This morning, I am meeting with some leaders from The Anglican Mission in the Americas. I have a great appreciation of the AMiA folks and am glad they have come in so we could spend the morning talking about church planting and evangelism.
I had the opportunity to keynote one of the early Anglican Mission in America meetings. It was an amazing thing to see hundreds of Anglicans, gathered under the Bishop of Rwanda, worshiping together and talking about God's global mission. And, it has been good to keep in touch with a few of the bishops and pastors.
Today, we are talking about the new Anglican organization in North America, called The Anglican Church in North America, and their plan to start 1000 new churches in the next five years. That is a VERY robust goal for such a new (and relatively small) denomination.
For those of you who do not follow the drama of "all things Anglican," the Anglican journey has been a challenging one over the last few decades.
Wikipedia has a helpful article on the Anglican realignment. Be sure to visit the Wikipedia article for much more information, but here is an introduction:
Anglican realignment is a movement among some Anglicans to align themselves under different oversight within the Anglican Communion. The movement is primarily active in provinces traditionally part of The Episcopal Church (United States) and the Anglican Church of Canada. The conventions of four dioceses of the Episcopal Church voted in 2007 and 2008 to leave the Episcopal Church and join Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America. Twelve other jurisdictions with approximately one hundred thousand members formed the Anglican Church in North America on December 3-4, 2008, which was set up to create a separate ecclesiastical structure within the United States. The Anglican Church of Nigeria declared itself in communion with the new church in March 2009 and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans has recognized it as well.
Two major events which contributed to this movement were the 2002 decision of the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada to authorise a rite of blessing same-sex unions; and the ratification by the general convention of the Episcopal Church in the USA of the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay non-celibate man, as Bishop of New Hampshire the following year.
The movement differs from previous ones in that Anglicans are seeking to establish different ecclesiastical arrangements within the Anglican Communion rather than separating themselves from it. Some Anglican Communion churches, particularly in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and the Southern Cone, are seeking to accommodate them.
A number of parishes that are part of the Anglican realignment have severed ties with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada and associated themselves with bishops from other national Anglican churches or provinces. Some other American dioceses and parishes (approximately 800 out of some 7,000 Episcopal Church parishes) still officially remain within those two provinces of the Anglican Communion whilst exploring their future options.
Please be praying for these meetings today as we talk about how to advance the mission of God through the planting of new churches.