Anglican Church in North America Divides up Continent for Evangelism & Growth

david at david at
Fri Jul 2 21:53:22 EDT 2010

Anglican Church in North America Divides up Continent for Evangelism and 1,000 Church Plants 
Cascadia Diocese Holds First Annual Synod

By David W. Virtue 
July 1, 2010

 The Anglican Church in North America is dividing up the continent (US and Canada) in a bold attempt to present the true face of Anglicanism against what they see as a morally and spiritually bankrupt Episcopal Church.

They are doing so by creating new dioceses across North America in key urban areas with a plan to plant 1,000 new churches with a clear gospel mandate over the next five years. 

The plan is the brainchild of (ACNA) Archbishop Robert Duncan who is also the Bishop of Pittsburgh. At a recent meeting of the Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America in Amesbury, Massachusetts, they unanimously recognized the Anglican Diocese of the South and the Diocese of the Great Lakes.

ACNA now has dioceses in New England, the Southeast, the West, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, Mid-America and a Missionary Diocese of the Central States. More than 1,500 Anglicans from 20 churches in four states (AL, GA, NC, TN) joined together to form the new regional Diocese of the South.

More than 1,500 communicants from 14 congregations in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana are uniting to form the regional Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes. ACNA also has two founding organizations, the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith. Four former Episcopal dioceses: Quincy, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin and Forth Worth are in communion with ACNA as is the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC).

ACNA claims more than 600 parishes with a College of Bishops comprised of 49 bishops, retired bishops and vicar generals. While the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Anglican Consultative Council has not recognized ACNA, the majority of orthodox Anglican Communion Primates have done so (22 out of 38) causing apoplexy among liberal and revisionist hierarchs in the Communion.

This week ACNA announced the formation of the Diocese of Cascadia in the state of Washington. The Rev. Kevin Bond Allen told VOL that Cascadia is a diocese in formation in the ACNA. "It is not a fully fledged diocese until it meets the minimum number of combined ASA and number of congregations... We expect to meet those numbers by June 2011 and be formally accepted as a full diocese." 

>From its inception, ACNA has been a bold attempt to unite Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes and dioceses that had become disenfranchised and disillusioned by the moral and theological innovations of The Episcopal Church. Hundreds of parishes have left TEC and their respective dioceses by walking out the door and leaving the keys and checkbooks behind them. 

Others have felt called to seek legal redress in the courts over ownership of church properties. For the most part, the Dennis Canon (all properties are held in trust for the Diocese and ECUSA) has been upheld as the gold standard in secular courts. Four dioceses are currently in litigation with The Episcopal Church. Millions of dollars are being spent in attempts to find out who the rightful owners of church properties are. 

In the midst of litigation the Anglican1000 was born as an initiative of ACNA to raise up Anglican congregations and communities of faith across North America to reach people with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. 

A few months later, a team of leaders gathered in Plano, TX, to dream about a cooperative movement to plant churches and answer this call. What began as an applause line during Archbishop Bob Duncan's installation sermon has become a strategic initiative chaired by the Rev. Canon David Roseberry with the vision to plant new works in the Anglican Way to reach North America with the Good News. 

ACNA is ordaining new bishops even as dioceses are setting sail. ACNA's College of Bishops recently elected the Rev. Dr. Foley Beach as the first bishop of the Diocese of the South. Bishop-elect Beach, who had been nominated by the diocese's inaugural Synod, is the Rector of Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville, GA. He is expected to be consecrated this fall. 

The College of Bishops also approved the election of Bishop Roger Ames as the first bishop of the Diocese of the Great Lakes. Bishop Ames, who previously served as a suffragan bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, is tentatively scheduled to be formally installed as the diocesan bishop this coming October. 

Other milestones noted by ecumenism task force chairman Ray Sutton also show how the ACNA is forging connections outside mainline Protestantism. These include evangelism alongside messianic Jews. The ACNA is also inviting 17 messianic Jewish groups to a September summit to explore "how we can do ministry together," said Sutton, "We could get their congregations together with our congregations to fellowship, to pray and to seek ways that we be able to evangelize together among Jews and Gentiles," said Sutton, rector of the Church of the Holy Communion in Dallas and an REC bishop.

