Monday, April 19, 2010
The Anglican Mission and the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic: A Contrast in Ecclesiology
By Robin G. Jordan
Introduction. In this article I take a look at the form of governance and the written instruments of governance of two of the para-church organizations that form the Anglican Church in North America. These para-church organizations are the Anglican Mission and the Gulf Atlantic Diocese of the ACNA. The organizational structures and forms of governance of these two ecclesial bodies are quite different as are the conceptions of the church embodied in them. They also offer a glimpse into the possible future direction of the ACNA.
The Anglican Mission. The Anglican Mission, formerly the Anglican Mission in America, is a sub-provincial jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America. The Anglican Mission is also a missionary jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The Anglican Mission is one of the original members of the Common Cause Partnership and is a founding entity of the Anglican Church in North America. Of the para-church organizations forming the ACNA, the Anglican Mission is the largest.
Under the provisions of Canon I.5.4 the Anglican Mission continues to operate under the constitution and canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. By protocol with the ACNA the Anglican Mission is exempted from most of the provisions of the constitution and canons of the ACNA. This protocol gives the Anglican Mission the representation equal to that of three dioceses in the Provincial Council and representation based upon the ASA of its clusters in the Provincial Assembly. The bishops of the Anglican Mission are missionary bishops of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and sit in its House of Bishops. They are “welcomed” into the College of Bishops. The College of Bishops plays no role in the confirmation of their election or in electing them.
To obtain a complete picture of the ecclesiology of the Anglican Mission, we need to start with Title I, Canon 6 of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, which related to extra-territorial missionary jurisdictions. This canon, as we shall see, reflects the strong influence of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church and, in turn, Roman Catholic ecclesiology in the language of its provisions—terminology, style, phrasing, etc., the institutions that it creates, the norms and principles that it articulates, and the procedures that it establishes. Wherever possible I have identified the canons of the Roman Catholic Church from which its provisions have been adapted. I have also drawn attention to canons of the Roman Catholic Church that use similar terminology and phrasing as that used in Title I, Canon 6 or embody norms, principles, and procedures like those incorporated into the canon.
Anyone wishing to compare the text of the Title I, Canon 6 with the text of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church cited in this article can follow this link to the Canons of the Province of Rwanda and this link to the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. I have provided these links rather than providing an endnote and link for each citation.
Canon 6- Of Missionary Districts
Section 1 - The Call for Missionary Districts for this Province
(a) Following the mandate of Christ to evangelize all nations, and moved by the grace and charity of the Holy Spirit, this Province recognizes herself to be totally missionary in vision.
(b) The evangelization of the nations should be so done that, preserving the integrity of faith and morals, the Gospel can be expressed in as it has been historically received and expressed in catechetics, liturgical rites, canon law, and, the whole of ecclesial life
The similarity of the language of Canon I.6.1 to that of a number of Roman Catholic documents related to evangelization suggests that its provisions were taken from one of these documents.
Section 2 - (a) Ministry Associations and Missionary Jurisdictions which are erected by competent ecclesiastical authority and approved by the decree of the same authority (e.g. the Primate and the local college of bishops) are juridic persons in the Church and are called ministry associations or missionary jurisdictions under the oversight of the Primate and in communion with the House/College of Bishops.
Compare this subsection with the provisions of Canon 371 § 1-2 and Canon 373 of the Roman Catholic Church. See also Canons 113 –123 for the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church as it applies to juridic persons.
In a previous article I erroneously attributed to the influence of traditional African society the Rwandan practice of settling a tie in the election of a bishop by declaring the senior candidate by ordination to be elected. This practice is actually an adaptation of the provisions of Canon 119 of the Roman Catholic Church which in referring to elections stipulates, “if there are several, on the two senior in age; after the third ballot, if a tie remains, the one who is senior in age is considered elected.”
(b) The Provincial House of Bishops may establish a Missionary Jurisdiction or Society in any area of the world in which faithful Anglicans are in need of, and petition for, godly oversight from this Province. A Missionary Jurisdiction shall be organized under such conditions and agreements not inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of this Church, as shall be approved by the House of Bishops in Synod.
Canon I.6.2(b) gives the Rwandan House of Bishops authority to establish missionary jurisdictions or societies and to approve the conditions and agreements under which they are organized. As we shall see, the Rwandan Primate is responsible for organizing such jurisdictions, delegating his authority to a Primatial Vicar who acts as his deputy or representative.
(c) Such a Missionary Jurisdiction or Society may be established under the sole auspices of this Province or it may be undertaken jointly with another Province on such terms as shall not compromise the doctrines of the Christian faith as this Church has received the Anglican Tradition.
Canon I.6.2(c) rules out the Anglican Church of Rwanda jointly undertaking the establishment of a missionary jurisdiction or society with a liberal province. But the proviso “…on such terms as shall not compromise the doctrines of the Christian faith as this Church has received the Anglican Tradition” may also render ineligible for such undertakings Anglican bodies that are strongly Protestant and evangelical in their theology since the Anglican Church of Rwanda is, based upon its canons, Roman Catholic in doctrine.
(d) A Missionary Jurisdiction or Society may be transferred by the House of Bishops to become a mission effort of another Anglican Province, or to become a constituent member of an autonomous Province in communion with this Province; or, with the consent of the House of Bishops, it may be erected as an extra–provincial Diocese.
Under the provisions of Canon I.6.2(d) whether the Anglican Mission becomes a missionary outreach of the ACNA, a constituent member of the ACNA, or an extra-provincial diocese of the Anglican Church of Rwanda requires the approval of the Rwandan House of Bishops.
(e) Such a jurisdiction may be organized by a Primate with delegation oversight given to a Primatial Vicar who serves as the Chair of the Ministry Council in that missionary work.
It is unclear from this subsection what body is the “Ministry Council.”
Section 3 - The Election of Missionary Bishops in Jurisdiction
1. In order for a person to be considered suitable for the episcopate as a Missionary Bishop, it is required that he: (1) demonstrate solid faith, good morals, mature spirituality, zeal for mission, a care of souls and prudence; (2) enjoy a Godly reputation; (3) be at least thirty five years of age; (4) ordained a presbyter for at least five years, (5) possess a theological degree.
Canon I.6.3 is adapted from Canon 378 § 1 of the Roman Catholic Church.
Section 4 (a) Candidates suitable for the episcopate can be proposed for Missionary Jurisdictions only by members of the House /College of Bishops of the Province; who may receive recommendations from the Primatial Vicar and other appropriate bodies from within the Missionary Jurisdiction as established in consultation with the Primate.
