Support the Café

Search our Site

Duncan, those with firmer grasp on reality, assess latest from CofE

Duncan, those with firmer grasp on reality, assess latest from CofE

Last week the Archbishops of Canterbury and York put their names to a document that will be presented to the General Synod of the Church of England that changes exactly nothing about the relationship between the schismatic Anglican Church in North America and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

This is what Archbishop Robert Duncan, the nominal leader of ACNA made of it:

“We are encouraged by the desire of the Church of England to continue to embrace the Anglican Church in North America and remain in solidarity with us as we proclaim the Gospel message and truth as revealed in Scripture in the way it has always been understood in Anglican formularies.

As we have demonstrated successfully to the GAFCON primates, the Anglican Church in North America remains committed to our growing relationships with Anglican provinces outside of North America. Our biblical orthodoxy and ministries are strengthening our bond to our Anglican brothers and sisters around the globe. We are gratified that we are already in a relationship of full communion with many Anglican Provinces and look forward to expanding that circle.

In that regard, we appreciate the work of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England, whose report and recommendations to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York form the basis of the document now released for General Synod, and whose content substantially advances the same ends with the Church of England.”

The reality-based community responded somewhat differently. Dean Tom Ferguson of Bexley Hall Seminary wrote:

This report is good news. Translated from Church of England speak, it basically means, “Nothing’s gonna happen with ACNA for a long, long time. This is what “open ended” engagement means.

It also clearly affirms being in Communion with the Anglican Church of Canada and Church of England, given that many conservative blogs have been spinning the 2010 resolution that the C of E is in communion with ACNA and recognises it — and thus by the unitary nature of Communion ecclesiology (one valid expression per country), meaning the Episcopal Church is on its way out of the Communion.

It then returns to delightfully ambiguous language by speaking of ACNA “in some sense” remaining “in the Anglican family.”

Thus, good news. Clear affirmation of being in Communion with the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church; abstruse and recondite Rowanspeak when referring to ACNA.

The Rev. David Simmons wrote:

“Affirming” a “desire” does nothing other than acknoledge that ACNA wants to be in the communion. “Anglican Family” is as undefined a term in Anglican Ecclesiology as “Enemy Combatant” is in the Geneva Convention. This is a pretty vague pat on the back from Lambeth.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paul Powers

On the other hand, the report does call for direct discussions with the ACNA. Has the Church of England had direct discussions with any other “breakaway” church (aside from the Methodists)?


To me it’s rather plain that there’s not much new in the statement put out by the two archbishops, except that the affirmation of the relationship with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the US within the Anglican Communion is somewhat stronger.

Archbishop Duncan’s characterization of the content of the statement as as substantially advancing his ends seems out of fantasy land.

June Butler

Peter Pearson

Sometimes, when I really want something to be true I can find hope in just about anything. The only question here is who’s doing that?

Jamie McMahon

19. The Church of England remains fully committed to the Anglican Communion and to being in communion both with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church (TEC). In addition, the Synod motion has given Church of England affirmation to the desire of ACNA to remain in some sense within the Anglican family.

Sounds as if all they are saying is that they have recognized that ACNA wants to be Anglican, but that their their current relationship is with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café