Skip to comments.One New [Continuing Anglican] Province
Posted on 10/05/2005 5:57:19 PM PDT by sionnsar
A manifesto for orthodox Anglicans and traditional Episcopalians in the United States.
"We have a grand opportunity in this Philadelphia metropolis to witness to our unity. In our Anglican Fellowship of the Delaware Valley we have a serious commitment to one another as parishes in a coordinated mission of growing together in Christ and proclaiming the Gospel in our region. This paradigm can work in many of our cities and states...fellowships that can become deaneries, or go right on to become geographic dioceses in the emerging one province, in communion with orthodox Anglicans around the world. We will open up the possibilities for one province as we begin, right now, wherever we are, to think, speak and act, in terms of it, as though it were already in place."
- Bishop Paul C. Hewett
In the early days of WWII George C. Marshall was the architect of a unified allied command to fight the axis powers. He built up the American armed forces and coordinated our efforts with those of our allies in a most remarkable way, to forge the largest military alliance in history. It was not easy keeping the United States, Great Britain, Canada, the Soviet Union, the Free French and the other allies on track with each other.
After the War he was largely responsible for the plan to rehabilitate Europe that bears his name. What Marshall did to help achieve victory in the darkest days of the American century can be a metaphor for what needs to be done with the jurisdictions of faithful, orthodox Anglicans and traditional Episcopalians in the United States. We need today what we set out to build in 1977: a single, unified province for us all, committed to the Affirmation of St. Louis.
Another metaphor for what God wants us to do is provided by Thomas Watson, the son of the founder of IBM. There came a time when an entirely new computer was needed, to integrate the functions of nine older models. What he proposed was exceedingly bold, and no one knew exactly how to build it. But he staked the entire company on finding a way. He turned IBM inside out to come up with the answers. So important was the new prototype that he ran IBM right to the edge of meltdown. The successful product dominated the world market for years and was the basis for a new era of technological breakthroughs.
There are eight jurisdictions and groups which can become one province: the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), the Anglican Church in America (ACA), the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), the Anglican Province in America (APA, which is working toward full unity with the Reformed Episcopal Church [REC]), the Diocese of the Holy Cross (DHC), Forward in Faith/North America (FiF/NA), and the Province of Christ the King (PCK). [sic, it's APCK. --sionnsar] What new paradigm might there be for the bishops, clergy and people of these jurisdictions to become one province?
Here are four steps toward a single new province.
1. We soak everything we are and do in prayer and thanksgiving for one another.
2. As Forward in Faith/United Kingdom moves towards the new free province in England, we can all continue to build bridges with them. We will all want to be related to the new province there, and so we will have London as a point of common convergence. Since the new free province in England will be part of the Church of England, and since our one new province in the United States will be in communion with it, our new province will be part of the Anglican Communion.
Meanwhile other links are being forged with orthodox Anglicans in other parts of the world, and with the remnants in Scandinavia. These links have a unifying effect on us.
3. There are national jurisdictions which are committed to organic unity with each other, namely, the APA and the REC. All of us will get important clues for our own situation by paying attention to theirs. There are other national jurisdictions which are opening up new channels of communication with each other, and cooperating more at the local level. There are more instances of people from one jurisdiction attending the synods of others. The Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen continues its good work to link us together.
Festivals of Faith are dotting the landscape. Last Septembers unity rally in Wilmington shed light upon our path. The shared Pilgrimage in Fond du Lac opens doors, not least to Bishop Graftons intercession. Communication with the Polish National Catholic Church is opening up.
4. A vital key to our unity is geographic planning. The Anglican Fellowship of the Delaware Valley was formed in the Philadelphia metropolis nearly two years ago, with a potential of over 20 orthodox parishes. As we slowly erase the existing jurisdictional lines, this Fellowship can someday become a diocese, a building block in the emerging one province...perhaps the first such building block. A number of metropolitan areas and other regional groupings and states are ready to become fellowships. A state with a large number of parishes can become a diocese in the emerging one province. The bishops and their clergy and parishes call a synod and elect one of their number as a diocesan. Even now, before this happens, bishops of a region can occasionally meet, across jurisdictional lines, to pray and break bread and engage in kingdom thinking.
All four of these steps are being taken simultaneously. It is important for us to press on, because the Holy Spirit has opened up a window of opportunity for us. This is the kairotic moment for us to relinquish the existing pattern of guerilla units and become one army of the Lord, in the terrible battle which is upon us, the battle for Truth. We are to present the claims of Christ to everyone within sound of our voice.
The Church is the Sacrament of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of unity. The Churchs unity is the sign to shattered, splintered humanity of wholeness and new life in Christ. Our unity is a given. We cannot make the Church one. It already is one. What we do is reveal this unity, or obscure it. In the Holy Spirit, in lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, we reveal the essential unity of the Body. In our own pride, prejudice, ignorance and unwillingness to submit to the mind of Christ, we obscure the unity of the Body. Where we have erred, (and all of our jurisdictions have made mistakes) we can come together in mutual repentance, and ask forgiveness of one another. Nothing reveals the unity of the Body like mutual repentance. We can agree to go forward with greater discipline in critical areas such as marriage standards for our bishops, clergy and people, by grandfathering, without prejudice, the situations we find ourselves in, resolved to do better after a certain date.
We can open ourselves to the possibilities of break-through thinking. Break-through thinking is moving toward seemingly impossible goals through new and creative approaches, and letting go of entrenched patterns of thought, behaviour and organizational structure that bind us to the mundane and keep us from reaching our goals. In 1974 in Philadelphia, the father of lies made a ferocious attack on the Church we love, and our unity was grievously obscured. The great wounding began then, and there. But our heavenly Father has an amazing way of dealing with wounds. We see in nature how a bone is strongest where it was once broken, and now knit together. A weld in two pieces of steel is stronger than the original piece. Most sublimely, the wounds of Jesus broken Body on the Cross are the very places where the new creation is intimated. Water and Blood and the Spirit bearing witness constitute the New Eve, taken from the wounded side of the Second Adam. Would it not be just like God to reveal healing and renewal in the very place where our community first fell apart?
We have a grand opportunity in this Philadelphia metropolis to witness to our unity. In our Anglican Fellowship of the Delaware Valley we have a serious commitment to one another as parishes in a coordinated mission of growing together in Christ and proclaiming the Gospel in our region. This paradigm can work in many of our cities and states...fellowships that can become deaneries, or go right on to become geographic dioceses in the emerging one province, in communion with orthodox Anglicans around the world.
We will open up the possibilities for one province as we begin, right now, wherever we are, to think, speak and act, in terms of it, as though it were already in place.
Then we can go on to let God use as He will, to fulfill our vocation as Anglicans: to help the two great lungs of the Church, Rome and Constantinople, breathe together again. In all this work we will have the priceless intercession of our Lady. The purpose is not to build institutional infrastructure but to proclaim the Gospel and reveal the Kingdom. To this end, the Father is forming in us one heart, and pouring out the Holy Spirit upon us, to reveal His Son Jesus as Saviour and Lord of all. With one mind and one mouth we glorify thee, Christ our God. Amen.
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