The Board of Directors of the American Anglican Council (AAC) held a special board meeting at Truro Church, Fairfax, VA on October 22-23, 2003 to begin preparations for the coming realignment of Anglicanism in America. Over the course of the meeting, the AAC Board moved forward with developing a "Network of Confessing Dioceses and Parishes" and created a process by which orthodox parishes can apply for the provision of "adequate episcopal oversight." The AAC Board also heard a report from AAC leaders who met with the Archbishop of Canterbury the morning after the Primates Meeting.
The board gathered in the wake of the AAC's highly successful Dallas/Plano "A Place to Stand" conference and last week's strong rebuke of the American Episcopal Church by the Anglican Primates. Also attending the meeting were leaders from the Anglican Communion Institute, The Ekklesia Society, several bishops, lawyers, youth leaders, theologians and other church and AAC leaders.
"Our course is getting clearer each week," said the Rev. Canon David Anderson, AAC President. "We are beginning the process of realignment of Anglicanism in North America that the Primates laid out for us in their statement."
The AAC Board spent a considerable amount of time discussing plans for "adequate episcopal oversight" for congregations who maintain Biblical faith and practice, but are located in dioceses that support the consecration of Canon Robinson or are otherwise hostile to their orthodox beliefs. The Anglican Primates made provision for such oversight in their statement last week. According to the Primates, this oversight is to be provided in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, on behalf of the Primates themselves -- an unprecedented move that is reflective of the growing role of the Anglican Primates in the life of the Anglican Communion.
In response to the Primates' direction, the AAC Board developed "Guidelines for Congregations Seeking Adequate Episcopal Oversight" and an "Application for Adequate Episcopal Oversight" which will provide congregations with a way to formally request such oversight. The AAC also created an "AAC Bishops Committee on Adequate Episcopal Oversight" which will handle the oversight requests and address other oversight-related matters. The guidelines and application will be posted on the AAC website shortly.
"With the Archbishop of Canterbury's encouragement, the AAC Bishops' Committee on Adequate Episcopal Oversight is coordinating requests for oversight," said Canon Anderson. "We are proceeding deliberately and carefully to insure that this oversight is available sooner rather than later."
The AAC Board also moved forward with the establishment of a "Network of Confessing Dioceses and Parishes" in the Episcopal Church.
"A first component of the new realignment is the establishment of a 'Network of Confessing Dioceses and Parishes,' which is actually a name given to us by the Archbishop of Canterbury," said Canon Anderson. "It is with great joy that we report that this network is already coming together, with orthodox dioceses and AAC parishes leading the way," said Canon Anderson. "The network is growing dramatically, and we expect continued rapid growth."
"This network is intended to be a safe haven for all those Episcopalians who are distressed by the direction that the Episcopal Church has taken over the past 30 years - actions that culminated in the grievous decisions of General Convention this past August," added Canon Anderson.
The day following the Primates Meeting, four AAC bishops and two clergy leaders met with the Archbishop or Canterbury, The Most Rev. Rowan Williams. The Board heard a report on the meeting from the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, and the Rev. Canon Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Church.
"It was clear at the meeting that Archbishop Williams understands that separation has happened and that realignment is a coming reality," reported Bishop Duncan. "The big question and concern is whether we will be able to be reconfigured in an orderly manner or whether we will we slide into chaos."
All eyes are now focused on the consecration service of Canon Gene Robinson in less than two weeks.
"The AAC sees the scheduled consecration of a non-celibate homosexual as bishop to be the watershed moment in modern Anglicanism," said Canon Anderson. "As a result, the AAC adds our voices to a vast number of Anglicans and other ecumenical leaders who have asked Canon Robinson to step down for the sake of the future of the Anglican Communion."
"As an increasing number of provinces withdraw fellowship from the American Episcopal Church because of its controversial actions, the Episcopal Church will find itself no longer in the Anglican Communion," said the Rev. Donald Armstrong, Director of the Anglican Communion Institute headquartered in Colorado Springs. "The only way for these divisions to be healed is for us to reclaim the historic teaching of our church on human sexuality as expressed in the Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and repudiate these innovations which are so destructive to the persons involved as well as our common life in the church."
The American Anglican Council is a network of individuals, parishes, specialized ministries and Episcopal Bishops who affirm Biblical authority and mainstream Anglican orthodoxy within the Episcopal Church. For more information on the AAC, and to register for the Plano Meeting, please visit our website at http://www.americananglican.org
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