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As Anglicans, we are part of a global communion of churches established over the centuries by the Church of England. The word Anglican means “of the Angles,” referring to the Germanic people who settled in Britain in the post-Roman period.
British Christians, compelled by the word of God and the Holy Spirit, took their faith around the world, using the colonialism of English Kingdom for the sake of God’s kingdom — not too unlike God’s use of Appian Way to preach the way of Christ and the Pax Romana to preach the peace of Christ.
Ultimately, churches were established on every inhabited continent. Over time, 39 independent provinces of the Anglican Church were established around the world. Today, most of these provinces function in a voluntary communion based around common beliefs and practices (e.g., the 39 Articles of Religion and the worship and theology of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer).
The Anglican Church is a Biblically-based church with ancient roots dating from the earliest history of the church. I has inherited a treasure of rich resources, profiting both from its ancient catholicity and also from the reformational work that took place both on the British Isles and on the continent.
These “catholic” roots are a mature foundation for teaching us how to grow as followers of Jesus Christ, how to love God, and how to serve our communities. Our services mirror the worship of the apostolic church, while incorporating the common language and culture of the communities in which we serve God’s kingdom. Together, these elements of word and sacrament, symbol and truth, truth enlivened by the Holy Spirit, our senses are connected with our hearts.
In order to remain true to the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, Anglicans have historically upheld the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word, have held to the summary of beliefs known as the Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith, and have accepted the three great Christian creeds (the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian) as fundamental statements of the Christian faith. We celebrate the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as commanded by Jesus and we uphold the historic order of Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons in the administration of the church’s life and mission.
Hardships and Hope
It’s well known that the world wide Anglican Communion is experiencing tremendous stress. The stress comes as some provinces depart from Biblical faith and practice.
But it’s also experiencing tremendous renewal… in some places, of East African Revival proportions! The renewal comes from the growth of the gospel through Anglican witness and worked in many locations, particularly the “two-thirds world,” sometimes called “the Global South”. For example, there are more than 15 million Anglicans in Nigeria — 15 times more than all Anglicans in the United States! The West has much to learn from these brothers and sisters.
It is indeed frustration and worrisome, as well as exhilarating time to be Anglican! Those gathered at Saint John’s wholeheartedly embrace the fact that we have been called to be followers of Jesus Christ without ambivalence, humbling ourselves under the wisdom of our church forebears, for this time in history. We have a deep sense that God is calling us to live more faithfully and trust him more genuinely that ever.
The particular statements of our faith and the distinct elements of Anglican Christianity are found in:
- The 39 Articles of Religion (here) are the basic theological standards for worldwide Anglicanism.
- The 1662 Book of Common Prayer (here) as “the gold standard” of Anglican worship, defining the meaning and structure of worship for Anglicans.
- [ACNA‘s] Lord’s Supper (Eucharist) liturgy
- The 3 “ecumenical” creeds, coming soon.
- The Jerusalem Declaration, coming soon.
- The Elizabethan Homilies (see Articles 11 and 35), coming soon.
What is PEARUSA?
St. John’s is a congregation under the spiritual oversight of the Anglican Province of Rwanda. PEARUSA is the name derived from the French title for the Province of Rwanda (Province de l’Englise Angalicane au Rwanda) + “USA”.
This relationship was birthed in an act of international and ecclesiastical courage by Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda) and Yong Ping Chung (South-East Asia) in response to growing divergence from traditional Anglican beliefs in North America. In January 2000, the Archbishops consecrated the first American bishops to lead this joint work.
The organization has evolved and matured. and we have never lost sight of our first task: to be followers of Jesus Christ. We are to be salt, light, and the undisguised city in a broken world. That task includes planting churches in fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
You can learn more about PEARUSA by visiting the website at www.pearusa.org.
What is the ACNA?
In June 2009, another encouraging development of authentic Anglican ministry and mission occurred in Bedford, Texas with the establishment of the Anglican Church of North American. ACNA is a federation of nine different orthodox Anglican movements serving the people of the North America. It is recognized as a new province of Anglican archbishops and is now led by its second Archbishop, Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach.
Through this provincial alliance, St. John’s is connected constitutionally as well as spiritually with like-minded faithful Anglicans throughout the continent. We rejoice at the growing cooperation and unity with our brothers and sisters around the world and in our own nation.
As the future unfolds, we expect that our participation in ACNA will become increasingly important and visible in our life as a church.
If you want to hear more, give us a call!