Sunday, July 23, 2006


(being an answer to various questions asked of Peter Toon in recent days by members of The Network)

The Anglican Communion Network of North America, embracing Episcopal and Anglican groups in the USA and Canada, is seeking to recover the classic Anglican Formularies both for its own integrity as an Anglican grouping, and also to be in line with the Provinces abroad from which It expects succor and support.

It is becoming clear to The Network leadership that:

(a) Provinces abroad are committed in their constitutions – and often in their weekly worship as well – to the same Formularies as the Church of England (which are the classic edition of The BCP of 1662, together with The Thirty-Nine Articles and The Ordinal, both printed with the Prayer Book in one volume).
(b) The Anglican Church of Canada despite is apostasy today is nevertheless committed in its Solemn Declaration of 1893 to precisely the same Formularies (this is printed in its 1962 edition of the BCP).
(c) The Episcopal Church of the USA abandoned the American version of these Formularies in 1976/79 and made what is “A Book of Varied Services with varied Doctrine” its Formulary, calling it, amazingly, “The BCP. This is to put it mildly, regrettable.
(d) Anglican leaders abroad who wish to support The Network are expecting It to place itself in the Anglican Way wholly and truly by recovering the Formularies as its doctrinal standard and guide.

However, The Network is faced with the question: Which edition of The Book of Common Prayer will become the norm? To conform precisely to provinces abroad it senses that it should state the authority of the classic edition of 1662 (as have done the AMiA and the REC). However, active members have used and do use both the Canadian revision of 1662 authorized by Synod in 1962, and the American version authorized by the General Convention of 1928. Both these editions are genuine editions of the ONE Book of Common Prayer and represent genuine minor developments from the 1662 base which are in doctrinal agreement with that base (and not like “The Anglican Missal” used by a few Anglo-Catholics and which is in clear contradiction to this base).

In particular, both the 1962 and 1928 editions have an extended Prayer of Consecration, which contains certain elements taken over from the earliest such Prayers in the eminent churches of the East (and which are named in the 1928 as “The Oblation” & “The Invocation”). These additional elements, with other additions and gentle revisions in these books – especially the 1962 – are much valued by most of those who actually use these editions today.

It would be wrong for those who use the 1928 & 1962 editions to have to give them up for they have been and are authentic editions of the ONE Book of Common Prayer from two provinces, produced when they were orthodox and respectful of the Formularies. They belong to living tradition.

Thus it seems best for The Network to commit itself to the ONE Book of Common Prayer in its major edition of 1662 (from which 150 or more translation have been made) as its base line; and then also to allow also the living editions in use in North America, the 1928 & the 1962 editions, as belonging to the Formularies. So I have suggested the following doctrinal basis for The Network to honor all, overseas and in Canada and America, and to conform to the classic Formularies. All three editions are exemplars of Reformed Catholicism in worship and doctrine.

We accept the doctrine of the Anglican Way as it is grounded in the holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, we receive such doctrine as is to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal (as all three of these are printed in the English edition of 1662, the American edition of 1928 and the Canadian edition of 1962 of The Book of Common Prayer).

One final word is necessary and I am sorry that I have to mention it here. A very small portion of the Common Cause Partners in The Network are extreme Anglo-Catholics who embrace the Affirmation of St Louis of 1977 (which allows the use of the Anglican Missal, and denies the authority and teaching of The Thirty-Nine Articles, and also embraces the teaching on the veneration of icons and the intercession of the saints commended by the Second Council of Nicea in 787). These doctrines are NOT within the understanding of permissible doctrines of the classic Formularies and so they cannot be commended or allowed, if The Network is to be truly of the Anglican Way and truly Reformed Catholic. The few holding developed Anglo-Catholic commitments should hold them as personal opinions but they should not be required or approved doctrines by The Network as an ANGLICAN, Reformed Catholic, grouping. Trinity VI 2006

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