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ACNA Archbishop Offers Candid Appraisal of Anglican Province's Challenges

ACNA Archbishop Offers Candid Appraisal of Anglican Province's Challenges
ACNA and GAFCON are tied at the hip

By David W. Virtue, DD
June 24, 2020

The archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Most Rev. Foley Beach said his province faced a number of challenges internally. The challenges are exacerbated by COVID-19, but God was using his churches in "big ways" not only with online ministries, but in caring for the needy and those in hard times.

Beach acknowledged the "sting of division" over the departure of brothers and sisters from CANA West and the Diocese of the Trinity, some broken relationships that went unhealed, and a financial setback with their provincial health plan. "We have watched people lose jobs and businesses, many of our friends and family members are in very difficult circumstances," he said in a report to his Provincial Council.

Beach acknowledged the loss of a brother bishop for moral failure. He stated he had seen some churches close, but on the plus side he had seen God's hand upon the Diocese of Ft. Worth and the Diocese of South Carolina in their legal travails with the Episcopal Church.

"We have cried and prayed with brothers and sisters in Nigeria, in Congo, in South Sudan, in Sudan, in Syria, in China for the continued violence and death due to the persecution of Christians."

The archbishop said that on a positive note, a new congregation was planted every 18 days over the past year. "We did not plant as many as the previous year, but groundwork has been laid for many new works. We have seen the ever-closer transition of the Baby Boomer generation passing the Baton."

He said the province voted to recommend to the Provincial Council to affirm the new Global South Fellowship Covenant (Cairo Covenant) remaining as members of the Global South under their new structures.


"The past few months have not only been pandemic, but pandemonium. We have watched evil displayed by fellow image bearers and some police officers in recent weeks. We have heard cries of grief in our own neighborhoods and from all around the world. And the cries have gotten louder. We watched as peaceful protests were hijacked by chaos and violence, destroying countless businesses and property, and injuring not only bystanders, but also injuring over 800 police officers, some of whom have been killed as well. We still have a long way to go."

"In the US we have struggled to overcome the effects of the systemic racism from our founding days, and we know that changing laws would never be enough. Victories for civil rights, and for the desegregation of our schools would never be enough. For you see we don't have just a skin problem, we have a sin problem."

Beach cited Dr. Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Church in Dallas, Texas, who said, "The evangelical church needs to speak up where it has been silent on injustice and racism. The biggest problem in the culture today is the failure of the church. We wouldn't even have a racial crisis in America if the church had not consistently failed to deal with racism as the severe sin it is. But because the church has historically ignored and downplayed it, the issue still exists. Where the church is called to set an example, we have cowered."

"We have failed to fully and thoroughly and deeply address the problem of sin in our hearts, homes, churches, and nations. And as the Church of Jesus Christ, now even with the rapidly changing ethnic diversity of North America, we are still reeling from the systemic sins of yesterday. This is not just a black/white issue. Ask our Asian brothers and sisters. Ask our Latino brothers and sisters. Ask our Native American brothers and sisters. Ask those whom the Lord has brought from other nations. The Bible makes it unequivocally clear that we are all made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

Beach said that while this should be normal for the Church, it is not normal. "We still have much work to do in our nations, but even more as the Church - to search our hearts to see if there is any offensive way in us. I know that in the East African Revival of the 1930's the Spirit of God poured out on a white man and a black man. They repented from their sins. They sought God. The prayed and they fasted. And then the Holy Spirit broke out in a mighty way."

"Our GAFCON movement and the Anglican Church in North America has been profoundly shaped and affected by this revival nearly 90 years running. During this time of revival, I am told what people in the churches and towns noticed were white and black missionaries walking together, preaching together, praying together, and worshipping together. And God the Father poured out a revival of repentance still at work today. It is un-mistakeable -- 'they will know we are Christians by our love'. As Jesus said, "By this all men will know you are my disciples when you love one another (Jn.13:35)."

Beach said racism has been practiced from the very beginning. And it isn't finished in our day. And sadly, it won't be finished when you and I are gone. Because in its root, it is a sin problem. We need God to rend our hearts as a Church. We need the people of Anglican Church in North America to display the kind of tenderness and compassion that is needed in this time. We need listening ears. We need thoughtfulness. We need preaching. We need humility. We need grace. We need to aim for the Anglican Church in North America to look like "thy kingdom on earth as it is in heaven".


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