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Archbishop Duncan Delivers State of the Church Address to Provincial Council

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, delivered his state of the church address to members of Provincial Council today in Ridgecrest, N.C. Archbishop Duncan reported on “remarkable developments” and cited Psalm 115:1, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy Name be the Glory…”

In speaking of Anglican 1000 and church planting as the “central work” of the Province,
Archbishop Duncan noted, “We have long ago stopped talking about where we came from and long since focused on what God has called us to do. If we are to reach America, we must plant churches.”

The Archbishop also described the Anglican Relief and Development Fund as our Church’s “global signature,” stating: “We have committed ourselves as a Province to life-change for the poorest and most underserved people of the earth, many of whom are members of the very Provinces that intervened to rescue us.”

“The only way to explain what has happened is to speak of God’s hand and God’s favor,” said Archbishop Duncan. “We have cooperated. We have been willing servants. But to God be the Glory.”

Read Archbishop Duncan’s full address below. Watch it here:

4th Annual Provincial Council

Ridgecrest, North Carolina
6th June, A.D. 2012

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy Name be the Glory… (Psalm 115:1)

In William Shakespeare’s Henry V, the last words are the King’s:

Do we all holy rites;
Let there be sung ‘Non nobis’ and ‘Te Deum;’
The dead with charity enclosed in clay:
And then to Calais; and to England then:
Where ne’er from France arrived more happy men.
[Henry V, Act 4, Scene 8]
One of history’s great battles has been fought and miraculously won. The young king’s direction is that none “boast of this or take the praise from God which is his alone.”

Non nobis, Domine…sed nomen tuum gloriam….
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy Name be the Glory.

We gather for our 4th Annual Provincial Council as we conclude three years of Provincial life in the Anglican Church in North America. We continue to be able to report remarkable developments. The only way to explain what has happened is to speak of God’s hand and God’s favor. We have cooperated. We have been willing servants. But to God be the Glory.

A Year of Challenge

The dis-integration of the Anglican Mission in the Americas during this past year has been a challenge for North American Anglicanism and for Global Anglicanism. What was one of our founding jurisdictions, and distanced to became a ministry partner in June 2010, has gone through a season of re-definition and loss since June 2011 that has greatly diminished the AM and that has broken the hearts of many in this Council, across this Church and around the globe, not least that of your Archbishop. What will become of the remnant “Society for Mission and Apostolic Works” we cannot know, we only know that what has emerged does not look like the Anglican Mission, the AMiA, that was once so central to who and what we became as a Church. We continue in prayer for these now functionally separated brothers and sisters.

Two amazing things, at least, have come out of the adversity of this situation. One is that the vision given by God to us in the Common Cause days – the vision of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America – is owned by more of us than ever before. The dis-integration of AMiA has produced an amazing new partner in PEARUSA (Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda USA) whose bishops and representatives are here with us to take their place among us.

Yesterday, the College of Bishops adopted a three-way protocol (PEAR, ACNA, and PEARUSA) that effectively gives PEARUSA participation as if it were a diocese of this Church. Moreover, today this Council will be asked to approve a diocese in formation (called Christ the King and centered at Houston, Texas) composed of former AMiA congregations. In other parts of our two countries (Canada and the US) congregations that have been AM congregations are associating with existing dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop Todd Hunter of Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO) has joined us as a bishop with special mission and two of our dioceses have given “cover” to two other Anglican Mission bishops and their congregations – with a third bishop and network in conversation – as their relationships to the AM gets sorted out.

Greater unity globally has also been achieved. The partnership of the Anglican Church in North America to the Anglican Church of Rwanda has never been closer, and it is our immense privilege to have Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje here with us as a sign of that deepened partnership. The GAFCON/FCA Primates Council has also gone far deeper in relationship because of the AMiA crisis and we are far more committed to one another personally than ever before. The Chairman of GAFCON/FCA, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala will be joining us later today and will preside at the Assembly’s closing Eucharist. Greatly heightened unity has emerged out of serious challenge to that unity. To God be the Glory.

The second blessing to emerge from the AMiA crisis is a much deepened commitment to repentance and reconciliation. PEARUSA has modeled this behavior for us all. We owe an immense debt to Bishops Glenn and Barnum and those who have led alongside them, for breathing this into our common life in a new way. I am not faultless in the AMiA breakup. We are not faultless in the sad events of these last years. The Anglican Church in North America emerges from the challenges of this last year with repentance on our lips and a desire to restore broken relationships in our hearts. Any Church with these desires stirred up within it is a Church wonderfully blessed. To God be the glory.

We would not have asked for the relational challenges of this last year, but we emerge from these pains and confusions a much stronger, much more unified Church. It is a Romans 8:28 testimony: “God works all things together for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”

Provincial Statistics

The confusions of this last year made the gathering of provincial statistics much more difficult. We had annual reports from all our 22 dioceses, but parochial reports came to us from only 499 congregations. That means that the Parochial Report 2011 which has been distributed to every member of Provincial Council gives hard data on only half of what we estimate to be the congregations that have been associated with this Church. Right now we cannot say, especially as it concerns the 200 or so congregations that were part of the Anglican Mission, how many congregations we are. The statistics relating to baptisms and confirmations and conversions and finances and outreach are just the statistics of the 499 reporting. So perhaps there were twice as many in actual fact. Reported ASA is 44,029. Actual ASA, including Ministry Partners, may have been twice that.

Our Ambridge team did a wonderful job of visually presenting the picture as it is and as we project it to be. Our effort in the coming year will be to help our congregations know the importance of submitting their parochial reports. Please join us in this effort. The information does matter in assessing who we are and what God is doing among us. At this point we estimate that total membership may be as great as 140,000, but this is based on much conjecture. Whatever our numbers are: To God be the Glory. In doing better with the gathering of our numbers for the year 2012 when it has run its course: May God and the people help us!

Anglican 1000

Church planting is now understood as the central work of our Province. If we are to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ, we will do it through the agency of the local congregation. The Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America wisely recognizes the local congregation as the fundamental mission agency of our Church. It also recognizes the people of God as the fundamental agents of that mission.

The Provincial Assembly that opens tomorrow opens under the banner of “captivating disciples, multiplying congregations and transforming communities.” That work is the work of the local congregation. The call to plant 1,000 new congregations, given three years ago at our Inaugural Assembly, has, in Canon Dave Roseberry’s words, “changed the subject in this Church.” We have long ago stopped talking about where we came from and long since focused on what God has called us to do. If we are to reach America, we must plant churches.

More than 200 new congregations have been planted. This in itself is remarkable. We have a long way to go. Will we plant another 800 in the next two years? It is a challenge way beyond us, but not too big for our God. Anglican 1000 was launched and guided from Christ Church Plano. For the first two and one half years Dave Roseberry was Chairman and Daniel Adkinson Executive Director. Had it not been for them we would not be where we are today. But it became clear to the Chairman early in this year that the next phase of Anglican 1000 needed to be centered in the Provincial office, at the Province’s heart – if the next phase of what had to be done was to be done. We launched a global search. Tomorrow, I will announce its result. We are thrilled with the outcome. To those who know him well, the Vicar for Anglican 1000 is described as the Barnabas (“Son of Encouragement”) and the catalytic leader required for the next phase of our signature initiative, for us to go quite literally from strength to strength. One thousand remains our aim and our endeavor. To God be the glory.

The Second Provincial Assembly

Our gathering here at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, represents a milestone for us. The final piece of the architecture of our Province is being realized and tested. Could there be a North American Province whose greatest gathering was a missions conference rather than a legislative meeting? Is it possible to overcome the General Convention (General Synod/General Council) model that is the heritage of everyone here? Provincial Assembly 2012 will spend three days focused on the mission of this Church, on seeking to energize and strengthen the mission and the ministry of our congregations, our leaders, our people, and our global partners. We will spend one evening as a proportionally representative assembly whose task it is to ratify or reject constitutional and canonical changes to the governance framework under which we operate.

The experiment in moving a Western denomination from an 18th century governance model to a 21st century mission model is being tested right here and right now. I believe we will show in these days that the architecture of this Province can work and will work to change how we steward the energies we have as Christian men and women. To God be the Glory.

The architecture of this Province also imagined a much greater commitment to affirming and involving the next generation of Church leadership. Sixteen to 25-year-olds have a very significant role in the leadership of this Province and in the structure of our Assembly. The early June timing of this Assembly, necessitated by Ridgecrest availability, has cut into the numbers we might otherwise have seen. But young leaders will prove themselves as very much among us. The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) did a special news story this past winter – “Anglican Fever: Youth Flock to New Denomination.” Anglican Fever has broken out. Its sources are traced to the inherent attractiveness of orthodox Anglicanism to a generation looking for a faith that endures and to a Church that says, “We need you, we value you, and we embrace you.” To God be the glory.

Other Developments

Signs of God’s favor abound in so many aspects of our Church life. We have a fabulous staff team, led by Mr. Brad Root. We have an extraordinary executive committee, and I am served by a wise cabinet. Our benefactors have always been there in our need. We have a most remarkable College of Bishops. These are signs of the leadership that serves us at every level from the provincial to the local. To God be the Glory.

Yesterday, the Catechesis Task Force reported to the College of Bishops. At the direction of the Bishops, the task force is very well along in the production of what has been described as a “classical Anglican catechism for 21st century pagans.” What is being done is stunningly accessible and totally faithful. What a tool this will be in the hands of us all! Dr. Jack Gabig, Prof. Phil Herrold and Fr. Lee Nelson are leading an extraordinary and passionate group of scholars and practitioners whose efforts are now eagerly anticipated. To God be the Glory.

Our ecumenical relationships flourish. What began with His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah’s astonishing announcement at our Inaugural Assembly, that Orthodox–Anglican dialogue would be re-opened, has become a flood of dialogues with ecumenical counterparts. In almost every case the conversations have been initiated by others approaching us, as they have detected in us the classical Anglicanism that had gone missing off the North American scene. Bishop Ray Sutton leads a team who are stretched to the limits as ever more interest is expressed in conversations sought with us and aimed at ever-more unity in the whole Body of Christ. To God be the Glory.

I cannot be exhaustive here. The Seminary Consortium, begun by five seminaries (Gordon-Conwell, Nashotah, Regent, Reformed Episcopal, and Trinity), offers a very significant road map in its report to this meeting. The Anglican Global Mission Partners, each in their own way, are doing great things. (Visit the exhibit hall!) The Task Force on Engagement with Islam continues to inform this Church in significant ways. I cannot possibly mention all that you will see signs of here at Ridgecrest, of all that are laboring in one way or another to reach North America – and the world – with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. I wish it were possible, but it is not. To God be the Glory.

Anglican Relief and Development Fund

The last aspect of our life that I want to highlight is the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. What began as a Pennsylvania corporation in 2004 – pre-dating our Province by five years – now has U.S., Canadian and Australian national boards with global Trustees from these three countries as well as Primate Trustees from West Africa, Congo, Sudan, Middle East, Southern Cone and South East Asia (Primates all present or represented at this Provincial Council and Provincial Assembly.) Also with us are the Primate of Myanmar/Burma, the Primate’s representative of Uganda and the Bishops of Recife.

ARDF is the most visible sign of the new global partnership that is ours in Christ Jesus. If it can be said that the Anglican Church in North America came into being because global Anglicans cared enough to intervene in our plight as embattled orthodox Anglicans, it must also be said that we in North America are committed to a long-term expression of gratitude to and of partnership with them and with all in the two-thirds world. We have committed ourselves as a Province to life-change for the poorest and most underserved people of the earth, many of whom are members of the very Provinces that intervened to rescue us. As Anglican 1000 is our domestic signature, so the Anglican Relief and Development Fund is our global signature. We are about reaching North America and about reaching the world with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.

This relief and development arm of the Anglican Church in North America, which has pioneered the idea of “objective philanthropy with measurable results,” has its annual project approval meeting beginning at 11:00 a.m. today here at Ridgecrest and many of the members of the ARDF boards, both global and national, are here with us for the first hours of this Provincial Council, and then with us for Provincial Assembly. We welcome them. You enrich us beyond measure. We are humbled by your presence and your partnership. To God be the Glory.

I end, as I began, with King Henry’s words, with the Tradition’s words and with Scripture’s words:

Let there be sung ‘Non nobis’ and ‘Te Deum.’

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name be the Glory.

Photo caption: Archbishop Duncan addresses Provincial Council. Credit: Joy Gwaltney


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