BEDFORD, TX: Anglican Communion Network Council Communiqué
The Anglican Communion Network (ACN) met in Council April 18-20, 2005 in Bedford, Texas. As we celebrated the strong growth, momentum and vital ministry of the ACN; the gathering focused on critical issues such as church planting, global mission, ministry to youth, and outreach to the poor.
The crisis of the Anglican Communion also figured predominantly in our discussions. We reaffirmed our unequivocal commitment to the Anglican Communion and the faith and practice of historic Anglicanism. We agreed to the following statements as representing the mind of the house:
1. We give thanks for the Primates’ Communiqué reaffirming the 1998
Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 as the present position of the
Anglican Communion, and we urge the General Convention to repent of its actions which have alienated the Episcopal Church from the Anglican
Communion and to affirm its intention to remain a constituent member of the Anglican Communion by complying with the primates’ requests
2. The primates of the Anglican Communion at their meeting in
Newry called “as a matter of urgency” for a panel of reference
(paragraph 15), and yet as of this date, the panel has not been
organized. We implore the Archbishop of Canterbury to organize this
panel immediately to help ensure the protection of beleaguered parishes and clergy of the Episcopal Church.
3. We requested that ACN Moderator Robert Duncan send a letter to Pope Benedict XVI expressing our greetings and support, thanking him for upholding the historic teaching and faith of the Church. We anticipate with joy his continued efforts to build bridges between the separated branches of God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
4. We express our urgent desire that the Anglican Communion Network
continue to work diligently to build formal relationships with Anglican
jurisdictions not currently in communion with Canterbury, to solidify
those relationships, and to work for structural unity with them.
5. We denounce the response of the Executive Council of the
Episcopal Church to send a full delegation to the Anglican Consultative
Council (ACC) meeting in Nottingham as further evidence of the
arrogance of our church and a direct refusal to comply with the letter
and the spirit of the Primates’ Communiqué issued at the Newry meeting.
6. Six priests of the diocese of Connecticut – the Rev. Allyn Benedict,
Christ Church, Watertown; the Rev. Ronald S. Gauss, Bishop Seabury,
Groton; the Rev. Mark Hansen, St. John’s, Bristol; the Rev. Donald
Helmandollar, Trinity, Bristol; the Rev. Christopher Leighton, St.
Paul’s, Darien; and the Rev. Gil Wilkes, Christ and the Epiphany, East
Haven – are under threat of inhibition by Andrew Smith, Bishop of
Connecticut. These priests and their congregations have been faithful
to Scripture, to the historic faith and order of Anglicanism, and to
the communion. Bishop Smith’s charge of “abandonment of communion” is unfounded and unsubstantiated, and his threat of inhibition and ultimate deposition represents an abuse of canonical power.
We stand in solidarity with these godly men and the congregations they shepherd. We condemn the actions of Bishop Smith and pledge our ongoing support to the six clergy and churches in Connecticut as well as to all those across the nation who are experiencing harassment and persecution by their bishops.
FORWARD IN FAITH RESPONDS TO ANGLICAN COMMUNION NETWORK
Forward in Faith, North America was well represented at the second
annual Council meeting of the Anglican Communion Network recently
concluded in Bedford, Texas. Representatives from the Dioceses of Fort
Worth, San Joaquin, and Quincy, together with the Forward in Faith,
North America Convocation accounted for twenty five percent of all
The Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy and President of
Forward in Faith, North America said following the meeting, "It is
obvious that the Province for which we have been praying is rapidly
emerging, but it is much larger than we would have imagined going from Canada to the Southern Cone. The major difference between what we envisioned years ago and what we are seeing today is that God is
clearly doing a work far greater than we either desired or deserve. We
are living in a period that is like a war zone, where allies come from
places we would never have imagined."
The Rev. Fr. William H. Ilgenfritz, Senior Vice President of Forward in
Faith, North America and Dean of the FiF/NA Convocation asked our
representatives to respond to the question, "What was most encouraging to you from the meeting?"
"It was refreshing to be a part of a gathering in which FiF/NA members
were equal partners and not simply tolerated members," observed Bishop Wantland. Father Dwight Duncan, newly elected representative to the ACN Steering Committee said, "I suppose being with so many people who in the midst of situations of great anxiety and distress, love Christ and His Church and her mission so much that they are willing to risk their lives and futures in service."
From Father Brian Laffler: "I rejoiced in the Network's vision for the
21st Century Church. The thrust of church planting here at home and the sharing of the Gospel imperative overseas was significant. We are
headed toward a new and bright future."
Lay representatives from the FiF/NA Convocation, Dr. Michael Howell and Mr. Stephen Smith, had similar reactions as they observed that "The Anglican Communion will attract our loyalty and affection only so long as it remains true to the faith and order of the One, Holy, Catholic,
and Apostolic Church. This is about preaching and teaching the faith
once delivered...what Forward in Faith has been about since its
Lay Canon Cris Fouse said that she is encouraged by the fact that "many participants are moving toward or have arrived at the conclusion that there are irreconcilable differences between ECUSA and orthodoxy."
Recognizing that Forward in Faith and the Common Cause Partners will
not accept women as priests, Canon Fouse calls for "a real look at the
All members of Forward in Faith, North America should be encouraged by our active participation in the Anglican Communion Network. "We
competed our meeting with a clear focus and commitment to action,"
Bishop Robert Duncan said. "We have set the course for the next months, and now the work of fulfilling those plans begins."
Now, more than ever before, there is hope for the future.
Father William H. Ilgenfritz Senior Vice President, Forward in Faith,
North America FiF/NA Convocation Dean
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