jQuery Slider

You are here

ATLANTA: ACNA Archbishop Recognized as Primate in the Anglican Communion

ATLANTA: ACNA Archbishop Recognized as Primate in the Anglican Communion
Pope sends greetings to new Anglican Archbishop Foley Beach

By David W. Virtue DD
October 10, 2014

Eight archbishops and primates of the Anglican Communion, representing more than 50 million Anglicans, pronounced the Most Rev. Foley Beach an archbishop and primate of the Anglican Communion last night when they laid hands on him as the newest archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.

While laying hands on Archbishop Foley, the Primates announced, "Foley Beach, we welcome you as Archbishop and Primate into the Anglican Communion."

That was no mere ad hoc departure from the script. This matter was intentional and discussed by the Primates, VOL was told.

The action was a direct slap in the face at Archbishop Justin Welby who, the previous week, had said in an interview with "Irish Gazette" editor Canon Ian Ellis that there is little hope the Anglican Church in North America will [ever] be part of the Anglican Communion. "It is not part of the Anglican Communion," he said. He described the ACNA as a "separate church".

Unmoved by his statement, the heads of the largest provinces in the Anglican Communion, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, the Congo, Southeast Asia, Egypt and the Argentine, overrode the Archbishop of Canterbury's belief that he could determine who is and is not authentically Anglican and pronounced Archbishop and Primate Foley Beach as one of them. It was a moment that resonated deeply with all those present, many of whom had spent the majority of their years in The Episcopal Church and then watched a slow moving train wreck as TEC came off the rails over bad morals and creedal rejection.

Welby was taken to task for his narrow and limited understanding of "communion" by Sydney Anglican theologian Mark Thompson who berated the archbishop saying, "We must deny categorically and in the strongest possible terms that communion with the see of Canterbury is the determining factor when it comes to Anglican identity. It is not and never can be. A church, diocese or national body does not have to be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury in order to be a legitimate member of the Anglican Communion, especially if a majority of other Anglicans around the world recognize it as part of our fellowship. Anglican identity is fundamentally a matter of certain theological commitments, anchored ultimately in the authority of Scripture as God's word written (Article 20), together with an agreement to operate with a common pattern of church government (the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons). The Anglican Church has always been confessional in nature."

Archbishop Beach might not be invited to the next Lambeth Conference (if there is one), a decision that will be made by the Primates, but his place is assured at the table of the Global South Primates when next they meet.


In a surprise announcement, Argentine bishop Gregory Venables (former Archbishop of the Southern Cone) brought blessings and personal greetings from Pope Francis who urged the Anglicans to remain steadfast in the faith they had received.

Bishop Venables told the assembled Anglicans that he had received a telephone call last week from "Fr Jorge", the former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio. (In his elevation he took the name Pope Francis.) Bishop Venables said he was surprised by the call and did not recognize him for a few moments (which drew laughter from the audience); he went on to recount his long and warm personal relationship with Pope Francis from his days when he was a leader of the Argentine Catholic Church and they travelled together to work each day.

Pope Francis telephoned Bishop Venables asking him to convey his personal greetings and congratulations as he leads his church in the very important job of revival and to embrace him [Beach] on his behalf.

Venables praised the new Pope and said Anglicans should rejoice in the current occupant of the chair of St. Peter as he was a "Bible-believing, born again, Spirit-filled" Christian.

This is not the first time a leading papal figure has sent greetings to dissident North American Anglicans.

In 2003, at a gathering of orthodox Anglicans in Plano, Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a letter (bypassing then Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold) assuring them of his heartfelt prayers for all those taking part in this convocation. "The significance of your meeting is sensed far beyond Plano, and even in this City from which Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to confirm and strengthen the preaching of Christ's Gospel in England."

ACNA Bishop Bill Atwood praised Venables for his generosity in offering a safe place for Episcopalians at a terrible time in American Episcopal Church history when The Episcopal Church was abandoning biblical teachings on morality and denying the creed over accepted teachings on the resurrection and the atonement.

"He has been a friend to us as the Episcopal Church imploded and transitioned away from the faith once for all delivered to all the saints and moved into apostasy and heresy," Atwood told VOL.

Several thousand Anglicans, many former Episcopalians, exuberantly ushered in new Archbishop Foley Beach and gave a standing ovation to outgoing Archbishop Robert Duncan.


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top