Beliefnet News

(UNDATED) Nearly everyone agrees that a conservative group of Anglicans broke new ground when they declared on Wednesday (Dec. 3) that they had founded a new North American province of the Anglican Communion.
But further reactions to the new Anglican Church in North America, made up of conservatives who are fed up with the liberal drift of the Episcopal Church and Anglican of Canada, have been decidedly mixed.
Religion News Service spoke with Anglican and Episcopal leaders, and scanned the media and blogosphere to see what others are saying. Here’s what we found:
“I think by far the majority of those who are going to seek a spiritual home elsewhere have done it. I don’t see any other diocesan leaders on the sideline about to do this. I think we’re past the worst of it.”
— Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the possibility of future defections from The Episcopal Church. She spoke with the Los Angeles Times.
“The issue as I see it is whether in fact this body, or province as they’re calling it, wishes to be recognized as a province. And I think if they do, there are clear procedures by which that might be explored.
And I do urge those involved to address the structures of the communion.”
— The Rev. Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, spoke with the British Broadcasting Corp.
“We have 700 parishes on the ground right now and we’re going to continue to unify them, regardless of what committee in England is meeting and what form they would like us to fill out.”
— The Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesman for the Anglican Church in North America, spoke with Religion News Service.
“If people are wondering what this means for us in the Diocese of Maryland, I would say it means nothing. We are still going to worship, preach Scripture, visit the sick, feed the hungry, care for our neighbors. That’s the world of Christianity. This so-called breakaway means nothing; it just means ‘God bless them, let them go.”‘
— Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland spoke with Religion News Service.
“The Lord has been replacing the Episcopal Church for 50 years —
2007 figures show losses of more than one thousand people a week in average Sunday attendance…We are growing and planting new organizations of authentic Christian presence in the U.S. and Canada.”
— Bishop Robert Duncan, leader of the Anglican Church in North America, at a press conference Wednesday.
“It is the height of arrogance to declare that the Lord Jesus Christ is somehow directly responsible for the size or shape of the Episcopal Church or any other ecclesial body in the actual world of principalities and powers.”
— The Rev. Mark Harris, an Episcopal priest from Delaware, writing on his blog “Preludium.”
“In general, the primates of the Anglican Communion are not ones to be intimidated. They have in time past times stood up for their faith, they’ve lost family members and stood up to spears. They’re not going to cave to political pressure.”
— The Rev. David Roseberry, pastor of Christ Church Plano in Texas, and a member of the Anglican Church in North America, about fears that Anglican primates would hesitate to back the new province. He spoke with Religion News Service.
“Rowan Williams has been unbelievably quiet. His silence has been absolutely deafening given all that’s taken place.”
— The Rev. Kendall Harmon, conservative leader from South Carolina, speaking with Religion News Service about Archbishop Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.
“When the various schisms from the Episcopal Church were small in numbers, they could be safely overlooked. But a church that claims 100,000 members, and consists of the majority of members of four former dioceses of the Episcopal Church would seem to be more difficult for the worldwide leader of Anglicanism to ignore.”
— David L. Holmes, professor of religious history at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., spoke with Religion News Service.
“It is journalistically irresponsible to continue to write that the breakaway bishops represent 100,000 people and that these people have left the Episcopal Church when the bishops have provided no evidence that this is the case, and there are so many reasons to doubt the accuracy of their claim.”
— Jim Naughton, director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, writing on the diocese’s blog.
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.