Friday, February 6, 2009

Anglican Leaders Take Dim View of Rival U.S. Church

Leaders of the Anglican Communion said Thursday (Feb. 5) that they, not dissident conservatives, will decide what role a newly formed traditionalist North American church will have in their worldwide fellowship.

Concluding their weeklong meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, the Anglican leaders also said a new North American church should not "seek to recruit or expand their membership" by attempting to convert others.

Conservatives angered by the liberal drift of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the Anglican Church of Canada set up a rival church in December. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), led by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, aims to be recognized as the official Anglican franchise in North America.

But the 30-odd Anglican primates, or archbishops, meeting this week (Feb. 1-5) essentially put a damper on those plans. While acknowledging that "there is no consensus among us how this new (church) is to be regarded," the primates unanimously agreed that "it is not for individual groups to claim the terms on which they will relate to the communion."

The primates also said that "any scheme developed would rely on an undertaking from the present partners to ACNA that they would not seek to recruit and expand their membership by means of proselytization."

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