The ACNA College of Bishops has received the Rt. Rev. Todd Atkinson of Alberta, Canada into its fold.
At their meeting in Melbourne, Florida last week, the College of Bishops regularized the episcopal orders of Bishop Atkinson and received him as a bishop under the oversight of the Rt. Rev. Charlie Masters, Bishop of the Anglican Network in Canada.
Bishop Atkinson leads a church planting initiative in Canada called Via Apostolica, which will remain independent of the ANiC for the time being.
Born in Canada, Bishop Atkinson was educated at Harris Manchester College in Oxford, studying theology and philosophy. In 2003, he moved back to Canada and currently lives i Lethbridge, Alberta with his wife Cheri and three children. In 2012 he was consecrated a bishop by Episcopi vagantes outside the Anglican patrimony. A spokesman for the ACNA told AI that at their meeting the ACNA bishops regularized his orders, which AI understands to mean by conditional re-consecration
“This is a big day so I’m a bit emotional. This is a promised land that I’m very privileged to have entered into,” Bishop Atkinson said in an ACNA press release. “I say this to all the people in the ACNA: You’ve got something really good. The way God is reconstituting Anglicanism and making it an absolute force for missions, there’s just so many good things here! There’s a lot of health, a lot of really good things!”
The Rt. Rev. Charlie Masters noted: “Via Apostolica has an intense love of the Lord, a high view of the work of the Holy Spirit, and a love of the Anglican Way. I’m delighted that I was able to commend Bishop Todd to the College of Bishops today. I was honored by that, kind of like Barnabas bringing Paul to the Apostles. It was a serious time of discernment on behalf of the College of Bishops. They never lightly do anything. There was a great sense of joy. It was a great morning.”
The Most Rev. Foley Beach, primate of the Anglican Church in North America, said, “I am thankful for Bishop Atkinson’s heart for mentoring and discipleship. As a College we have come to know him over the last few years and are now blessed to welcome him home into the Anglican Church in North America.”
While Bishop Atkinson has been attending ANiC gatherings since 2014, a number of diocesan clergy have expressed reservations about the speed of the inclusion of Via Apostolica into the diocese. One priest told AI he was concerned the bishop’s reliance on private revelation was not entirely in line with the Anglican formularies. The issue came before this week’s council meeting of the ANiC for discussion — no details about this debate have so far been released.
However, an ACNA spokesman confirmed to AI the sole step that has been taken is the inclusion of BIshop Atkinson into the college of bishops as a suffragan to Bishop Masters. In the fullness of time the clergy and members of Via Apostolica may also be received into the growing Canadian church.