A Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Duncan

20th December, A.D. 2011
Eve of St. Thomas the Apostle

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Recent events within the Anglican Mission in the Americas have challenged us all. This letter is a brief report to you all about those events and about our efforts to find a path forward. The present reality is brokenness. The vision, however, that governs our fledgling Province remains unchanged: a Biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.

The resignation of nine Anglican Mission bishops, including the Bishop Chairman, from the House of Bishops of Rwanda, changed relationships with Rwanda, with fellow bishops and with the Anglican Church in North America. The resigned bishops lost their status in our College of Bishops as a result of their resignation from Rwanda. The Anglican Mission also lost its status as a Ministry Partner, since that status had been predicated on AMiA’s relationship with Rwanda. In addition, confusion and hurt has been created in Rwanda and in North America, and there is much serious work ahead of us.

Representatives of the Anglican Church in North America and of the Pawleys Island leadership met today in Pittsburgh. For the Anglican Church in North America the starting point was the importance of our Provincial relationship with the Province of Rwanda (a sister GAFCON Province) and with His Grace Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, of our relationship with the North American Bishops Terrell Glenn and Thad Barnum and all the clergy licensed in Rwanda, and of our relationship to those represented by the Pawleys Island group with whom we were meeting. We, as the Anglican Church in North America, have been deeply connected to all three, and we can only move forward when issues and relationships have been adequately addressed and necessary transitions are in progress.

The agreement from today’s meeting in Pittsburgh was that the Anglican Church in North America is prepared to enter into a process by which our relationship with those who will rally to the Pawleys’ vision and leadership (Anglican Mission in the Americas, Inc.) might be restored to a status like the one existing before the Ministry Partner decision of 2010. All those at the meeting today agreed “that there were no subjects that were not on the table.” For the Anglican Church in North America, these subjects must include leadership, relationships, and jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican.

We made a partial beginning. Bishops Leonard Riches and Charlie Masters agreed to lead the negotiations from the Anglican Church in North America. Bishops Doc Loomis and TJ Johnston will lead from the AMiA side. There is much about what has happened that will have to be faced. The other part of this beginning will be to come alongside P.E.A.R. and their designated bishops (Barnum and Glenn), clergy, people and parishes in North America as they discern their next steps. The good news is that we know a God who has called us and who is able. [I Thess. 5:24] We are sure that He wants all the pieces back together in an ever-more dynamic, ever-more-submitted, ever-more transformed and transforming North American Church.  [John 17]

Keep praying. With God nothing shall be impossible. [Luke 1:37] And besides that, He works all things together for good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. [Rom. 8:28] Blessed Christmas! 

Faithfully in Christ,

Archbishop and Primate  
Anglican Church in North America

Artists Showcase the Beauty of the Liturgical Year

The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) is combining liturgy, worship and art to highlight the church year and our Anglican tradition. The result is a beautiful liturgical calendar featuring original pieces of art crafted by artists within ANiC. The proceeds will benefit ANiC’s work to plant and build Biblically faithful churches in the Anglican tradition.

Each month of the calendar features original artwork, everything from a depiction of the wise men to a crown of thorns titled “Majesty,” and a corresponding Bible verse. It notes the artist and his or her home church as well. Throughout the calendar, ANiC relies on talented artists who were eager to offer their gifts in service of the church community.

ANiC was very deliberate in determining the focus of the calendar. Considering that many of its member churches have walked away from their buildings, it does not include a single depiction of a physical church structure, as most would expect from a church calendar.

“The liturgical calendar points beyond itself to the revelation of God in human history and guides us into communion with our God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. Using this on a regular basis helps us mark the church year as we observe the birth, life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and of His sending us the gift of the Holy Spirit. When this is combined with daily Bible reading and prayer, it can become a foundation for our Anglican spirituality,” said The Rt. Rev. Donald Harvey, bishop and moderator of ANiC.

