Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes
In the Name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
WHEREAS the Preamble of the Constitution of The
Episcopal Church provides:
WHEREAS the Preface to the original 1789 Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church and each ensuing revision contains the following statement:
WHEREAS the Episcopal Dioceses of ALBANY, CENTRAL FLORIDA, DALLAS, FLORIDA, FORT WORTH, PITTSBURGH, QUINCY, RIO GRANDE, SAN JOAQUIN, SOUTH CAROLINA, SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, SPRINGFIELD and WESTERN KANSAS, by actions of their several bishops, standing committees, diocesan councils and/or conventions humbly have found it necessary to oppose certain decisions1 of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church made in August 2003 that were in violation of the instruments of Anglican unity and contrary to the declarations of the Anglican Communion made by the Lambeth Conference in 1998, which were thereafter reaffirmed by the Primates’ Meetings;
WHEREAS the undersigned Dioceses and Convocations prayerfully believe these decisions and consequential actions taken by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church have departed from the historic Faith and Order and have brought immense harm, “tearing the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level”2 within this Church and throughout the Communion, as well as damaging important ecumenical and interfaith relationships;
WHEREAS, seeking to be instruments of God’s will and to unite like-minded dioceses and congregations in this association, the undersigned Dioceses and Convocations resolve to maintain a faithful Anglican witness in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and as reflected in the theological statement known as the “Confession and Calling of the Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes”;
WHEREAS the highest priority of the undersigned Dioceses and Convocations is to seek to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in unity with the See of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion, as members of that Communion;
THEREFORE the undersigned representatives of the Dioceses and Convocations here assembled agree to associate as follows:
Name. This association shall be known as the “NETWORK OF ANGLICAN COMMUNION DIOCESES AND PARISHES,” hereafter known as the “Network,” and shall operate in good faith within the Constitution of The Episcopal Church.
Purpose. The purpose of this charter is to establish said Network, whose associated Dioceses and Convocations will constitute a true and legitimate expression of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
Mission and Authority. We, as Dioceses and Convocations, commit ourselves to the propagation of the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. We further commit ourselves to the formation of disciples submitted to the historic Faith and Order of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church under the ultimate authority of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
Relationship to the World Wide Anglican Communion. We, as Dioceses and Convocations, commit ourselves to full membership in the Anglican Communion of Churches throughout the world, grounded in the classical Anglican formularies,3 and in submission to the moral and teaching authority of the Lambeth Conference and Primates Meeting. We commit ourselves to maintaining, rebuilding, and strengthening ecumenical relationships. We further commit ourselves to the ongoing re-union of the Anglican diaspora in North America.
Network Structure. The Network shall be structured as follows:
a) The Network shall consist of participating dioceses and convocations. A convocation will serve as the entity within which individual parishes and congregations not part of a Network diocese and wishing to affiliate with the Network will unite. Convocations shall be of two types: geographical and non-geographical. The Network will initially include five geographical and one non-geographical convocation. The five geographical Convocations, whose boundaries shall be specified by the Steering Committee, will be known as the New England Convocation, the Mid-Atlantic Convocation, the Southeastern Convocation, the Mid-Continental Convocation, and the Western Convocation. The non-geographical Convocation will be known as the Forward in Faith North America (FiFNA) Convocation. The Steering Committee shall ensure that the congregations of each convocation shall come under the spiritual authority of a bishop approved by the Steering Committee. A convocation shall be considered active when it consists of at least six worshiping congregations.
b) There shall be a Network Council consisting of the diocesan bishop, two clergy and two lay representatives of each participating diocese and of two representatives (order unspecified) from each convocation. Additionally, up to five at-large representatives may be chosen by the Global Mission Partners from among their missionary societies serving the Network and the Anglican Communion.
c) The Council shall: elect triennially a Moderator (President and Convening Authority; a bishop) and other officers (any order); meet annually or at the discretion of the Moderator; shape the policy and direction of the Network; and elect twelve members of the Council to serve, with the Moderator and other officers, as the Steering Committee to carry the Network mission forward between meetings of the Council. The Moderator shall have general powers of appointment.
d) The Moderator (President and Convening Authority) of the Network shall cause Network Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to be prepared in accordance with this Charter.
Affiliation. The Network calls upon other like-minded dioceses, parishes, and congregations to apply for Network affiliation. Any diocese or congregation desiring to affiliate with the Network shall fulfill the requirements for membership as established by the Council and administered by the Steering Committee.
Adequate Episcopal Oversight. In consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the Network shall work for the provision of adequate episcopal oversight as mandated by the Primates of the Communion for parishes and congregations requesting such ministry.4
Ordination. The affiliates of the Network hold differing positions regarding the ordination of women and pledge that we shall recognize and honor the positions and practices on this issue of others in the Network.
Stewardship. All assets, of every kind and nature, held by the Network are, and shall be, irrevocably dedicated to and inured to the benefit of the charitable, educational, and religious purposes of the Network, and used according to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code #501(c)(3), and no part thereof shall inure to the private benefit of any individual or be used for any impermissible purpose. Each gift or contribution received by the Network shall be deemed restricted and designated by the donor to advance charitable, educational, and religious purposes of the Network. In the event of dissolution or termination of the Network, the Network’s property shall be distributed as directed by the Network’s Steering Committee in accordance with applicable law for missionary work.
Amendments. This Charter may be amended by the affirmative vote of two thirds of the members of the Council at a duly called meeting.
Executed this 20th day of January, in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand Four at Christ Church, Plano, State of Texas, in the United States of America, in the presence of Almighty God and the below named Witnesses who hereinafter have affixed their seals.