A Word on the Open Door
Last week, more than 800 of you gathered together at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto and took part in a historic event, the ‘Open Door’ Conference 2005. There, the Essentials Federation and the Essentials Network (incorporated as The Anglican Network in Canada) were both launched, beginning a new era in the life of our Church.
The Conference began with addresses from various dignitaries and then heard insightful and inspiring presentations from a panel of theologians ( now being called ‘The Toronto Five’). The opening day ended with a splendid celebration Eucharist held in one of the most beautiful Anglican Churches in Canada (St. Paul’s, Bloor Street).
Throughout the three-day event, those of you who were there were treated to the stirring musical talents of two remarkable musicians. Through the ministry of Ruth Fazal, many felt blessed and comforted by God’s Holy Spirit. Organ master Ian Sadler belted out triumphant, breathtaking hymns on the spectacular organ at Roy Thomson Hall.
We heard various perspectives on ‘where we are’ in the Anglican Communion from international Anglican leaders such as Archbishop Gregory Venables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone and from Bishop Robert Duncan, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network.
Anglican Essentials was also very pleased to honour the Rev’d Dr. J.I. Packer for a lifetime of remarkable theological contribution, not just to Anglicanism, but to Christianity. This tireless scholar is one of the most prolific writers in the Anglican world. His books have changed the lives of millions of Christians around the world and we are proud to call him our friend and to have had this opportunity to honour his work and ministry.
Encouragement was truly an overarching theme of the conference. What appears to many to be a hopeless situation in the Anglican Church of Canada may in fact be an invitation by God to enter into new initiatives of evangelism. Through the ministry of the two new organizations that were launched at the ‘Open Door’ conference, Anglican Essentials Canada is working to provide the support, the encouragement and the outreach that is urgently needed by so many Canadian Anglicans. In the coming days, much more information on these two new organizations will be made available on the main Essentials website (http://www.anglicanessentials.ca <http://www.anglicanessentials.ca/> ).
Anglican Essentials Canada (AEC)
Anglican Essentials Canada – the umbrella organization representing the whole Essentials movement – committed itself to the promulgation of the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ and to a consistent, biblical orthodoxy, which is “defined by and centered on the classic formularies (foundational principles) of the Anglican tradition in this country, namely – the supremacy of the complete Canon of Holy Scripture, the Book of Common Prayer as the standard of doctrine and worship, the Ordinal (with its preface), the Articles of Religion (as affirmed by the Lambeth Conference of 1968) and the Solemn Declaration of 1893.” (from the founding Principles Document)
AEC will provide a voice for the orthodox constituency within the Anglican Church of Canada at the national level, to other Anglican organizations and indeed to the rest of the Anglican world. This is part of AEC’s commitment to remaining an integral part of the global Anglican Communion.
The Essentials Federation
The Essentials Federation was created for people within the Essentials movement who believe they are not in impaired or broken communion with the Anglican Church of Canada or with their bishop since they are able, in conscience, to participate in their diocese and the ACC, and “believe it is their mission to pray for, labour and hope for repentance and renewal in the Anglican Church of Canada”. The Federation is not making plans or building an ecclesial structure to be used in the event that the ACC should choose to ‘walk apart.’ (see Principles Document)
The Essential Network (Anglican Network in Canada or ANiC)
As outlined in the founding Principles Document (available online at http://www.anglicanessentials.ca/docs/essentials/principles.pdf <http://www.anglicanessentials.ca/docs/essentials/principles.pdf> ), the ANiC is a place for people who feel they are in ‘serious theological dispute’ with their bishop or the Anglican Church of Canada and who may desire Adequate Episcopal Oversight from a Network bishop. The ANiC is building an ecclesial body, a ‘lifeboat’ for use in the event that the ACC chooses to ‘walk apart’ and such a body is required by the Instruments of Unity of the global Anglican Church to enable faithful Canadian Anglicans to remain full members of our Communion.
Both the Essentials Federation and the Essential Network emphasized that they are not leaving the Church and both pledged that they will share common resources in carrying out their respective missions and will honour each other’s response to the crisis with both respect and grace.
It was a momentous event for those assembled, and many were very excited to learn of the bold new initiatives being undertaken by our Essentials leadership. Throughout the next several days, we will be posting retrospectives on various conference activities, including pictures from the conference for those of you who were unable to be with us.
Please, keep checking the website, read the retrospectives and participate in our online forums. Thanks to a redesigned, easier to use page, we are able to offer much more information to you about current news in the Anglican Communion and the orthodox groups working hard for change.
We are here for you, and, we trust, you for us.
O GRACIOUS Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Anglican Esssentials Canada