The Anglican Church in North America College of Bishops met September 4-6, 2018 in Long Beach, California.
The meeting, which followed a daily schedule of morning Eucharist, small group discussions, Midday Prayer, and business sessions, was held at All Saints Anglican Cathedral in Long Beach, California and was hosted by Bishop Keith Andrews and the Diocese of Western Anglicans.
The College worked on the Prayer Book and Catechism, both of which will come to fruition in 2019, did continuing work on the issues of overlapping jurisdictions and holy orders, and discussed the potential for a new season of global ministry as Archbishop Beach chairs the Gafcon Primates Council.
The College of Bishops spent time approving the following Daily Offices, Pastoral Rites, and Holy Day Services:
The Great Litany
Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation with the Laying on of Hands by the Bishop
Holy Baptism with Confirmation
Renewal of Baptismal Vows
Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child
The Rites of Healing
Ministry to the Dying
Prayers for a Vigil
Burial of the Dead
Great Vigil of Easter
The next and final resources to be taken up in the editing process are:
Institution of a Rector
Consecration and Dedication of a Place of Worship
Church-wide feedback on these liturgies is due by November 1. The January 2019 meeting of the College will then work to finalize these liturgies, paving the way for a new Prayer Book to be released at Assembly 2019 in June.
The Prayer Books of all the jurisdictions that founded the Province are authorized in the Canons for use by congregations and so use of the new Prayer Book will not be required.
The College of Bishops approved small changes to the Catechism, including the addition of Scripture verses which demonstrate the biblical grounding of the Catechism. Bishop John Guernsey commended the Catechesis Task Force for their hard work: “What was an outstanding Catechism in its initial version in 2014 has been refined into a truly superb one. Our tremendous thanks to the Rev. Joel Scandrett and those on the Committee on Catechesis and its Scripture team for their great work.”
The existence of overlapping diocesan boundaries adds a layer of both diversity and complexity to the life of the province. The bishops of geographic dioceses and affinity dioceses (churches bound together by similar churchmanship or ethnic background) discussed ways to model cooperation and communication in ministry.
Another topic that will continue to be a part of the discussions of the College of Bishops in the years to come will be discussions of the various aspects of the the Holy Orders Task Force Report received by the College last Fall. Much of the attention given to the Holy Orders Task Force Report has been on the different understandings within the province of women in Holy Orders (and these discussions will continue), but there was material in the report regarding all aspects of Holy Orders and the College desires to review this in an orderly way.
Gafcon and the Anglican Church in North America
The bishops gave thanks for the global fellowship that they experienced in June with fellow Anglicans at Gafcon Jerusalem. During the June meeting it was announced that Archbishop Beach was elected to chair the Primates Council beginning in April 2019. The bishops discussed the opportunity for the Anglican Church in North America to serve the global church over the next five years, and considered ways to support Archbishop Beach in this calling.