In fact, the concept for the calendar goes hand in hand with the theme of a recent Anglican 1000 conference on liturgy, formation, mission and art. The calendar’s cover artist, Ann Balch from Moncton, New Brunswick, has two works featured in the calendar (both April and October) and attended the Anglican 1000 event. She is thrilled about the growing recognition within the Anglican Church in North America of the role arts can play in the life and witness of the Church.

In addition to the beautiful art, the calendar provides an explanation of the church year and discusses the use of liturgical colors to “give visual expression to the different moods and themes of the calendar.”

It also contains information on the Anglican Network in Canada and the Anglican Church in North America. As a bonus, it includes the full Jerusalem Declaration, the doctrinal statement which emerged from the remarkable unity of spirit and purpose experienced when Anglicans from around the world gathered in Jerusalem at the 2008 Global Anglican Future Conference.

As Bishop Harvey noted, the calendar can “become a quiet form of evangelism as we share with others the wonderful heritage that has been enshrined in our Book of Common Prayer and other manuals.”

The 8x10-inch calendar includes both Canadian and U.S. statutory holidays and is available for order online: http://anglicannetwork.ca/liturgical_calendar_2012.htm.

Advent Letter from Archbishop Duncan

16th December, A.D.2011
O sapientia

Beloved in the Lord,

Advent begins to turn toward Christmas.  In the early days of the season, Charles Wesley’s hymn “Lo, He comes with Clouds, descending” summarizes the focus on Christ’s coming again at the end of the ages. Now the strains of “O come, o come Emmanuel” direct us toward all the prophecies of the first coming at Bethlehem in Judea.

In Britain, eight different evening antiphons were used (seven on the continent) – a different one each evening – as a “countdown to Christmas.”  These eight antiphons are the source of the hymn now known to almost everyone.  Come Wisdom (O sapientia)! Come Lord! Come Root of Jesse! Come Key of David! Come Dayspring! Come King of Gentiles! Come Emmanuel!  Come Virgin Born! 

The ancient Advent antiphons are cries to the Lord that He would come and “ransom” us, that He would fulfill His promises to us, that He would be God with us.

In this Advent of the Year of our Lord 2011, as we shift our call from Revelation’s Maranatha! [Rev.22.20] to Isaiah’s Emmanuel [Isa.7.14] there are many, many situations where we need the wisdom, the key, the dayspring and everything else promised in Scripture and rehearsed in the familiar hymn.  There are so many needs that require the Lord’s help and our conversion: hunger, homelessness, sickness, despair, oppression, conflict, addiction, abuse, no one to care…

One need is peculiar to us as Anglicans and as Christians: unity in Christ.  These last weeks have been filled with much heart-break for our brothers and sisters of the Anglican Mission in the Americas and, as a consequence, for us in the Anglican Church in North America.  At Pentecost of 2004 Bishops Leonard Riches, David Anderson, Chuck Murphy, Keith Ackerman, Don Harvey and I wrote to Archbishop Rowan Williams pledging to make “common cause for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.”  The crisis of the moment is also opportunity.  We need the wisdom, the key and the dayspring for this as for every situation.  We need to seek the Lord’s help and commit our best efforts to this Anglican need as well as to all the other needs of our human family.  I, as Archbishop, will do my part.  As your gift to Jesus this year, I trust you will do yours. 

We received word this week of a decision by the Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan that their House of Bishops had taken action to recognize “fully” the Anglican Church in North America as a “true faithful Orthodox Church” and to commit to “work with [us] to expand the Kingdom of God in the world.”  I pray we will prove worthy of the trust this Province has expressed.  I pray we will do it in the same fidelity to the Word of God and with the same Christ-like charity they have shown.  I pray we will do it with the same courage and unity in adversity as the Church of the Sudan has shown through thirty years of civil war, suffering and martyrdom.  What trust they place in us!

“O come, o come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appear.”  Our God has come and is coming.  We have nothing to fear with Him, as long as we are in Him. 

Be assured of my prayers for every one of you in these closing Advent days, in the twelve days of Christmas, and in all the days that are ahead. 

Faithfully in Christ,

Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America