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New Anglican Diocese to be launched in the Midwest

New Anglican Diocese to be launched in the Midwest
Upper Midwest Diocese will affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America

By David W. Virtue
May 8, 2013

A New Anglican Diocese - the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest - has been launched and should receive official approval and recognition by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) House of Bishops when they meet June in Nashotah House, Wisconsin.

Some 117 Anglican laity and priests gathered for prayer in Wheaton, IL, on April 27th at the Church of the Resurrection with the idea of giving birth to a new Anglican identity in the Midwest providing a safe harbor for orthodox Anglicans under siege by the liberally led Episcopal Church.

Several months ago, parishes in Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa came together under the leadership of the Very Rev. Dr. Robert Munday, the former 18th Dean of Nashotah House Seminary, to explore the possibility of creating an Upper Midwest Diocese for the ACNA.

The Rev. Stewart Ruch III, Rector of the Church of the Resurrection, Wheaton, IL, and Dean Robert Munday have been announced as the two candidates for bishop.

Bill Chapin, president of the laity led Southeastern WI Chapter of the American Anglican Council (SEWAAC), expressed excitement at the prospect of a new diocese, "We had a vision, a vision of creating a movement that believed in Scripture as handed down through the ages and did not fall victim to the various secular beliefs of the day. We created an oasis for people with similar views and held regular meetings with some of the most well-known orthodox speakers in our country."

He said SEWAAC approached Archbishop Robert Duncan to offer his organization's resources to formally assist in this effort and was entrusted by him to act as a facilitator for the four Deans. Several of SEWAAC's Board Members were involved in various capacities as the foundation was being laid and they continue in these efforts.

"Quite frankly, as we embarked upon this path and awaited the birth of our vision, we really didn't know how this would manifest itself. In fact, there were a few "lights at the end the tunnel" that proved to be false. Then when the Anglican Church in North America was initiated at the request of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in June 2008 and formally recognized by the GAFCON Primates - leaders of Anglican Churches representing 70 percent of the active Anglicans globally, we knew our time would come.

"When we created SEWAAC about 10 years ago, we knew what we disliked about the direction that the Episcopal Church was taking. Now the Diocese of the Upper Midwest is a reality - birthed, signed and affirmed on April 27th. Dean Munday and his committee completed the writing of the Constitution and Canons for our Diocese of the Upper Midwest which was affirmed on April 27th by 117 representatives spread across our Midwest area at Fr. Stewart Ruch's Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, IL. We are hopeful and have every reason to believe that our Diocese will soon be approved by the Anglican Church in North America."

The signing of the Affirmation of the Constitution and Canons was clothed in solemnity, as one by one each attendee stepped forward to sign his or her name. The Affirmation document began with these words: "We give thanks to the Father for calling each of our congregations together at this Convening Convention on the twenty-seventh of April in the year of our Lord two-thousand and thirteen at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois to form the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest in the Anglican Church in North America and hereby affirm the Constitution and Canons of our newly forming diocese. We commit ourselves to greater unity and mission for the glory of God and for the sake of those who are wandering far from His loving, healing and eternal embrace."

CORRECTION. It is not the Rev. William Beasley but the Rev. Stewart Ruch who is a candidate for bishop. We regret the error.

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