ACNA '09 -- Reformation: A Church Is Born
by Mary Ann Mueller in Bedford, TX
VOL Special Correspondent
June 23, 2009
At 4:25 pm on Monday June 22 from St. Vincent's Cathedral, the infant Church known as the Anglican Church in North America took its first breath when her archbishop-designate penned his name to the constitutional document making it a birth certificate.
As a proud father, ACNA's archbishop-elect Robert Duncan announced "The Anglican Church in North America has been constituted."
The more than 600 delegates and other participants who witnessed this historic reformation and moment broke into thunderous applause and a spontaneous Doxology.
The chains of bondage to the morally corrupt and spiritually bankrupt Episcopal Church had been finally broken and symbolically clattered to the floor.
Within a half an hour, the new church gathered her assembled members together in Evensong, giving thanks to God for a safe delivery.
The Israelites were held hostage in Egypt. It took Moses to lead them to the Promised Land.
For those Episcopalians who have been held hostage to the depraved American Church, Egypt became their promised land.
ACNA's conception took place almost exactly one year ago in the desert sands of Egypt. The Global South Anglican Conference (GAFCON) fathers embraced the suffering, struggles, and scattered American Anglicans and commanded that an Orthodox Anglican Province be raised up from the rubble in North America to free those held in spiritual bondage to TEC and re-root them in Christ as He is revealed by Holy Scripture.
For 12 months, the GAFCON spark of renewed spiritual life was gently fanned into flame.
The precursor to ACNA, the Common Cause Partnership, held one thing in common--Jesus Christ--the bedrock of Christianity and center of Anglicanism.
It is upon Him that untold hours of labor, discussion, and prayerful discernment were spent, seeking the mind of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit while hammering out the skeletal details upon which ACNA would flesh out.
ACNA is unique among the Anglican expressions of the Christian faith walk. She is a blending of various disenfranchised Episcopal dioceses, congregations, clusters and denominational networks all sharing a passion for the Gospel with a rich common Anglican heritage.
The infant Church is truly a church of reformation. She is mission minded and congregationally focused. Learning from the mistakes and blatant vindictiveness of the Episcopal Church's bishops, ACNA's framers wanted to make sure that the same brazen disregard for Church Constitution, canons, history and shared faith would not repeat itself a year a decade or a century from now.
The infant Church's framers are more interested in seeing that the Church proclaims Jesus Christ and has the missionary mind and heart to evangelize those in the United States and Canada who are so in need of the transforming Gospel message.
The centrality of the newborn Church is the local congregation followed by the bishops who are put into place to help the parish fulfill its missionary role in the world starting with the immediate community.
Youth, too, have a pivotal role in the new Anglican Province. Since the youth are the future of the Church, they are brought in to help govern the Church, giving her a passion and zeal which can only come from young innocence.
Bending over backwards to insure that a congregation's spiritual differences with its diocese will not end up in months and years of courtroom litigation, ACNA's Constitution and Canons allow for a parish to separate and reattach to another Anglican body bringing their church property with them without argument or penalty.
The entire focus of the new infant Anglican Province is Christ. He does not become the hoped for byproduct of an endless round of resolutions and legislative actions in convention. Rather ACNA Provincial Assemblies are to be the framework of prayer and communal fellowship through which Church business is addressed, allowing much time for the Holy Spirit to make His presence known and felt.
As darkness fell on the first day of life for the Anglican Church in North America, the infant Church was again gathered in celebratory prayer. This time the prayer service took place beneath the big top set up on the grounds of the cathedral school taking on the air of an old fashioned Southern tent revival. Bishops and priests stood shoulder to shoulder with deacons and laity with their hands raised in the air in an ancient symbol of prayer, praise and surrender to God as the people of God.
Voices joined together to proclaim one unified hymn of adoration of praise for God's bountiful providence in seeing that His Church has a new Anglican expression in the Americas.
The yoke of oppression has been lifted and now the Holy Spirit is again free to bring together the unified Anglican voice of orthodoxy from the scattered many to a land which has turned a deaf ear to His gentle Gospel witness.
---Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline
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