Compare this subsection with the provisions of Canon 377 § 2-3 of the Roman Catholic Church.
(b) The House/College of Bishops can, according to the norm of particular law gather information and documents which are necessary to establish the suitability of the candidates as set forth in Title II, Canon 1.
We see in Canon I.6.4 (b) the application of the principle laid down in Canon 149 §1 of the Roman Catholic Church:
To be promoted to an ecclesiastical office, a person must be in the communion of the Church as well as suitable, that is, endowed with those qualities which are required for that office by universal or particular law or by the law of the foundation.
(c) The bishops are to report their findings to the Primate at a suitable time prior to the convocation of the House of Bishops gathering for Provincial Synod. The Primate may add his own additional information and transmit such to all the members of the synod.
Canon I.6.4 (c) requires the College of Bishops to inform the Primate its findings before the convocation of the House of Bishops. The Primate may at his discretion inform the College of Bishops of any additional information in his discretion. The way Canon I.6.4 (c) is worded, the Primate may also withhold such information if he thinks fit.
(d) The House/College of Bishops in synod of the Provincial Church is to examine the names of the candidates and compile a list of the candidates who will be considered for election.
Under Canon I.6.4(d) the slate of candidates is compiled by the House of Bishops “in synod of the provincial Church.” This appears to be a reference to the Provincial Synod of which the House of Bishops is a constituent body. On the other hand, the following section, Canon I.6.5 (a) appears to be referring to a separate episcopal synod. This is the kind of problem that occurs when those drafting the canons do not make the provisions of a section or sections of a canon clear and understandable.
Section 5 (a). The convocation of synod is canonical if two-thirds of the bishops who are obliged to attend the synod of bishops of this Province are present in the designated place, not counting those who are legitimately impeded, the synod is to be declared canonical and the election can proceed.
Canon 166 § 3 of the Roman Catholic Church states, “If more than one-third of the electors were overlooked, however, the election is null by the law itself unless all those overlooked were in fact present.”
(b). The bishops are freely to elect those whom before all others they consider worthy and suitable before the Lord.
The terms like “freely appoint,” “freely elect,” “freely removed,” and “freely selected” are repeatedly used in the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law, for example, Canon 497. Canon 170 of the Roman Catholic Church states, “An election whose freedom actually has been impeded in any way is invalid by the law itself.” Canon172 §1 further states, “To be valid, a vote must be: 1/ free; therefore the vote of a person who has been coerced directly or indirectly by grave fear or malice to vote for a certain person or different persons separately is invalid….”
(c) For election an absolute majority of the votes of those present is required.
Canon I.6.5 (c) shows the influence of Canon 119 of the Roman Catholic Church:
Can. 119 With regard to collegial acts, unless the law or statutes provide otherwise:
1/ if it concerns elections, when the majority of those who must be convoked are present, that which is approved by the absolute majority of those present has the force of law; after two indecisive ballots, a vote is to be taken on the two candidates who have obtained the greater number of votes or, if there are several, on the two senior in age; after the third ballot, if a tie remains, the one who is senior in age is considered elected;
2/ if it concerns other affairs, when an absolute majority of those who must be convoked are present, that which is approved by the absolute majority of those present has the force of law; if after two ballots the votes are equal, the one presiding can break the tie by his or her vote;
3/ what touches all as individuals, however, must be approved by all.
See also Canon 127 § 1.
Section 6 - (a) Canonical declaration of validity is necessary for anyone to be promoted to the episcopate in a Missionary Jurisdiction, by which the person is constituted a missionary bishop for a determined missionary effort or for another determined function in the Church that may be his charge given by the Primatial Vicar of the Missionary Jurisdiction.
Canon I.6.6(a) adopts the language of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church. However, my search of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law failed to produce a close match between the wording of Canon I.6.6(a) and a specific canon of the Roman Catholic Church. Canon 1.6.6(a) does apply a principle found in Canon 146 of the Roman Catholic Church which states, “An ecclesiastical office cannot be acquired validly without canonical provision.”
(b) Prior to episcopal ordination the candidate is to make a profession of faith and a promise of obedience to abide by the Holy Scriptures and the Doctrine, Tradition and Canons of this Province and also promise of obedience to the Primate in those matters in which he is subject to according to the norms of law.
Canon I.6.6(b) is adapted from Canon 380 of the Roman Catholic Church:
Before taking canonical possession of his office, he who has been promoted is to make the profession of faith and take the oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See, in accordance with the formula approved by the same Apostolic See.
See also Canon 833 of the Roman Catholic Church.
Section 7 – The Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities of Missionary Bishops in Missionary Jurisdictions
(a) – The Primate of the Province obtains full responsibility for the Province by means of legitimate election accepted by him together with episcopal consecration; therefore, one who is already a bishop obtains this same charism from the moment he accepts his election to the Primatial Seat.
Canon I.6.7 is adapted from Canon 332 § 1 of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Roman Pontiff acquires full and supreme power in the Church when, together with episcopal consecration, he has been lawfully elected and has accepted the election. Accordingly, if he already has the episcopal character, he receives this power from the moment he accepts election to the supreme pontificate. If he does not have the episcopal character, he is immediately to be ordained Bishop.
Section 8 -The Primatial Vicar
(a) The power of governance is distinguished as legislative, executive and judicial.
Canon I.6.8(a) is taken word for word from Canon 135 § 1 of the Roman Catholic Church. See also Canon 391 § 1.
(b). Legislative authority is to be exercised in the manner prescribed by Constitution and Canon, and that legislative authority in the Church is possessed by the Primate for the Province but can be validly delegated to His Primatial Vicar as provided for in the law.
Canon I.6.8(b) applies the principles articulated in Canon 135 § 2 of the Roman Catholic Church:
Legislative power must be exercised in the manner prescribed by law; that which a legislator below the supreme authority possesses in the Church cannot be validly delegated unless the law explicitly provides otherwise. A lower legislator cannot validly issue a law contrary to higher law.
(c) Those things which are in the realm of executive power of governance within the Missionary Jurisdiction by common law or by particular law are delegated by Primate to the Primatial Vicar and it is understood to belong only to the Primatial Vicar by virtue of the Primate’s delegation, to the exclusion of any assisting missionary bishops.
