Tuesday, June 09, 2009

++Duncan: Opposition to ACNA Constitution May Require “More Work”

Bishop Robert Duncan, who will likely be the first Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, defends the proposed Constitution and Canons in an introduction to them.

But what I find most interesting is the following:

Our vision is for fairly straightforward up or down votes on articles and canons. If the Provincial Council has discerned it rightly, and we have significant consensus, a matter is ratified. If not, the matter is sent back to Provincial Council for more work. Most things, if not easily agreeable, can wait another year or two.

I think that a remarkably frank concession that passage of the Constitution and Canons might not go smoothly. He does frame the potential difficulty as not the end of the world should it occur. He neither dismisses the opposition to passage, nor insists that the Constitution and Canons must pass as is or else.

And I think him wise to so frame the situation. But it is interesting that the potential opposition is significant enough that he feels the need to say this.


Michael said...

Ah, if only others were so open to discussion and reason when it comes to these vexed questions. (I'm lookin' at a certain blogger who has been stirring up angst at SFIF and with whom you have recently engaged on his own blog.)

An odd request: I wonder if you'd mind awfully dropping me a line. I'd like to discuss some of the questions and problems ANCA is facing with someone a little more reasonable than our aforementioned blogger friend (or, indeed, than me). Since you don't have an email link or something listed, you can reach me at this address: catinexile [at] me [dot] com.

Thanks much. Really like your blog.


Mark said...

Thanks, Michael. I tried to send you an email, but may not have gotten your address right. Mine is mark at godknows99 dot com.


Heritage Anglicans said...


As we both know, a number of individuals have expressed concerns relating to the ACNA constitution and canons on Stand Firm. A number of the concerns that I have expressed are concerns that others have shared with me.

On Anglicans Ablaze is posted a series of proposals addressing the concerns of orthodox North American Anglicans related to the ACNA constitution. They include the concerns of groups and individuals both in and outside the ACNA who are supporters of the establishment of a third province in North America and who have a common commitment to the vision of a new province in which all three orthodox theological streams, Anglo-Catholic, charismatic, and evangelical, are represented and flourishing. The URL for these proposals is http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/06/proposed-amendments-to-constitution-of.html

None of these proposals are unreasonable. They would create an environment in the ACNA that would benefit all three orthodox theological streams.

Heritage Anglicans said...

To the aforementioned proposals have been added a series of companion proposals related to the ACNA canons. The URL for these proposals is: http://theheritageanglicannetwork.blogspot.com/2009/06/proposed-amendments-to-canons-of.html

Mark said...

Thanks for bringing my attention to the proposals, Robin. I will have to check those out.

I must say those are a LOT of amendments, however. Is the provisional C and Cs that bad?


Heritage Anglicans said...


The provisional constitution and proposed canons have a lot of problems. I am not the only one who has been examining them and identifying problem areas. I have been consultation with a number of groups in the ACNA, as well as comparing the provisional constitution and draft canons with the constitutions and canons of provinces of the Anglican Communion and other Anglican entities.

The proposed canons contains provisions that do not need to be in the initial set of canons or even in the canons at all. They are lacking provisions that do need to be in the initial set of canons. They are also missing needed checks and balances and safeguards.

Both the constitution and canons require serious revision--substantive change--in a number of sections, not just a few cosmetic changes here and there. A number of groups have submitted comments and suggestions to the Goverance Task Force but the task force has largely ignored their concerns. It made a few changes affecting provisions that would have worked against changes that it wanted to make when these provisions were brought to its attention. But it has failed to address major concerns and make substantive changes in the two documents.

Most of the recent additions to the documents were proposed by the Common Cause Leadership Council. They were changes that the Council wanted made in the documents, not changes made in response to the concerns of ACNA members or prospective members not on the Council.

The Goverance Task Force does not appear to be as open to input from outside the Common Cause Leadership Council as it is to input from the Council. The provisional constitution and canons adopted in December were not made public before the Council meeting at which they were adopted. Interested parties were only given 17 days to make comments and suggestions when the proposed amendments to the provisional constitution and the draft canons were made public in April.

What concerns me is that folks are so caught up in the excitement of launching a new church and so fatigued from the events of the last few years is that they are not really studying the constitution and canons as they should be and considering the implications of their provisions for North American Anglicanism. I am urging a temporary moratorium on the ratification of the two documents to allow time for such study and further, more extensive revision since it will be much more difficult to change the documents once they are adopted. The dynamics that operate in large groups and organizations will work against their revision.