Boost for conservative Anglicans as South Carolina join ACNA
Conservative Anglicans in America received a major boost last week when South Carolina joined a breakaway traditionalist grouping.
The Diocese of South Carolina voted unanimously to join the Anglican Church in North America, a splinter group from the official Anglican body, The Episcopal Church, on Friday.
One of the nine original TEC regions formed in 1785, South Carolina's decision to join the conservative faction completes its separation from its more liberal forefather.
'I cast my vote to affiliate with the ACNA with eager and expectant faith,' said Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence during his address to the convention.
'I believe God has called us to this and I believe we will find a deeper richness in our vocation, fuller fellowship in the Spirit, a more zealous thrust in mission,' said Bishop Lawrence, who survived an attempt by TEC to oust him in 2012.
'But most of all, I believe a door will be opened, the fresh winds of the Spirit will blow, and a caged eagle will soar.'
ACNA split from their episcopal bishops in 2009 and is affiliated with GAFCON, a conservative faction of Anglican leaders many from Africa and the 'global south'.
ACNA is not a member of the wider Anglican Communion and instead aligns itself to GAFCON's 2008 Jerusalem declaration made in reaction to a perceived liberalisation of the western Anglican churches.
Most Rev Foley Beach, Archbishop of the ACNA, welcomed South Carolina to the grouping, which now has 111,853 members in 966 churches and 32 dioceses spread across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
'I am thankful for Bishop Mark Lawrence, for his steadfast and Godly leadership, for his friendship, and for his humility throughout this entire process,' he said.
'Your witness in mission, in scholarship, and steadfast commitment to the historical teaching of the Bible is commendable. You are bringing with you many gifts that will further strengthen our Province, and the larger Anglican world.'