Anglican Perspectives

The American Anglican Council Launches New Fellows Program

There are seven elements characteristic of the Anglican way of following Jesus that are essential for membership in the Anglican Church in North America. You can find those in Article 1 of the Fundamental Declaration of the Province. The Fundamental Declaration includes the following: “In all these things, the Anglican Church in North America is determined by the help of God to hold and maintain, as the Anglican Way has received them, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to our posterity.” This pledge begs the question of how we can ensure that the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ in the ACNA will be transmitted unimpaired to our children and grandchildren? The answer to that question lies in raising up next generation leaders who are biblically faithful, courageous, and resilient in their proclamation and propagation of the Gospel.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new leadership initiative: the Anderson Trane Fellows program. You can find a full description of this AAC program and our first class of next generation leaders with their pictures and bios here. The Anderson Trane Fellows are named for Bishop David Anderson and Mr. Frank Trane. Bishop David and Frank Trane collaborated together for over 25 years to help biblically faithful and courageous Episcopalians stand for Gospel truth in the Episcopal Church—and, when that was no longer possible, to devise the strategies we followed in building an underground railroad to leave the Episcopal Church, make our exodus to other Anglican provinces, and finally resource and help launch the Anglican Church in North America. This vital collaboration between a bishop and a significant lay leader is the model upon which we base the Anderson Trane Fellows. Every generation needs biblically faithful, courageous, and transparent leaders like Daniel and his companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who proclaimed God’s truth in the face of a hostile culture. This is the same witness that our Fellows will make in the decades to come as they, too, determine to hold and maintain the historic faith, doctrine, sacraments, and disciplines of the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Our Anderson Trane Fellows are among the best and brightest young leaders in our province who were recommended by their bishops. You will find in their bios that they are canon theologians, PhD students, church planters, successful pastors of revitalizing “turn-around” churches, catechists, gifted youth leaders, and a gifted up-and-coming ordinand. Every year we will take each class to two significant training events. The first one is in May in Wittenberg, Germany at the Center for Reformational Studies. There, our Fellows will drink deeply of the history and theology of the continental Reformation and its influence on the English Reformation. We intend to ground our Fellows in 16th century Anglican Reformational theology and ecclesiology. The class will also spend two weeks stateside focusing on mission in our current context. This training will include issues of cultural application of the Gospel, biblical social justice, the biblical and natural law grounds for human identity, formation and flourishing, and more. In addition, we will equip our Anderson Trane Fellows through monthly Zoom meetings to help them understand and process how they can serve at every level of the Church. We desire our Fellows to cultivate the same life of Jesus in their souls and ministries that we provide in our clergy care groups through the Daniel Leadership Institute. It is no accident that our Fellows have each subscribed to the Daniel Declaration and will be the voices in our Formed conferences and in our Weekly Updates on how to avoid the pitfalls of either accommodating the church to the culture or living solely in opposition to it but, instead, choosing to engage it courageously with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Recently, in a First Things article, Thomas Guarino identified St. Vincent of Lerins as Pope Francis’ favorite theologian. As I’ve written in my book, Anglican Conciliarism, St. Vincent identified the temporal and geographic unity of all believers in doctrine and discipline throughout the ages in his famous statement that the orthodox Christian faith and practice is “that which has been believed by all Christians at all times and in all places.” It seems that the Roman Church departed from this standard with its recent statements on the blessings of same sex partnerships (see our commentary here). Pope Francis seems to have ignored St. Vincent’s quote, “in eodem dogmate, eodem sensu, eademque sententia” (that doctrine must be developed “according to the same doctrine, the same meaning, and the same judgment” as before). It is crucial for understanding the type of doctrinal development that St. Vincent sanctions. It is growth that fully respects, conserves, and builds upon prior theological and ecclesiological achievements.

As next-generation leaders, our Anderson Trane Fellows will meet the need to express the Gospel and the transforming love of Jesus Christ in fresh ways so that all generations, including their contemporaries, will be able to understand and follow. At the same time, they will be equipped to do this in the same way St. Vincent commends—building upon Scripture, the Great Tradition, and our own Fundamental Declarations.

We are deeply excited and prayerful about our new leadership initiative. Over time, we believe it will create a team of Anglican next-generation leaders who are prepared to grow into our future theologians, seminary deans, canons to the ordinary, rectors, and more at every level of the Church. Future classes will include gifted next-generation lay leaders in the footsteps of Frank Trane with whom our clergy will learn how to partner together for the glory of God and the flourishing of the Province. Please join us in prayer that God will supply all of our needs for this leadership initiative and that our Anderson Trane Fellows will be a gift and blessing to the Anglican Church in North America.

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