Skip to comments.What is the Network?
Posted on 01/11/2004 6:07:29 PM PST by ahadams2
What is the Network?
The Rev. Canon Martyn Minns Source: AAC News January 11, 2004
Canon Minns gave this helpful presentation as part of the Saturday AM panel at the AAC's "A Place to Stand, A Call to Mission" conference in Woodbridge, Virginia. The conference was held on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 9-10, 2004. Canon Minns is the rector of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, VA.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
What is the Network?
The Network of Anglican Communion Diocese and Parishes is a new structure of parishes and dioceses within the Episcopal Church. It is not part of the official structures but it is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with!
It is being formed in response to the recent actions that took place at General Convention but in truth its origin precedes all of that. Over the past few years there has been a growing realignment of dioceses and parishes within the Anglican Communion. I believe that it is a move of the Holy Spirit as people are getting connected over lines that used to separate us.
We are connected by a common vision for the Gospel and a passion for mission. We are brought together by a love for the Word of God and a desire to see that Word proclaimed with sensitivity and power. We are not literalists but we do take the Bible seriously and we seek to apply its truth to our lives. The network was discussed with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, prior to the meeting of the Primates last October. Actually the first name was his suggestion -- a Network of Confessing Dioceses and Parishes. He wanted to be sure that we used a positive name and not be identified as dissenters. Subsequently the name became a Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes since it was believed that this was a more helpful description.
There will be an organizational meeting for the Network in the other Plano on January 19/20. A charter has been developed, a theological statement prepared and a set of by-laws written. My understanding is that initially twelve dioceses will be represented: Albany; Pittsburgh; San Joaquin in California; South Carolina; Florida and Central Florida; Dallas and Fort Worth; Quincy and Springfield in Illinois; Western Kansas; and Rio Grande, which includes parts of Texas and New Mexico.
How do you join? How do you become a part of it?
My comments are somewhat preliminary since the official charter and by-laws have not yet been approved but I expect that dioceses will join by action of their standing committees or diocesan councils. Individual parishes will be able to do by an action of their own congregation. A number of parishes have already asked for Adequate or Alternative Episcopal Oversight which will make them part of the Network.
What will it do for you?
That depends upon your specific situation. For everyone it will give a new community of faith and an opportunity to engage in mission and ministry beyond the usual lines. It will be a community where there is a renewed emphasis on the Great Commission. It will be a community where you will not be asked to compromise your convictions about the sanctity of marriage and the unchanging truth of Gods Word.
For the members of those dioceses who are part of the initial formation it will give an opportunity to bring orthodox leadership to our church at a time when the very future of our church is at risk. It will allow new partnerships and new relationships within North America and beyond.
For parishes that are not part of the founding dioceses it will give a place to stand and a community with which to connect. Some of the more isolated and embattled parishes may well become non-geographic parishes with the founding dioceses or perhaps become the basis of new missionary districts.
Some parishes will remain canonically within their existing dioceses but will look for ministry leadership and spiritual oversight from the NETWORK. Last night you heard Bishop Duncan announce that a group of Senior Bishops is willing to exercise Episcopal ministry in parishes that make this request. They will visit and teach and confirm and will do so with or without the permission of the local diocesan bishops. This may well cause more than a little controversy but that is not the intent the reason for this is to protect those who are being marginalized and some cases punished because of the faithfulness the Gospel.
But what about those of you who are members of parishes which have supported the actions of General Convention and yet which are deeply offensive to you? How does the Network help you? Several ways first of all to give you hope and encouragement. Secondly, I would suggest that those of you who are isolated begin to build your own network within your parish. Find those who share your convictions and meet together to pray and seek the Lords direction for your community of faith. It may well be that you will be called to stay as a faithful remnant or not.
Another part of our hope for the NETWORK is that we will be encouraging the planting of new churches that have a thoroughly biblical basis in places where such churches are either non existent or few and far between. This is not something that can be done quickly or easily but it is part of our overall vision for the NETWORK.
Internationally and ecumenically it gives us a way to connect with those sisters and brothers around the Anglican world and around the ecumenical community who will no longer recognize the current leadership of the Episcopal Church.
Will the Network divide the Episcopal Church?
No as you all know division has already occurred but what the Network will do is give hope and a place to belong for Anglican Christians in North America who are committed to a biblical worldview and a biblical way of life. Could it be a replacement for ECUSA only God knows but we will be ready.
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