Toward Anglican Unity

iconAn icon of SS. Peter & Paul exchanging the kiss of peace; a symbol of Christian unity.

Statement from the Metropolitan Concerning Church Unity

The Church of Jesus Christ is “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.”  While on earth its unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity are imperfect, all ecclesiastical jurisdictions within the Apostolic Tradition acknowledge the Gospel imperative towards unity which springs from our Lord's High Priestly Prayer recorded in St. John's Gospel, in particular:  “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them, and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:20-23).

For the past twelve years, the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) has had an official policy of seeking unity among Continuing Anglicans in general, but of seeking it first with the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) and the United Episcopal Church of North America (UEC), which are the other two Churches that share our beginnings in the Congress of Saint Louis (1977), in the Affirmation of Saint Louis, and in the "Chambers Succession" of consecrations of bishops in Denver (1978).

In part, this beginning point rested on a judgment of principle, namely that the unfulfilled hopes of 1977-1978 should be realized as soon as possible. In part, this judgment rested in the practical expectation that Churches with so much in common might find it easier to unite than would bodies with less in common.

In any case, it seems to us now desirable to state firmly and clearly the following points:

  • The ACC believes itself to be in a state of full communio in sacris with the APCK and the UEC;
  • The ACC believes that anything which divides these three bodies from each other is regrettable and should be stopped or overcome;
  • The ACC believes that anything that undermines the internal unity and stability of any of these three bodies harms us all and harms the cause of unity among Catholic and Orthodox Anglicans. In particular we believe that one cannot serve the cause of unity by undermining or dividing any of the foundational Churches of the Continuing Church movement;
  • And, finally, the ACC believes that we cannot be in a state of full communio in sacris with any ecclesial body which is a member of the Lambeth Communion or which is in communion with any body that has such membership.

In July of 2007, Archbishop Mark Haverland called upon bishops of the UEC and the APCK to join him in affirming these points. He pledged to assist them in sustaining their own unity and stability, and to work with them, quietly and patiently, in order to build full organic unity among the three jurisdictions.

Responses from the United Episcopal Church & the Anglican Province of Christ the King

In response to Archbishop Haverland's offer, Bishop Stephen C. Reber of the UEC wrote:

We concur with Archbishop Mark Haverland's statement and hope that this would be a great moment for all of our three churches to respond together to the exigencies of Anglicanism in the United States.

Archbishop James C. Provence of the APCK replied in similar fashion:

As one of the original jurisdictions stemming from the Chambers Consecrations and the Affirmation of St. Louis, the Anglican Province of Christ the King fully agrees with and supports the statement regarding unity issued by The Most Rev. Mark Haverland of the Anglican Catholic Church. The APCK, the ACC, and the UECNA represent the three main branches coming from the root of the Chambers Succession. We share a responsibility to the trust that Bishop Chambers placed in us to be a beacon for unity among traditional Anglicans in the United States. The Anglican Province of Christ the King will do all that we can to foster that unity.

The jurisdictions of the Chambers Consecrations are committed to Anglican unity.  To all who embrace the historic continuity in Catholic Faith and Apostolic Order, they extend the right hand of fellowship and an invitation to further dialog.