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South Carolina Clergy Meet to Continue ACNA Affiliation Discernment
“Where can we by the power of God make a difference for emerging Anglicanism?” asked Bishop Mark Lawrence, in a day-long gathering of clergy from the Diocese of South Carolina at Saint James, James Island, September 14. “There’s some gravity to our decision. We need to think forward, evangelically, missionally in a way that will make a difference if someone looks back 50 years from now.”
Over 100 clergy were present for the meeting, which focused primarily on discernment issues surrounding the Diocese’s process towards affiliation with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
At the most recent Diocesan Convention this past March, the Affiliation Task Force recommended the Diocese affiliate with ACNA. The day-long clergy gathering was spent outlining the ACNA structure, the process of affiliation and the steps that need to be taken to move forward. The clergy were urged to share the information with their parishes. The Diocese will put the affiliation question to a vote at the upcoming Diocesan Convention in March of 2017.
The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary, highlighted key points of the ACNA’s operating principles: subsidiarity, which presumes decisions are made at the lowest possible level in the organization; that property belongs to the parishes; that both churches and dioceses maintain their right to withdraw from ACNA; that ACNA holds to fundamental declarations of faith, (outlined in their Constitution); and that they are conciliar, generally making decisions by gathering in council and relying on consensus.
Lewis also outlined the ACNA structures delineating the make up and roles of their provincial assembly, provincial council, college of bishops, executive committee, office of the archbishop and ecclesiastical court.
Parishes which have not yet had ACNA information meetings should move forward with that. Though parishes do not need to take any additional steps regarding affiliation, their delegates should be prepared to vote at the upcoming Diocesan Convention. Following our convention, if we vote to affiliate, we will still need to apply to ACNA and follow steps outlined in their Constitution and Canons before we would be received as a Diocese. That process would not be complete until their Provincial Council and College of Bishops meet in June of 2017.
At the conclusion of the presentation Bishop Lawrence expressed his desire for the Diocese to affiliate with ACNA. “In November it will have been four years since we left the Episcopal Church,” he said. “Being on our own isn’t where I think we should be to be most influential - though of course we do have a provisional relationship with the Global South Primatial Steering Committee. We need to be thinking globally, kingdom-wise. to make Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age.”
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