Friday, March 12, 2010

To my Friends in the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC)

As many of you know, I was a priest in the Traditional Anglican Communion for some ten years, and thus have a certain familiarity with the way in which that body evolved between 1994 and 2007.

When I first joined the TAC back in 1994, it was pitched to us as a broad and welcoming Anglican Church where traditional Anglo-Catholics, Central Churchmen, and Evangelicals were equally welcome and equally esteemed. The English province was allowed to accord the Thirty-nine Articles a higher status than the Affirmation of St Louis, and no-one seemed to bat an eyelid at the fact that we had English Missal and lace at St Agatha's, Portsmouth; surplice, tippet and North end at St Paul's, Liverpool, and the English Use somewhere else. In other words, the TAC was the old church without the heresy and goofiness, and the various churchmanships were welcome to coexist within the one Church.

I first became aware of a change in outlook about 2001. It was clear that the House of Bishops was stepping up the pressure for the TAC to assert a more definitively catholic identity. This was accompanied by various rumblings about contacts by our bishops with the Roman Curia. Fair enough, thought I, we do, after all, live in an ecumenical age. By 2004, it was clear that the Primate and his representatives were in serious conversations with some folks in Rome, and that he had hopes of us being granted by Rome what I can only call Uniate status. We were asked not to discuss or speculate, but to await the result of the discussion.

Finally, in 2007, almost all of the TAC's bishops and vicars-general signed the Roman Catholic Catechism saying, in effect, that "this what we believe." Partly in response to this offer to submit by the TAC and to the pleadings of FiF(UK) and others, we have the Papal Letter announcing the potential for the creation of the Anglican Use Ordinariates within the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglican Catholic Church of Australia and the Anglican Church in America have already responded favourably to the Papal initiative, but I am sure there must be a minority in both churches who wish to continue as Anglicans.

Like me, their quest since leaving "the Lambeth Communion" has been to stay with what Peter Toon called Classical Anglican. When the TAC House of Bishops signed the Roman Catholic Catechism, I took that as the signal that it was time for me to move on. I had been deeply impressed by the stance of the United Episcopal Church in proclaiming itself to be "the old Episcopal Church cleansed of heresy." This, of course, was the very thing that had been offered when I had first joined the TAC in 1994, and had slow disappeared thereafter.

So where does the UECNA stand?

The United Episcopal Church of North America stands for Classical Anglicanism. An Anglicanism that is based on the Holy Scriptures, the three ancient Creeds and the doctrinal decrees of the first seven Ecumenical Councils. The UECNA also regards the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the thirty-nine Articles of Religion as essential parts of our Anglican heritage. Both our commitments to both the Church of the Seven Councils and to the Anglican Reformation are written into the UECNA Constitution and cannot be changed, or bartered away, without the consent of the whole church at two successive General Conventions. We have no ceremonial tests, and equally welcoming Broad Churchmen, Anglo-Catholics, and Low Churchmen.

I would love to welcome some of my former colleagues from the Anglican Church in America and the Traditional Anglican Communion into the United Episcopal Church. We are the old Church without the heresy and goofiness, and although we are small, we can offer a safe and assured future for those who wish to maintain their Classical Anglican identity. I can also promise that the bishops will be honest and up front with their clergy, and allow them their proper share in the governance of the Church.

If you are interested in the UECNA please contact me either at my office (928) 778-6018, or by email


  1. For some time now, various "hyphenated Anglicanisms," have been all the rage within the relatively tiny group of American Anglicans, with some leaning to Rome others listing toward Calvinism, etc. But, thank God almighty that at least one body, the United Episcopal Church of North America, is standing on the historical bedrock of Anglicanism proper -- the Scriptures, the Creeds, the ancient Councils, the Articles of Religion, and the Book of Common Prayer.

  2. Respected Sir,
    I am trying to find our exactly why Cranmer did not publish a Proper Preface for Lent in the 1549 Prayer Book. I understand his general interest in reducing the number of Proper Prefaces from the 50 or so in early sacramentaries. I would like understand why specifically he chose to exclude a Proper Preface for Lent. I would be most grateful for
    any guidance you could give me in the near term. I would like to adress this question in a Homily for the First Sunday in Lent of this year.
    With thanks, Fr. Henry Presler