Questions about ACNA

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by zimkhitha, Aug 7, 2016.

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  1. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Before I ask my questions, please be patient if you find typos in my post as I am writing from a mobile device (blessed with big fingers too).

    Now my questions and observations about ACNA...

    I have spent some time on an ACNA fcebook group amd observed a few things....

    1. There seems to be not much place for Anglo Catholics within ACNA.
    2. There are a lot of converts from the charismatic/pentecostal/non-denominational movements, who, in my opnion have not quite "converted" to the catholic faith (I am referring to the faith of the undivided church that we claim to proclaim). Each ACNA church plant seems to be a resemblance of its converts.
    3. My main pressing point: If ACNA is meant to be the official expression of Anglicanism in the U.S, why is it writing its own catechisms and order of services? Why not simply return to the earliest writings of these?

    4. Somebody posted photos of confirmations whereby an ACNA Bishop was not wearing his vestments. Is this an acceptable practice or option that Bishops are free to exercise?

    I mean no slander towards ACNA, but trying to understand what it is all about.

    I'll appreciate your responses as well as your own thoughts.
     
  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I appreciate your questions. As someone in ACNA with quite a bit of experience with it, I'll try to help.

    Which one is this? facebook.com/ACNA? I'd need to know which one you're referring to specifically.

    I'd want to know what you specifically mean by that, because the days of a clearly defined Anglo-Catholic movement in the 19th century are quickly drawing to a close, and few people know what that means any longer, at least in mainstream anglican circles. If you mean the faith of the undivided church, then some expressions of Lutheranism can fall under that. If you mean high church Anglican, then I see plenty of those, more and more actually. If you mean Seven Sacraments, with thuribles and chasubles -- yeah that's somewhat rare.

    This too requires some clarification. If you mean some evangelicals who raise hands -- yeah that can be found in some places. If you mean speaking in tongues, this has no presence.

    To form Evangelicals in the Anglican faith requires time -- ACNA as a new structure has just come come out of incredible heartbreak and brutal assault, while trying to gather anyone from the Episcopal Church who wasn't a heretic. To give you some perspective, the Church of South Africa has been around for, what, 200 years? It's an institution, from days gone by. ACNA is all of 8 years old, sued, persecuted, attacked, it's ancient churches stripped, congregations and vestries driven to bankruptcy, forced to meet in basements and halls. Would you keep to your faith if stripped of pomp and circumstance? These people have said yes, and continue to say yes every day. Their faith does not depend on rich buildings or ornaments, an Anglican faith completely untethered to riches, wealth,and status. Remember that when you see the pictures next time. You are seeing people who are comfortable with being poor. People who will preserve the Church for the next 1,000 years.

    That being said, of course they need to be formed in the greater depth of our Tradition. No doubt about it. I don't know a single bishop who is completely happy. Being on the mailing lists of four dioceses and having gone to provincial assemblies and national gatherings, I see bishops and diocesan councils forming Catechetical programs, Formation and Training initiatives on music/aesthetics, on the Anglican tradition, deeper studies of Scripture and Patristic treasures, and more.

    Finally, don't pay too much attention to the FB at the moment. There will always be a few loud mouths and clowns, obstinate heretics who wish to impose their views. FB is not policed, cannot filter by membership in ACNA, and is biased toward the aggressive and scandalous. There are indeed a few characters --mostly Internet based, mostly from the fringes or apostate altogether, who make things confusing while ACNA is still organizing itself. For example Anglicans Ablaze is run by a presbyterian who got all cranky when our bishops didnt go toward his theology. I can tell you that having been to ACNA provincial assemblies, national councils, diocesan synods and lay run conferences -- it is a body of Christ humbled by tragedy, united by grace, meek and reverent, wishing to come through this Trial together, and maintain sacred traditions which even they recognize themselves to have lost. It is an amazing group of people, that has nothing in common with the current FB shenanigans.