Canon I.6.8(c) is adapted from Canon 134 § of the Roman Catholic Canons:
Within the context of executive power, those things which in the canons are attributed by name to the diocesan bishop are understood to belong only to a diocesan bishop and to the others made equivalent to him in Canon 381, §2, excluding the vicar general and episcopal vicar except by special mandate”
“Particular law” is a term that is frequently used in the canons of the Roman Catholic Church.
(d) If executive power is delegated by the Primate or his Vicar, it can be only sub-delegated only for individual cases; if, however, it is delegated for a single act or for a determined act it cannot be sub delegated except by the expressed grant of the Primate or the Primatial Vicar.
(e) No sub-delegated power can be again sub-delegated validly, unless this has been expressly granted by the Primate or the Primatial Vicar.
Canon I.6.8(d)-(e) is adapted from Canon 137 § 1- 4:
Can. 137 §1. Ordinary executive power can be delegated both for a single act and for all cases unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
§2. Executive power delegated by the Apostolic See can be sub-delegated for a single act or for all cases unless the delegate was chosen for personal qualifications or sub-delegation was expressly forbidden.
§3. Executive power delegated by another authority who has ordinary power can be sub-delegated only for individual cases if it was delegated for all cases. If it was delegated for a single act or for determined acts, however, it cannot be sub-delegated except by express grant of the one delegating.
§4. No sub-delegated power can be sub-delegated again unless the one delegating has expressly granted this.
(f) When several persons have been delegated to transact some ecclesiastical business, all must proceed according to the established norms of collegial acts as “church in council”.
Canon I.6.8 (f) is an adaptation of Canon 140 § 2:
When several persons have been delegated collegially to transact an affair, all must proceed according to the norm of Can. 119 unless the mandate has provided otherwise.
Section 9 – Authority of the Primatial Vicar
1. The Primatial Vicar serves as the Chair of the Council of Bishops and is the sole legislator in the Provincial Synod.
Canon I.6.9.1 is an adaptation of Canon 466 of the Roman Catholic Church which stipulates that the diocesan bishop is the sole legislator in the diocesan synod.
2. Any legislation from the Council of Missionary Bishops brought to the Provincial Synod is brought by the Primatial Vicar who consults with the Council but whose the votes are only consultative.
Canon I.6.9.2 is also adopted from Canon 466 of the Roman Catholic Church which further stipulates that other members of the synod only have a consultative vote.
3. The Primatial Vicar signs the decisions with the Primate which have been made in the Synod.
Canon I.6.9.3 is an adaptation of Canon 466 of the Roman Catholic Church which, in addition, stipulates that the diocesan bishop alone signs the synodal declarations and decrees.
Section 10 – The Report of the Primatial Vicar
The Primatial Vicar exercising his authority in the missionary jurisdiction of the Province is obliged to make a report every year to the Primate about the status of the jurisdiction committed to him, according to the manner established by the House of Bishops or Provincial Synod of the Province.
Canon I.6.10 is an adaptation of Canon 399 § 1 of the Roman Catholic Church which requires a diocesan bishop to make a report every five years to the Roman Pontiff.
Section 11 – On The Ministerial Role of Missionary Bishops
(a) In the exercise of their pastoral function, the Missionary bishops are to show that they are concerned for all the Christian faithful who are committed to their care, regardless of age, condition, nation mindful especially to those who live within their missionary jurisdiction. The Missionary Bishops are to extend apostolic spirit also to those who cannot sufficiently make use of ordinarily pastoral care due to their condition in life as well as to those who no longer practice their religion.
Canon I.6.11(a) is adapted from Canon 383 § 1 of the Roman Catholic Church.
(b) The missionary bishops are to consider the non-baptized as being committed to them in the Lord and see that the love of Christ shines upon them from the witness of the Christian faithful living in ecclesiastical communion.
Canon I.6.11(b) is adapted from Canon 383 § 4 of the Roman Catholic Church.
(c) The missionary bishops are to attend to the presbyters with special concern and listen to them as assistants and advisers; he is to protect their rights and see to it that they correctly fulfill the obligations proper to their vocation.
Canon I.6.11 (c) is adapted from Canon 384 of Roman Catholic Church.
(d) The missionary bishops are to provide for the spiritual needs of the Christian faithful, through the oversight of presbyters or pastors and deacons.
While Canon I.6.11 (d) adopts the language of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church, my search of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law failed to produce a close match between the wording of Canon I.6.11 (d) and a specific canon of the Roman Catholic Church.
(e) The Missionary bishop is bound to present and explain to the Christian faithful the truths of the one holy catholic and apostolic faith, which are to be believed and applied to moral issues through a ministry of preaching and teaching, so that the whole of Christian doctrine is handed and he protects firmly the integrity and unity of the faith.
Canon I.6.11(e) is an adaptation of Canon 386 § 1 of the Roman Catholic Church.
Section 12 – Bishops as Defenders of the Faith
(a) The missionary bishops are to promote the common discipline of the Church as given in the Standard Anglican Formularies and are to urge the observance of all ecclesiastical norms and legitimate customs.
(b) The missionary bishop is to be vigilant especially concerning the ministry of the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals.
Canon I.6.12 shows the influence of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law in its language with its use of terms like “Standard Anglican Formularies,” “ecclesiastical norms,” “legitimate customs” and “sacramentals.”
Section 13 – Models of Godly Life
The missionary bishops should be mindful of the vocation whereby they are to manifest an example of holiness, charity, humility and justice are to make every effort to promote the virtues of the Christian Life and to have the Christian faithful committed to his care grow in grace through the celebration of the sacraments and preaching of the Holy Word to facilitate the people to become one Body in the unity of the love of Christ.
Canon I.6.13 is an adaptation of Canon 387 of the Roman Catholic Church.
Section 14 – Missionary Jurisdictions with the Council of Bishops
1. (a) It is the responsibility of the Primatial Vicar to convene the Council of Bishops and to preside over it personally.
Compare this subsection with the provisions of Canon 462 § 1-2 of the Roman Catholic Church which specify that only the diocesan bishop may convene a diocesan synod. While the diocesan bishop normally presides over the diocesan synod he may delegate this responsibility to a vicar general or episcopal vicar for individual sessions of the synod.
(b) The missionary bishops of the missionary jurisdiction are to gather as a council of bishops and are to assists the Primatial Vicar in the governance of the missionary jurisdiction.
Canon I.6.14.1(b) is adapted from Canon 495 § 1 of the Roman Catholic Church which establishes a council of priests to assist the diocesan bishop in the governance of the diocese. Under the provisions of Canon 500 § 2 the council of priests, like the Council of Missionary Bishops, has only a consultative vote. See also Canon 460.
