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PITTSBURGH: Network to Consider Common Cause Theological Statement

PITTSBURGH: Network to Consider Common Cause Theological Statement

Among the most significant considerations before the upcoming Annual Council of the Anglican Communion Network (July 31 - August 2 in Pittsburgh) are a "Theological Statement" and a "Mission Covenant Declaration," proposed by the Common Cause Roundtable.

The Common Cause Roundtable, chaired by Bishop Robert Duncan in his role as Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, and composed of two leaders each from eight major Anglican entities, has proposed these documents for adoption by each of the partner bodies.

"If accepted, these documents formalize a foundation for our shared faith and ministry as orthodox Anglicans in North America," said Bishop Duncan, "They represent one more step toward a 'biblical, missionary and uniting' Anglicanism that is the Network's defining vision."

The Common Cause Theological Statement affirms basic Christian and Anglican beliefs not as historical documents, but as living truth. Among the affirmations are the following:

* Holy Scripture is the "Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation,"

* "We confess the historic faith of the Undivided Church as declared in the Catholic Creeds,"

* "We believe the teaching of the Seven Ecumenical Councils in so far as they are agreeable to Holy Scriptures"

* "We hold the two sacraments of the Gospel to be ordained by Christ Himself," Baptism and the Supper of the Lord."

Speaking specifically of Anglican distinctives, the statement commits those who sign to "the 1549 through the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its ordinal as the foundation for Anglican worship," to "the godly Historic Episcopate," as necessary "for the full being of the Church," and to "affirm the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as foundational for authentic Anglican belief and practice and as correctives to doctrinal abuses."

The "Mission Covenant Declaration," which is also being considered by Common Cause Partners, commits each group to "partner together in renewed missionary effort in North America and beyond," to "ensure an orthodox Anglican Province in North America that remains connected to a faithful global Communion," to "create a unity in the essentials of our Anglican faith that respects our varied styles and expressions," and "to build trusting relationships."

"This is one of the many action items that delegates to the Anglican Communion Network's Annual Council meeting will be considering July 31 through August 2 here in Pittsburgh," said Bishop Duncan.

"A hopeful future is beginning to take shape. Please continue to pray for us as we, both in the Network and in other Common Cause Partner churches and ministries, work to plant it on a firm foundation."

The Common Cause Partnership, called together by Bishop Duncan as moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, includes the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Communion Network, Anglican Essentials Canada, Anglican Mission in America, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church. Text of the proposed documents follows:

Proposed Theological Statement of the Common Cause Partners

We, the representatives of the Common Cause Partners, do declare we believe the following affirmations and commentary to contain the chief elements of Anglican Reformed Catholicism, and to be essential for membership.

1) We receive the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Scripture as the inspired Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation, and as the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.

2) We confess the historic faith of the Undivided Church as declared in the Catholic Creeds.

3) We believe the teaching of the Seven Ecumenical Councils in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, and have been held by all, everywhere, at all times.

4) We hold the two sacraments of the Gospel to be ordained by Christ Himself, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord, and to be administered with unfailing use of Christ's words of Institution and of the elements ordained by Him.

5) We accept the 1549 through the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its ordinal as the foundation for Anglican worship and the standard for doctrine and discipline.

6) We believe the godly Historic Episcopate to be necessary for the full being of the Church.

7) We affirm the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as foundational for authentic Anglican belief and practice and as correctives to doctrinal abuses.

Proposed Covenant Declaration of the Common Cause Partners

We intend by God's grace:

* to partner together in a renewed missionary effort in North America and beyond, driven by our passion for Jesus and His Gospel.

* to ensure an orthodox Anglican Province in North America that remains connected to a faithful global Communion.

* to create a unity in the essentials of our Anglican faith that respects our varied styles and expressions.

* to build trusting relationships marked by effective coordination, collaboration, and communication.

END

The Anglican Communion Network is a biblical, missionary and uniting movement of North American Anglicans in fellowship with the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion Network is comprised of over 900 parishes, over 2,200 clergy serving more than 200,000 constituents. Since General Convention, there has been a considerable increase in parish and clergy applications to affiliate with the Network.

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