    I mostly agree with you. However so far it is nothing like the heretical 1979 prayerbook. It is surprisingly close to the 1928 and the 1662 classical Prayerbook tradition, at least in the liturgies that have been released so far. The Catechism is mostly good and very solid, except for a few minor charismatic influences near the beginning which have no doctrinal substance. Also the new books are not mandatory, and parishes retain the 1928 and the 1662 Prayerbooks if they so choose.

    You have to remember that these remarkably not-bad products are coming out of bishops raised and formed in the heresy that was the Episcopal Church of 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, one of the most heathen and apostate bodies to have ever existed in Church history. How these bishops are managing to pull off this remarkable preservation of the traditional Anglican spirit amidst crisis and persecution is somewhat miraculous.


    The bishop is free in his own diocese to do as he wants, but I can tell you, having just come from the 2016 Provincial Council in Charleston, where the whole episcopal body was gathered, that not a single one was immodest or irreverent. Vestments were explicitly required in every national gathering that I had seen. A few outliers like Todd Hunter who came out of the Charismatic movement in their daily actions sometimes embarrass the rest of the ACNA bishops, but never when gathered together, where all conform to the traditional standards.

    Like I said, it is a matter of continuing formation, and long-term vision, as ACNA reorganizes the new Anglican province in the United States, in the teeth of a very-much-still present Episcopal Church, which is still much larger, billions-of-dollars more wealthy, and militantly committed to destroying both ACNA and remnants of Christianity in North America.

    If you understood what these people are doing you'd understand ACNA's context. If you saw a woman "priest" going on CNN to praise abortion, gay marriages and priests in perverse LGBT fetish marches, embrace of Transgenderism and any latest perversity within the Ecclesiastical fold -- then seeing a few raised hands, and not-enough organ music would be the least of your worries.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
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  3. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

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    I am in a North Texas ACNA parish that is very Anglo-Catholic. As far as I am aware, the Diocese of Ft. Worth is extremely Anglo-Catholic.
     
  4. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Thanks for putting things into context. I however feel that a group thst has managed to cut ties with the Episcopal Church would prioritize proper formation of its congregations to the faith of the primitive church. The Episcopal Church did not go to bed and woke up heterodox (if not heretic). They stripped the faith one element at a time.

    You are correct in saying that I may have gotten mixed up in an ACNA group that is loud. In most instances such groups are actually a voice of the minority..

    Unfortunately a bishop who performs confirmations in civvies bothers me (thanks to God it is not the norm). I get what ACNA has been through, but I don't agree that starting off in what I perceive to be a sloppy manner is justifiable.
     
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  5. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Let me try to answer these observations.

    1. There are entire dioceses in the ACNA that are Anglo-Catholic. Bishop Iker in Fort Worth comes to mind. Even my Diocese which is REC has many Anglo-Catholic parishes in it. Our Bishop is more Presbyterian leaning, even taught at the Reformed Theological Seminary..no friends of Anglo-Catholics. We all get along fine.

    2. There are many parish priest who are neo-Anglican. As one here is Pensacola told me, "I am a Baptist in robes and proud of it." Very charismatic, people getting into the spirit while receiving Holy Communion.....yeah I witnesses people fainting, jibbering, climbing over the pews after receiving our Lord in Communion. Not very Anglican....and will leave it at that. So yes many are coming into the ACNA who have no idea of what it means to be Anglican. And many who were in the TEC are bringing the heresies they grew up with. Far too many want the ACNA to be like the TEC was a few minutes prior to making Vicky Robinson a bishop (first openly homosexual bishop who left his family for a man, whom he has since divorce and is a raging substance abuser).

    3. Understand Anglicanism in the States really did not have much of a catechism, so they have to write one. As to Books of Common Prayer. I believe the official book is the 1662 or the 1928. And the 1979. The REC wrote one in 2005. I like it, more scripture reading than the 1928. While I like the 1928 over the others, except the REC, I do hope they use more modern English. Sorry we do not sound like King James anymore.

