Anglican Church in America Clarifies Position on Ordinariate: “We are not going to Rome,”

Anglican Church in America Clarifies Position on Ordinariate: “We are not going to Rome,” Say Leaders
Rt. Rev. Louis Campese Resigns as Bishop of DEUS. He accepts Rome’s offer

By David W. Virtue
February 5, 2011

The Anglican Church in America (ACA), one of the largest of the Continuing Anglo Catholic bodies in the US, has issued a letter through its chancellors saying it will not join with its Archbishop, John Hepworth, and accept the Pope’s offer of a personal ordinariate.

Bishop Brian Marsh, Diocese of the Northeast, told VOL that this clarifies their situation which has been in some limbo since the Pope’s offer due to a number of parishes in the ACA wanting to accept the Anglicanorum Coetibus. “While this clarifies our position at the present time the future remains open. Our leader is still Archbishop John Hepworth but that could change if he should go to Rome.”

The ACA came into being more than 20 years ago as a merger of The American Episcopal Church (AEC) and about half of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC). The ACA has decided they will not accept the ordinariate offered by Pope Benedict XVI at this time and will stay as an orthodox Anglican body in the US. The ACA is not recognized by the Anglican Communion or the Episcopal Church nor is it recognized by the newly formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

There is a desire to separate amicably from those parishes that wish to accept the pope’s offer commented Marsh. The bishop believes that about 20% of the ACA will accept the ordinariate. “We do regard this as an opportunity for all Continuing Anglicans to come together, said Marsh. “We are in talks with other Continuing Anglican bodies.”

The Chancellor of the ACA today issued a letter at the request of the bishops of the Church clarifying where the denomination stands.

“First, I would like to inform you that the Anglican Church in America shall remain as a continuing Anglican church. Notwithstanding what you may have heard, this church is not going to collapse or disappear. It will, by the Grace of God, continue its important and essential witness as part of God’s holy church.

“Second, we would like to advise you as to the situation in the Diocese of the Eastern United States which has been the one diocese most gravely affected by what has happened. As all of you may know, the Bishop of this DEUS (Louis Campese) has elected to abandon his diocese when the diocese refused to go to the Roman Catholic Ordinariate.

“Of the twenty-five parishes and missions in the diocese, approximately ten parishes and missions have elected to remain with this church. These ten parishes and missions, effectively abandoned by Bishop Campese, will form the nucleus of a new diocese.

“While the majority of the parishes and missions chose to go with Bishop Campese, the majority of the laity has elected to remain with the diocese. Bishop Campese brought a number of missions into the diocese in the eighteen (18) months prior to leaving the diocese.

“We have chosen to stay together, to remain with the ACA, and should shortly be conducting a search for a new bishop.

“With regard to the dioceses of the Northeast, Missouri Valley and West, I should advise you that these dioceses will remain with the Anglican Church in America. Notwithstanding that misinformation and misstatements have been made, these three (3) dioceses remain strong and viable. A majority of parishes, missions and clergy have chosen to remain with the ACA. These dioceses are lead by very faithful and Godfearing bishops.”

The chancellor also wrote that the Constitution and Canons of the ACA are still valid and binding.

“According to our canons, those Bishops, clergy and parishes who leave for another jurisdiction, such as a Roman Catholic Ordinariate or the so-called Patrimony of the Primate, have, at this time abandoned the communion of this church and the ACA.

“With deep regret, the ACA declares that they are no longer a part of the ACA, nor do they have authority of jurisdiction in any ACA diocese or parish, and ordinations and other ecclesiastical actions performed by them are null and void effective as of January 1, 2011.

“It should be stated clearly that there is no provision in the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in America for an entity such as the Patrimony of the Primate. The Patrimony of the Primate is not part of the ACA.

“In April of this year, the House of Bishops and Executive Council of our church will meet in Tucson, Arizona. It is the judgment of this office that only those clergy who remain within the Anglican Church in America and faithfully perform their offices therein will be permitted to exercise leadership, voice and vote in the House of Bishops and/or the Executive Council of the Anglican Church in America.”

The letter was signed by the following individuals:

James S. Elkins, Jr. Chancellor, ACA and Diocese of the Eastern United States
Walter W. Jones, Jr. Chancellor Diocese of the Northeast Eugene Van Voorhis, Chancellor Emeritus Diocese of the Northeast
Tara Keehr, Chancellor Diocese of the Missouri Valley
David Smith, Chancellor Diocese of the West

“We are planning a major gathering of continuing Anglicans in November in Boston, Mass. The separation brings clarity for Anglo Catholics who wish to remain authentic Anglicans who use both the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Book and American and Anglican Missals,” said Marsh.


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