"I think it will be a powerful witness for Jew and Gentile to stand together and proclaim Christ to our constituencies. It's what happened in the New Testament." Another step forward is dialogue with the Orthodox Church in America.  

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has lined up four meetings with ACNA representatives at seminaries later this year as the two denominations explore potential for Eucharistic sharing.

Sutton said as many as 150 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations are considering a move to the ACNA. This will only increase prospects for further growth of the ACNA. 

The thorny issue of whether to ordain women to the priesthood remains an issue that divides ACNA members. The ACNA is in a period of reception over this issue. "The ordination of women to the presbyterate remains a matter that divides us. Despite the deep theological and ecclesiological divide we have remained committed to each other, and have honored each other as our Constitution envisions," said Duncan. 

"We're coming together, not splitting apart," said the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, founding missionary bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a mission of the Province of Nigeria. "The Reformed Episcopal Church is now here after having been apart for 130 years. So we're actually seeing the reversal of the fragmentation thing."  PHOTO: Rev. Gerry Swieringa, Bishop Richard Boyce, Rev. Michael Beggs 

The announcement this week at the first annual Synod meeting at the Palisades Roman Catholic Retreat Center in Federal Way, Washington, of the formation of the Diocese of Cascadia in Washington, included the addition of four churches, the ordination of two priests and the election of a new bishop for the diocese. 

Richard Boyce, who is presently Vicar General of Cascadia, reported that the diocese now has eleven congregations, with another one in formation. He set a vision for a vigorous future of church planting and evangelism. 

The diocese welcomed two new parishes into the diocese, created a Companion Diocese relationship with the Diocese of Recifé, Brazil, and unanimously elected the Rev. Kevin Bond Allen as bishop-elect to lead Cascadia upon acceptance as a full diocese by the Anglican Church in North America. 

The two-day annual church convention also included discussions supporting micro-financing to lift people from poverty in Asia and Africa, helping people in Myanmar and South America and planting new churches in the Pacific Northwest. The Synod concluded with over 100 attending a Festival Eucharist and Ordination to the priesthood of the Rev. Michael Beggs of Tacoma, and the Rev. Gerry Swieringa of Bellingham. 

The congregations added during the Diocese of Cascadia's first year were St. Matthew's in Portland, Holy Cross in Yakima, Resurrection in Tacoma, and St. Elizabeth's in Marysville.  PHOTO: Bishop-elect Rev. Kevin Allen and Bishop Richard Boyce, Diocese of Cascadia 

The Anglican Church in North America now has 614 congregations in 20 dioceses. More than 200 other congregations are ministry partners with the Anglican Church, including the congregations of The Anglican Mission in the Americas. The ACNA represents more than 100,000 Christians in North America.

Said Duncan, "We have learned to describe our method for achieving this transformation in Christ Jesus as "converted individuals, in multiplying congregations, fueled by the Holy Spirit." 


ACNA: Provincial Office Outlines Budget

July 1, 2010

Delegates to the Provincial Council held June 7-11 approved a 2010-2011 annual budget of $1,362,531.12. The budget represents a significant increase in mission spending by the Anglican Church in North America.

In total, $263,500 has been earmarked for the Anglican1000 program. Anglican1000 is the province-wide effort to train and support church planting work. The budget also funds work among the Sioux Nation and with refugees from Myanmar. 

Paying for this new work, much of which focuses directly on helping the province meet Archbishop Robert Duncan's challenge to plant 1,000 new congregations by 2014, depends on generous giving by individual supporters of the mission and ministry of the Anglican Church, said Mr. Brad Root, Chief Operating Officer.

The budget also funds the province's administrative hub in Ambridge, PA. The office is responsible for offering services such as insurance and retirement programs to the entire church, supporting the office of the Archbishop, other church leaders and governing bodies and communicating about the work of the church. The provincial office staff consists of four full-time employees and six part-time employees.

More information about the VirtueOnline mailing list