    4. Todd Hunter. Vineyard movement. Brought in by AMiA, Chuck Murphy, for his church planting abilities. Not his theology. A mistake. He converted and made Bishop within a year. It took me 6 months from Baptist to Deacon after being an altar boy. Hunter had no understanding of Anglicanism, he did not see the need for confirmation and vestments. I have seen other, mainly AMiA, in floral patterns shirts and not vestments. One AMiA priest stays behind the drum set for the praise band and lets the deacon do all the altar stuff. Yep witnessed that also.

    Hope that helps.

    Blessings

    Fr. Mark
     
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  6. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Thanks for the clarification and confiration of so
    Thanks for the clarification Fr. Mark. Can you please explain REC to me? I thought it was a continuing Anglican church, separate from ACNA?

    Number 4 of the responses is really unsettling, however I must be honest and mention that I have befriended 2 ACNA priests on Facebook. They are both high church. One of them was a pentecostal pastor, however he is now a champion for the faith of the primitive church.

    I pray that ACNA works out these things before they end up being "just the less gay friendly version of the Episcopal Church".

    ACSA (South Africa) is far from perfect either, as the Episcopal Church has influenced us a lot BUT I can say that we have kept most of the faith (minus WO). The Anglican Catholic church is having a field day here, swallowing some "Canterbury" parishes one at a time (They even absorbed some parishes from our ecumenical partner, the Ethiopian Catholic Church). People are hungry for the Anglican Church they once knew (and honestly, we'd also also cross over but the current Anglican Catholic parishes here are not a fit for our family, due to language and cultural differences)

    I'll keep the ACNA in my prayers...I really believe the calibre of souls there is still more zealous for the Lord than in most Anglican Churches (personal observation).
     
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  7. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Sure, I will explain the REC. But another story concerning my experience with AMiA priests in my area.

    About 7 years ago, my REC Bishop asked me to participate in a joint service with a local AMiA parish. It was an ordination of man to Deacon.
    I called the AMiA parish and worked out details. They did not have altar boys (servers) so I volunteered one of mine. Everything so far so good.
    Arrive at the parish. In the sacristy we vest....or should I say my altar boy and I vested. I was then asked not to process in, and to keep my altar boy beside me. Service begins. Ordination and Eucharist. I and my altar boy both fully vested in the front row. Never asked to participate. Even waved off. Ignored.
    During the service the altar boy keeps looking at me with this strange look on his face. When the priest lifts the elements and says the body of Christ for Christ's people, the altar boy....he was only 11 years old....looks at me and says a little too loudly......"when did we do confession? Did I miss the Eucharistic prayer? The Creed? Is this even communion?" The AMiA Bishop was not pleased. I looked at him and said, "we did not confess our sins, and no I did not hear anything that sounded like consecration or Eucharistic in nature." We did not commune, they dropped elements on the ground, stepped on them and left them on the ground while they recessed out. My altar boy and I picked them up, about 3 hosts. I consumed them. We left out the back door. Two years later, my Bishop asked me to plant a joint parish with AMiA. Every Sunday Eucharist was a different service. They used something from the UK that had about 10 different Eucharistic type prayers. The plant fell apart. I am sure there are some good AMiA priests out there. Just not in my area.

    The REC is not a continuing Church. They split from the Episcopal Church in the States in 1873. Bishop Cummings left and took a few parishes, mainly the the Kentucky are with him. They did not like the resurgence of a more traditional Catholic view of Anglicanism. They were geared more to a Presbyterian view of Church Government. Bishop Cummings also had the habit of letting anyone preach from his pulpit.

    The REC struggled along until the 1970's. Their Bishops began to embrace a more Catholic theology, not Roman, and the Church began to grow. It is still a mix of Reformed minded Presbyterian types and Anglo-Catholics. My Diocese Bishop was Presbyterian prior to conversion. He taught at the Reformed Theological Seminary...very reformed and anti-catholic. Many of his parishes are Anglo-Catholic. His Canon Theologian and most of his Chaplains who vet priests transfers and train men for deacon and priest are Anglo-Catholic.

