Continuing Anglican groups sign accord

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.

This is great news coming out of a joint-synod of Continuing Anglican groups.  David Virtue writes:

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.

4 thoughts on “Continuing Anglican groups sign accord

  1. Pingback: Catholic identity–Anglican identity | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

  2. This was not exactly an unexpected development, as it has been “in the works” for some time and regular updates have appeared on the web sites of at least some of the reconciling “Continuing Anglican” bodies. Nevertheless, there is much work that remains to be done before the reconciling organizations truly form a united body.

    >> The regularization of what are currently overlapping dioceses of the reconciling bodies — some of which even use the same names! — undoubtedly will be a challenge, and it probably will take some time. All of the obvious options — (1) a complete realignment of diocesan boundaries with all current diocesan bishops becoming bishops of new dioceses and parishes moving to the new dioceses within which they lie, (2) a merger of overlapping dioceses with new elections for diocesan bishops (and presumably some sort of face-saving status for those who cease to be diocesan bishops, and (3) a gradual merger of overlapping dioceses as the current bishops leave office — have major political consequences. It’s not at all clear how many bishops or parishes would be willing to accept the consequences of any of these scenarios. Any attempt to establish new diocesan boundaries is apt to be fraught with a considerable amount of gerrymandering.

    >> There’s also a serious question of what happens to existing relationships between the reconciling bodies and larger entities. The Anglican Church in America (ACA) is currently part of the renegade Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) which seems not to be part of the new arrangement. The TAC’s constitutions of government give its primate a LOT of authority over the member provinces, to which I cannot envision acceptance by the reconciling bodies that are completely autonomous.

    We’ll see where this goes in the next few years. I would like to see real organizational unification, but it might or might not happen.

    That said, we have to regard anything that really removes lines of schism within the world of Christendom to be a positive development for Christian unity.



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