With the creation of the Anglican Church in North America, the time has come to end the various sub-groups which were necessary for the time of trials just passed through. Part of me doesn’t like this much because I think that parts of the AMiA are the best current representation of what a Biblical Church should look like. But it seems to me that every dollar spent on maintaining separate organizational structures is wasted. Why have a separate communications structure for CANA, AMiA, REC, etc? It’s waste of effort and money. And yet we see Bishop Minns saying:
Since Day 1, CANA has been and will continue to be a full participant in the life of the new province, and will continue to maintain our own identity. We will encourage groups of congregations when they are ready, to establish themselves as free-standing dioceses. Our goal is to support the work, mission, and ministry of the gospel on this continent and bring our own particular distinctive to that task.
Bishop Murphy has said similar things about AMiA continuing in something of a “Canterbury and York” model. Indeed, as I was writing this I received an e-mail from AMiA where Bishop Murphy says:
As a founding member of both the Common Cause Partnership and the emerging province, we will continue to fully participate in ACNA. As we have consistently explained, however, we remain a missionary outreach of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda under the authority of Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini. This allows us to enjoy dual citizenship, a similar relationship to that of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).
But I think we need to ask whether in ten or twenty years we will need all of these separate groups? It’s great for AMia and CANA to continue missionary efforts, but they should be able to do this as some kind of missionary diocese under ACNA, without needing their own leadership and headquarters. How much of this division is due to leftover animosities between bishops and churches?
I do understand some legitimate reasons for staying apart. As my friend Jim said to me, many folks won’t want to be under a Bishop who approves of women’s ordination, for example. But these issues need to be worked out from within ACNA unless it becomes obvious that it will never change and is un-reformable, which is hardly the case right now at its inception. I think good Anglican in all the bodies that make up ACNA should voice their desire for unity to their leaders and pray for change.