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News Analysis

By David Virtue

WEST CHESTER, PA (9/29/2004)--With the announcement today of the formation of The Anglican Relief and Development (ARD) fund to aid Global South provinces who have refused funding from the Episcopal Church USA for its apostate moral and theological resolutions, and the consecration of a homoerotic bishop, the orthodox circle is now complete.

Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes and Bishop of Pittsburgh, said the formation of the ARD fund will offer a channel for Anglican donors in the U.S. to Anglican churches in the economically poorer countries of the Anglican Communion.

“The Anglican Relief and Development fund is an exciting new partnership between the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes with the Anglican Churches in the Global South, and with Geneva Global. It will help our Anglican brothers and sisters to help themselves.”

With a number of key gifts already pledged, Anglican Relief and Development (ARD) is set to make a positive difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people. According to Bishop Duncan, the new organization will parallel Episcopal Relief and Development and United Thank Offering in giving Pittsburgh Episcopalians ways to help those suffering around the world.

The ECUSA House of Bishops meeting in Spokane quickly responded to this announcement with the bishops issuing a statement saying that "careful clarification would now be necessary to distinguish the identity of ERD, with its 60-year record of service, from the similarly named ARD."

Formation of the new fund came after a September 23 statement from Archbishop Henry Orombi, declaring that the Anglican Church of Uganda would no longer accept grants from ERD or the Episcopal Church's United Thank Offering.

Here is how it all now stands.

The formation of the ARD completes the realignment in The Episcopal Church.

The Anglican Communion Network (NACDP) which was formed a year ago by Bishop Robert Duncan now has 1,000 clergy and 800 congregations affiliated with it. More than 60 Episcopal dioceses are home to Network affiliates across the country.

“The Anglican Communion Network exists to provide a united voice for orthodox Anglicans in North America as well as a connection to the vast majority of the global Anglican Communion who have rejected last summer’s unity-destroying actions of our Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Network, “It’s wonderful to see so many faithful Episcopalians and other members of our Anglican family standing up to be counted.”

Many of parishes and clergy connected to the Anglican Communion Network are affiliated through nine Episcopal Dioceses: Albany, Central Florida, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin, South Carolina and Springfield. Two other dioceses, Dallas and Western Kansas, are provisionally affiliated until they have an opportunity to consider formal affiliation at their diocesan conventions this autumn. Individual parishes or clergy in affiliated dioceses do not separately apply to affiliate with the Network. Instead their diocese’s decision connects them.

Scores of parishes and clergy outside of Anglican Communion Network dioceses are also joining in. According to recent figures, a total of 240 churches with their clergy or individual clergy not in an affiliated diocese or parish have become part of the Anglican Communion Network’s six convocations. Five of the convocations are regional groupings of parishes and individual clergy that link together those not in Anglican Communion Network dioceses. Forward in Faith North America also has a convocation. Together, affiliates come from more than 60 Episcopal Church dioceses, more than half the total number of dioceses in the Episcopal Church.

Another player is the American Anglican Council (AAC) with its network of individual laity, clergy and bishops as well as parishes, chapters and affiliated ministries. Their membership and mailing lists increased dramatically following General Convention 2003, says its president Canon David C. Anderson.

"There are 300 parishes formally affiliated with the AAC, and we regularly mail to over 700 parishes nationwide which represents tens of thousands of Episcopalians. We have doubled our number of AAC area Chapters to 25, and have 32 Affiliated Ministries with whom we work closely. In addition to all of these and the people they represent, we are approaching an additional 10,000 individual members who have formally signed up separate from the others. Above this our mailing list includes another 14,000 households and our weekly email listserv has a membership of 22,000" said Anderson.

The Texas-based EKKLESIA, under the leadership of Canon Bill Atwood is a ministry which links orthodox Primates with orthodox bishops in the ECUSA providing diplomatic, ecclesiastic and theological understanding between the multiple entities. He has been a counterbalance to the liberal Anglican Consultative Council in London now presently under the leadership of Canon John Peterson. Peterson is virtually persona non grata in the Global South. His successor is as liberal on sexuality issues as he is, so one can expect little directional change from the ACC. Ekklesia's ministry will continue to meet the growing need in whatever form the Anglican Communion will take after October 18.

Stewart Wicker, acting director of South America Missionary Society (SAMS) said his organization will now be the formal missionary arm of the Network through Anglican Global Mission Partners a network mission entity with some 53 missionaries worldwide.
SAMS is a voluntary society of the ECUSA, - a sodality - a servant ministry for Anglicans in the US and as a sending agency, he told Virtuosity.

"As a member of Anglican Global Mission Partners we are the mission arm of the Network available to send missionaries anywhere we are asked. Between Anglican Frontier Missions (AFM), Global Teams, Uganda Partners, the Stanway Institute and The Church Army working domestically we are looking to be in a place to support gospel ministry in word and deed throughout the world," he said.

Two orthodox seminaries, Nashotah House and Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, though not formally aligned with the Network will provide future seminarians in whatever the final realignment will look like. Codrington College in Barbados will also be able to provide orthodox graduates for future global missions.

All that remains is for the Global South to recognize this new alliance and to declare the Network and other orthodox organizations within ECUSA as the legitimate Anglican presence in North America. By doing so they will completely marginalize the dying apostate Episcopal Church, said an orthodox bishop who asked not to be named. At that point, it is hoped the Episcopal Church would then be reduced to an observer status.


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