As I write this post, there has been no press release from ACNA regarding the meeting last week. I find this odd, particularly in light of all the problems that exist right now. Canon Phil Ashey wrote an email summary of the meeting for the American Anglican Council, and I will paste that in here in lieu of more information:
I was privileged to spend last week with the bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) at one of their annual meetings. I did so as Chair of the ACNA Governance Task Force which reports to them on changes needed in our canons (laws of the church) and to receive recommendations from them on canonical adjustments needed to meet the challenges of ministry today. Among Anglicans, bishops walk in the footsteps of Peter and his confession which we celebrate today: “You [Jesus] are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:17). Jesus replied to this confession with the blessing in Matthew 16:18.
You see it’s not the office of bishop nor the doctrine of apostolic succession that enables the church to prevail against the gates and powers of hell itself. It is the confession, and the unity around that confession, that is the very rock upon which the church stands and prevails. After noting the irresistible word play between Peter (Petros in Greek) and “rock” (petra in Greek), Canon Michael Green observes in his commentary on Matthew:
The rock is not just Peter, however, but Peter in his confessional capacity. Peter, full of trust in the Son of God, is the one who will become the rock-man for the early church. He did become just that, as the early chapters of Acts reveal…The point is this: Jesus had found in Peter a real believer, and on that foundation he could build his church. (Green, Michael, The Message of Matthew in The Bible Speaks Today New Testament Series, John R.W. Stott, ed. [Downers Grove IL:IVP,2000] pp.179-180)
Our ACNA bishops walk in the footsteps of Peter and those after him as successors to that apostolic confession. Yes, they are bishops by apostolic succession and the laying on of hands at their consecration but, time and again, I have observed our bishops face challenges and decisions in the same spirit of Peter with a unity in their confession of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
This confession was consistent this week in their preaching during daily Holy Eucharist and Evening Prayer. This confession shaped their approval of two new bishops for the whole church (ACNA), bishops-elect Dan Gifford of ANiC and Chip Edgar of South Carolina [https://anglicanchurch.net/south-carolina-and-anic-elections-consented-to-by-college-of-bishops/]. This apostolic confession shaped their deliberations on theological standards for ordained ministry, the search for a new Dean of Trinity School for Ministry, and the new traditional language BCP 2019 among many others on their agenda. Lest the gates of hell invade the Church through clergy sexual misconduct and abuse, their commitment to the confession of Peter and their stewardship of that confessional role shaped their response to our Governance Task Force recommendations for clearer and more immediate disciplinary processes.
But the best part of the week was an additional day of listening to the stories of our senior leaders, now bishops of ACNA, who bravely embraced Peter’s confession in their departure from the Episcopal Church (TEC) by forming one, united, biblical, and Anglican missional church in North America. The American Anglican Council asked these five senior bishops who helped form the Common Cause Partnership, then the Anglican Communion Network, then GAFCON, and then the Anglican Church in North America to share their recollections. We are endeavoring to capture this history of our Anglican realignment so that we can share these historical facts and events with you. In addition, this history explains why we identify “seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way that are essential for membership” in the ACNA. (See Article I Fundamental Declarations of the Province [The Constitution and canons of the ACNA online]). At stake is what we believe defines Anglicanism in North America.
For eight hours, I was humbled and blessed to hear their stories. They described 30 years of following Jesus Christ as Messiah and the Son of the living God apart from whom there is no salvation. In so doing, they described the fierce opposition they faced within the Episcopal Church they loved, then from the halls of Canterbury itself, and finally in lawsuits and TEC depositions that sought to deprive them of their Holy Orders and spiritual authority. They faced real persecution within the Church itself for standing up for that apostolic confession, the faith once delivered to the saints. They suffered the confiscation of churches through relentless litigation