The Diocese of South Carolina to be received into the Anglican Church in North America

Over 1,400 Anglican leaders from North America are being joined by Primates, Archbishops, and bishops from around the Anglican Communion. The Assembly and the meeting of the Provincial Council will be livestreamed. Click here for livestream information.

This will be the first year the Diocese of South Carolina sends an official delegation.  During the Council meeting, on the morning of June 27, the Council will receive the Diocese of South Carolina into the ACNA.

The Diocese of South Carolina voted March 11, 2017, to affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The vote, which was held during their 226th Convention, was unanimous in both orders (clergy and laity).

Established in 1785, the Diocese of South Carolina was one of the nine original dioceses of The Episcopal Church in the United States that organized after the American Revolution. The Diocese of South Carolina includes 53 active churches, with 22,149 baptized members and 142 clergy. The average Sunday attendance is 9,085. They will become the largest diocese in the Anglican Church in North America.

For more information on the Diocese of South Carolina, visit their website here.

Bishop Ray Sutton installed as new Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church

Archbishop Foley Beach gives thanks for the installation of Bishop Ray Sutton as Presiding Bishop

Installation photos by Kevin Kallsen.

What a privilege to be here today to Install Bishop Ray Sutton as the 17th Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church!

This is a man, like many of you, that I have come to deeply respect, love, and honor as a father in the Lord.

His compassion, his scholarship, his vision, and his desire for unity in the Body of Jesus Christ makes him the ideal person to servant-lead the Reformed Episcopal Church in this next season.

He has been a blessing to our Province serving as the Dean of the Province and also as the Dean of Ecumenical Affairs.

As an integral part of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America, the Reformed Episcopal Church brings a depth of spiritual, historical, and ecclesiastical substance to the ACNA.

And I am grateful to have a such a man as Bishop Sutton at the helm.

I hope you will join me in interceding for him (and Susan) in an intentional and on a regular basis.


More on Presiding Bishop Ray Sutton

The Most Rev. Ray R. Sutton serves as the Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) and the Ordinary of the Diocese of Mid America. He is also the Dean of the Province and Ecumenical Affairs of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), of which the Reformed Episcopal Church is a founding member and special jurisdiction. Bishop Sutton often lectures at ACNA and Reformed Episcopal Seminaries, and is a popular retreat speaker.

A native of Kentucky and a Dallas resident since he was 13, Bishop Sutton received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University and his Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. From 1976 to 1991, he served as a parish minister. Following this, he pursued doctoral studies in an associated research program at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford with Coventry University, from which he received his Ph.D.

He became the Dean and Professor of New Testament at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia, and continues as an adjunct professor today. Later, Bishop Sutton functioned as Dean and Professor of Theology at Cranmer Theological House, where he continues to teach. He has also authored four books on theology, his most recent being Signed, Sealed and Delivered: A Study of Holy Baptism.

Bishop Sutton is married to Susan Jean Schaerdel of Dallas, a fellow graduate of Southern Methodist University. The Suttons have seven children and four grandchildren. The Suttons live in Dallas where Bishop Sutton’s residential offices are at the Pro Cathedral of the Church of the Holy Communion.

GAFCON Chairman’s June 2017 Letter

My dear people of God,

“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18)

As I write, we are preparing for Trinity Sunday. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is vital. Without it, we cannot speak truly of God in a way that is faithful to the bible. However, in the fourth century the Church was nearly overwhelmed by the Arians. They were the followers of Arius, who claimed that the Son was a created being, not really God.

If the Church had continued to follow Arius, the Christian faith would have been lost. To deny the full divinity of Jesus strikes at the heart of the Christian message that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.  St Athanasius is still remembered as the man who was willing to make a costly stand against this heresy.

I am reminded of Athanasius because we are facing a similar struggle for the integrity of the gospel in our time. On Thursday 8th June, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) changed its teaching to allow men to be married to men and women to women.  It followed the path already taken by the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

This attempt to redefine marriage is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together. It means that Jesus was mistaken when he taught that marriage was between a man and a woman and that sex outside of such a marriage is a sin. It is a radical rejection of the authority of Scripture. The Church claims that it can consecrate behaviour that God’s Word clearly teaches to be sinful. According to the Bible, this behaviour, without repentance, separates those who practice it from his kingdom.

Athanasius consecrated orthodox bishops in dioceses led by Arians because he knew that the apostolic faith itself was at stake. This was the principle guiding the interventions which led to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009 and it was affirmed by over three hundred bishops in assembly at Gafcon 2013 in Nairobi. It was therefore very appropriate that on the same day that the Scottish Episcopal Church formally turned aside from the historic Christian faith, Gafcon announced that Canon Andy Lines, already an internationally recognised missionary statesman, will be consecrated later this month as a Gafcon missionary bishop for Europe.

This is not a step we have taken lightly, but from the beginning Gafcon has been committed to standing with the marginalised. Requests for help from Scottish orthodox leaders to the Archbishop of Canterbury were turned down. Indeed, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his General Synod last year that the Archbishop of Canterbury, had assured him that he would welcome the Scottish Church to the 2020 Lambeth Conference even if it chose to change its marriage canon to include same sex unions.

So now Gafcon stands ready to recognise and support orthodox Anglicans in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe as the drift away from apostolic faith and order continues. For reasons of mission and conscience, we can expect to find a growing number of orthodox Anglican congregations needing oversight outside traditional structures, as is already the case with the Anglican Mission in England.

The creation of a missionary bishop for Europe is an historic moment. It is a recognition that the era of European Christendom has passed and that in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, a new start is being made by building global partnerships for mission.

So let us be strong. Let us stand with the marginalised and work tirelessly for the continuing reformation of our beloved Communion. I thank God for our fellowship and pray that he will uphold us by his unfailing presence.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

The Most Rev’d Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the GAFCON Primates Council