Anglican Church in North America ‘should be in communion with C of E
One of the most controversial motions to reach the General Synod for several years will be debated today when members discuss a proposal that the Church of England should be in communion with the breakaway US conservative Church, the Anglican Church in North America.
Lorna Ashworth, a lay member from the Diocese of Chichester, will call for the General Synod to express a wish for communion with the new group, which has 742 parishes and more than 800 clergy in the US and Canada and opposes the consecration of openly gay bishops and the blessing of gay partnerships.
Mrs Ashworth, a Canadian-born mother of three who works as a volunteer at All Saints’ Church in Eastbourne, said: “Most lay members like myself have little understanding of the technical ins and outs of canon law but what is clear, however, is the shocking and unjust treatment of historical, biblical Anglicans as they seek to continue to live out their faith in this province.”
Many have been subject to legal actions over property, and some have been deposed from their orders.
“In proposing this motion, my desire is that the members of synod would have the opportunity to express their own view on the consequences of the behaviour of those in authority in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada,” said Mrs Ashworth.
“Doctrinal innovations have been imposed on these Churches, leaving bishops, clergy and lay people uncertain as to where they belong in the Anglican family.
“As a result, they have come together with the support of many other Anglican provinces to form the Anglican Church in North America.”
Bishop David Anderson, of the Anglican Church in North America, said: “We have fond and warm feelings for the Church of England, the mother Church. We are larger than 12 Anglican provinces worldwide, larger than Wales and Scotland, Jerusalem and Japan, South-East Asia, the Southern Cone and six other provinces.”
The Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, said: “My sense of where we are going is an opportunity for synod to recognise the good and godly life of the Anglican Church in North America and the way in which God seems to be using it at present. There is space for more than one expression of Anglicanism in North America.”
Bishop Scott-Joynt said that he had talked with the Archbishop of Canterbury and told him that he thought the communion was effectively divided and that he should recognise that and publicly say so
. The Bishop described Dr Rowan Williams as “remarkably courageous” with the painful task and costly leadership of keeping things together.