Proposed North American Province Rocks Anglican Boat


Contact:  Jeff Walton 202-682-4131
December 5, 2008

“While disaffected groups have split from the Episcopal Church in the past, the fact that many of these groups are now unifying is unprecedented.”
— Faith J. H. McDonnell, Director of the IRD’s Religious Liberty Program

Washington, DC—Five Anglican archbishops will hold an emergency meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury today to discuss the recent developments in North America centering on a proposed new Anglican province.

The meeting between Dr. Rowan Williams and the primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the Southern Cone (much of South America) comes after conservatives in the U.S. unveiled a provisional constitution of the new Anglican Church in North America earlier this week.

In the past year, four U.S. dioceses have broken from the Episcopal Church, citing disagreement over issues such as the authority of Scripture and the exclusivity of Christ as the savior of mankind. In forming the proposed province, those dioceses will join with eight other groups that departed the Episcopal Church over many years.

IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:

Some liberals in the Episcopal Church are undermining their own talking points by the spitefulness with which they are being delivered. If the proposed new Anglican Church of North America were so insignificant, their response would be dismissive but gracious. Instead, a mean-spirited hostility has broken out.

Ultimately, this is not a schismatic movement. While disaffected groups have split from the Episcopal Church in the past, the fact that many of these groups are now unifying is unprecedented. The stated intent is to remain within the Anglican Communion.

Having more than one Anglican province occupy a single geographic area is not completely new. The Church of England’s Diocese in Europe exists alongside both the Convocation of American Churches in Europe and the Old Catholic Church, which are both in communion with Canterbury.

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