    When the Continuing Churches split from the TEC in the late 70's, they were one body. But almost immediately egos and personalities got in the way. And they split into numerous groups. The REC has been reaching out to them within the last 10-15 years. Been some talks. The Anglican Providence of America is in communion with the REC, the APA is continuing church. They transfer priests and share altars. The APA is also reaching out as is the Anglican Catholic Church. To show how this is working. On the ACNA facebook page, a man was concerned that his father in law, who was very ill and in hospice was getting no pastoral care from his TEC Diocese. He was a retired TEC priest, but very Orthodox. I saw the post. Ask the name of the city and hospital. The REC did not have a parish close by, but the APA did. About an hour away. Within 4 hours I had gotten the son in law in contact with the local APA priest. The priest was away at a conference. He returned 3 days later. The next day drove to the ill man, gave him and his wife communion and anointment of the sick.

    My closest priest friends in my area are the local ACC retired priest and the UECNA priest at the parish I assist. The UECNA as not in communion with the REC, my Bishop and theirs worked out an agreement for me to help.

    The Anglican Catholic Church is the largest Continuing Church. They are larger outside the States. I think the largest Diocese is in India. Their ArchBishop is very good. Very sound. Saw through the Ordinariate very quickly.......if I even meet him I will apologize to him as I thought he was wrong. He is trying to bring the Continuing Churches together. I do hope they can. Personally I wish the Continuing Churches would join the ACNA. Their Bishops would give the Orthodox Bishops a majority to stop all the indaba that is going on over WO. It would also help the ACNA with its Anglican Identity and would help the Continuing Churches with resources and fellowship. I have noticed that the Continuing Churches are spread out and not very close to each other. The same happens in the REC. If more of us came together, our support network would be stronger.

    I think what is happening is that Anglicanism is falling for the mega-church model. Discard the old and bring in the new, upbeat, hip, Mars Hill type Church. The mentality of not making the Church to "foreign". So Church begins to reflect the world. Nothing special. No real dogmas, feel good is key, etc. I see this in Anglicanism, Catholicism, Lutheran, Baptist, Non-Denominational (really Baptist just try to discard the name baptist) etc. Everyone is losing members. The Romans lose about 3 million a year here in the states and in the last two years the Southern Baptist have lost 500,000. They are not going to other churches....they are going home. I read the report on Virtue on Line.

    Why are they leaving? St John say they were never of us. Ok, but that hurts. Maybe they see no difference between the Church and the World. The Church, which has always been a moral compass, is no longer that compass. We have forgotten what we believe. We ignore dogma, scripture, tradition so why should the world care. Here is Pensacola, want to get a large crowd...have a football game first, then a military themed event. The Military is steeped in tradition and always draws a crowd. Why? Tradition ties us to each other and the past. It deepens our experiences.

    At times my family has gone to Baptist Churches, especially when my daughters chorus is singing. But none of my kids want to stay. If we can't find an Anglican Church on vacation, we go Roman. (though it could and is a toss of the dice with Rome). Why? Our traditions, communion of the Saints. Other worldness that is the Eucharist.

    Once the ACNA and Anglicanism remembers this....we will see true and lasting growth. Look at all the Churches who are shrinking, look at what they have done and do not repeat it. I find it simple......but I was trained by Marines.

    Blessings

    Fr. Mark

    Hope this helps
     
  8. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    Anglicanism in the US sounds so complicated! I am sure it is also in England, but I think there are less different Anglican communities (ie communities not in communion with Canterbury). The dominant C of E has everything from evangelicals who would call themselves Protestants, to broad Church liberals to Anglo-Catholics of various shades broadly in line with the Forward in Faith or Affirming Catholicism movements.
     
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  9. alphaomega

    alphaomega Active Member

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    Spot on! I have had some less than favorable experiences with AMiA also, contemporary worship,no BCP,no liturgical worship (barely touched on in "Eucharist"really no difference between them and any generic protestant modern church (baptist,non denom,etc)
    I am so glad to have found a church home in the REC. I was not aware that REC was in dialogues with the Russian Orthodox Church, this is very good news.
     