(c) 1.The Council gathers to take counsel together, and work in accord for the common good of the Missionary Jurisdiction through unity of action, the fostering of common endeavors, the promotion of the catholic faith and that ecclesiastical discipline is efficaciously preserved.
Compare the language of this subsection with the language of Cannons 781 – 792 of the Roman Catholic Church.
2. The decisions of this Council only have juridically binding force when they deal with matters which in no way can be prejudicial or contradictory to sponsoring Province or to the authority of the Primate.
Note the term “binding force.” This term is frequently used in the canons of the Roman Catholic Church along with terms like “juridically.” Under Canon I.6.14.1 (c) 2 only decisions of the Council of Missionary Bishops that do not harm the Anglican Church of Rwanda or the authority of its Primate or are not at variance or in conflict with the Anglican Church of Rwanda or the authority of its Primate are valid and legally binding, or obligatory, and would be recognized in judicial proceedings under the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.
3. A decision, even if passed by unanimous vote, which in any way exceeds the competence of the Council lacks all force until it has been approved by the Primate.
Compare the provisions of this subsection with the provisions of Canon 341 §1-2 of the Roman Catholic Church which require all decrees of an Ecumenical Council or the College of Bishops to be confirmed by the Roman Pontiff and promulgated by his direction in order to be obligatory or have binding force. See also Canon 343.
Under Title I, Canon 6 the relationship that the Anglican Mission has with the Province of Rwanda is similar to that of the relationship of a Roman Catholic diocese or other judicatory with the Apostolic See and the relationship of its Primatial Vicar with the Primate of Rwanda is similar to that of a Roman Catholic diocesan bishop with the Roman Pontiff. The influence of the Roman Catholic Church and Roman Catholic ecclesiology, however, is not confined to this canon. It also affects the canonical charter of the Anglican Mission.
The Preface of the Anglican Mission’s canonical charter unequivocally states:
As described in Article 3, Section 2 and Article 5, Section 3 below, the Primate of the Province delegates particular and accountable authority to a Primatial Vicar. The authority delegated to the Primatial Vicar may be exercised solely by the Primatial Vicar, and derivatively by those to whom the Primatial Vicar subsequently delegates responsibility.
Article 2. 2 describes an important feature of the Anglican Mission’s organizational structure—the Regional Network. Each Regional Network is led by a Network Leader.
The Anglican Mission is further structured into regional Networks, gathered by geography or affinity, led by Network Leaders appointed by the Council of Missionary Bishops, to assist the Missionary Bishops in matters of mission initiatives, pastoral care and administration.
As we shall see, the Council of Missionary Bishops does not actually appoint the Network Leaders. The Primatial Vicar does.
Article 3.1 draws attention to the fact that the Anglican Mission is, as an extraterritorial missionary jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, distinct in its organization from the dioceses of that province. It describes how ecclesiastical authority is distributed in the Anglican Mission.
The Anglican Mission, as a missionary jurisdiction of the Province of Rwanda, is distinct from the diocesan organizations of the Province. By delegation of the Primate, pursuant to the Provincial Canons, the ecclesiastical authority of the Anglican Mission is exercised through the: a. Primatial Vicar; b. Council of Missionary Bishops; c. Canon Missioners; d. Network Leaders, and, may include: e. a College of Presbyters; f. various other assemblies and convocations of Lay and Ordained Leaders called together by the Primatial Vicar to take counsel and work for the governance and common good of the Anglican Mission.
Note that, as in the Roman Catholic Church, the laity has a very small role in the governance of the church. Its role at best is consultative. The role of the clergy is also circumscribed.
Article 2.2 enumerates the duties and responsibilities of the Primatial Vicar:
The Primatial Vicar is the presiding ecclesiastical authority of the Anglican Mission in the absence of the Primate of Rwanda. The Primatial Vicar, in concert with the Council of Missionary Bishops of the Anglican Mission, governs all spiritual, pastoral, and ecclesiastical matters of the Anglican Mission. He exercises his rights and duties in accordance with the Provincial Canons. The Primatial Vicar serves as the Chair of the Council of Missionary Bishops and all other ecclesiastical bodies of the Anglican Mission. With the Council of Missionary Bishops, the Primatial Vicar is obligated to report regularly to the Primate concerning the Anglican Mission. The Primatial Vicar represents the Anglican Mission as a member of the Executive Committee of the Provincial Council and at international gatherings.
As we shall see, the Primatial Vicar not only heads the ecclesiastical administration of the Anglican Mission but as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Anglican Mission he exercises paramount authority over its secular administration.
Article 2.3 describes the role of the Council of Missionary Bishops in the ecclesiastical administration of the Anglican Mission.
The Council of Missionary Bishops is presided over by the Primatial Vicar, and participates with the Primatial Vicar in the ecclesiastical administration of the Anglican Mission. The Missionary Bishops, as members of the Provincial House of Bishops, are ultimately responsible to the Primate. The Council of Missionary Bishops has the authority and responsibility which the Provincial canons ascribe to it as a missionary jurisdiction, to include: a. initiation and oversight of new missionary work, and development of new mission territory; b. guarding the faith, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them; c. ordaining priests and deacons according to the established norms of the Province; d. consecrating, and sanctifying for worship, churches and chapels; e. recommending candidates for the offices of Primatial Vicar, Bishop, and Canon.
Article 2.4 recognizes the authority of the Primatial Vicar to appoint and oversee Canon Missioners.
The Primatial Vicar, in consultation with the Primate and the consent of the Council of Missionary Bishops, may appoint Canon Missioners for terms of up to five years for specialized missionary work and ministries in the Anglican Mission. In accordance with church custom, Canon Missioners may pioneer, lead, or develop various local and mission initiatives and programs. Oversight of the work of Canon Missioners is provided by the Primatial Vicar.
The appointment and oversight of a canon missioner is ordinarily a function of a diocesan bishop or a missionary bishop, as a canon missioner acts a special assistant to the diocesan bishop or missionary bishop in the area of mission. The role of the Anglican Mission Canon Missioner is closer to that an ACNA Bishop for Special Missions. This section and other provisions of the Anglican Mission’s canonical charter suggest that the role of an Anglican Mission Missionary Bishop is closer to that of an assistant or auxiliary bishop than it is to a missionary bishop.
