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ACNA House of Bishops Receive Phase 4 on Women's Ordination

ACNA House of Bishops Receive Phase 4 on Women's Ordination
Matthew 25 initiative gets $1 million grant to pursue mission opportunities

By David W. Virtue, DD
January 19, 2017

Acknowledging "tensions" inherent in three streams - Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic, and Charismatic -- that make up the Anglican Church in North America, some 47 ACNA bishops from multiple jurisdictions, met together January 9-13, 2017, in Melbourne, Florida.

"We give thanks for the breadth of Anglicanism, and the unity that we in the Anglican Church in North America have in Christ," the bishops said in a press release.

A Holy Orders Task Force examining the issue of women's ordination concluded Phase 4 of their work and presented it to the college. "The Phase 4 report is being formatted and combined with the previous documents from the task force. This report will be passed on to the GAFCON Primates and to our ecumenical partners for feedback, and released to the whole Church in late February. The bishops will pick up these discussions at their next two meetings, in June and September of this year."

In 2012, the task force was asked to develop resources to help guide the bishops' future discussions on holy orders in general, and the ordination of women in particular. At our meeting this week, the Holy Orders Task Force presented Phase 4 of their work to the college. The College thanked the task force for the hard work that they have done on this topic in just a few short years. Having received the report at this meeting, the conversation then turned to the timeline for addressing these issues.

The Liturgy Task Force presented most of the remaining texts for a proposed Book of Common Prayer 2019. These texts, after discussion and amendment, were adopted as "working texts," to be published on the Provincial website (www.anglicanchurch.net) for present liturgical use and for the gathering of online feedback towards the finalization of these texts by 2019.

Beach noted "with thanks" the full participation of the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, established in 1785, will vote at their next diocesan convention, March 10 or 11 in Charleston, SC, on whether they will join the Anglican Church in North America.

The process is expected to be pro forma as the diocese left The Episcopal Church on October 15, 2012, after the diocese's standing committee voted to withdraw the diocese from the Episcopal Church and become an autonomous Anglican diocese. This action was taken after a long period of conflict over theology and authority with the national leadership of the Episcopal Church.

On August 22, 2014, the diocese came temporarily under the pastoral oversight of the Global South Anglican primates.

If the diocese approves joining the ACNA, then at the June provincial assembly of the ACNA, a vote will be taken to receive them. They will then be officially received by ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach and the House of Bishops of the ACNA, comprising some 47 bishops. The theme for Assembly 2017 is "Mission on Our Doorstep" and will be held June 28-30, 2017, in Wheaton, Illinois.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence was recently a featured speaker at the ACNA House of Bishops when they met in Orlando, Florida. "We give thanks for the full participation of the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina," said Archbishop Foley Beach in remarks to the assembled HOB.

"During the meeting we received formal greetings from Archbishop Welby and Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria. We also sent greetings to the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, which was meeting at the same time," said Archbishop Beach.


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