by Glenn Davies
April 22nd, 2009
Last week the GAFCON Primates met in London to deliberate on a number of significant issues. However, the most far reaching of their decisions was to recognise the new Province of the Anglican Church in North America.
In the words of the Primates' Statement of 16 April 2009:
"We met with Bishop Bob Duncan and a number of the Episcopal leaders of the proposed new Province. Careful consideration was given to the new 'Province in formation' in North America. This is made up so far of approximately 100,000 Anglican Christians in Canada and the US who wish to be known as Anglicans and to be in fellowship with the Anglican Communion worldwide. We have asked whether we can recognize and authenticate this movement as truly Anglican.
As a result of this process, we celebrate the organization and official formation of ACNA around the same principles that gave rise to the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and now the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA). Though many Provinces have expressed impaired or broken communion with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, our fellowship with faithful Anglicans in North America has remained steadfast.
The FCA Primates' Council recognizes the Anglican Church in North America as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA".
It has usually been the case that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been involved in the formation of any new Province in the Anglican Communion (if not actually requiring his consent).
In recent years the Primates' Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council have also been actively involved in creating new provinces, as was the case in the inauguration of the Province of Hong Kong in 1998.
However, none of the so-called Instruments of Communion have been involved in the formation of this new province in North America.
Indeed, one could be forgiven for thinking that each of these Instruments of Communion has been culpable in allowing the Anglican Communion to come to such a crisis point that demanded a new Province in North America. If any of them had acted more decisively than they did since the events of 2003 with the election and consecration of Gene Robinson, we would not be where we are today.
Thank God that the GAFCON Primates have had the courage, conviction and common sense to recognise the ACNA as genuinely Anglican.
We await with interest the reaction of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the ACC who are due to meet in Jamaica in May.