"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Nigerian Anglicans Take An Interesting Step

While it would be overreacting to say it validates the dramatic predictions about the upcoming Alexandria meeting noted below from The Scotsman, the recent step by the Church of Nigeria that Canon Harmon has called our attention to today is noteworthy. This constitutional change is reported on the web site of the Nigerian Anglican Church:


With a careful rewording of her constitution, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) redefined her relationship with all other Anglican Churches.

All former references to ‘communion with the see of Canterbury’ were deleted and replaced with another provision of communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the ‘Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church’.

Archbishop Akinola has famously reminded the entire Anglican Communion that one does not need to go through Canterbury to reach Christ. This change codifies that aphorism. But it does raise the question of exactly what it means to be "Anglican" if Canterbury is no longer invoked as the symbolic center of our Communion. The Nigerian amendments look to the 1662 Prayer Book and the 39 Articles as touchstones, but a great deal of water has passed under the bridge (including the Oxford Movement and Catholic Revival) since those venerable texts were composed. It will certainly take time to see what this sort of change might mean for the world-wide Anglican Communion. But at least in the short term, the Anglican Communion Network here in the United States can take heart. The change was clearly drafted to indicate that the Nigerian church is still in full communion with the faithful ACN dioceses, even if the national ECUSA is no longer in communion with that sizeable and dynamic Anglican province.


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