What is the Anglican Communion Network?

 
         
 

What is the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes?

The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, commonly referred to as the Anglican Communion Network (ACN), is a united biblically-based missionary movement dedicated to bringing the “true and legitimate” expression of Anglicanism to North America, making disciples of Jesus Christ. ACN allows Episcopalians to remain in communion with the vast majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion who have declared either impaired or broken communion with the episcopal Church USA (ECUSA). For many Episcopalians, the ACN has come to represent the hope for a return to the historic faith and order of Anglicanism.

 
 

Where and when did the ACN get its start?

  • The formation of the ACN was originally suggested by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams. Initial plans for the ACN were formulated at a gathering of mainstream Anglican leaders (including four Primates) in London in November 2003.
  • A Memorandum of Agreement resulted from this meeting and was ultimately signed by 13 ECUSA bishops. The Memorandum stated the intention of these bishops to begin taking steps toward organizing a network of “confessing” dioceses and congregations within ECUSA. The signing of the Memorandum by a bishop did not indicated the formal joining of the Network by his diocese.
  • The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes was officially launched January 20, 2004, at the Network’s Organizing Convocation held at Christ Church, Plano, Texas. The Convocation included representatives from 12 Episcopal dioceses as well as individuals from geographic regions and one non-geographic area that were designated as “Convocations.” The gathering unanimously adopted a Structural Charter and affirmed a Theological Charter.
  • The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan was elected Moderator of the new Network and will serve for a three-year term. The Organizing Convocation also elected a 12-member Steering Committee comprised of individuals from across the country.
 
 

What is the ACN’s purpose and vision?

  • The core purpose of the ACN is “to be a united missionary movement of Anglicans in fellowship with global Anglicanism, making disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ in North American and to the ends of the earth.”
  • ACN envisions being a “missionary movement in North America of such irresistible spiritual power in Word and Sacrament that people are drawn to a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ and become members of the Body of Christ, His Church. We will be known for our commitment to evangelical faith and catholic order.”
 
 

What are ACN’s goals?

The ACN seeks to unite faithful, orthodox congregations and dioceses for Great Commission ministry. Our core values speak well to this goal:

  • The Unchanging Gospel
    We will uphold the uniqueness of Christ crucified and risen, the only Lord and Savior of the world, and the authority of Scripture, the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
  • Commitment to Prayer
    We will bathe our movement in prayer, seeking to follow the mind of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Missionary Zeal
    We will embody a passion to lead every unbeliever in each generation to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, in fulfillment of the Great Commission, globally and locally.
  • Serving Those in Need
    We will reach out with the compassion of Jesus to the poor, the broken, the lost, and those who are persecuted for the cause of Christ.
  • Mutual Self-Sacrifice
    We will live as brothers and sisters who will lay down our lives for one another in the face of risk and opposition.
  • Strategic Partnerships
    We will forge lively partnerships with biblically faithful Christians of other Churches and with Anglicans in other associations in North America.
 
 

Why is ACN a necessity and why should dioceses/parishes associate with it?

  • Following the egregious decisions made at General Convention 2003 in which the Episcopal Church abandoned 2000 years of biblical teaching and historical church order, there was a disconnect between the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. As a result, 21 Provinces have declared either impaired or broken communion with ECUSA, and 14 Primates have recognized the ACN as the legitimate Anglican presence in North America. The ACN, therefore, Provides a means for remaining connected with the Anglican Communion.
  • At a time when Church leadership is failing, ACN will provide a way for dioceses and parishes to remain under orthodox leadership.
 
 

What is the Anglican Communion Network, and why does it go by a different name?

  • The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes adopted the abbreviated title of Anglican Communion Network (ACN) in an effort to curb confusion as shortened titles and acronyms began to spring up. A short and concise reference has enabled clear communication about the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.
  • For legal and jurisdictional purposes, ACN shall retain its formal title as the official identification.
 
 

Does ACN have any intentions to leave ECUSA?

  • The Anglican Communion Network seeks to be a faithful and legitimate expression of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
  • According to the Structural Charter, ACN’s highest priority “is to seek to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in unity with the See of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion, as a member of that Communion,” acting “in good faith within the Constitution of ECUSA.”
  • Since General Convention, ECUSA has continued in a path that abandons the faith, order, and doctrine of Anglicanism. More and more, Anglican Primates are expressing frustration with ECUSA and the Anglican Church in Canada. Twenty-two Primates have called for the expulsion of the Canadian Church from the Communion.
  • The Episcopal Church itself abandoned the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) by not following its mission and purpose to follow biblical teaching and the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which states, “In which it will also appear that this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship ... “
  • The ECUSA, in its Constitution, also pledged to remain in fellowship “within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,” in communion with the See of Canterbury, which it has discarded.
 
