Unification of continuing AngloCatholicism?

Discussion in 'Church and Parish Life' started by Aidan, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    I've been thinking about your assessment of the number of Bishops in the Continuum. I think that the issue has largely become an historical relic. In the 80's and 90's there were dozens of them but the first generation or two have passed from this life or become emeritus and were not always replaced 'one for one.' So, I think the number of active bishops is more manageable than many imagine, and here is why:

    "That yields a total of 398 congregations in the USA, including Puerto Rico.

    There are six states which have no congregation: AK, HI, ID, RI, SD, UT
    Additionally, there are six states which have only one congregation: DE, NE, NV, ND, WA, WV (also DC)
    33.7% of all congregations (134) are located in four states: CA (27), FL (32), NC (30), and VA (45)
    57% of all congregations (227) are located in the fourteen states which have at least ten congregations per state: see above + AL (11), AZ (11), CO (10), GA (17), MD (10), NY (15), OH (10), SC (15), TN (10), TX (14)"
    That is a snippet from some cross-jurisdictional data that I compiled about a year ago (I included a few jurisdictions that are not of the St. Louis lineage, but generally try to align themselves with the practice of the big five - ACC, APA, ACA, APCK, UECNA.)

    Now, some thoughts on what is a manageable diocese for a bishop ordinary. If he wishes to spend three quarters of his time at his home parish -a reasonable amount- then he will have time for 12-13 episcopal visits a year. I know many adopted a practice of visiting each congregation only every other year or every third, but it is my opinion that that practice imposes an unnecessarily long gap and limits a parishes ability to have confirmations and know their bishop. If we look at the development of the office, there was initially a bishop of each major city. Returning to the data above, we could easily place 17 bishops for the fourteen largest concentrations of churches. If we take the raw number 398/13 we reach a collegiate total of 30-31 bishops to oversee the existing congregations.

    As an aside, I will throw in the data I was able to compile for Canada:
    Total= 31

    Congregations by province: ON (9), BC (8), AB (4), NS (4), NL (2), MB (1), NB (1), QC (1), SK (1)

    There are no congregations in the three Arctic territories or Prince Edward Island.
    Finally, accurate data on the Continuum is hard to come by and harder still to maintain. We are all aware that many 'missions' come and go like the seasons of the year as the 6-8 people who were meeting in the back of a public library decide nothing will come of their effort and go back to whatever they were doing before, or a congregation where 90% of the membership was over 70 has a sudden rash of deaths and loses viability, or some clergyman decides to jump to a new jurisdiction and takes his group along or splits them to shards. But I think what I have just shared gives a general picture of the real size of the Continuum. (I have not attempted to compile membership or ASA statistics though - the data is just not readily available.)

     
  2. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Shane,

    Thanks for the info. The number of Bishops is not the issue. The issue is will they give up power.

    Will the APCK Bishop over Alabama, he lives in North Carolina, give up his 3 parishes to say the APA Bishop who is in Atlanta.
    Will the UECNA Bishop in Arizona give up his parish in Pensacola, Florida to another jurisdiction.
    Will the ACC Bishop give up his parish in Alabama to another jurisdiction, he lives in Texas.

    Then will the priest and parish accept the transfer? The continuing parishes I have observed and served as Deacon or Priest have a huge strain of congregationalism running through their DNA. Far too many do not understand the purpose of a Bishop. Some of that is due to Bishops not visiting parishes for 2-3 years. The priest and parish are on autopilot and have little to no interaction with their Bishop. Maybe a phone call or email occasionally. Will they accept change? Continuing parishes have the habit of being unpredictable....just ask the ACA and the Bishops who thought they had it in the bag to go to Rome via the Ordinariate. Yes Rome made some really stupid decision that helped derail it....I know one Continuing Parish that said they were on board. Once their priest was approved for re-ordination in the Roman Catholic Church they balked and would not convert. Also, Jurisdiction hopping.....it should be stopped now. I find it appalling that priests and laity Bishop shop. My first encounter with it was when the parish I served as Deacon jumped from the UECNA to the REC along with one of our Bishops. I obeyed my Bishop, but I did ask him to should me examples of this by in Church History, before 1979. And how was this healthy and how it did not harm the office of Bishop and obedience to same.

    I am praying and praying the Continuing Churches come together. To be honest, I am impatient and not very interested to listen to more excuses for not coming together. There never should have been a splitting in the first place. But sin is sin. We all have it.

    I am a REC priest. I assist an UECNA parish and a ACC parish. I am in talks with an APCK Bishop to serve a parish in a city I routinely visit. Many of the jurisdictions already share communion, priest etc. Move quicker and get it done.

    My impatience is also due to my jurisdictions continual flirtations with the ACNA. The ACNA is just the TEC without ordaining open homosexuals. The task force on Holy Orders spent 318 pages to say.....nothing. The last time I talked with my Canon Theologian, he was disgusted with the ACNA and hoping we would continue to reach agreement with the continuing Churches, like we have with the APA. Many if not most priests in my Diocese were very cautious in regards to the ACNA. And we still are and now we are starting to look toward the door.

    Again thanks for the information and work that goes into it. My prayers are for the success of the Continuing Churches. I pray the Synods in Oct 2017 are successful and we see the beginning and quick unification of the continuing Churches. The ACNA will fall apart. The Orthodox Anglicans are getting very restless as per the facebook chat rooms and what I see on priest forums.

    Blessings

    Fr. Mark
     
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  3. Reader

    Reader New Member Anglican

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    I believe you post over at the Anglican Diaspora too. I'm Ken.

    Thanks for putting together all the information. My $0.02 is that diocese (what's the plural) should run with state boundaries. With no diocese being formed unless it contains 10 parishes (and perhaps a minimum number of ASA). All others should be missionary districts oversaw by an especially appointed sole missionary bishop.

    As an alternative perhaps missionary bishops should be sent to each state that do not have at least 10 parishes. Each bishop's responsibility would be to evangelize the area, he wouldn't have any voting power in a House of Bishops until his missionary area can achieve diocese status.

    I think that the super large diocese of the continuing churches has exasperated divisions, easily allowing for bishop shopping and bishops moving in on territory. As another commented, would any continuing bishop be willing to give up parishes?

    But given the data you provided, there would be 14 bishops and maybe half again the number of missionary bishops for the remaining (I think 26 parishes as an ideal size).
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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