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BISHOP DUNCAN SETS DATE FOR NEW NORTH AMERICAN ANGLICAN PROVINCE

BISHOP DUNCAN SETS DATE FOR NEW NORTH AMERICAN ANGLICAN PROVINCE

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
11/17/2008

The Anglican Communion will get a new province called the North American Anglican Province - its 39th.

Its new archbishop will be the deposed Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan.

Speaking in Pittsburgh recently, Bishop Duncan, who was joined by Kenya Bishop William Murdoch, said, "We want to bring Jerusalem to North America... we want to claim our place as members of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans..." The announcement was made on Anglican-TV

The formation of a new Anglican Province was greeted with cheers.

It is our hope and prayer that the draft Constitution for the new church will be approved at the Council meeting on the 3rd , and that thereafter, at their meeting on the 5th of December, the Primates of the Global South will acknowledge the newly formed Anglican Church in North America as the basis for the new Anglican Province in North America contemplated by the GAFCON Statement.

The meeting in Chicago of the Common Cause Partners Council on December 3rd will consider adoption of the Constitution of the emerging Anglican Church in North America. The service scheduled for that evening at Wheaton College will celebrate the launch of the new Anglican Church In North America as well as offer the opportunity for the Council members to publicly sign and endorse the Jerusalem Declaration.

The Common Cause Partners are:
* American Anglican Council
* Anglican Coalition in Canada
* Anglican Communion Network
* Anglican Mission in the Americas
* Anglican Network in Canada
* Convocation of Anglicans in North America
* Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas
* Forward in Faith, North America
* The Reformed Episcopal Church

Leaders of the Common Cause Partnership, a federation of more than 100,000 Anglican Christians in North America, will release to the public on the evening of Dec. 3 the draft constitution of an emerging Anglican Church in North America, formally subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and affirm the GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future at an evening worship celebration in suburban Chicago.

This historic event comes in the wake of GAFCON, held in Israel last June with leaders from more than one-half of the world's 77 million Anglicans. At the close of that gathering, Anglican leaders released the Jerusalem Declaration and the GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future, which outlined their Christian beliefs and goals to reform, heal and revitalize the Anglican Communion worldwide.

"One conclusion of the Global Anglican Future Conference held in Jerusalem last June was that the time for the recognition of a new Anglican body in North America had arrived," observed Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, moderator of Common Cause Partnership. "The public release of our draft constitution is an important concrete step toward the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America."

Provinces, dioceses and parishes around the world have been making formal decisions to support the Jerusalem Declaration and the GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future since its release this summer. Leading bishops and representatives of the North American Common Cause Partnership will officially subscribe to the Declaration and affirm the Statement at the public worship service at Wheaton Evangelical Free Church in Wheaton, IL, at 7:30 p.m. CST on December 3. All Anglicans in attendance will also be given an opportunity to individually subscribe to the Declaration and affirm the Statement.

"We enthusiastically issue a public invitation to all fellow Christians in hopes that they will witness, participate in and celebrate our unity and common mission," Bishop Duncan added.

Prior to the evening service, at 2 p.m. CST earlier on Dec. 3, a reception will be held at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton to give thanks and learn about the mission of Christ Awakening. Rooted among Anglicans, Christ Awakenings are quickly spreading to the larger Christian community. The first Christ Awakening was held in September 2007 in Chicago. Since then, the grassroots movement of Christ Awakenings has held events in Vancouver, Ohio and New England to call Christians to work together, in unity and, partnering for mission worldwide. After the reception, a media briefing with Common Cause leaders will follow at 5:30 p.m. CST, addressing the significance of the historic worship celebration that evening.

The Common Cause Partnership is a federation of Anglican Christians linking together eight Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America, including the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, Forward in Faith North America, the Reformed Episcopal Church, as well as bishops and congregations linked with Kenya, Uganda, and South America's Southern Cone. Together, they represent more than 100,000 Anglican Christians worshiping each Sunday in the United States and Canada.

The formation of this new province comes hard on the departure of four orthodox dioceses from The Episcopal Church, three Anglo-Catholic - San Joaquin, Quincy and Ft. Worth, with Pittsburgh being Evangelical and Evangelical Catholic.

In each case, the vast majority of Episcopal priests and laity voted to leave The Episcopal Church because of its abandonment of the historic Christian Faith in faith and morals, its acceptance of pansexuality, and violating both Holy Scripture and Church History.

The Episcopal Church is in numerical free fall. Recent 2007 figures catalog that the Median Average Sunday Worship Attendance is 69 (it was 77) and the net change in Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) from the previous Year was down 37,504.

In real terms, that's the equivalent of losing 543 "median-sized" congregations in 2007 or 1.5 congregations (median ASA) departing every day.

Between 1993 and 2003, The Episcopal Church lost 95,195 in Average Sunday Attendance. That averages a decline of 23,799 in ASA per year over the last four years, or an average decline of 2.9% per year.

The event will be followed by "a province-by-province visitation and appeal for recognition of the separate ecclesiastical structure in North America."

The creation of a new province, deemed unilateral by liberal provinces, comes two months before the scheduled primates' meeting in early February and leaves Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams with little or no room to maneuver.

Following the deposition of Bishop Duncan in September, the Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean and president of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, wrote to Duncan, saying that, "We continue to recognize you as a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion. Your commitment to orthodox Christian doctrine grounded in the Holy Scriptures is after all the mark of your identity as a true believer in the Anglican tradition. Your grace, patience and forbearance in the face of opposition to your holy calling is an example to us all."

END

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