By Robin G. Jordan
In this article I briefly outline a proposal for a second province within the Anglican Church in North America. This province would be more closely aligned to the teaching of the Bible and the doctrine and principles of the historic Anglican formularies than the existing province is in its governing documents and other doctrinal statements.
The new province would have its own constitution and canons that would create a provincial structure and form of governance that were recognizably different from that of the existing province in a number of ways:
1. There would be a general synod which would be the supreme authority in matters affecting the new province as a whole. The general synod would be composed of elected clergy and lay delegates. The ratio of lay delegates to clergy delegates would reflect the ratio of lay persons to clergy in the new province.The new province would embody the fundamental belief that the safeguarding of the apostolic faith and the maintenance of Biblical orthodoxy is the responsibility of the whole Church. The developments in the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Church in North America, the Church of England, the Continuing Anglican Churches, the Episcopal Church, and other Anglican entities have shown that bishops are capable of falling into error and leading the Church into error.
The general synod would hold regular sessions at intervals prescribed in the new province’s governing documents which would include provisions for calling special sessions of the general synod.
The general synod would elect its own prolocuter, or presiding officer, and determine its own rules of procedure, subject to the provisions of the governing documents of the new province.
The bishops of the new province would be ex officio members of the general synod. Should there be a call for a vote by orders, the bishops would vote with the presbyters. They would not vote as a separate body.
2. There would be a general executive committee appointed by the general synod and subject to its directions. The general executive committee would carry on the work of the general synod between its sessions and perform such other functions as expressly assigned to that body by the new province’s governing documents.
3. There would be a moderator who would be elected by the general synod from the bishops of the province and would preside at all meetings of the general executive committee at which he is present. He would also serve as the official spokesperson of the new province. He would have no power or prerogative except what is conveyed to him by the new province’s governing documents. His term of office would be prescribed in the same documents.
4. Mid-level judicatories would be designated regions rather than dioceses and would be composed of networks of congregations and clergy within specific geographic areas of Canada or the United States and its territories. Regions would in turn be subdivided into districts. Each district would be formed from a specific cluster of congregations and clergy within the geographic boundaries of a region. The reason for this particular organization of the new province would be to embody a major principle underpinning its structure: The province is voluntary association of congregations and clergy organized for the purposes of mission and ministry and such other purposes as specified within its governing documents. Regions and districts derive their authority from the networks and clusters of congregations and clergy forming them.
Each region would have its own governing documents. Each region would have its own annual conference consisting of the pastors of its constituent congregations and elected delegates from these congregations. Each region would have its own executive committee that would carry on the work of the annual conference between sessions, subject to the directions of the annual conference and in accordance with the provisions of the region’s governing documents.
5. Each region would have its own bishops. Bishops would have no power or prerogative except what is mutually agreed upon by the congregations and clergy comprising the region and expressly conveyed to them by the region’s governing documents.
Bishops would elected by a variety of methods. They would be elected by a board of electors or selection committee appointed by the region’s annual conference. The choice of the board or committee would require ratification by the annual conference. They would be elected directly by the region’s annual conference. Only when a region failed to elect a bishop after repeated attempts or within a specific time limit would the province itself be able to step in and elect a bishop for the region. In such cases the general executive committee would function as the region’s annual conference, following the procedure for the election of a bishop for a region delineated in the region’s governing documents.
The age requirement for bishops would be lower than that of the existing province. This would open the office to a larger group of clergy within the new province.
Bishops would hold office for a specific term which could be extended by the region’s annual conference after a review of their performance in office. In event the region’s annual conference decided not to extend their term of office, it would have authority to declare their office vacant and to proceed with the election of a successor.
Confirmation of the election of a bishop would be limited to confirmation of the suitability of the bishop elect to hold episcopal office within the new province—to whether the bishop-elect meets the necessary requirements for the office of bishop and holds convictions consistent with those of the new province as a whole. Such confirmation would be the responsibility of the general synod when the general synod is in session and the regional executive committees when the general synod is not in session. The extension of a bishop’s term of office and the declaration of a vacancy in an episcopal office would not require any action by the province.
