC concluded its 2006 report on True Unity, repeating the ‘theonomic’ theme:
“North America requires re-evangelizing. It will not happen without the union of Christendom, beginning with that branch of the Church that was so instrumental in the founding of this great part of the world. Orthodox Anglicanism has in its spiritual DNA the capacity to lead the way for Christ.”
Unfortunately isolationist-purity movements like the ACC have proven spoilers that seek to neutralize cooperation among North American Anglicans so that ACC may appear the “only option”. Spencer is just one cleric among many that have been influenced by ACC’s views. What is missing is the generosity of spirit that prevailed a decade prior. We might note Fr. Louis Tarsitano’s (ACA) advice on Basic Polity,
“In the meantime, as the goal of the formation of a provincial communion is pursued, traditional Anglicans must recognize that reformation is not a seamless process in a nation as large as the United States. When the first provincial communion was formed in the United States, thirteen years had passed since the Declaration of Independence. During those years, the Churches in the various States struggled, not only for their own survival, but to find Scriptural ways of working with one another.
The same must be true today. As our fellow Anglicans struggle to survive as Anglicans in the various regions and jurisdictions within our nation, we must not abandon them to their own devices. If they are truly Anglicans, or even if they only have managed to locate themselves within the boundaries of the Quadrilateral, then we are truly in communion with them, even if the details of a better order for our common life have yet to be arranged. To be voluntarily out of communion, when Christ has provided the necessary basis for communion, is sin.”
The years between 1998 and 2006 represent a renewal of influence for the Continuum in North American Anglicanism. This was largely enabled by the REC-APA concord which, sadly, is currently on hold. While relations with REC has presently cooled, the APA’s merger with ACA has been presented as a substitute. Though the merger with ACA portends dragging DEUS into a position closer to the ACC with respect to an ACNA boycott, other factors work against ecclesiastical hardening.
First, the ACA-APA merger is predicated upon the previous mission of the Federation-Union, namely, eventual union among FACA members when such is deemed practical. Regarding FACA’s early purposes, the REC’s 2006 True Unity paper said:
“To move toward our desired goal of merger, yet not a step forward without careful prayer, discussion and growth, a Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (FACA) has been created to allow separate organizational structures. At the same time, through FACA we want to forge deeper union between us. It facilitates growing into unity that we possess. Articles of federation have been adopted by federated partners. Archbishop Greg Venables has agreed to be an Archepiscopal patron (advisor) to the Federation, offering his godly wisdom to guide us while at the same time linking us with the thinking of the Global South Primates….FACA therefore also helps form a subordinate structure to the Common Cause Partners promoting greater bilateral union among among the fragments of continuing Anglicanism. We ask your prayers and support of FACA. It offers a way forward between the REC and the APA as well as among many other Anglican jurisdictions. By the grace of God, it will play a role in the larger realignment of Anglicanism”. p. 14
By approving FACA, the ACA-APA concord arguably reaffirms FACA’s larger project of cooperation among extramural Anglicans. FACA was originally instituted to expand the unity pact between REC and APA, particularly among ‘broad churches’ in the continuum. Consequently, the Diocese of the Holy Cross (DHC), Anglican Church in America (ACA), and the Episcopal Missionary Church (EMC) were drawn into that accord. The ACA already had a history of involvement with REC prior to Bartonville. In 1991 ACA assisted REC in establishing the Cranmer House Seminary in TX . The APA-ACA merger is therefore built upon such intercourse, citing authority from FACA, and thereby implicitly to the REC pact. The endorsement came by the language of “FACA-compliant”:
“We the undersigned, in the interest of restoring full union among all orthodox Continuing Anglicans, and in compliance with the stated mission of the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, sign this agreement of Intercommunion.” p.2.
Invoking FACA concedes something to the ACNA’s genealogy. In fact, APA still has ministry partnerships with ACNA, giving the APA a voice and seat in the Anglican Church of North America. At the 2008 synod Grundorf explained that associated relation:
“It has been argued that the APA will have no voice at the table to defend our theological position as classical Anglicans. This is not true. In October 2007, the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, which we of the APA helped to create a couple years ago, voted to become a new member of the CCP. At the April 2008 meeting, the Rt. Rev. Paul Hewett was elected to serve as the new Moderator of FACA. Although his jurisdiction, the Diocese of the Holy Cross, like the APA, are not voting members of CCP, through the FACA we do have a voice and a vote on the direction of the New Province.” ibid
Not surprisingly, FACA is one of several obstacles for ACC, hindering the APA’s evolution into a kind of “confessional” anglo-catholic church. Other blisters for ACC is the lingering covenant agreement with APA and evangelical churches like Nigeria and especially REC. The 2011 report drawn by APA and REC gracefully admits an ongoing affection between their jurisdictions, “The relationship between the Bishops of REC and the APA remains warm and meaningful. In almost all ways except jurisdictional union, we have achieved a sense of unity”. In otherwords, unity between APA and REC has been “maxed-out”. Grundorf explained how ‘warmth’ translates in practice. It remains surprisingly substantive:
“The REC and APA have been sharing and transferring clergy over this 10 year period which has helped fill the clergy shortage gap to mutual advantage. We also share a clergy/church worker pension plan that all participate in. Part of the work we have done with the REC has been to help form the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (FACA).” 2011 synod
Thus, the APA’s ongoing ties with evangelicals obstructs ACC’s greater influence. Another factor militating against a hardened anglo-catholicism in the older branch of the continuing movement is the Ordinarite. Ironically, the Ordinariate ‘cleansed’ ACA. As ardent Papist Bishops depart for Rome’s provision, a younger set of Ordinaries (like Bps. Strawn and Marsh) have assumed the reigns of leadership eager to be ‘Anglican’. At a 2011 clericus, Bishop Marsh said:
“We’ve been very fortunate here in the ACA. The leadership has changed…and the leadership that is currently in the House of Bishops have said, ‘Look. We are Anglicans. We chose to remain Anglicans. We choose to remain Anglicans and build God’s church. Those who want to go to the Ordinariate are certainly welcome to go but they will leave the ACA and TAC eventually and join the Roman Catholic Church (:31 min.)… It’s time to make a final decision. Most have but there are still some pretty much sitting on both sides of the fence. (6:47 min)…My address was very focused on coming together as Anglicans (8:34min)…Let’s gather together as Anglicans, as groups of Anglicans…or gathering of Anglicans. We can come together, share our gifts, and not have to deal with those sticky issues like mergers, who’s going to be the Primate, who’s going to be the Archbishop, whether we’re going to have to follow some special kind of special liturgy. Why not we just recognize we’re all Anglicans, it’s a big tent, and support each other (9:45min.)… Why not pull our resources and recognize that, yes, we might be a very diverse group of Anglicans but there’s no reason why we cannot come together and share our gifts (10:15).”
Bishop Marsh has called this return to Anglican fundamentals as a “Back to the Future” solution. Evidently, Marsh is talking about reversing the clock to the earlier unity that made Deerfield Beach possible, likely meaning the ACA will return to the original goal of uniting extra mural Anglicans under a broad orthodoxy. The APA-ACA merger is a first step to returning to the spirit of Deerfield Beach, and not surprisingly the merger’s Reconciliation Committee commends adopting the 1991 ACA canons. This would ‘wind the clock back’ roughly to the early nineties where two provinces (DEUS and DMA-ACC, see p. 11) existed within a single church-– a lot like the parallel jurisdictions in ACNA (4). The ACC would never approve of such a plan since parallel dioceses have been anathema to her. Nor would ACC want to formalize a broad orthodoxy by ACA-style canons. So, Marsh’s prescriptions will ultimately go nowhere with ACC, most likely keeping Haverland at bay.
The influence of FACA combined with the purpose of Deerfield Beach could preserve a ‘broad church’ ideal against the ACC-UEC compact. Remaking a ‘broad orthodoxy” for the Continuum has been a key objective of UECNA Archbishop, Peter Robinson. However, Robinson fails to see the difference between his pact with ACC vs. that of the ACA-APA merger. The ACA-APA agreement, for reasons noted above, is the only suitable vehicle for Robinson’s broad orthodoxy. Indeed, the ACC will resist any SCOBA-like federation, holding a “SCOBA model” hostage until deeper commitment to the St. Louis Affirmation (and ACC canons) are adopted. This has been an admitted worry for the ACA Missouri Valley Bishop, Stephen Strawn, who confessed it might take the ACC ten to fifteen years before it softens canons.
However, the ACC’s confessional approach will likely exhaust broad churchmen in a relatively short period of time. Once the enamor with ACC wears off, broad church anglo-catholics will seek more dynamic relations. FACA is presently being replaced by the APA-ACA merger, and any larger Federation will likely be an extension of the APA-ACA union. Thus, it will stand in the spirit of FACA– not the ACC-Reber compact. Initial partners to a wider ACA-APA merger will more likely be FACA members, such as DHC and EMC. It may be the case, over the next 5-10 years the Continuum’s fragmentation will indeed recede — but with little help from the ACC (who’s strategy is one of attrition). Instead, eyes should be glued upon ACA-APA which, in short, is an anglo-catholic church broadened through mandates dating back to FACA’s creation and the Deerfield Beach convention (5). For more thoughts on ‘Continuing Anglican Futures’, I direct readers to Bp. Robinson’s 2011 post, “The Future of Anglicanism“.
1. The doubt of “tactile succesion” through Albert Chambers has been the cause of significant trouble in the Continuum despite the Old Catholic orders of APA and ACA having adequate recognition with Rome. Nonetheless, the common denominator between APA and ACC has been identified with Bishop Robert Mercer who since left for Rome to join the Pope’s Ordinariate.
2. OAC, ARSA, and UAC eventually dissolved into larger churches. The OAC was the most recent victim of catastrophe, splitting 50/50 between UECNA and ACA. About a decade ago ARSA and UAC merged into ACA. These dissolutions and adsorptions demonstrate a maxim: smaller jurisdictions eventually join bigger ones.
3. In 2008 Bishop Grundorf expressed his personal wish that APA did not disengage ACNA, “Although personally I would like to be at the table of the CCP, I am well aware that I do not have the necessary support of the majority of the APA to be there. The Theological Statement and the Articles of Federation of CCP have my personal support, but I realize my first responsibility as Presiding Bishop and Diocesan Bishop of the DEUS is to care for that to which I was elected and consecrated.”.
4. Anthony Clavier was kind enough to comment on the informal ties that will keep APA a distinct entity from parts of ACA as well as any larger federation. Thus, the two province model for union will likely persist. Fr. Clavier shared the following insight, “I’d add another factor. The various jurisdictions, and particularly the APA have constituencies which have been together for decades. The ties which bind them are now more than their initial blueprints. The leaders of the APA have known each other now from AEC days. +Walter Grundorf entered the AEC in 1971 for instance. These shared bonds and histories,conflicts, successes have made them what they are. The APA/ACA people were only together for four stormy years, although the ACA leadership has changed and there remain parishes and clergy who were AEC before the merger. These distinct identities and histories frame the manner in which they look outside themselves in as formidable manner as churchmanship and canon law.”
5. This is the opinion of UECNA Presiding Bishop, Peter Robinson, who said in a Feb. 6th 2013 email: “I can see ACA_APA leaving FACA and it regrouping as a Central to Low organisation consisting of EMC, DHC, REC and possibly UECNA with some sort of loose relationship with ACNA.” As it turns out, the APA will approve the 1993 ACA Solemn Declaration, making APA-DEUS a member of a non-Ordinariate TAC. However, the change to APA C&C will beg the St. Louis Affirmation to be read in a more prescriptive way, yet the final interpretation of the Affirmation’s 7/7 will remain dependent upon the province and diocese in question. Previously, TAC has received Provinces who’ve dealt with the doctrine, morality, and theology of the Affirmation (compared to the 39 articles) selectively. Robinson said of the broad approach TAC has taken with resepct to membership, “The way the Affirmation clause of the TAC Concordat played out varied from Province to Province. In Ireland it was essentially a dead letter, but in the USA and Australia it meant the ACC version of Continuing Church history tended to become dominant.” Overall, TAC in the USA (ACA) will remain constitutionally receptive to the 39 articles as a possible norm, regardless of inconsistencies with the Affirmation.