A Look Back At Greg Griffith’s Crystal Ball And The Succession of Organizations On The Conservative Side of Anglicanism In North America

This is worth a re-read in the context of Communion Partners. Perhaps Communion Partners is but the passing of the Crystal Ball.

The first real split in the Episcopal Church happened in the 1800’s led by a suffragan bishop who would go on to form the Reformed Episcopal Church. I posted something on this previously. They would be followed some 80 years later by a group of Anglo-Catholics who formed the Anglican Province of America. Despite the fact that Cummins left TEC because of Anglo-Catholic ritual that promoted doctrines abhorrent to the word of God, these two groups would later move toward organic unity.

100 years later with the advent of the ordination of women, the Anglican Synod of America, later Forward in Faith, was formed. They had collectively threatened to stay at first, but many did leave, forming numerous other continuing Anglican churches. So far, they have collectively stayed, have dwindled in numbers save for a few enclave Dioceses where they have flourished. And, yet, Nashotah House, Forward in Faith’s flagship seminary, has an unprecedented number of young men with families attending seminary. On a personal note, the men in black (because they always wear black clericals) seem to be more calm in this current crisis. If you’ve been living in a crisis for 30 years, I guess you get used to it.

Then came the First Promise Movement. The name came from the first promise made in the ordination vows, and this led to the Singapore Consecrations and the formation of the AMIA.

Before the AMIA left, the American Anglican Council formed and was considered to be to the left of First Promise and therefore all the more reasonable at Diocesan Conventions and at General Convention. Then, they were the far right. The AAC formed the Network, Common Cause, CANA, and the other offshore arrangements we see in North American Anglicanism. Pretty much all of the AAC leadership has left TEC, although they may come poke around at the next General Convention; we’ll see. I certainly hope that they do.

Now we have Communion Partners, which is just beginning to form. Are they being handed the crystal ball? Will they be the next wave to leave, or will something different happen?

Each group that has left the church initially went about trying to reform the Episcopal Church. They left because they felt they had failed. These groups ruled that the Episcopal Church was unreformable, and they left.

Well, let’s look at Communion Partners. What is this group to be about? Will they avoid the same mistakes that other groups made in their efforts to reform the Episcopal Church?

· provide a partnership to work toward the Anglican Covenant and according to Windsor Principles
The Communion Partner bishops will work together according to the principles outlined in the Windsor Report and seek a comprehensive Anglican Covenant at the Lambeth Conference and beyond.

The main difference here is this group plans to work for reform within the entire Anglican Communion. In addition to following the faith once delivered to the Saints, they plan to eschew activities which are not transparent, and to work within the canonical structures of the church.

The real question is whether Anglicanism, at least Canterbury based Anglicanism, is salvageable. I am pretty sure this will be the final outcome of the schism begun so long ago, in the 1860’s, which even pre-dates Cummins. This schism brought about the Lambeth Conference. What it will look like, I don’t know. But working toward an Anglican Covenant may now finally be coming to fruition after 150 years. It might worth working toward it for a few more years.

9 Responses to “A Look Back At Greg Griffith’s Crystal Ball And The Succession of Organizations On The Conservative Side of Anglicanism In North America”


  1. 1 Matthew June 1, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Y’all left out the Wesleyans/Methodists.

    The core problem is that it has been part of the Anglican ethos to ‘not take religion seriously’. You can be anything in an Anglican/Episcopalian church as long as you are not fanatical about it.

    An awful lot of our church down the ages has been tepid. Now, either through the work of the Holy Spirit or Maxwell’s Demon, our churches are polarizing into hot or cold. That is actually a good thing, even if it’s somewhat uncomfortable now.

  2. 2 Sarah June 1, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    RE: “they plan to eschew activities which are not transparent . . . ”

    In other words — eschew political strategy and political work.

    We’ve been doing that for the past forty years while the other side of course has been feverishly NOT “eschewing” political strategy and action . . .

    How’s that working out for us?

    Sarah

  3. 3 robroy June 1, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    “The real question is whether Anglicanism, at least Canterbury based Anglicanism, is salvageable.”

    If you want an Anglican Communion that revolves around Canterbury, it is increasingly obvious that Canterbury is revolving around 815. Most recently we have the new thang indaba format for Lambeth precisely designed to avoid any consequences for American innovation (with the result that the innovation is accelerating in the U.S. and Canada – witness the matter of fact statements that same sex blessings will begin in California and provinces of Canada). Also, Ms Schori has a conference on poverty and two days latter Rowan Williams announces his poverty walk. These together with the many seemingly 815 scripted actions of the ABC with respect to the DeS conference and communique argue that the gravitational mass has changed.

    In planetary dynamics, equally massive objects revolve around a center point between the two. In the case where one dominates, the center of rotation is usually within the larger object. Although the sun does move somewhat because of the earth, it is not perceptible. Previously, ECUSA orbited around Canterbury. Now, because of a change in the variables (a weak ABC and declining CoE), it becoming more apparent that Canterbury increasingly revolves around the TEC. So Western Lousiana needs to realize that with the Communion partners plan or whatever replaces it, it will be a moon around Jupiter (Canterbury) that revolves around the sun (815).

  4. 4 robroy June 2, 2008 at 2:26 am

    More evidence that Rowan Williams is revolving around 815: The interloper Lamb of the rump diocese of San Joaquin is announcing that he received an email stating that they are looking forward to his presence at Lambeth. I can just picture the conversation:

    KJS: So how much to buy an invitation for Jerry Lamb?
    RW: I won’t take any less than 40 silver pieces.
    KJS: That’s outrageous. 25!
    RW: No way. 35 is my absolute minimum.
    KJS: Well, 30 is my absolute maximum.
    RW: OK, 30 silver pieces.

  5. 5 Teddy Mak June 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    “Now Mister Ridley go and play the man”

    I don’t see any where the Anglican Martyers said “unless it causes you some discomfort.”

    They burned to an agonizing death for the Faith Once Given, to make for us an example for all time of a devotion to the risen Lord that transcended the devotion to a corrupt Satanic Church, its politics and buildings, its splendid vestements, its seductive music and ritual. And retirement benefits, health plans and discretionary funds.

    What has happened to us and those whom we trusted to stand firm and protect us?

  6. 6 Rick Arllen June 2, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Windsor Principles. What a nice ring that phrase has. So noble. So dedicated to cause.

    Now lets look at the results of the much vaunted Camp Allen gathering of Windsor bishops. With all too few exception, the marked commonality among those bishops are their spines of Jello and a marked psychological need to get along those who hold apostate views.

    Slap all the lipstick on this that you like, but it still is going to be a pig when you hose it off.

  7. 7 Fr. Tony Clavier June 11, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    The “Evangelical and Catholic Mission” was the “stay in” Anglo-Catholic group after GC 1976. It was re-named the Episcopal Synod (not Anglican) under Bishop Clarence Pope and then became FiFNA.

  8. 8 Rob Eaton+ June 13, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Tony,

    I know you weren’t “in” at that point, but you certainly were keeping tabs on your former colleagues, and friends in TEC.
    So, from your observation, would it be fair to say that the very term “Synod” used in the ESA designation was an attempt to broadcast two things: 1) that the ECM was recognizing the failure of a free-to-operate Mission within ECUSA, clearly evident in the symbolic increasing GC harassment, and as a result needed to start circling the wagons with the new strategy of simply trying to create their own (non-geographic) space within ECUSA, and 2) that the use of a CofE term in order to present a precedent from within the Anglican Communion might help that strategy gain approval?

  9. 9 Movers Singapore September 13, 2013 at 1:20 am

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