"Continuing Anglican" Churches - We would argue the most consistently traditional or "classical" Anglican churches.

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Reformed Episcopal Church - Currently part of the Anglican Realignment but these days much more like the traditional Continuing Anglican bodies.


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How Ordaining Women Harms Ministry to Men, C.R. Wiley

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Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes, Peter J. Leithart

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The Anglican Realignment's Formation Problem

Some excerpts from a Facebook discussion on the differences in ethos between Realignment churches such as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), and the Continuing Anglican churches, such as the Anglican Catholic Church,  Anglican Province of America (APA), Anglican Church in America, Diocese of the Holy Cross, Anglican Province of Christ the King, the Orthodox Anglican Church and others.  Most of these comments came from a fellow who is a layman in the APA but who has obviously spent a great deal of time and energy assessing the ACNA.  I find his analysis to be very incisive.  Bolded emphases are mine:

I think much of it might be this:

ACNA clergy understand that liturgy is tremendously important, and that parishoners need maturity.

American Christianity is almost anti-maturity, it's "outreach on steroids!!" People "on fire for Jesus" to do "outreach" before they've been properly formed.

With fast-fast-fast growth - ACNA can't form its parishioners, and it often has to practically grab folks by the collar and make them Anglican priests in order to grow this fast.

So many turn to continuing Anglican churches for more solidity, for nourishment needed for mature Christians.

And their parishioners don't really understand this and are pushing for stuff they "feel comfortable with" and that they think "will really help us grow." You know, the church growth handbook stuff. I've seen it from up close. Church growth handbook stuff is almost a recipe for a congregation living in perpetual immaturity.

This puts a huge strain on clergy. They have a lot of newbies who want to be Anglican but don't have the discipline yet. The newbies also wanna do the church growth handbook stuff. The congregation is clamoring to the point of insurrection to do the church growth handbook stuff.

The clergy need peace.

They find that with straight plain liturgy and congregations that aren't trying to do 24 million kids' programs and light shows.

It's not a matter of not wanting to save the Communion. They are mostly just tired. There aren't many Anglo-Catholics left.

ACNA badly needs church order and some rest and peace and maturity. Nearly all American churches do. But we think busyness is good and we're kindergarchic and we're immature and we're anti-intellectual. . . .

ACNA would have been spared so much grief if it had generally listened more to the Anglo- Catholics. They are NOT saying to Evangelicals: "swim the Tiber" or "join the ordinariate." They say stuff like: "get mature before you are spread out too thin." "Get to know each other well - collegiality, catholicity." "Don't run around waving your hands in the air yelling 'outreach outreach outreach.' First formation - then quiet, steady, solid outreach that isn't faddish."

nb, I'm super duper low low low church myself.

Or just talk to my bishop, Chandler Holder Jones, see what he has to say to Evangelicals.

It's probably mostly: "Listen to your priest. Don't just read anything you pick up in the Christian book store. Rely on your priest for what you "consume" spiritually in media. The coolest trend might not be what you need for spiritual growth; your priest knows better."

Why aren't Evangelicals saying these things? This is what caused us to get all Word-of-faithy in the first place.

Anglo-Catholics know how to say these things. Very solid, Scriptural advice. . . .

Something in catechesis DOES need to be said. And if they haven't been catechized, yeah - they need to just be told: "Look, you need the catechesis."

And if they are getting mouthy without good reasoning from Scripture, Reason, Tradition: focus on vocation. Their vocation is to learn these things. Learners are often brought off-track by "contributing" to discussions on church order. Not their place, not their vocation.

This can be made pretty clear in a "what we're about" statement. We're not about catering to newcomers; we're about helping our members with spiritual maturity. We have ways of keeping our church in line and not caving into the obsessions with newcomers and newcomer pressure. This is America, it's superficial as yackety yack. We need to do things differently or we'll just become another rootin-tootin Johnny Hotspeaker Church with a light show and a gazillion kid programs, where everyone during the week wonders how come that amayzing feeling they had in church isn't helping at all with kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control. . . .

I think, basically - ACNA got way too close to plain vanilla American Evangelicalism without questioning aspects having to do with language and liturgy. Language is tremendously important, but I hear huge huge mistakes in language from ACNA members - lots of experientialism and sort of "personalizing" everything. You talk about theology, asking about some issue having to do with research - they're like, "what does this mean personally for you?" - when maybe the point of the research has more to do with helping someone ELSE. It's like everything is some kind of devotional. This leads to thorough-going subjectivism and makes it difficult for clergy to appreciate that theology is important. Theology is sort of relativized to a devotionally experientially feely thing.

Worship hasn't been evaluated. Enormous gaps in the understanding, and almost adamant against speaking about it. Almost unable to comprehend that there can be a theology of music or that worship is more than "subjective" or "preference."

Aesthetic relativism. You talk about worship, if you don't say "preference preference" - they don't want to talk to you.

This is not the case in my APA parish.

There is a lot to be learned, one can be formed - just by going to a congregation doing plain, straight prayerbook worship without a lot of noise or tra la la's. If you don't like the bells and smells - go to a service without these. I don't give a flying fahita if they're there or not. I am low church, very very low church, but I "do not go" into territory if there just isn't any good theology for what's being done, and no interest in doing that theology. Then it's dangerous territory for me, priests should see I'd likely take away from the "feeling" of people emoting and such and even speaking about "the worship" is dangerous ground with me in the mix. So I can't help so I just don't go. But then I get all these people angry "he's not going to church." Go figure.

I wish all ACNA clergy would send their parishioners a few times a year to any church that just does plain straight liturgy and tell them: "look, these are people who didn't do the aesthetic relativism thing and actually know how to think about worship. We do what people like, they do what people need. Go there a bit to get mature and come back and we can ... well ya know ... try to figure stuff out."

I think a lot of ACNA priests are more or less blinded to the importance of the WAY we worship from all the busy-busy foisted upon them by relatively unformed, noisy people who think they know lots of great stuff from what they were implicitly taught in other churches.

I wish all ACNA priests had more rest, more collegiality, more time to worship together, more time to seriously contemplate what it is that people do when they come together and worship. . . .

(An interlocutor comments: "The main thing that irks me about the recent ACNA Provincial Assembly is that not one service was traditional Anglican worship. Not even close.")

I didn't watch it, I knew it would make me sad. I can only take so much.

What's going to happen to the quiet, prayerful, scholarly types we need to help America with so many of her problems?

They'll bolt out - "join us lot." But we're not organized, we don't have cathedral type resources necessary for good scholarship. We don't have the community potential which is necessary for good scholarship. Good scholarship always depends on community in some way - and it helps tremendously if it's Christian community which is worshiping properly.

I don't want the scholars "with us," I want them where they can be effective. BUT - they aren't going to be effective if their pastors won't talk to them unless they are "getting into the worship" AND doing all the nicey Evangelically type thingies that the people expect of them.

There's no place for them outside.

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