Month: June, 2013

Archbishop Duncan: The State Of The Church 2013

On June 18, 2013 Archbishop Duncan delivered his State of the Church address to the Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, WI.  The Provincial Council is the governing body of the ACNA comprised of delegates from member dioceses and ministry partners

On the State of the Church

“Freely you have received.  Freely give.”  [Matthew 10:8]

The opening of this 2013 Provincial Council marks the fourth anniversary of the constitution of the Anglican Church in North America.  Following the Inaugural Assembly of 2009 which met at Bedford, Texas, Provincial Council first met at Toronto, Canada.  Then we met at Amesbury, Massachusetts.  Then we travelled to Long Beach, California. Next we gathered at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, in connection with Assembly 2012.  Now we find ourselves at Nashotah, Wisconsin.  What a journey it has been!

It is my responsibility to make some comments on the journey and to help to focus us on the work we are called to do in the two days of this 5th Provincial Council.  Because we understand so clearly that we are synodically governed and that we are episcopally led, I will also share some of the challenges – and the joys – before the College of Bishops in the work they will do in the two days that follow-on from this Provincial Council.  There is a tremendous amount before us in these four days.

The volume of work is a sign of the immense favor God has granted us in these four short years.  We must not forget that agreement in the Word of God (“biblical”), agreement about the mission to North America (“missionary”), and the will to be one despite our differences (“united”) are a huge part of the reason there has been such favor.  It is also this fundamental agreement about Scripture and the mission, and this will to be one, that have enabled us to accomplish so much in such a short time.  My prayer for this Church is that its founding vision – “a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America” – will always remain its vision and its commitment.

Read the whole address here

The Life Of Circles

“Circles” are what we call small groups of christians, meeting regularly, on Sunday, or at some other time, for worship, prayer, healing, discussion, teaching or bible study, and fellowship.  Of course, such “Circles” have been meeting since christian time began.  We call them “Circles” because we want to emphasize what we believe are their central characteristics –  informality, equality, intimacy and participation.

There are some rules for Circles which we think are important.  Rules that govern the structure of the Circle rather than its content.  Here they are:

  1. Have an anchor.  Because Circles are informal and have minimal structure, they are prone to wander off course and develop eccentricities that are not true to the vital centre of the christian faith.  And so, a very firm theological anchor is needed.  In our case, that is the Anglican Network in Canada, and more particularly, the modern re-statement of Anglican faith called the Jerusalem Declaration.  It is here we take our stand.
  2. If it doesn’t work, don’t do it.  Be wary of submitting too readily to habits or customs or forms of worship that do not meet the present needs of people.  Against all of these, the needs of people come first.  Jesus responded to immediate need immediately.  We would like to try to do the same.  Thus, if a personal need arises in the midst of a liturgy, we will interrupt the liturgy and deal with the need.  And if a stranger approaches our Circle, we will stop what we are doing and welcome the stranger, and spend whatever time is necessary to make that stranger feel at home.  If we cannot do these things in Circles, what are Circles for?
  3. If you don’t need it, don’t get it.  We are wary of accumulating things.  Even good things.  Things distract us from people.  Likewise, we are keen on avoiding any administrative or bureaucratic responsibility that does not serve immediate needs.
  4. Self-supporting from Day One.  We must expect no financial support from outside the Circle and must meet such expenses as we have ourselves.  The probable future of our societies is one of financial austerity and straightened circumstances.  Christian churches will feel the pinch.  We must avoid being a burden to them.
  5. Permanence is not the objective:  effectiveness is.  Whether a Circles lasts 30 days, 30 weeks or 30 years is not the point:  serving the immediate need is.  Often  the need is to serve as a rendez-vous and gathering place for Anglicans and others of a conservative christian faith.  Such Circles may evolve into small churches of a traditional character.  Others may fill a temporary need until members find a more permanent church home.  Others may be formed to take advantage of an opportunity for evangelism.  Others because a particular place or space requires a christian presence.

Groucho Marx is said to have said, “I have principles.  If you don’t like them, I have others.”  We offer these rules of the road in somewhat that spirit – that is they represent our best thinking at present.  There may be more to say.  Or less.
But here is where we start.