 

What is the distinction between AAC and ACN? What is the role the AAC plays in ACN?

  • ACN is an ecclesial body, whereas the American Anglican Council (AAC) is an advocacy organization dedicated to reforming the Episcopal Church. While they share a dedication to biblical authority, the Great Commission, and the historic faith and order of Anglicanism, the two are separate entities. ACN is a link for dioceses and parishes; the AAC, an advocate for renewal of the Episcopal Church.
  • The AAC has been asked by the Steering Committee of the ACN to serve as interim Secretariat of ACN through 2004, at which time re-evaluation shall take place.
 
 

How is ACN a “missionary” organization?

  • As the Structural Charter explicitly states, the first and foremost goal of ACN is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to carry out the mission of the Great Commission.
  • ACN will work to bring into fellowship, with each other and with the Anglican Communion, “those who have left ECUSA and those who wish to explore the tradition and worship of Anglican orthodoxy.” Clergy and laity alike will be sent into often unwelcoming territory to offer orthodox leadership and the truth of the Gospel to those who are isolated or lost.
  • ACN will also continue to build its relationship with Global Mission Partners, which serves as its missionary arm.
 
 

What dioceses were present at the Organizing Convocation?

The dioceses represented at the Organizing Convocation were Albany, Central Florida, Dallas, Florida, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin, South Carolina, Springfield, and Western Kansas.

 
 

How many dioceses have formally associated with ACN?

Nine dioceses have formally associated with ACN through ratification by their respective governing bodies. These are Albany, Central Florida, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin, Springfield, and South Carolina.

 
 

Who can associate with ACN?

Dioceses, individual parishes outside ACN dioceses, and clergy of all three orders have the ability to associate with ACN.

  • Dioceses: Committed to “the propagation of the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations,” dioceses will form the main frame of ACN. Currently there are nine dioceses that have joined. Bishops from 12 dioceses originally signed the Structural Charter. The Archbishop of Canterbury indicated only four dioceses were necessary to establish a Network, which is the same number required for a Province in the Anglican Communion. Already, Network dioceses and parishes count more communicants than at least 12 of the Anglican Communion’s 38 Provinces.
  • Individual Parishes: Parishes in non-ACN dioceses can affiliate through Convocations, which include on non-geographical and five geographical regions in the United States, led by Deans. If you are a member of a parish that wishes to join ACN, encourage your clergy to get in touch with other clergy in your diocese who have already taken this stand. Inform church members of this possible action, educate and open the topic for discussion to the Vestry, and contact the Dean of the Convocation through which you will associate with ACN.
  • The Convocations, whose boundaries were established by the Steering Committee, are 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 is the Forward in Faith North America Convocation. Congregations who are a part of each Convocation will “come under the spiritual authority of a bishop approved by the Steering Committee.”
  • A Convocation will be considered “active” when it consists of at least six participating congregations. Currently, there are 43 parishes that have affiliated. Congregations in ACN dioceses are automatically considered associated parishes.
  • Individual Clergy: Individual clergy have the ability to associate through ACN Convocations, with stipulations similar to those of parishes.
 
 

Can individuals associate with ACN?

  • ACN is not an individual membership organization. Ecclesial in nature, it is a body comprised of dioceses, parishes, and clergy who offer orthodox leadership within the Church.
  • For many individuals who are not able to attend a parish associated with ACN, fellowship groups are proving to be an acceptable, albeit temporary, alternative. Lay people are encouraged to organize into mission fellowship groups.
 
 

What will happen if our diocesan bishop refuses to allow our parish to join?

  • ECUSA has placed its members in a precarious situation. It has moved forward with decisions that resulted in impaired communion with the Anglican Church worldwide and abandoned its own Constitution. Therefore, parishes and clergy have the right to seek alternative episcopal oversight and to join ACN in order to re-establish relationships within the Anglican Communion, as well as to carry out the Great Commission with integrity.
  • There are no canonical grounds for bishops to prevent association with the ACN.
 
 

Is the Archbishop of Canterbury in support of ACN?

  • The Archbishop of Canterbury first recommended formation of a Network to serve as an alternative for those who wished to remain in good standing in the Episcopal Church and who required adequate episcopal oversight.
  • In a speech made Feb. 9, 2004, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, expressed continued support of ACN and the progress toward providing adequate oversight.
 
 

How is ACN funded?

  • ACN is funded through the generous donations of parishes, dioceses, and individuals. Many who do not wish to send funds to the National Church are redirecting them to ACN, as well as to other mission organizations.
  • It is the hope of ACN leadership that member bodies (i.e. dioceses, parishes, etc.) will contribute to the furthering of the mission of ACN.
 
 

Where are ACN’s headquarters?

ACN is currently headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa.