The Anglican Church in America has, after a period of discernment regarding the Roman Catholic Ordinariate, emerged stronger and more committed to the Anglican “ethos” and the reunification of Classical Anglicans. Engagement with like-minded continuing churches has become a major task in our work within the ACA and should result in an increased level of cooperation, inter-communion and, we pray, eventual full reconciliation with our brothers and sisters in other Anglican jurisdictions.
We have, of course, already signed a strong inter-communion agreement with the Anglican Province of America. Bishop Grundorf, Presiding Bishop of the APA, and myself, have worked to expand the level of cooperation within our two jurisdictions. We maintain regular contact with each other and will, when necessary, issue joint pastoral letters. The recent pastoral letter we released was designed to express our wish that our churches be fully reconciled and joined together in one body. We do recognize, however, that such full reconciliation can only happen in God's own time. We must exercise discernment in moving forward, seeking always to care for God's people as we work to come together.
As you might imagine, reconciling two jurisdictions separated by almost two decades is a complex task. We are approaching this in two ways. First, a Reconciliation Committee, under the able leadership of Bishop George Langberg, has been working to develop unified structures common to both churches. The committee has developed a Constitution that will, upon the approval of national synods, serve both churches. The committee is also working on a unified set of canons. Having common governing documents will go a long way toward unifying our two churches. It should be remembered that we are already united sacramentally. The next steps will provide the administrative and legal basis for church government. Bishop Langberg's committee will also address issues of diocesan boundaries and episcopal leadership. His committee has done excellent work so far and we all look forward to its continued achievements.
In seeking full reconciliation, we cannot ignore the real need to address historical matters and put to rest any potential sources of conflict. Many past attempts at reconciliation have failed because limited attention was paid to the emotional and spiritual needs of people who have lived through a challenging period in the life of the church. Bishop James Hiles, who has had experience in conflict resolution, has agreed to assist the Diocese of the Eastern United States in resolving any outstanding issues that continue to divide God's people. We pray that both Bishop Hiles and Bishop Langberg will succeed in their work. Both have the necessary skills and sensitivity to accomplish the considerable tasks ahead of them.
As many of you know, concurrent synods of the ACA and APA will be held in October, 2014. As our recent pastoral letter noted, Bishop Grundorf and I regard the concurrent synods as the next step toward full reconciliation. Clergy and laity from both churches will meet for fellowship, worship and prayer. Each jurisdiction will, however, hold separate business meetings. This promises to be a historic meeting and all are invited to attend. This important event will be held at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois.
Reconciliation Working Group of ACA and APA
Bishops Marsh and Grundorf
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