Article 2.5 stresses that the role and authority of the Network Leader is delegated. The Anglican Mission’s canonical charter vests no authority in the Network Leader no does it recognize any authority inherent in the position of Network Leader.
Network Leaders are appointed and vested with authority by the Primatial Vicar with the consent of the Council of Missionary Bishops. The Network Leader’s role and authority, as set forth in the Network Manual, is strictly delegated to him by his overseeing Missionary Bishop, to whom he is accountable. That delegated role and authority is to provide leadership and oversight to the clergy, leaders, and Mission Network Team over which he serves. Specifically the Network Leader’s role includes: a. leading the selection of the governing Network Team; b. overseeing the creation and implementation of the Network’s mission strategy;
c. guiding the development of Network community and relationships; d. providing assessment and evaluation of the Network’s effectiveness; e. assisting in the identification of new leadership for the ordained ministry; f. organizing and holding the regular Mission Network and/or Clergy Gatherings; g. submitting formal budget requests to the AMiA Board of Directors for funding and overseeing the administration of all funds of the Network;
h. maintaining order and discipline within the Mission Network;
i. promoting alignment with the vision, values, leadership of the Anglican Mission within the Mission Network.
Note that the Primatial Vicar actually appoints the Network Leaders and vests them with authority. The Missionary Bishop who oversees a particular Network Leader and to whom the Network Leader is accountable delegates the Network Leader his role and authority. Note that the Regional Network receives its funding not from the congregations forming the Network but from the Anglican Mission Board of Directors. The Anglican Mission is a highly centralized organization all the way down to the Regional Network level with appointments made and funding approved at the upper levels of the organization. The similarities between the ecclesiastical administration of the Anglican Mission and that of the Roman Catholic Church are obvious. To those who disagree with this conclusion, I suggest that they read “Book II: The People of God, Part II: The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church, Section II: Particular Churches and Their Groupings, Title III: The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches (Cann. 460-572)” of the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Network Leader is also reminiscent of the Gauleiter, or District Leader, of the German Nationalen Sozialisten Partie in the 1930s and 1940s. The Gauleiter was not only a party official but he also had a role and authority in the civil government, which was also highly centralized. This included ensuring that civil government leaders and workers under him were aligned with the goals and objectives of the Party. The German term for how both the Party and the civil government were organized was the “führerprinzip,” or leadership principle.
Article 2.6 describes the role of the College of Presbyters as consultative.
A College of Presbyters, in partnership with the Council of Missionary Bishops and its Chairman, may, from time to time, be convened by the Chairman to serve as a council of advice. The Chairman will preside over this body. The purposes of this College are to: (i) provide a forum for the full and free discussion of various issues of pastoral concern in the Anglican Mission; (ii) consider proposals from its members regarding the pastoral and evangelical work of the Anglican Mission; (iii) offer counsel and proposals from its members regarding the work and administration of the Anglican Mission; and (iv) consult with the Chairman, together with the Council of Missionary Bishops, on matters of governance according to the norms of the Church. When a College of Presbyters is convened, each Network may elect two members (which may include the Network Leader) to represent the Network at the College. All priests serving in a Network are entitled to vote in that Network’s election. In addition, the Primatial Vicar shall name members-at-large to the College.
The College of Presbyters bears a strong resemblance to the council of priests in a Roman Catholic diocese. Like the College of Presbyters, the council of priests is consultative.
As well as an ecclesiastical organization, the Anglican Mission also has a secular organization as a South Carolina non-profit corporation. Article 5.1 gives a description of how secular authority is distributed in the Anglican Mission.
The general business and legal affairs of the Anglican Mission are overseen by a Board of Directors, pursuant to Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws adopted in accordance with the regulations of the applicable secular jurisdictions. The secular authority of the Anglican Mission is exercised through the: a. Board of Directors b. Chairman c. President.
Article 5.2 describes the composition of the Board of Directors and prohibits the Board from taking or permitting any action, “in the name of the Anglican Mission,” in conflict with “the intent of the Solemn Declaration as contained in the Provincial Constitution.” It requires joint meetings of the Council of Missionary Bishops and the Board of Directors in the event of “conflict” in the secular administration of the Anglican Mission.
The Board of Directors consists of the Chairman and the President, who shall serve ex officio, and 5 to 15 members. The selection of the Board of Directors and the responsibilities, duties and manner of its governance are set forth in the corporate By-laws. The Board of Directors may take no action, nor shall it permit any action to be taken, in the name of the Anglican Mission, that contravenes the intent of the Solemn Declaration as contained in the Provincial Constitution. If conflict arises in the secular administration of the Anglican Mission, the Council of Missionary Bishops and the Board of Directors shall meet for appropriate and collaborative discernment.
While the constitution and canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the canonical charter of the Anglican Mission and its protocol with the ACNA are posted on the Anglican Mission web site, its corporate by-laws are not. I was not able to ascertain how the members of the Board of Directors are selected, and what role the Primatial Vicar plays in their selection.
Article 5.3 gives a description of the role of the Chairman.
The Primatial Vicar shall serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Chairman is the chief executive officer of the Anglican Mission. In consultation with the Board of Directors and the Council of Missionary Bishops, the Chairman shall develop a clearly articulated mission strategy. The Chairman is responsible for the implementation of that mission strategy and for the faithful adherence to the vision and values of the Anglican Mission by the Missionary Networks. The Chairman shall preside at all meetings of the Board as Chairman of the Board.
As we can see from this section and the other sections of Article 5 the Chairman has extensive powers. Since the Primatial Vicar is also the Chairman, Bishop Chuck Murphy has wide ranging authority over the Anglican Mission in ecclesiastical and secular matters.
Article 5.4 describes the role of the President of the Anglican Mission.
The President shall exercise such executive authority as is delegated from time to time by the Chairman. The President is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Anglican Mission including, in consultation with the Chairman and the Board, the selection, removal and supervision of the management and staff. The President shall report to the Chairman and through the Chairman to the Board of Directors. In the absence of, or upon the request of, the Chairman, the President shall preside at meetings of the Board.
Note that the executive authority that the President exercises is delegated by the Chairman to him and that he reports to the Chairman and through the Chairman to the Board of Directors. Despite his title the President’s role is more that of a chief administrative officer or administrator.
Article 7.2 requires that every congregation of the Anglican Mission should have a Vestry or Board.