  10. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Bishop Ray Sutton is the point man for the REC and ACNA with the ROC. We have sent delegation there and they just recently sent one here, back in the spring. I forget which ROC Bishop made it a point to meet with Billy Graham.

    Blessings

    Fr. Mark
     
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  11. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Oh my Lord! My head is spinning already with all the alphabets. At least I do understand where REC fits in.

    I read Bp.Haverland's sermon once where he was urging ACNA to look to the continuing churches for a home. At this point, ACNA has inherited the identity crisis from Canterbury (ism).
     
  12. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    I attend an Episcopal church and I enjoy it very much. However, I have reservations about everything that is going on in the wider Episcopal church in the U.S. and as someone new to attending church and the Anglican communion, it's very disheartening and confusing. The positions some people have taken are just out of control and many of the mainline churches are plummeting in attendance and support. Even though I am younger, I don't support gay marriage in the church and have grave reservations about female priests.

    I really like my parish, but am concerned about all the disruptions and issues in the wider sphere. I have been to an ACNA church, but it was very "low-church" and felt hostile to outsiders. Not the best experience.

    Is anyone else going through this as well?
     
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Ooooooh yeees!
     
  14. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I identify with the first part of your post. The only difference is that here in SA there is not much alternative to Canterbury Anglicanism. The Anglo Catholic Church is new and nothing close to where we live. The one parish that is an hour away is a different language from the one we speak at home. Hubby and I would survive, but the language barrier would not work well for the kids.

    Enough about me.....

    I understand that the are Anglo catholic parishes within ACNA. I know 2 priests in ACNA who are Anglo-catholics. Whereby are you in the States? Maybe they will know something that can help you.
     
  15. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    I did a lookup for the ACNA and there is only one church in my local area. The other one is more than an hour from my home and that travel is not viable for me.

    I would consider myself to be Anglo-Catholic. I'd be willing to try and visit the local parish again to see if my experience differs.

    It's a hard decision to make; I feel lost amidst all the turmoil. For someone who is new to Christian world and Anglicanism, I feel bewildered.
     
  16. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The ACNA needs to get its house (liturgies, etc) in order. Which they are doing. I am very sympathetic to your situation. You need to understand that you're doing nothing wrong.

    Try the nearby parish but if they haven't gotten their thing together try one of the nearby Continuing Anglican Churches. I have good friends who are either priests or members in APA churches, which have a robust tradition of the 1662 And the 1928 Prayerbooks.
     
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  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Please understand that it was the Anglo Catholics and the Evangelicals dividing from each other, creating factions and schisms, splitting the Faithful into artificial categories, that allowed the liberals to step in and take over, in the CofE and other places. Anglo Catholicism, and Evangelicalism, are inherently divisive and schismatic attitudes. There is only one Anglicanism, the prayerbook and the apostolic faith. One lord, one faith, one baptism. Splitting the orthodox camp into divisions only furthers the cause of the Enemy. We need to be meek and subservient to the divines and fathers of the Church, not try to get our own way.
     
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  18. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    That's not my experience of modern day Anglo Catholicism within the C of E. I attend in an Anglican Church which worships in the Catholic tradition. However we meet with, pray with, join together for events within Anglican Churches within all traditions. I agree, however, that Liberalism has crept into the C of E and, if you aren't liberal, you can be thought of as being strange or radical or old-fashioned etc.
     
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  19. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Anglo Catholiccs or Evangelicals never divided the Anglican Church, liberalism did.
     
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  20. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    Thank you for the feedback and information on the ACNA. I honestly don't want to get wrapped up in any politics. I just want to worship God and grow my budding faith in Jesus Christ. I feel a strong pull to the Anglican church and if the Episcopal parish is currently supporting that in a wholesome way, I just may settle there.

    I just want to share as a new person to the church that this is all very confusing and stressful. I can see how people in the wider culture can be turned off from Christianity with so much division.
     

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