Conservative Anglicans Create Rival Church
The next steps forward for the new province come quickly. Today, December 4, top Anglican archbishops who support the creation of the new province are meeting in London. Mostly from the Global South, the archbishops are expected to begin the process of official recognition of the new province and later meet with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the foremost leader of global Anglicanism.
The Anglican Communion has never before been asked to form a new province based on belief rather than geography. Currently there are 38 provinces in the Anglican Communion. Only Europe, where British and American ministries overlap, is not geographically based.
In mid-2009, the new North American Anglicans plan to meet in Bedford, Texas, to ratify their constitution.
Stewart Ruch, rector of the Church of the Resurrection, based in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn, Illinois, attended GAFCON and has been a big supporter of the new province. During a post-service interview, Ruch told Christianity Today, "There are two things going through my mind. One, there is a great sense of jubilation. As a parish, we have waited over 15 years for a new province under biblical authority to form, so I am full of joy. Second, I am struck with intercession that this would be a province that is focused first and foremost on those who are far from God."
Asked what difference members in his church would notice with the new structure, he said, "They have already felt an arm extended to them from the Anglican Mission in America. They will now feel a second arm. Two hands have now been extended. They are being brought on fully into that great capital C church in a revitalizing way. This will mean a lot to my folks, and many of them are here. This has been especially sweet."
Copyright © 2008 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Christianity Today has been following the Anglican Division for several years.
Other media reports include:
Episcopalians Form Rival Church | A collection of breakaway Episcopalians have formed a single denomination to rival the mainstream U.S. church, cementing a schism that was largely prompted by the election in 2003 of a gay bishop. (The Wall Street Journal)
Split in Episcopal Church hits new level | Conservatives who fled liberal views of Scripture have formed a breakaway church in North America. (Los Angeles Times)
Episcopal Split as Conservatives Form New Group | Conservatives alienated from the Episcopal Church announced on Wednesday that they were founding their own rival denomination, the biggest challenge yet to the authority of the Episcopal Church since it ordained an openly gay bishop five years ago. (The New York Times)
Conservatives form rival group to Episcopal Church | Theological conservatives upset by liberal views of U.S. Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans formed a rival North American province Wednesday, in a long-developing rift over the Bible that erupted when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop. (Associated Press)
Episcopal Church dissidents move toward division | Conservatives who have left the U.S. Episcopal Church took the first step on Wednesday to form a separate Anglican Church in North America, following years of division over gay rights and scriptural interpretation. (Reuters)
Conservative Episcopalians Vote to Create Alternative Branch | Conservatives from the Episcopal Church voted yesterday to form their own branch of Anglicanism in the United States and said they would seek new recognition in the worldwide church because of their growing disenchantment over the ordination of an openly gay bishop and other liberal developments. (The Washington Post)
Conservatives unveil plan to break from Episcopal Church | Conservative Anglican leaders unveiled on Wednesday the constitution and laws for a new organization intended to replace the Episcopal Church as the American arm of the Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members worldwide. (The Chicago Tribune)