A election has been held for the new archbishop for the ACNA (Anglican Church in North America).
Yes, understanding Anglican polity and structure can be complicated. Few in the modern Church are familiar with it unless they grew up under it. Even then, I grew up under it and still didn’t understand it!
The ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) just elected a new Archbishop, the The Rt. Rev. Foley Beach of Atlanta, GA. He will serve as the second Archbishop of the ACNA following the pioneer leadership of Archbishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburg, PA. Those of you who have followed the recent history of the Anglican Church in the United States are aware of the significance of this development. For the rest of you allow me to provide a rather unscholarly background.
The Anglican Church played an important role in the development of America. As the British Empire spread so did the Church of England. Some of the colonies, such as Virginia, continued the policy of the motherland and established a state Church. Hard to believe, I know, but if you were a Virginian you were to be connected to an Anglican Church (that’s correct, as providence would have it I was born in Virginia) even as if you were part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony you were a Puritan. But as the tension between the colonies and the British crown boiled over the Anglican Church in America fell out of favor. In response the Anglican Church in America changed its name to The Episcopal Church. A rebranding of sorts, you might say. This name is derived from the Greek word ‘episcopos’ and refers to the “historic episcopate”, or the upholding of the three-tiered polity (Church governance), of a Bishop, Priest and Deacon.
And so the Episcopal Church sought to remain a faithful Anglican Province (an autonomous representation of the Anglican Communion within a geographic location, in this case, The United States). When the Presiding Bishop and other diocesan Bishops within the Episcopal Church, in practice, chose to no longer adhere to Article VI, VII, or XX of the 39 Articles, a conflict being repeated in nearly every mainline denomination today, the remnant had a decision to make. Beginning to suffer at the hands of revisionists they chose to leave under the protections of Bishops from other provinces in places like Rwanda, Nigeria, Southeast Asia and South America. This was the tragic and some say inevitable split of a Communion rich in history and fellowship.
From these regions and others gathered Archbishops and Bishops in 2008 at GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) in Jerusalem. Represented there was approximately %70 of the 80 million Anglican Christians around the world. At this conference the ACNA was put into motion to serve as a faithful representation of Anglican Christianity in America. And from this conference came the Jerusalem Declaration.
And so we walk forward in faithfulness as our second Archbishop, The Rt. Rev. Foley Beach has been elected to serve the Lord and His Church in such a time as this. Please commit to him to your prayers with grateful hearts!