Saturday, June 10, 2017

Beachhead Established in Europe by Orthodox Anglicans


Author: Woody Norman

EDINBURGH, Scotland, U.K., June, 2017 – Within sight of the mouth of the Firth of Forth, an archbishop of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) introduced the conference's to-be-consecrated missionary bishop to Europe.

The Most Reverend Doctor Foley Beach, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) made the announcement on June 8, 2017 following a vote by the Scottish Episcopal Church changing its canons allowing for same-sex “marriage.”

Canon Andy Lines will be Gafcon’s missionary bishop to Europe. The office - a new "North See" - provides Scottish Episcopalians who faithfully uphold traditional and biblical marriage episcopal oversight.  

Just days earlier the globe-trotting archbishop attended the convocation of the FreeChurch of England (FCE), an ecclesial body associated neither with the Church of England nor with the Anglican Communion. Beach's close proximity to Scotland at that time was not coincidental.

The young North American archbishop has been, since his election by fellow ACNA bishops, working diligently to shore-up orthodoxy around the world and not just within Anglicanism.

Foley Beach has developed a relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church, especially a good relationship with the Metropolitan Hilarion of the Department of External Church Relations. Beach has also entered into talks with American ecclesiastical organizations such as the LutheranChurch-Missouri Synod. ACNA is in communion with the North American LutheranChurch (NALC).

Since its founding in 2008 by Gafcon, the Anglican Church in North America has been planting churches across the United States and Canada. Indeed, there are many “store-front” churches within ACNA. One can argue that ACNA exercises The Benedict Option.

What might have gone unnoticed in the announcement by Archbishop Beach of bishop-elect Andy Lines is that Lines’s canonical residence has already been moved from a diocese in a South American Anglican province to ACNA’s Anglican Diocese of the South, Foley Beach’s diocese.

To be sure Archbishop Foley Beach does not act independently of his Gafcon brother Primates, however, he appears to have been charged by them with pulling together any and all remnants of orthodox Christianity throughout the world. Beach is a person with strong, biblical convictions and has continually demonstrated his highly developed organizational skill as "captain of the ship."

Placing Canon Lines within Beach’s own Anglican Diocese of the South promises, to a degree, an implementation of orthodox Anglicanism - under Beach's oversight - throughout a dying Europe.

Canon Andy Lines will be consecrated a bishop on June 30, 2017 at the ACNA’s triennial assembly at Wheaton College in Illinois.

Worth Earlwood "Woody" Norman, Jr. is a biographer , historian, poet, and publisher. A community chaplain, Norman is a deacon in ACNA's Special Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy and is an assisting clergy at the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Pelham, Alabama.