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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Provisional Constitution for the ACNA

Provisional Constitution for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

ARTICLE I – FUNDAMENTAL DECLARATIONS OF THE PROVINCE

As the Anglican Church in North America (the Province), being a part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, we believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him.

ARTICLE III – THE MISSION OF THE PROVINCE

The mission of the Province is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit that people everywhere will come to know Him as Lord and serve Him as King in the fellowship of the Church. The chief agents of this mission to extend the Kingdom of God are the people of God.

The work of the Province is to equip each member of the Province so that they may reconcile the world to Christ, plant new congregations, and make disciples of all nations; baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything commanded by Jesus Christ.

I think Clement would be pleased. He lived in the age of “Gnosticism.” The term refers to the many variations of Christian “truth” advocated by people in the second and third centuries who supposedly had special “knowledge” of secret or esoteric “truth” regarding salvation. Clement steadfastly asserted that the only “truth” was the Christian truth found in Holy Scripture.

Gnosticism is clearly alive today, but the Anglican Church in North America , as evidenced by the fundamental declarations and mission of our province as cited above, will have none of it. Indeed, when our first Provincial Assembly meets June 22-25 at St. Vincent’s in Bedford, Texas, our “chief work” will be, not politicking over countless resolutions, but rather “strengthening the mission of the Province” (Article VI – The Provincial Assembly).

I encourage you to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the published Provisional Constitution (www.united-anglicans.org/about/provisional-constitution.html) and Provisional Canons (www.united-anglicans.org/about/provisional-canons.html) to begin to grasp the new DNA that we’ve been talking about as we’ve been praying and working to establish the ACNA. We are returning to the biblical calls to personal and corporate holiness and to witness and service in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The year 2009 will be an exciting year of transition. The process of recognition for the ACNA from orthodox primates is underway. Work on additional canons is underway, and the work of the various task forces to facilitate mission and our common life together is also underway.

Given the fact that we are moving from the complexities of the various Common Cause Partners into the establishment of a new Church, there is also much work in progress to help clarify the implementation of Constitution Articles II (The Membership of the Province), Article IV (The Structure of the Province), Canon 1 (Definition of a Diocese, Cluster or Network), Canon 2 (Representation at the Provincial Assembly), and Canon 3 (Representation of a Diocese, Cluster or Network “In Formation).” I never knew that working on constitutions and canons could be so energizing. It’s so uplifting because this administrative work is subservient to the Gospel mission of the Church.

You can be a great help in this process of clarification if you will send me any questions or concerns that you or your parishioners have. The time until the June Provincial Assembly is short so I may not be able to answer you directly, but your input will be very valuable as we go forward together.

Those of us who were able to be present for this week’s Common Cause Council meeting and the Wednesday evening worship service were blessed abundantly. It was so joyful to see so many of you present for the service. The unity in Christ that was present as the draft constitution and canons were approved as the Provisional Constitution and Canons was truly miraculous. Please continue to pray for our Christ-centered unity as we do the work that God has given us to do.

I close this week with the Collect for Clement of Alexandria: “O God of unsearchable wisdom, you gave your servant Clement grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, the source of all truth: Grant to your Church the same grace to discern your Word wherever truth is found; through Jesus Christ our unfailing light, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Your brother in Jesus the Christ,

Jim McCaslin +
www.acn-sec.org

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