[COMMENT: I had the honor, beginning in the fall of 2004, of being the
first priest at The Companions of St. Peter, a group of Anglican Christians
who were aiming at providing a home for those Episcopalians who could no
longer justify remaining in the Diocese of Washington, DC, under the
leadership of John Chane -- who vigorously supports the homosexual lifestyle,
and many other "revisionist" notions.
I and Emmaus Ministries moved to to Vista, CA, in April 2005 to join forces with the Christian Community of Family Ministry, and others took my place in DC. So I rejoice that they have accomplished this very important step in their spiritual journey, becoming a full member congregation of the Anglican Communion. May God bless their efforts as they remain faithful to Him and to their calling to witness to the integrity of the Gospel. E. Fox]
November 20, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The lay missioner for Companions of St. Peter the Apostle, Robert England, told a Forward in Faith gathering this afternoon that the mission is now a ‘full member’ of the Anglican Communion.
The mission, which is sponsored by the Ascension & St. Agnes Chapter of Forward in Faith, has been in a period of discernment since it was started a year ago this Sunday. It holds service every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the Chapel of the Church of the Holy City, 1611 16th Street, N.W.
The mission’s status was clarified last Monday at the National Assembly of Forward in Faith, held November 13 to 15, 2005 in Pittsburgh. At the assembly’s morning session November 14th, the deputies of the assembly voted unanimously to make all Forward in Faith parishes, organizations and bodies part of the Forward in Faith Convocation.
Forward in Faith parishes and organizations and bodies that wish not to be in the Convocation must hold a vote by their governing bodies to leave the Convocation.
The FIF Convocation is the Anglo-Catholic deanery of the Anglican Communion Network. The vote by the assembly, thereby, makes all Forward in Faith parishes, organizations and bodies constituent bodies in the Anglican Communion Network.
The significance of the vote was magnified by statements made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has made it clear that he considers all members of the Anglican Communion Network “full members of the Anglican Communion.”
Bishop Bob Duncan, who addressed the Forward in Faith session last Monday morning, reported that in his conversations with Williams, he made it clear to him that this included bodies outside of the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) that are within the Network.
Bishop Keith Ackerman, who heads the Diocese of Quincy, explained the significance of Archbishop Williams statement as follows, “The Network has an ever increasing number of people that are not in the Episcopal Church. What this means is that ECUSA’s exclusive franchise of the Anglican Communion within the United States is over.”
“People have been waiting for dawn,” Bishop Ackerman continued, “But dawn is already breaking for us while the Episcopal Church and the Anglican church in Canada have reached an end.”
Bishop Ackerman said that the leaders of the Episcopal Church are in denial and clinging to the canons to control a crisis they started that has spun out of their control. “People near death cling to anything they can control,” Bishop Ackerman said. ECUSA’s leaders are clinging to the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church, he added, which have become “irrelevant.”
Bishop Ackerman compared the current situation in the ECUSA to “an uprising in a pentitentiary where the wardens and reading the inmates all the rules.” The effort will do nothing to stop the uprising or help regain control.
Bishop Ackerman indicated that more of the continuing church bodies are expected to come within the umbrella of organizations that will be full members of the Anglican Communion. Last week, for example, Nigeria extended Communion to the Anglican Province in America and the Reformed Episcopal Church.
In the discussion ahead of the vote on the motion to declare Forward in Faith parishes, organizations and bodies, England asked Fr. William Ilgenfrtiz, the head of the Forward in Faith deanery, whether or not Forward in Faith missions are included in the resolution’s definition of organizations and bodies. “Yes,” he replied.
The next step for St. Peter’s is to come under the oversight of an orthodox bishop and province. England reported that the Anglican Communion Network office in Pittsburgh is looking into helping the mission locate appropriate Episcopal oversight from a bishop that does not ordain women and who will support the mission’s goal of maintaining its traditional form of worship under the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and its commitment to traditional Christian faith, morals and doctrine held by the universal Church.
Once a bishop is chosen and an agreement is reached with the mission, the Network and the bishop, the mission and its priests -- Fr. James Blacker and Fr. Michael Clenacy -- will come under the oversight and discipline of the bishop and province, either by transferring into the diocese or becoming licensed in the diocese.
Just over a week ago, a new Anglican mission was launched in northeast D.C. under the authority of Anglican Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia.
The Anglican Communion Office will also work with the mission to formalize its new status in the near future.
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