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Encyclopedia > Anglican continuing churches

The Continuing Anglican Movement is a group of Christian churches which follow the Anglican tradition but which split from the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) and the Anglican Church of Canada because of what they viewed as a rejection of orthodoxy by those North American provinces of the Anglican Communion. The most controversial issues were the decision of the Episcopal Church to ordain women, to create a new Book of Common Prayer, and to revise some of its standards on sexual and marital matters.

A group of dissenting clergy and laypersons met at the St. Louis Congress in 1977, and formulated a theological statement, the Affirmation of St. Louis, which expressed a determination "to continue in the Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and Evangelical Witness of the traditional Anglican Church, doing all things necessary for the continuance of the same." Out of this meeting came a new church with the provisional name, Anglican Church in North America. During the process of ratifying the new church's Constitution, disputes developed which split its several dioceses into two American churches and one separate Canadian church. These are the Anglican Catholic Church, the Diocese of Christ the King (later renamed the Anglican Province of Christ the King), and the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada.

Other small bodies identified with the Continuing Anglican movement were founded in succeeding years as controversies continued within the Episcopal Church concerning the ordination of women, the required use of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and more recently, over the election of an openly homosexual priest to be a bishop.

The continuing churches are generally Anglo-Catholic in approach, and their liturgies are usually more high church than low church. Most of them use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer that preceded the prayer book adopted by ECUSA in 1979, although some use other forms. The use of the Authorized Version of Holy Scripture (KJV) as opposed to modern translations is an identifying mark of most continuing churches, as is the rejection of the ordination of women.

The principles of the Affirmation of St. Louis and the thirty-nine Articles of Religion provide some basis for unity in the movement, but non-ECUSA jurisdictions are numerous and often splinter and recombine. Reports put their number at somewhere between 20 and 40, although only a few of these count more than ten parishes. Only about a half-dozen of the churches popularly called "continuing churches" can be traced back to the meeting at St. Louis. The term has become a catch-phrase for non-ECUSA Anglican groups as a whole, regardless of their actual origin and outlook.

Other Anglican groups

Other bodies not in communion with Canterbury include the Reformed Episcopal Church in the United States, which left the Episcopal Church in 1873 in opposition to the advance of Anglo-Catholicism; the Free Church of England, which was founded in 1844 for similar reasons; and the Charismatic Episcopal Church, founded in 1992, which holds to a belief in Pentecostal gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Charismatic Episcopal Church does not consider itself to be Anglican, but many of its members are former members of ECUSA and worship is conducted using a version of the Episcopal Church's liturgy of 1979. These churches are not generally considered to be Continuing Anglican churches, although the REC has recently moved to associate herself more closely with them by entering into agreements with several continuing churches and also with conservative elements in ECUSA itself.

The recent consecration of Gene Robinson as ECUSA's Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire gave the movement a boost, but has also increased interest in other churches, in particular the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA). While it has much in common with the continuing churches, AMiA is a mission under the supervision of the Archbishop of Rwanda and the Archbishop of Southeast Asia, and thus through them claims communion with Canterbury (although it is not yet recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury).

Acting on an earlier promise to settle the issue of the ordination of women, AMiA recently decided against ordaining women to the priesthood. Several who were priested in ECUSA before joining AMiA remain in good standing. In general, Anglo-Catholics favorable to AMiA have been opposed to the practice while "evangelicals" (i.e. charismatics) have supported it. The older continuing churches do not approve of the ordination of women to the diaconate, a practice that AMiA allows.

External links

  • "Not In the Communion" (http://www.anglicansonline.org/communion/nic.html) from Anglicans Online.
  • The Affirmation of St. Louis (http://www.anglicancatholic.org/stlouis.html)

The following is a list of continuing and similar churches, with the approximate number of North American parishes shown in parentheses. Some have additional affiliates in other countries.

  • American Anglican Church (http://www.american-anglican-church.org/). (10)
  • Anglican Catholic Church (http://www.anglicancatholic.org/). (90) Also see The Anglican Catholic Diocese of New Orleans (http://www.geocities.com/accdno/), one of their dioceses.
  • Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (http://www.zeuter.com/~accc/). (47) The Canadian counterpart of the Anglican Church in America.
  • Anglican Church in America (http://www.acahome.org/). (80)
  • Anglican Church International Communion (http://www.theanglicanchurch.net/). (16) Also see The Anglican Diocese of the Good Shepherd (http://www.adgoodshepherd.net/), the largest of their dioceses.
  • Anglican Churches of America (http://www.stpaulsanglicanchurch.org/). (3)
  • Anglican Mission in America (http://www.theamia.org). (70)
  • Anglican Orthodox Church (http://www.anglicanorthodoxchurch.org/). (3)
  • Anglican Province of America (http://www.anglicanprovince.org/). (56) Has agreed to merge with the Reformed Episcopal Church by 2008.
  • Anglican Province of Christ the Good Shepherd (http://www.goodshepherdanglican.org/). (8)
  • Anglican Province of Christ the King (http://www.anglicanpck.org/). (55)
  • Anglican Rite Old Catholic Church - San Antonio, TX (http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch01331). Old Catholics using an Anglican rite.
  • Anglican Rite Archdiocese of the Americas (http://www.celtchristian.net/). (4) A mission of the Orthodox Church of Canada (http://www.orthodoxchurchcanada.org/view/?pageID=116056). Eastern Orthodox using an Anglican rite.
  • Anglican Use Parishes (http://www.pastoralprovision.org/index.shtml). (7) Links to Roman Catholic parishes which use a revised form of the 1979 ECUSA "Book of Common Prayer," the Book of Divine Worship.
  • Charismatic Episcopal Church (http://www.iccec.org/).
  • Christian Episcopal Church (http://www.xnec.org/). (5) Also see the parishes of the associated clerical order of the Anglican Fathers of the Corpus Christi (http://Anglicanfathers.org/). (2)
  • Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (http://www.theceec.org/). (40)
  • Diocese of the Holy Cross (http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch23915). (25)
  • Episcopal Missionary Church (http://www.emchome.org/). (28)
  • Episcopal Orthodox Church (http://eoc.orthodoxanglican.net/). (8)
  • Free Church of England (http://www.fcee.org.uk/). (1)
  • Holy Catholic Church (Anglican Rite) (http://www.anglicancatholic.net/). (35)
  • Reformed Episcopal Church (http://www.recus.org/index.htm). (137) Has agreed to merge with the Anglican Province of America by 2008.
  • Southern Episcopal Church (http://www.angelfire.com/biz/Southern/ANGLICAN.html). (5)
  • Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church (http://www.reformer.org/). (3)
  • United Anglican Church (http://www.unitedanglicanchurch.org/). (11)
  • United Episcopal Church of North America (http://united-episcopal.org/). (20)

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