Guest / Limited Access /

United in their aversion to the liberal drift of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, a group of conservatives on Wednesday launched a new North American branch of the Anglican Communion.

Leaders of the new conservative Anglican Church in North America count about 100,000 members, including four dioceses that recently voted to leave the Episcopal Church. In contrast, the existing U.S. and Canadian churches count more than 2.8 million members.

With their increasing acceptance of homosexuality and liberal theology, the U.S. and Canadian branches of Anglicanism have essentially removed themselves from the communion, the conservatives argue.

"Work done today marks five years of labor in attempts to get together," said Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, who will lead the new church. "We have come together to form a province that could be part of the Anglican world."

But a number of significant hurdles lie ahead for the Common Cause Partnership, as the conservatives' umbrella group is known. The self-declared province will need to:

  • Gain recognition from leading Anglican archbishops;
  • Win the favor of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the communion's spiritual leader;
  • Overcome serious theological discord among its own members.
    "It's like starting a new business," said the Rev. Kendall Harmon, a conservative leader from South Carolina who is not formally affiliated with the splinter group. "It's a whole lot harder than people think."

Here's why:

Recognition

Under Anglican rules, formal recognition of a province usually requires the assent of two-thirds of the communion's 38 primates — or leading archbishops. But Wednesday's unprecedented announcement raises new questions.

Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader in the Common Cause ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueNew & Noteworthy Books
Subscriber Access Only
New & Noteworthy Books
Compiled by Matt Reynolds
RecommendedMaking Married Sex Mutual
Making Married Sex Mutual
Pervasive ideologies distort our view of female sexuality. God’s Word shows us a better way.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
What's Ahead for the Fractured Episcopal Church?
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.