Rick Warren to address breakaway Anglicans

|PIC1|Pastor Rick Warren is one of several Christian leaders who have agreed to address thousands of breakaway Anglicans when they meet in June for their first official assembly as the Anglican Church in North America.

In an announcement Tuesday, the ACNA – seen as a rival body to The Episcopal Church in the US and the Anglican Church in Canada – revealed a list of speakers who have so far confirmed their participation in the emerging province's assembly in Bedford, Texas.

Warren is being joined by Metropolitan Jonah, an archbishop in the Orthodox Church in America, and the Rev Dr Todd Hunter of breakaway group Anglican Mission in the Americas.

Warren, who leads the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in southern California, had offered support to conservative Anglicans earlier this year when the California Supreme Court ruled that a Newport Beach parish may lose their property after splitting from The Episcopal Church – the US arm of the global Anglican Communion.

The 500-member St James Anglican Church left the US body in 2004 citing differences on scriptural interpretations and the controversial consecration of the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.

"(Our) brothers and sisters here at St James in Newport Beach lost their California State Supreme Court case to keep their property," Warren wrote in a letter to Christianity Today in January. "We stand in solidarity with them, and with all orthodox, evangelical Anglicans. I offer the campus of Saddleback Church to any Anglican congregation who need a place to meet, or if you want to plant a new congregation in south Orange County."

According to the ACNA, Warren is "a longtime friend of orthodox Anglicans" and is scheduled to speak on June 23 at St Vincent's Cathedral.

The ACNA is an emerging province uniting around 700 breakaway parishes in North America into a single church, and representing 100,000 conservative Anglicans.

Anglican bishops disaffected by The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada began in 2007 to form the "separate ecclesiastical structure" in an attempt to remain faithful to the global Anglican Communion. They believe the two existing North American bodies have departed from traditional Anglicanism and orthodox teaching.

The province was formally recognised by the GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) Primates' Council, which mainly consists of conservative bishops from the Global South, last week. Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, considered the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, has not indicated whether he will recognise the ACNA as part of the wider Communion but his office said it will take years for the new province to gain official recognition from the rest of the Communion.

The Anglican Church in North America's inaugural Provincial Assembly is being held June 22-25.