Back in the days I was a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), we often used to talk about the “Alphabet soup” of Continuing Anglicanism, and how sad it was that once the first groups broke away from the official Anglican Communion, they kept splintering for any number of reasons, including personality clashes.
When some in the TAC began to get cold feet about union with Rome, there was a renewed talk of seeking unity with other Anglican bodies instead of with the Holy See. Well, there’s been success on that front, so it seems.
Four Continuing Anglican bodies made history this week, 40 years after they broke away from The Episcopal Church over the ordination of women.
In Atlanta this week, The Anglican Catholic Church, The Anglican Church in America, The Anglican Province of America and The Diocese of the Holy Cross signed a Communio in sacris establishing full communion with each other.
The ordination of women priests in the United States in 1976 was the lightening rod issue that led to the founding of the Continuing Anglican Movement in 1977. Its Affirmation of St. Louis declared the ordination of women (by the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada) to be a matter of schism and to have caused a break with apostolic succession.
In their statement this week they declared:
We acknowledge each other to be orthodox and catholic Anglicans in virtue of our common adherence to the authorities accepted by and summarized in The Affirmation of St. Louis in the faith of the Holy Tradition of the Undivided catholic church and of the seven Ecumenical Councils.
We recognize in each other in all essentials the same faith; the same sacraments; the same moral teaching; and the same worship; likewise, we recognize in each other the same Holy Orders of bishops, priests, and deacons in the same Apostolic Succession, insofar as we all share the episcopate conveyed to the Continuing Churches in Denver in January 1978 in response to the call oif the congress of Saint Louis; therefore,
We welcome members of all of our Churches to Holy Communion and parochial life in any and all of the congregations of our Churches; and,
We pledge to pursue full, institutional, and organic union with each other, in a manner that respects tender consciences, builds consensus and harmony, and fulfills increasingly our Lord’s will that His Church be united; and,
We pledge also to seek unity with other Christians, including those who understand themselves to be Anglican, insofar as such unity is consistent with the essentials of Catholic faith, order, and moral teaching
The following signatures included:
The Most Rev. Brian R. Marsh
The Most Rev. Mark Haverland
The Most Rev. Walter Grundorff
The Rt. Rev. Paul C. Hewett
We are following this with interest, and one of our board members attended the last two days of the synod. I look forward to his report.