On Tuesday June 15, 2021, the American Anglican Council presented its report on what it has been doing through the past year. Below is the report in full:
The American Anglican Council (AAC) was founded in 1996 to “Build a Society of Great Commission Churches” within The Episcopal Church (TEC). After it became apparent that TEC had set its course in another direction, the AAC began to focus on building up Great Commission leaders and churches within the emerging Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Communion. Today, our mission is threefold:
- Developing biblically faithful leaders for the Church
- Equipping churches to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission
- Reforming orthodox Anglicanism in the Americas and worldwide
As a Founding Partner of the ACNA, the AAC has from the inception of the ACNA supported its growth and development as a Province. In the past year, the AAC has provided the following:
The Daniel Institute: Launched this year, the AAC’s Daniel Institute continues the ministry of the Clergy Leadership Training Institute (CLTI) to develop spiritually healthy, effective leaders of growing congregations within the ACNA. The redesigned program offered online seminars during COVID19 to serve ACNA clergy:
- Clarity in Crisis (April 2020)
- A Conversation with Archbishop Beach (May 2020)
- Faithful and Fruitful in a Time of Fear (Nov 2020)
- Transitions in Leadership Seminar (May 2020)
- Clergy Care Group Online Launch (Dec 2020)
Clergy Care Groups: As a result of the online launch in December 2020, the AAC added four additional clergy care groups and one clergy spouse care group that began in January of 2021. Currently, 125+ Clergy in 24 Clergy Care Groups have participated to date.
American Anglican Media: The AAC continues to provide news and important information on the Anglican Communion worldwide. In 2020, the AAC was asked by Archbishop Beach to be a Provincial communications center for information and resource for churches during COVID-19. The AAC continues to produce online resources that promote Gospel teaching on the traditions and practices of the Church:
- One Big Idea, a video series by Canon Phil Ashey that summarizes the main thrust of each Sunday’s lectionary readings.
- Vital Moments in Church Revitalization by Canon Mark, highlighting issues in church growth and revitalization.
- Anglican Perspective Podcast launched in 2020 with news and interviews from around the Anglican Communion that highlights the important issues of the day affecting Anglican leaders and churches with over 1,000 subscribers.
- 8@8 Global Prayer Initiative: The AAC partnered with 8@8 launched in 2020 in response to the global pandemic. It currently has 15,000 subscribers from around the world committed to praying for eight minutes each day at 8 PM in each time zone.
Anglican Revitalization Ministries
Revive: The AAC’s Church Revitalization program is essential to help churches which are plateaued and perplexed to turn around, revitalize, re-mission and grow. The Rev. Canon Mark Eldredge is the AAC’s Director of Church Revitalization and Coaching. Canon Mark has revised and reorganized the church revitalization process and now offers a Church Health Assessment and follow-up coaching sessions. Since in June of 2020, Canon Mark conducted 4 Revive progams which was limited due to covid but has increased the amount of virtual training and coaching. There is momentum building again in this essential need for church health and growth throughout the ACNA. We are engaged with 5 dioceses helping with diocesan strategies for revitalizing their churches.The AAC’s Anglican Revitalization Ministries can help these diocese and congregations return to an upward trajectory on the church lifecycle and thrive.
ReFrame: The AAC has also developed a church consultation process to help congregations navigate a variety of challenges such as conflict management, succession planning, leading change and transition, vision clarity and goal setting, and more. AAC coaches and consultants have consulted with 4 congregations through Reframe in 2020.
ReNew: In 2019 the AAC committed to also be a champion for renewal ministry in congregations specifically renewal in commitment to Jesus and being empowered by the Holy Spirit. The AAC has partnered with The Rev. Alan Hansen, formerly of ACTS 29 Ministries, to develop a variety of renewal resources to offer local churches. One of those resources is the Renew Conference which is a renewal weekend held in a local congregation. The first of these was held in March of 2021 with more being scheduled later this year. Video based renewal curriculums for church use will be produced in 2021 as well.
Reforming the Church
Canonical and Governance Expertise
Canon Phil Ashey continues to provide daily advice to the Chancellors, ACNA Bishops, Canons to the Ordinary and the Governance Task Force members on issues regarding Church governance (Provincial and Diocesan), formation of new dioceses, conflict resolution, clergy transfers, and Ecclesiastical Discipline. In 2020, Canon Ashey served as Special Counsel to the Archbishop and provided canonical and legal advice on a range of issues to the College of Bishops. Canon Ashey chairs the ACNA’s Governance Task Force which provided Provincial Council delegates with a summary of canonical changes to the ACNA Constitution and Canons prior to Provincial Council 2020.
He also leads the Anglican Legal Society (ALS) which grew from 35 members in 2019 to 215 members currently. ALS hosted an online webinar, Immigration Law: Ministry to the Sojourner Among Us, attended by 30 law professionals interested in assisting immigrants through the ministry of the ACNA. In October 2020, 80 members of the ALS met online in conjunction with the Christian Legal Society to discuss topics pertinent to canon law and religious freedom.
In June 2020, Canon Ashey taught “An Introduction to Canon Law” at Trinity School for Ministry Ambridge with a particular emphasis on Anglican conciliarism (our polity) and the values and principles that shaped and continue to shape the polity of the ACNA. Over 50 students including clergy, attorneys, and seminarians participated in this two-day online course.
Recently Canon Ashey also served as the Chaplain to the First Liberty Foundation’s Savannah, GA seminar on the Origins of Religious Freedom in America. He is in discussions with both First Liberty and the leadership of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) regarding ways the Anglican Legal Society can assist in defending our religious freedom.
Renewing Biblically-faithful Anglicanism Worldwide
In 2020, the Bishops Leadership Summit was postponed due to the pandemic until 2022. Canon Ashey helped form Anglican Futures, a network of biblically-faithful Anglican churches and leaders in the UK. He continues to serve as an advisor.
Canon Ashey also served as an advisor for the GAFCON Primates, especially regarding global communion governance based on his book Anglican Conciliarism. Canon Ashey and the American Anglican Council will continue to serve in an advisory role to the GAFCON Primates as they request.
The American Anglican Council would like to thank all the ACNA dioceses, leaders, and congregations with whom we have worked and enjoyed fellowship during the pandemic. In the midst of many trials, we were honored to partner with the ACNA to network leaders and bring encouragement and growth to those laboring in difficult circumstances.