Anglican Decline, Pandemic and Pandemonium in “Challenging Times”

Jun 28, 2020 by

by Jeffrey Walton, Juicy Ecumenism:

Anglicans have had a rough year, according to Archbishop Foley Beach in in a somber but hopeful address before the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Provincial Council, meeting June 23-24 in an online web conference.

Beach cited tired clergy facing “decision fatigue” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, violence and racial injustice, and the departure of two dioceses last year leading to the denomination’s first significant drop in numbers.

There was also positive news: favorable decisions were handed down for the Dioceses of Fort Worth and South Carolina in long-running legal conflicts with the Episcopal Church from which they had disaffiliated.

“God has been using our churches in big ways not only with online ministries, but caring for the needy and those in hard times,” Beach noted.

“A Sin Problem”

Much of Beach’s address focused upon racial strife.

“The past few months have not only been pandemic, but pandemonium,” the Anglican archbishop summarized, referencing “evil displayed by fellow image bearers and some police officers in recent weeks.”

Beach referenced hearing louder “cries of grief in our own neighborhoods” and peaceful protests “hijacked by chaos and violence” destroying property, injuring both bystanders and more than 800 police officers.

Bishop John Guernsey, Dean of Provincial Affairs, has been tasked by the College of Bishops to put together a Working Group on Race, Racism, and Racial Reconciliation “to help us talk as Biblical Christians in the midst of a polarized culture.”

“We have failed to fully and thoroughly and deeply address the problem of sin in our hearts, homes, churches, and nations,” Beach diagnosed. Racism, “in its root, it is a sin problem. We need God to rend our hearts as a Church.”

The Archbishop said the Church must acknowledge “systemic sins” but also distance from “those movements that are promoting anarchy, destruction of the family, and the dismantling of our government.”

“It will not be through political parties, rallies, slogans or marches that our attitudes and practices are changed, that the souls of our nations are converted,” Beach stated.

The “revival that comes from repentance” starts “in your own relationship with God,” and then in “building a relationship with someone different than you are,” he said.

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