Under the headline “Archbishop of Canterbury invites ecumenical observers to the Lambeth Conference 2020”, the Anglican Communion News Service reports that the breakaway group, the Anglican Church in North America, is invited to Lambeth Conference.
ACNS says ACNA is not invited as an ecumenical partner, but as a church not part of the Anglican Communion “recognized to different extents by some of the Communion’s provinces”.
The invitation managed to offend Foley because to accept the invitation and serve as an observer is to accept the reality that ACNA isn’t in the Anglican Communion.
In addition to leaders of Churches in Communion and ecumenical partners, representatives from Churches formed by people who left the Anglican Communion are also being invited to send observers. These churches – the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), the Anglican Church of Brazil and the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) – are not formally part of the Anglican Communion but are recognised to different extents by some of the Communion’s provinces.
ACNS’s report triggered this ungracious press release from Foley Beach, Archbishop of ACNA and chairman of Gafcon:
Yesterday I received a letter from Archbishop Justin just moments before the invitation was reported online. I read the online report first and was disappointed to see that the original “news” source had furthered a partisan, divisive, and false narrative by wrongly asserting that I left the Anglican Communion. I have never left the Anglican Communion, and have no intention of doing so.
I did transfer out of a revisionist body that had left the teaching of the Scriptures and the Anglican Communion and I became canonically resident in another province of the Anglican Communion. I have never left. For the Anglican Church in North America to be treated as mere “observers” is an insult to both our bishops, many of whom have made costly stands for the Gospel, and the majority of Anglicans around the world who have long stood with us as a province of the Anglican Communion.
Once I have had a chance to review this with our College of Bishops and the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference I will respond more fully.
Foley transferred out of The Episcopal Church and joined a church, ACNA, established in an overlapping geographic territory. That church has not applied for recognition as a province of the Anglican Communion. To become a province of the Communion requires application to and acceptance by the Anglican Consultative Council.