Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Looking Beyond This Week’s College of Bishops’ Meeting


By Robin G. Jordan

On Thursday and Friday the Anglican Church in North America’s College of Bishops will be meeting to consider among other things the latest offering from the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force, which is reported to possibly include two new Eucharistic Prayers and changes to the rubrics of the “Short Form” of the Holy Communion service in Texts for Common Prayer, as well as the final drafts of the proposed rites for Baptism and Communion. This is a good time for congregations and clergy who are presently a part of the Anglican Church in North America and who are Evangelical and low-church in tradition and committed to the Protestant and Reformed doctrine and principles of the Anglican formularies to be examining their options.

What steps can they take to secure a future for themselves within and outside the structure and organization of the Anglican Church in North America, in Canada and the United States?  

I see four steps that I believe are critical to their flourishing in North America.

The first step is to form a voluntary association of congregations and clergy who are Evangelical and low-church in tradition and share a common commitment to the Anglican formularies’ Protestant and Reformed doctrine and principles. A bundle of sticks, wrapped tightly together by a cord, is far stronger than the individual sticks in the bundle. It is much more difficult to break than the individual sticks.

Among the purposes that such an organization might serve are:
1. Help existing and new congregations which are Evangelical and low-church in tradition and committed to Anglican formularies’ Protestant and Reformed doctrine and principles to find like minded senior pastors and staff;
2. Plant and grow new congregations which share these characteristics;
3. Develop leadership training materials for existing and new congregations with these characteristics;
4. Recruit, sponsor, and form candidates for ordained ministry who share the same characteristics.
Such an association might also serve as the structural and organizational foundation of a second province within or outside the Anglican Church in North America depending upon the political climate in the ACNA.

The second step is to jointly develop and publish their own catechism, one which in its teaching is fully in alignment with the Holy Scriptures and the Anglican formularies, including the two Books of Homilies.

The third step is to jointly compile and publish their own service book, one whose rites and services in their doctrine and liturgical usages are also fully in alignment with the Holy Scriptures and the Anglican formularies.

The fourth step is to network with like-minded Anglicans in the provinces of the Anglican Communion and in extramural Anglican entities.

The time for waiting to see what the ACNA leaders do next is now past. I fully expect the College of Bishops to confirm the present Anglo-Catholic direction of the Anglican Church in North America at its two-day meeting this week. The time has arrived for Anglicans who are Evangelical and low-church in tradition and committed to the Protestant and Reformed doctrine and principles of the Anglican formularies to take independent steps to secure their own future.

Also see
Five Eucharistic Prayers - A Sampler of Prayers of Thanksgiving and Consecration Compatible with 1662 Prayer Book Theology
How to Test and Measure the ACNA Eucharistic Rites against the 1662 Prayer Book Standard
Taking the Wrong Steps Toward a New Prayer Book
Surprises in Store? College of Bishops Consider Liturgy Revisions at June Meeting

2 comments:

Austin Olive said...

Robin,

I'm very interested in what you keep describing. Your articles have been so informative and illuminating. But what I want to know is this: what now? As we were told when I was in seminary, the indicative must have an imperative. Is there a critical mass for a Reformed Anglican church? What's next? Is there an association like that which you describe, or is one in formation?

Pax,

-A.

Robin G. Jordan said...

What’s next? The same question is on my mind. I discern stirrings with the potential to become a movement but I do not as yet see the beginning of a cohesive movement.

What I learned in social work school is that these things take time. People must experience disequilibrium and discomfort before they take action.

Human beings also have an amazing capacity for self-deception. They will convince themselves that things are okay when to others things clearly are not okay.

At this stage the most I can do is to encourage people to take a hard look at the present direction of the Anglican Church in North America and to weigh carefully how it is going to affect them in the long term. I can also encourage them to organize, to protect their beliefs, values, and identity, and take other necessary steps to secure a future for themselves. In addition, I can show them that it is doable: it is not beyond their capacity to do.

While I can point to the need for action and encourage people to act, the one thing that I cannot do is give them the will to act.

What is needed now is a catalyst—something that will accelerate the process of the stirrings that I have discerned coalescing into a movement. So far the leaders of the Anglican Church in North America have avoided doing anything so outrageous that it would have that effect.