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Continuing Anglicans Make Strides Towards Full Organic and Institutional Unity

Continuing Anglicans Make Strides Towards Full Organic and Institutional Unity

By David W. Virtue, DD
February 18, 2021

Four Continuing Anglican bodies known as 'G-4', who agreed in October 2017 to enter into full communion with one another on the basis of a common ministry, now say that by June 2021, "organic unity" is a real possibility. A study of the others' constitutions and canons could cement their unity.

The four churches are Anglican Catholic Church, (ACC); Anglican Church in America, (ACA); Anglican Province of America (APA; and the Diocese of the Holy Cross. These churches now believe, based on a common ministry in the apostolic succession and a common faith rooted in Scripture, the Creeds, and The Affirmation of Saint Louis (1977) that full communion (communion in sacris) is both possible and desirable.

Writing in The Trinitarian, the official gazette of the Anglican Catholic Church, Archbishop Mark Haverland editorialized that while no timetable has been adopted, "we agreed to work earnestly to achieve full organic institutional unity in the future with the sharing of clergy, stabilizing the jumping of clergy and congregations for no very good reason, and to assist one another with provisional priests where needed."

While talks between the 'G-4" lapsed during the time of COVID-19, the leaders have now agreed to several steps, which included expanding existing agreements about the movement of clergy or congregations wishing to leave one of the four Churches for another. "Well before 2017 we had agreed with such movements could only take place after the two bishops involved spoke together and agreed to Letters Dimissory" from the departing parish to the receiving diocese."

The 'G-4' agreed to do a study of the others' constitution and canons. "We have agreed initially considering a June 2021 deadline that September 2021 as better and more realistic. A written statement will then allow us to explain any confusion, find areas where we can easily achieve agreement and isolate areas that may involve less scope for quick agreement." By September 2021, it is expected that a written proposal will be offered to the others for the achievement of organic unity.

IN other news, the four "G-4" bodies agreed that a joint ecumenical dialogue with the Polish National Catholic Church should continue.

Archbishop Haverland said that the Joint Synods process was moving forward and had already borne fruit. "We now should all pray for the continuation of this progress in the months and years to come."

It is ironic that at a time the Anglican Communion is deeply divided between the Lambeth Conference and GAFCON, and North American Anglicanism is divided between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America, the Continuers, who have been apart for 44 years with multiple small Anglo-Catholic jurisdictions, now see the four largest Anglo-Catholic jurisdictions coming together. Time will tell.


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