In every congregation of the Anglican Mission there shall be a duly constituted Vestry or Board having charge of the temporalities of the congregation, and it shall be their duty to oversee staff hired to assist with these temporal matters (sexton, bookkeepers, auditing firms, maintenance personnel, etc). This body shall be presided over by the Rector or Senior Pastor, if there be one, and shall be the official representative of the congregation. It shall be its duty to: a. aid the Rector or Senior Pastor in all agencies and efforts for the advancement of the congregation; b. develop and oversee the annual budget, and provide for all salaries and expenses of the congregation; c. keep a proper account of all funds, and insure that all accounts are audited annually; d. notify both the Network Leader and the Network Bishop when a parish is vacant or without a Rector or Senior Pastor; e. elect and invite a Rector or Senior Pastor, with due regard to the ascertained wishes of the congregation and the approval of the Network Bishop.
Note that Article 7.2 does not stipulate that this Vestry or Board should be elected. Under the provisions of Article 7.2 it is possible for the Vestry or Board to appointed by the Rector or Senior Pastor like a Roman Catholic Parish Church Council. It is also possible for the Vestry or Board to be partially appointed and partially elected. Article 7.2 also does not give any authority to the Vestry or Board in the event of a vacancy in the office of Rector or Senior Pastor, or during his illness or incapacity, or during his absence on sabbatical, vacation, or the like, to make provision for the conducting of public services of worship.
Article 7.3 delineates the duties, responsibilities, authorities, and powers of the Rector or Senior Pastor.
The Rector or Senior Pastor of every congregation is elected and called by the Vestry or Board of that church upon approval of the Network Bishop. It shall be the duty and privilege of this Office to: a. preside at all meetings of the vestry or governing Board, unless it conflicts with the law; alternatively, the Rector or Senior Pastor may designate a member of the Vestry to preside; b. have final authority in the administration of all matters pertaining to the public worship and Christian Education within the congregation, subject to the godly counsel of the Bishop; c. hire, fire, and have authority over all Ministers of the congregation and staff (lay or ordained) assigned to his office, by whatever name they may be designated; d. keep a register of all baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials solemnized by him or another Minister in his congregation, a record of attendance at all public services, and a list of the active members of the congregation; e. have use and control of the Church and buildings of the congregation for the purposes of his office and for the full and free discharge of all functions and duties pertaining thereto.
While the canonical charter contains provisions for the management and resolution of conflicts between the clergy and the leaders of a congregation, it contains no provisions for terminating the relationship between a Rector or Senior Pastor and a congregation.
Article 9 describes the procedure for temporarily filling a vacancy in the office of Primatial Vicar and for recommending candidates for the office of Missionary Bishop to the Rwandan House of Bishops.
Section 1: In the event of a vacancy of the office of the Primatial Vicar, the Council of Missionary Bishops shall identify and elect one of their members to temporarily serve as the Chair of the Council of Missionary Bishops, the Board of Directors, and all other administrative bodies of the Anglican Mission, until the Primate of the Province designates another to the office of Primatial Vicar.
Section 2: If a Missionary Episcopate becomes vacant, or additional Missionary Bishops are needed for the advancement of the Anglican Mission, the Primatial Vicar with the Council of Missionary Bishops shall serve as Episcopal Consulters to the Primate with regard to the selection of candidates suitable for the Missionary Episcopate. The Episcopal Consulters may consult with the Network Leaders and the Board of Directors, and the Primatial Vicar may assemble a College of Presbyters or other appropriate body to assist in the identification of suitable candidates.
Section 3: The Council of Missionary Bishops shall elect candidates for consideration before the Provincial House of Bishops as set forth in Title I, Canon 6, Sections 3, 4, 5. This vote shall be a super majority (at least two thirds) of the Council of Missionary Bishops. The Primatial Vicar will present such names to the Primate and to the Provincial House of Bishops for their consideration. The Primatial Vicar may veto a name for reasons of pastoral or administrative concern, as set forth in the canons. Those priests nominated by the Council of Missionary Bishops are presented in accord with the canonical norms of the Province (cf. Title 1, Canon 6, Section 13, Title III, Canon 23, Section 2).
Section 4: The Primatial Vicar, or another Missionary Bishop designated by him, shall see to any episcopal needs within a vacant seat, until a Missionary Bishop is elected and takes canonical possession of that seat.
Note that the Primatial Vicar may veto a candidate that the Council of Missionary Bishops recommends for the consideration of the Rwandan House of Bishops. Compare the provisions of Section 2 with those of Canon 377 § 2-3 of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Gulf Atlantic Diocese.The Gulf Atlantic Diocese is one of the newest judicatories of the Anglican Church in North America. It was formally constituted as a diocese of the ACNA on August 29, 2009, and elected its first bishop on that date. It is comprised of congregations in Florida and Georgia.
The form of governance and constitution of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese is typical of that of dioceses in the Anglican Church of Australia, the Anglican Church of Canada, and The Episcopal Church.
Article I of the constitution of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese identifies “the Church in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese” as a constituent member of the Anglican Church in North America and accedes to the constitution and canons of the ACNA. It identifies the boundaries of the diocese and makes provision for the admission of parishes outside of the diocese’s boundaries.
Article II establishes a diocesan synod as “the principal governing body” of the diocese and makes provision for an annual meeting of the diocesan synod. It contains provisions for changing the time and place or both of the annual meeting of the diocesan synod and for calling special meetings of the diocesan synod. Article III prescribes the composition of the diocesan synod, sets the qualifications of its clerical members, and establishes a formula for determining the number of elected lay members from each congregation and makes provision for their election. It gives a seat, voice, and vote in the diocesan synod to members of the diocesan council and the standing committee who are not otherwise members of the diocesan synod.
Article IV prescribes who is to preside at meetings of the diocesan synod. Article V establishes the size of a quorum of a meeting of the diocesan synod, the conditions under a vote may be taken by orders, and the type of vote needed to decide a matter.
Article VI makes provision for a secretary of the diocesan synod, nominated by the diocesan council and elected by the diocesan synod, and delineates the duties of the secretary of the diocesan synod. Article VII designates the bishop of the diocese as its chief executive officer. Article VIII prescribes upon whom devolves the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese in the absence or incapacity of the diocesan bishop.
