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The Anglican Church in America Rejects Anglicanorum Coetibus

The Anglican Church in America Rejects Anglicanorum Coetibus

The Right Reverend Daren K. Williams
Office of the Bishop
Diocese of The West
Anglican Church in America

Brothers in Christ,

The past three years have been challenging for us, especially regarding communion with the Roman Catholic Church. After a long waiting period following the TAC Petition to Rome (October 2007), we received their response in the form of the Apostolic Constitution (Anglicanorum Coetibus) in November 2009. Living in this long waiting and discerning period has been anything but comfortable for any of us, especially those of us called to ordained ministry. Our July 1st Extraordinary Synod was helpful, I believe, as we shared our thoughts and prayers with one another.

The Synod revealed that a few have expressed an eager desire to move toward an Ordinariate. A few others have declared they are not interested in the option. It appears to me that the Diocese of the West as a whole is a long way from accepting this offer from the Roman Church.

At this time I declare to you, the clergy of the diocese, my position and perspective. I am not led to request application to enter the Ordinariate. My priorities in ministry must include the care of the people of this jurisdiction, whether or not they desire to enter an Ordinariate. We have spent so much time and energy dealing with this issue, that we are losing our focus.

This has caused serious distractions to our work to build up the Kingdom of God in this place. We have lost three parishes in this "waiting period" and the issue has caused stress for all of us - clergy and laity alike. Anglicans in the ACA are comparatively small in number and we often struggle to make ends meet.

To move forward from this situation will require new focus as the entire diocese accepts greater responsibility for our common life. This will include greater commitment to Our Lord in all the aspects of stewardship through ministry and mission. And we need to begin now.

It is apparent to at least four members of the ACA House of Bishops that we are a divided house. Some are eager to enter an Ordinariate and others are not, for a variety of reasons. The results of the Synods in the Diocese of the West and the Diocese of the Missouri Valley, tell us the majority of our people will choose not to enter an Ordinariate; at least not at this time.

It appears that the Synod of the Diocese of the Northeast will follow the same pattern when it meets later in September. Reports from the Diocese of the Eastern United States tell us that the attitude toward an Ordinariate is mixed. It is my conclusion that before we can enter into significant communal relationships with larger bodies of Catholic Christendom, we need to make another effort to unite with those near to us who share the same goals in Anglicanism.

Before I attend the House of Bishops meeting September 28-29, I am sharing with you now some action which will be taken. The bishops (this bishop included) intend to propose a document regarding intercommunion with the Anglican Province of America (APA) with the hope that the House of Bishops will support it. The APA includes people who were once part of us and were separated some twenty years ago. I believe that this separation should never have occurred, for it contradicts the Christian mission and hope.

Dialogue is going on at the moment to do what we can to bering this intercommunion to reality by the First Sunday in Advent of this year, with the hope of reunification in the future. This action is not an attempt to undermine the work of unity as proposed by the College of Bishops of the TAC. It is to support those who intend to enter an Ordinariate and to support those who wish to remain in the Continuum, broken as it, is, with appropriate episcopal oversight.

All this may seem surprising, or even unsettling to some or many of you. It is not my intention to upset you or criticize decisions each of you have made or may make. This is intended to provide opportunities in ministry for all of us, that we may continue to love one another as brothers, whether or not we agree. My office and my heart are open to you at this time, with my promise to be faithful to God and His Church. I covet your prayers and please know that you are each in mine.

Your grateful Bishop,

+Daren K. Williams

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