Monday, October 6, 2014

Thank You ++Justin Welby

Fr. Dale Matson

In our liturgy yesterday we included the Archbishop of Canterbury in our “Prayers of the people” just as we have done for decades. As we did this, a recent article came to mind where ++Justin Welby stated that the ACNA is not in the Anglican Communion.

“The ACNA is a “fellow member of the church of Christ in the world,” but added the “ACNA is a separate church. It is not part of the Anglican Communion.” I am not certain any longer what the process would be for ACNA to become a member of the Anglican Communion since the instruments of unity no longer seems to be functioning. A bishop can no longer be not invited to the Lambeth Conference if Lambeth is no longer scheduled to occur. I don't question the Archbishop’s right to make the statement and his accuracy. He has provided candor and clarity. This was something lacking in his predecessor.

When ACNA was first formed in June of 2009, I believe most of us hoped that we would be recognized by Canterbury as being a member province of the Anglican Communion. The fact that the primates that represented the majority of the Anglican Communion already recognized the ACNA was comforting and reassuring.

Much has happened since that time including the decisions made at the TEC General Convention of 2012. I began to wonder if we really wanted to become a part of Canterbury. This was now a Canterbury that condoned provinces where the leadership advocated unscriptural sexual relationships, a different missiology and a diminished Christology. In fact the leadership of these provinces were advocating a different gospel. I saw the Church of England apparently heading in the same direction partly because it had additional pressure to conform to societal pressure as the Established Church.

As I reread the final statement from GAFCON 2008 it included the following: “While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Building on the above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity, we hereby publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of our fellowship”.

When the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) was formed, it seems to me now that it became a reconstituted form of Anglicanism. The ACNA had not been formed yet but is now a member of the FCA. We are the first fruits of the realignment called the FCA.  So it seems to me that some FCA members have a dual citizenship (Canterbury and FCA) and some FCA members are not dual citizens, for example the ACNA.

This brings me back to this past Sunday and our “Prayers of the people”. As I listened to our prayers of the people, which included ++Justin Welby as ABC, I thought “Why are we including someone who does not see us as part of the Anglican Communion?” Since GAFCON formed the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in 2008 we have been a part of that. I am not saying we shouldn’t pray for ++Justin Welby but should we be including him as a part of our “chain of command” so to speak? In terms of prayers, shouldn't we be praying for the head of FCA Rev Eliud Wabukala.

The ACNA parishioners are members of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Our clergy orders are valid. ++Justin Welby’s statement confirms that we are formally separate from Canterbury Anglicanism (other than the historical roots). This is reconciliation for me. Being a member of FCA is a great place to be and it represents my understanding of orthodox Anglicanism. ++Justin Welby thank you for the clarification.

1 comment:

. Pageantmaster ن said...

Dear Father Dale

Just a few points

As far as I am aware, recognition by Canterbury has never been how membership of the Anglican Communion is recognised. Right from the start the Communion has been formed by treaty, first between the CofE and TEC, then by the various instruments, and while the process is argued about, the recognition by the Primates is the key.

Recognition of ACNA by the Church of England is a matter for our Synod and you may remember that Synod gave instructions on how this process is to go forward. In the Church of England the ABC is an office holder and even in the Communion has no status to act independently of that. Even in the Church of England he operates within rules. He is one of two Archbishops and the pretensions of a 19thC ABC led the Archbishop of York to boycott the first Lambeth Conference. He is not even the head of the Church of England - we have under God a Supreme Governor over him.

Nevertheless, I am sorry for the lack of pastoral care shown for you and can only apologise to you. The Primates who are charged with recognition in the Anglican Communion have made it clear that you are in Communion with them. If the Communion survives at some future time there will be a great many loose ends to tie up, but in the meantime please know that you do remain in Communion with us and pray for us and the Archbishop of Canterbury for his eyes to be opened and his heart softened and for him to act as a Christian leader, because otherwise what is the point of having an Archbishop of Canterbury?

God bless you Father Dale, your bishop and your diocese of San Joaquin.