Article IX establishes a diocesan standing committee, sets up a system of staggered terms for its members, prescribes the term of office of its members, and prohibits outgoing members from succeeding themselves. It designates the standing committee as the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese in the event of a vacancy in the episcopate or the inability of the bishop or bishop-coadjutor to act. It establishes the requirements that the clerical standing committee members must be entitled to sit in the diocesan synod and that lay standing committee members must be communicants of a parish admitted into union with the diocese. It makes provision for the appointment of a chairperson and secretary of the standing committee and prescribes the secretary’s duties. It empowers the standing committee to fill all vacancies in its own body or any appointed committee or elected office that may occur between the annual meetings of the diocesan synod. It makes the standing committee the official council of advice to the bishop and gives the standing committee joint responsibility with the bishop for approving candidates for ordination. It gives the standing committee responsibility for conducting an annual review of the work of the bishop and empowers the standing committee in case of serious conflict in the diocese or misconduct on the part of the bishop, by a two-third vote, to refer the matter to the ACNA College of Bishops. It also states that the standing committee will have such additional rights, duties, and powers as the ACNA canons or the diocesan canons may confer.
Article X creates a diocesan council and prescribes its composition and duties. It makes provision for the diocesan synod to confer additional rights, duties, and powers on the diocesan council by canon. Article XI provides for the appointment of deans and the establishment of deaneries. Article XII prescribes the procedure by which parishes may be admitted into union with the diocesan synod. Article XIII delineates property ownership rights. Article XIV makes provision for the alteration or amendment of the constitution.
The canons of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese are also similar to the canons of a number of dioceses in the Anglican Church of Australia, the Anglican Church of Canada, and The Episcopal Church; except that they adopt a number of reforms of the episcopate that have been recommended by Reform UK and other groups. They also incorporate a number of other features that are worthy of note.
Under Canon I parish vestries submit the names of nominees for the office of diocesan bishop to a nominations committee at least 6 months before the meeting of the diocesan synod at which the election of the diocesan bishop is to be held. All nominations must be accompanied by the nominee’s written acceptance of the nomination and the written support of the nomination of the vestry of the church in which the nominee is serving. From these nominations the nominations committee selects two qualified candidates and notifies the members of the diocesan synod of its selection. At the meeting of the diocesan synod at which the diocesan bishop is elected, the candidate who receives two-thirds of the “total delegate vote” is declared elected; the diocesan synod submits the name of the bishop elect to the College of Bishops for confirmation of his election. In the event neither candidate receives two-thirds of the total vote, the diocesan synod has two options: It can delegate the election of one of the two candidates to the College of Bishops or it can reject both candidates and request a new slate of candidates from the nominations committee. The diocesan synod is required to reconvene to consider this new slate of candidates within 90 days. Candidates who names appeared on the first slate are not disqualified from having their names appear on the second slate. Voting may be done by orders if two-thirds of those voting so request, in which case a two-thirds vote of each order is necessary to elect. The the diocesan bishop is limited to a single seven year term of office. This term begin from the time of the consecration of the diocesan bishop.
The Gulf Atlantic Diocese has retained the practice of the diocesan convention or synod electing the bishop of the diocese, a practice that has a long history in North American Anglicanism and is traceable to the early Church. It has also adopted a provision seen in the constitutions or canons of a number of Australian dioceses. In the event the diocesan synod, after repeated balloting, fails to elect a new bishop, the synod may by resolution delegate the election of a new bishop to the bishops of the province under such conditions as it may specify. This delegation is not permanent. It is only for a single occasion.
Candidacy for the office of diocesan bishop is limited to the clergy of the diocesan. This reduces the likelihood of the diocesan synod electing as a bishop a presbyter whose character and opinions are an unknown quantity. One of the ways that liberalism has spread through The Episcopal Church has been through the episcopate. Diocesan conventions have elected as diocesan bishop a candidate who was from outside the diocese and whom they thought was conservative or moderate only to discover after the election that the new bishop was a liberal or revisionist. The seven-year term limit also reduces the extent of the harm that a new bishop might do in the event he turned out to be a closet liberal or revisionist.
As in the Church of England in South Africa the bishop is in a parish and is in touch with the consensus fidelium. He exercises a proportion of his ministry from a base within a local congregation and cannot avoid the basic preaching/teaching role of a bishop. This is a major step toward de-prelatizing the episcopate. Limiting the diocesan bishop to a single seven-year term of office is consistent with the view of the English Reformers and classical Anglicanism that bishops are not a separate order. They are of the same order as priests/presbyters and essentially engage in the same ministry as a vicar/rector but exercise this ministry in a different sphere. They also have an additional connectional role.
Canon III makes very generous provisions for the full participation of clergy and laity from other ACNA constituent bodies in the shared life and ministry of the diocese with the exception of electing members of the diocesan standing committee and serving as members of the standing committee.
Canon VI permits the diocesan bishop to appoint, with the consent of the diocesan council, one or more members of the clergy to assist him in respect to the mission of the diocese. It also permits him to appoint an assistant bishop with the consent of a majority vote of the diocesan synod. It requires a bishop-coadjutor or a suffragan bishop to be elected in the same manner as the diocesan bishop.
Canon XVI delineates the procedure that a parish must follow in calling a new rector. The vestry is required in its search for a new rector to first consider a list of candidates proposed by the bishop. If the vestry does not find an acceptable candidate on this list, the vestry may ask the bishop for a list of additional candidates. Only if the vestry does find an acceptable candidate on the second list may it consider other candidates. If the vestry finds an acceptable candidate, it must inform the bishop in writing, providing him with suitable documentation of the candidate’s qualifications to meet the parish’s requirements for ministerial leadership. The bishop is required to respond within 30 days. He may approve the proposed candidate or he may, after consultation with the diocesan standing committee, reject the proposed candidate. If the candidate is rejected, the vestry may consider other candidates. The canon makes provision for the resolution of differences between the bishop and the vestry over clergy selection “in the most satisfactory and godly manner as possible.” If the vestry calls a member of the clergy from outside of the diocese, such member of the clergy cannot be instituted as rector of the parish until he or she has canonically transferred to the diocese. Such member of the clergy cannot perform any rites or ceremonies of the church except with special permission of the bishop of the diocese until the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese has certified to the vestry his or her canonical transfer to the diocese.
Conclusion. The Anglican Mission’s form of governance combines Roman Catholic ecclesiology with American corporatism and creates a highly centralized hierarchical structure. This is the so-called new “African” methodology that Chairman Chuck Murphy and the upper echelon Anglican Mission leaders seek to see fully accepted and assimilated by the Anglican Mission clergy and membership before they pursue further integration in the ACNA. It is a command and control structure like that of the military and the former Soviet Union. It concentrates power in the hands of one person—the Primatial Vicar/Chairman—who is under the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and canonical charter of the Anglican Mission responsible only to the Primate of Rwanda.
The methodology is not particularly new nor is it especially “African.” The concept of a centralized hierarchy with a powerful leader at its apex has been around since Roman times and earlier. It is the type of ecclesiastical organization employed by the Roman Catholic Church and is modeled on imperial government of ancient Rome with a pope or pontiff presiding over the hierarchy instead of an emperor. In this case the pope or pontiff is a distant African primate with an American bishop acting as his deputy or agent. Considering the sweeping powers that the Primatial Vicar/Chairman wields—vicegerent or even viceroy might be a more accurate description. A vicegerent is a holder of delegated authority. A viceroy is a deputy king, or ruler, with royal authority in a dependency. This concept may be considered “African” in so far that the pharaohs of ancient Egypt in North Africa were powerful leaders under whose control was concentrated the rule of a hierarchical, or graded, society with the priests and the nobility near the top and the peasants and the slaves at the bottom.
The leadership team concept is borrowed from American business. However, it is not a recent innovation. In the early Church the elders, or presbyters, of the local church, functioned as a leadership team. The elders would chose one of their own number and name him as overseer, or bishop. Initially the most senior elder became the overseer. Later the elders elected the most suitable of their number. In Rome, the overseer was chosen by all the people: the elders’ choice required the agreement of the laity.  The overseer, however, was not appointed by someone higher up in a hierarchy, nor did he gather a leadership team around himself, as has become the practice of the Roman Catholic Church since that time and is the practice of American business.
What is lacking in the Anglican Mission’s system of ecclesiastical governances is conferences and synods of godly clergy and lay people to “serve as a check upon the sinfulness and folly of bishops.”  And, I would add, Network Leaders. “Although synods (and bishops) must not be allowed to contradict biblical teaching, they can provide godly wisdom,” Michael Burkill reminds us, “when the Christian community and its leaders are faced with major issues.” “Bishops must not be allowed to be tyrants,” he stresses, “and there must be effective means of holding them accountable to Scripture.”  This is also applicable to Network Leaders.
The Gulf Atlantic Diocese is essentially a federation of independent parishes, the model of a diocese favored by Bishop William White, the first Bishop of Philadelphia and the first Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA who was a leading framer of the constitution of the PECUSA. Bishop White championed an ecclesiology based upon the parish. In this ecclesiology “the parish is the basic unit of Anglican church life and the diocese is accessory (and not visa versa).”  The power of governance ultimately rests with the parish and the parish delegates it to the diocese and to any other body with which the parish is affiliated. One of the principles underlying White’s ecclesiology is to restrict the powers of ecclesiastical bodies outside of the congregation with the congregation retaining all powers that it did not need to delegate for the good of the whole.  In their article, “The parish is the basic unit of the Church in American Anglicanism,” Tim Smith and George Conger describe this model:
In the historical American Episcopal ecclesiology which is parish-based, the authority of church order flows from the parish to the bishop. The head of the Church is not the bishop, but Jesus Christ. The parish places itself under the spiritual authority and direction of the bishop, and not the other way around. The parish - through its officers, the vestry, owns property and manages the affairs of the local parish. The parish sends delegates to diocesan conventions. These conventions set budgets, pass canons or laws, and elect bishops. Civil law governs the business affairs of the parish. Bishops have spiritual, sacramental and teaching authority; yet they are bound by canons, custom and civil law in the exercise of their authority. 
In White’s theology of the church ecclesiastical governance is based upon the principle of the consent of the governed and is established by voluntary association. Spiritual order and church order are separate issues. 
In contrast, the model adopted by the Anglican Mission embodies the esse theory of episcopacy. In this view bishops are regarded as essential for the very being of the church. Parishes are mere creatures of the diocese. They are dependent upon the bishop for their authority and life. This view of episcopacy is historically associated with Roman Catholicism and Anglo-Catholicism but it also has its liberal adherents. It takes the position that power descends from God to the bishops and in a number of respects, through the bishops, into the ministry of those of inferior importance or rank to them. Its basic understanding of the function of the episcopate is prelatical. The bishops form a governing order; the bishop is a minister of governance. Other clergy or laypersons do not possess any inherent power to legislate. The bishops take their advice and counsel, as this theory argues was the case in the early church; and in the modern-day church the bishops may delegate to other clergy and laypersons in councils and synods the authority to initiate and veto measures, thereby consenting and agreeing not to exercise their own inherent powers except as advised and approved by such bodies. In the Anglican Mission the Primatial Vicar exercises power that is delegated to him by the Primate of Rwanda. The Council of Missionary Bishops exercise delegated power as do, in turn, the Network Leaders. Power flows from the top downward to the lower echelons of the hierarchy.
The model that the Anglican Mission has adopted is unusual for para-church organization that is by report largely comprised of self-identified “evangelicals.” This model is not at all compatible with evangelical ecclesiology. It points to a major problem that besets “evangelicalism” as it is found in the Anglican Church in North America and The Episcopal Church today. It has not only become disconnected from the doctrines and practices that have historically characterized traditional evangelical Anglicanism but also it has come to be strongly influenced by Catholicism and contemporary culture.
Which model will flourish and prosper in the Anglican Church in North America is yet to be seen. The constitution and canons of the ACNA lean heavily toward Catholic ecclesiology and favor a centralized hierarchical model of the church. The Anglican Mission is the largest of the para-church organizations forming the ACNA and exercises a great deal of influence in the councils of the ACNA. Its influence is quite evident in the ACNA constitution and canons. For want of a better analogy, the Anglican Mission is the 600-pound gorilla in the room and its present cannot be ignored.
 Roger Beckwith, Elders in Every City: The Origin and Role of the Ordained Ministry, (Waynesboro, Georgia: Paternoster Press, 2003), 58-59.
 Michael Burkill, “Better Bishops,” a Reform discussion paper on the Internet at: http://www.reform.org.uk/pages/bb/betterbishops.php
 Roger Beckwith, The Church of England: What It Is and What It Stands For, (London: Latimer Trust, 1992, 2006), 22, a Latimer Briefing on the Internet at: http://www.latimertrust.org/download/lb1beckwith.pdf
 Tim Smith; George Conger, “Parish Is the Basic Unit of the Church in American Anglicanism: Serious Challenges Face American Anglicanism: On What Principles Will a New Order Be Shaped?” an article on the Internet at: http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=6963
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 11:00 AM