About the new Anglican Church
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The status of the new Anglican Church in North America, of which Archbishop-elect Duncan will lead, remains uncertain within the global Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Communion, which the new church hopes to join, is a global fellowship of national churches that trace their roots to the Church of England. The majority of the world's 80 million Anglicans are Africans, with 18 million in the Church of Nigeria alone.
The Anglican church in the United States is the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church. It doesn't use the name "Anglican" because it was politically incorrect to do so after the American Revolution.
The Anglican Communion consists of 38 national or multinational provinces, and each province's top bishop is called a "primate." The primate of England, the archbishop of Canterbury, is its spiritual leader. But he is "first among equals" and has no authority over other primates.
No international body has authority to govern the individual provinces. The archbishop of Canterbury, the primates as a whole, or the once-a- decade gathering of all Anglican bishops at Lambeth, England, can dispense advice but can't make law.
The new Anglican Church in North America consists of four dioceses that broke with the Episcopal Church, many individual parishes in the United States and Canada that had been overseen by provinces in the global South, and older splinter groups that broke with the Episcopal Church as long as 135 years ago.
The new church hopes to be recognized as a province of the Anglican Communion, but it is unclear if or how that may happen. The new church has not yet asked for such recognition.
In February the 38 primates called for a "professionally mediated" conversation between Anglican leaders and the proposed Anglican Church in North America. They said there was no consensus about how the new church should be regarded, and that many of them had concerns about recognizing a second province on territory that already belongs to another.
Later, seven primates from the global South declared their own recognition of the new church.
"Our first goal is to get ourselves organized and continue the relationships we aleady have with Anglicans around the world who have already recognized us," said Deacon Peter Frank, a spokesman for the new church.
-- Ann Rodgers
First Published June 21, 2009 12:00 am