6. The new province would have its own united plan of giving. See the united giving plan in my article, “A Blueprint for a Second ACNA Province.”
7. The new province would have its own set of standards for clergy and other ministry leaders, its own credentialing procedures for clergy and other ministry leaders, its own central registry of clergy and other ministry leaders meeting its standards, and its own set of disciplinary canons. Under the provisions of the new province’s disciplinary canons bishops would not be more difficult to discipline than presbyters. Procedural safeguards for all accused parties would be tightened to ensure that they receive a fair hearing. At the same time there would be special provisions for handling allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation
The new province would have its own Prayer Book which would be sensitive to the needs of congregations on the North America mission field, would conform to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and the doctrine and principles of the historic Anglican formularies, and, unlike the proposed service book of the existing province of the Anglican Church in North America, would be “a Book of the Church, drawn up by laity and clergy and finally approved, amended, and put into its final shape” not by bishops but by the general synod . Regions would be able to compile supplemental liturgies and authorize their use provide these supplemental liturgies conformed to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and the doctrine and principles of the historic Anglican formularies.
The new province would also have its own Catechism which would also be a Catechism of the Church, conforming to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and the doctrine and principles of the historic Anglican formularies and prepared, revised, and adopted in a manner similar to that of the new province’s Prayer Book. It would not be a Catechism of the Bishops like that of the existing province of the Anglican Church in North America, which conflicts in a number of key areas with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and the doctrine and principles of the historic Anglican formularies and is the result of the absence of any effective checks on what Archdeacon Cox describes as “the autocratic actions of bishops” in that province .
The new province would enfold congregations, clergy, and individuals in and outside the Anglican Church in North America who:
1. Hold the Christian faith as professed by the Church of Christ from earliest times and particularly as articulated in the creeds known as the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed.Among the benefits of the new province would be:
2. Accept the plenary authority of the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament in all matters of faith and practice.
3. Recognize the historic threefold ministry of deacon, presbyter, and bishop as having antecedents in the primitive Church and being allowed by Scripture.
4. Subscribes to the doctrine and principles of the reformed Church of England embodied in the historic Anglican formularies, namely the two Books of Homilies, the Articles of Religion sometimes known as the Thirty-Nine Articles, and The Book of Common Prayer together with the Form and Manner of Making Ordaining and Consecrating of Deacons, Presbyters, and Bishops appended to the Prayer Book.
5. Recognize that God gave authority to the Church as a whole and the governance of the Church is a shared responsibility of all members of the Church. This includes the exercise of authority in matters of Faith and Order and worship.
1. The new province would extend formal recognition and official standing within the Anglican Church in North America to Biblically faithful orthodox Anglicans who share these convictions.Endnotes:
2. The new province would increase the Anglican Church in North America’s effectiveness in planting and growing gospel-centered churches in North America. The new province would create an environment in which Biblically faithful orthodox Anglicans who share the foregoing convictions would be able to flourish and in turn devote themselves fully to reaching and engaging the unchurched population of North America and enfolding them into gospel-centered churches.
The growth of a denomination is tied to the growth of its population base. This is one of the critical lessons that can be learned from the experience of the Continuing Anglican Churches as well as the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England, the Episcopal Church and other declining Anglican entities.
3. The new province would ensure that gifts given for the purpose of supporting efforts to plant gospel-centered churches are actually used for that purpose and not to support efforts to plant churches that do not share the convictions of the givers.
4. The new province would broaden the appeal of the denomination to Biblical orthodox Protestant congregations and clergy who are drawn to liturgical forms of worship and the reformed Anglican tradition but are repelled by unreformed Catholic teaching and practices of the existing province of the Anglican Church in North America and its particular structure and form of governance.
5. The new province would secure a future for confessional Anglicanism in North America.
 W. L. Paige Cox, “Constitutional Episcopacy,” Churchman vol. 43 (July 1929), p. 196
 Ibid, p. 198