I am often asked, "Why is the Continuum such a mess of different jurisdictions?" I think in the final analysis the situation is was created by two differing understandings of what it means to be a 'Continuer' and it is perpetuated by the 'politics of fear.'
As I have written about the two different approahes before I won't bore you with a reprise other than to say that the initial divisions grew out of the suspicions that grew up between the "Middle to High Church" and Anglo-Catholic factions, and could have been avoided with better leadership. The Continuing Church became divided for much the same reasons that the Vikings never built an Empire. We had leaders, but, in the case of three of the original four, leaders who pulled in different directions. This led to the creation of the UECNA, APCK and ACC. The first tends towards a 'business as usual' interpretation of the Affirmation of St Louis within the context of a predominate "middle of the road" churchmanship . The Anglican Province of Christ the King has a similar tendancy, but within the context of a more Anglo-Catholic tradition coming from its founderers many of whom were associated with the American Church Union. The Anglican Catholic Church bridges the two in terms of worship tradition, but underwent an extensive revision of its Constitution and Canons which closed a lot of legal, jurisdictional and procedural loopholes, but left other matters, such as the status of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, studeously vague. All of this backroom work was done in the context of a church which was trying to establish congregations, acquire property, and establish a diocesan structure. To my mind, much of the work on the Canons (as opposed to the Constitution)could and should have been postponed until the church had achieved a measure of organisation stability. With hindsight (which as the song says 'is always 20-20) it seems to me that there was some significant misdirection of effort in the period 1979-1984 which may, and I stress, may have helped divide the Continuum. (I should perhaps add at this point, just so that you are all absolutely clear on this, that I have absolutely no animus against the ACC, especially as presently constituted. I was ordained in the ACC and only left because the Bishop of the Diocese in which I served had a high peculiar interpretation of the ACC Constitution and Canons.)
Having arrived at the point where the Continuum was divided, then the 'politics of fear' very largely took over. Although attempts at reconciliate were made, ultimately, what took over, and continues to divide the Anglican Continuum is what one might call "the fear of the other fellow." This is the down side of the sort of self-reliance that the Continuum has bred, and it tends to stop all attempts at union with negotiation sooner or later.
As a whole, the Continuum needs to get away from the 'politics of fear', and it will only do so if the bishops of the UECNA, APCK, and ACC meet on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that is not happening, and I think it is time that the bishops took note that, on the whole, the laity move between parishes in the different jurisdictions quite happily. They only note only that St. B's is a bit higher or lower, or a bit bigger or smaller, than St A's where they normally worship. Anecdotally, quite a few of the laity don't know which group their parish is in without looking it up. They are 'Anglicans' - they know who their bishop is and that is about it.
The paranoia about "the other fellow" seems to be largely a clergy thing. Though in all fairness I should perhaps note that there have been enough 'inter-jurisdictional incidents' for this paranoia to have some basis in fact. However, we need to forgive and forget, and in some cases a few well chosen words of apology would not go amiss either.
For the Continuum to survive into its third and fourth generations we to achieve a jurisdictional unity which reflects our unity of faith. That is the great task - after Mission and the Re-evangelisation of America - that faces us in the next ten years.