Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Heritage Anglican Network: The Challenges of Networking

This past November Treading Grain David Wood published a brief article about plans to form an ACNA diocese in the Carolinas. More recently on Baby Blue Cafe Mary Aire published an article about proposals for the reorganization of the CANA District of Virginia into an ACNA diocese. These articles document a trend in the churches forming the Anglican Church in North America to organize in territory-based judicatories.

This trend does not surprise me as a number of voices on the Internet have called for the organization of all ACNA churches in a particular geographic area into a diocese. This form of organization is the one with which the former Anglicans and Episcopalians that form the nucleus of the ACNA are the most familiar. It is the way that the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church are organized. It is how the Church of England and a number of other Anglican provinces are organized....

This trend points to collective amnesia on the part of Anglicans and Episcopalians regarding the problems and disadvantages of this particular form of organization—the territory-based judicatory. It brings together congregations and clergy that have little in common beyond that they are located in the territorial bounds of the same judicatory. Anglo-Catholics, charismatics, evangelicals, and “mere Christians” are thrown together to make the best of a bad arrangement.

Conservative evangelicals historically have not benefited from such an arrangement. They have at times found themselves in a diocese in which the bishop is intent upon forcing the churches of the diocese into an Anglo-Catholic or liberal mold and to reshape them to his liking. This has led to serious theological disputes between the bishop and themselves. Conservative evangelical congregations have been forced to accept Anglo-Catholic or liberal clergy. Conservative evangelical ministerial candidates have been denied permission to attend conservative evangelical seminaries and theological colleges. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

To read the full article, click here.

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