Texanglican

"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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Common Cause Takes the Next Step

The Leadership Council of the Common Cause Partnership took the next steps toward a future Anglican union during their meeting over the last two days in Orlando, Florida. They took care of the kind of "housekeeping" that is necessary before much substantive progress can be made on unity, electing officers and ratifying certain documents. While a few people may have been over-enthused about the idea that a new "province" would be announced this week (and hence may be disappointed) in fact the CCP has always been designed as a long-term project. As outlined last September, for example, it is expected to be several more months (at least) before the CCP will even be in a position to hold itself out for recognition by the provinces of the Anglican Communion. And it may be more than a year, apparently, before CCP members are planning a "constitutional convention for an Anglican union." So hold your horses. But things are happening. Festina lente.

I note that the communique of the Leadership Council released this evening uses the word "Federation" (with a capital "F") as a synonym for the CCP, and the new website for the CCP uses the phrase "a federation of Anglican Christians in North America" to describe the organization. The introduction to the communique on that website refers to "the Common Cause articles of confederation," and the Leadership Council refers to "the Articles of Federation" as well (apparently referring to this document). As of today that is the "separate ecclesiastical structure” in North America that we have been awaiting--not quite a separate "province" but clearly a "federation" heading toward an "Anglican Union." A good beginning, IMHO.

Here is an excerpt from the official communique of the Leadership Council (hat tip to Stand Firm):

We created the structure called for in the Articles of Federation now adopted by nine of our partners. We elected officers of the Federation and formed an executive committee, as well as other committees and task forces. We have also begun work to harmonize and strengthen our common call to Christian education and mission. We expect these committees and task forces to begin work early in the New Year. We are beginning to explore the expanding possibilities for ecumenical contact with fellow Christians in North America and around the world.

Our actions today dramatically reversed the fragmentation and separation of the past. We stand committed to the "faith once delivered to the saints" as expressed in our now ratified theological statement. The Common Cause Partnership is united in faith with the vast majority of members of the worldwide Anglican Communion. We are especially grateful for the support and recognition given to us by the provinces of the Global South that have encouraged us to come together in common cause for the Gospel. ...

Each Common Cause Partner will continue to live out its unique role, maintaining its distinctive ministry and character, noting the provision of the Articles of Federation that "the autonomy of the individual Jurisdictions and Ministries, and their constituent bodies, is in no way restricted or superseded by membership." In the months and years ahead we anticipate a growing number of joint mission initiatives that will strengthen our witness as united and faithful Anglicans in North America. "So in Christ, we who are many, form one body..." (Rom. 12:5). To God be the Glory.

UPDATE (Dec. 19th): I spoke this afternoon with a participant in the meeting (a FiFNA representative from our diocese) who said the meeting went well with a very positive spirit. He was quite well pleased. And he was encouraged by the level of cooperation.

7 Comments:

Anonymous andy said...

I guess what I'm confused about is whether the "federation" is 1) the same thing as FACA (http://www.anglicanfederation.org) or something parrallel thus invalidating it, and 2) will this "federation" be content in developing the federation(ness) or is it's ultimate goal to create a real (ecclesiologically speaking) catholic province (with a heirarchy of bishops, etc.?

It seems there is real confusion about what the Common Cause plans on looking like.

Do you know the answers to these questions, b/c those of us here at the House have no idea.

Thanks,
Andy

10:08 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

CCP is a at present a pretty loose federation, and I suspect it does aspire to supplant FACA in at some future date. There seems to be good will on all sides to move that CCP "federation" closer and closer together. The clearly stated goal of last September’s CCP bishops’ synod was an eventual “Anglican Union” with a constitution of its own sometime after late 2008, if I read the official time line correctly, and this is clearly intended to become the "new province" one has heard so much talk about.

There are, of course, still several major hurdles to clear on theological agreement (WO being an obvious one, which I very much hope can be resolved amicably). But it strikes me that one of the chief things that will slow this movement toward full provincial status a bit is the divided mind of the Network over what exactly their relationship to TEC should be. Obviously bishops like +Duncan, +Iker, and +Schofield will soon have nothing to hold them back from leading their dioceses into full organic reunion with the various continuing Anglican bodies in North America. But those bishops of the Network who intend to remain within TEC (+Stanton, +Howe, etc) cannot fully commit to reuniting the Anglican diaspora without running roughshod over TEC’s canons. So it appears to me that the Network will have a major problem serving as the core of a genuine, united orthodox province so long as it is made up of both “inside” and “outside” dioceses. Clearly DioDallas, DioSC, DioSpringfield et al could only be part of a loose CCP “federation” of like-minded Anglicans, not a robust constitutional Union in the fashion of a province, as long as they remain within the bounds of TEC. We shall see what happens on the Network front as Pittsburgh and Fort Worth (and possibly Quincy) cast their final votes next year.

1:26 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

I note with interest that the FACA website you pointed us to actually addresses the CCP:

"Some of the member jurisdictions of the Federation are also members of the Common Cause Partners in North America. All deliberations and actions of the Federation will be executed with sensitivity to the godly goals and purposes of the Common Cause Partners to proclaim the Gospel and effect unity among faithful Anglicans in North America."

Sounds likely to me that FACA will merge into CCP, or perhaps just fade away into redunancy, eventually.

3:55 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

I spoke this afternoon with a participant in the meeting (A FiFNA representative from our diocese) who said the meeting went well with a very positive spirit. He was quite well pleased. And very much encouraged that full unity will one day be achieved.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous REC CHIP said...

I think it is very interesting how different people are describing things. I have been told by at least two Bishops that this will NOT BE A MERGER and that each Jurisdiction will REMAIN!

It was described as "like the Articles of Confederation rather than the Constitution." Working together in a new "Anglican Union" much like the Union of States at the beginning.

11:21 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

I have to say, REC CHIP, as an American History teacher, that I hope the Articles of Confederation are not the model they are using! Look how those worked out the first time!;-)

6:52 AM  
Blogger Death Bredon said...

The Articles of Confederation were just fine. Its the Constitution, especially as construed by Lincoln and the Impreial Court, that has gotten us one heck of a mess!

11:07 PM  

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