Monday, June 22, 2009

ACNA will not be divided by differences over role of women

Here's an interesting report of the day's business of the Anglican Church in North America meeting in Ft. Worth sent out by Rev. Ed McNeill of New Anglican Church and Ed's Blog :
We are at the end of the first full day of the Assembly. There are many highlights I'd like to share with your. Mostly though, I wish you could have been here. The opening service was packed and the singing was magnificent. Bp. Duncan's opening address, given in place of a sermon, was upbeat, joyous, and realistic. He acknowledged that there are differences amongst those who would join us.

He named two such divisions. The theological differences between those of Evangelical orientation and Anglo Catholics. This is nothing new, as it has been a tension in Anglicanism since the English Reformation. Recently this has flared up around aspects of the proposed Constitution. The second set of differences are between those who believe Woman's ordination was a mistake and those who hold that a strong argument for Woman's ordination can be made from scripture. Bp. Duncan's perception of the situation was that the willingness to work together to build a vibrant Anglican Church in North America's very strong and that the present Constitution represents our best way forward.

In the afternoon, amidst many presentations, The Constitution was passed with few comments and no drama. As it was being discussed I received an email from a member of New Anglican Church reporting a rumor from some of her Episcopal friends that the provision for Women's Ordination would be pulled from the Constitution. In fact the provision passed without debate. The situation in the ACNA reflects the situation within the wider Anglican Communion (as well as our reality at New Anglican Church); some support Woman's ordination, some do not, yet all are Anglican brothers and sisters called to work together for the Gospel.

The passage of the Constitution officially constituted the ACNA. We are now a church, albeit a loosely knit together church made up of multiple overlapping jurisdictions. We are an unusual church. At New Anglican Church we understand this very well, having as we do parishes in AMiA, Bolivia, REC, San Joachim, and the diocese of Pittsburgh to name a few.

On a personal note it was great to reconnect with a couple of classmates from Nashotah House, one of whom I hadn't seen in 23 years. It was also great to see friends from some of our parishes. I sat with Fr. Steve Gartman of Trinity Life Parish in Yuba City and Charlie McCoy from St. James in San Jose. Steve, Charlie, and I sat on the back bleachers as attendees while our delegates did the heavy lifting. These included Kimberely Talbot, a delegate for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Brian (Can't place last name - sorry Brian) from Christ the King in Campbell who was representing AMiA.

To Sum up: Today was a great day. We have a new National Church that is willing to live with differences that stretch us within a Biblical Framework. Thanks be to God, In the ACNA mission is more important than differences.

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