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Continuing Anglican Leaders set 2017 as Goal for Full Communion

Continuing Anglican Leaders set 2017 as Goal for Full Communion

By David W. Virtue DD
March 18, 2016

Leaders of four Continuing Anglican jurisdictions have signed a letter setting a goal of full communion by 2017.

They are Archbishop Mark Haverland of the Anglican Catholic Church; Presiding Bishop Brian Marsh of the Anglican Church in America; The Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of America and the Rt. Rev. Paul C. Hewett SSC, of the Diocese of the Holy Cross.

A joint letter by the four leaders have agreed to:

• Pledge to "work cooperatively , in a spirit of brotherly love and affection, to create a sacramental union and commonality of purpose that is pleasing to God and in accord with godly purpose to our respective jurisdictions";
• Endeavor to "hold in concert our national and provincial synods in 2017" with a goal for this meeting "to formalize a relationship of communion in sacris; and
• During the intervening period to work "in full accord toward that end, [seeking] ways to cooperate with each other, supporting each others' jurisdictions and communicating on a variety of ecclesiastical matters." The bishops also pledge to meet monthly by teleconferencing.

In his message in the January/February issue of the TRINITARIAN, the official house organ of the ACC, Haverland said, "Unforeseen difficulties may arise, but our agreement states our clear aspiration, intention and goals."

"The goal for 2017 is full communion. That, in turn, is not the same as institutional or organic merger, which would be the step beyond, but which I also think we should pursue."

Bishops Grundorf, Hewett and Marsh all praised the joint letter as a positive beginning towards establishing a working communion of Continuing Anglican Churches.

Grundorf said the last 30 years had seen much antipathy among so many of the major continuing churches, with feelings of frustration and isolation by continuing churches when attempts were made to reach out in other ecclesiastical directions to find common cause.

"As one of the bishops of longest standing, and having been through so many of these attempts, it is a great blessing to be part of signing this commitment as the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of America. The APA pledges, along with the others, to work and pray toward the establishment of full communion among our churches by 2017.

"Although there are different church cultures that exist among the signing bishops, there is no doubt that the commonality which exists far outweighs our differences."

Speaking on behalf of the Diocese of the Holy Cross, Bishop Hewett said his diocese is grateful to Almighty God and to our sister jurisdictions for the statement of interjurisdictional and cooperation signed by the ACC, the ACA, the APA and ourselves.

"It is vitally important that we are on converging paths. The more we can cooperate and do things together, and enjoy complete reciprocity in our ranks, the more we will grow, as an emerging single province for traditional, orthodox Anglicans in the United States. The hand of God is upon us as Anglicans of our persuasion, because he has a very important vocation for us in the Body of Christ."

ACA Presiding Bishop Marsh said the coming together in communion is truly a glorious occasion. "That was certainly true at the recent synod of the ACC in Athens, Georgia. In such a situation all our divisions, conflict and history melt away in the presence of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. We have met each other and find that we are, as classical Anglicans, true brothers and sisters in Christ.

"There is a joy in return, joy in forgiveness and joy in reconciliation. Truly, this is an exciting and historic time to be in the Continuum."


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