LaTrobe, Penna: There is likely to be no change in the cool, cordial but noncommittal stance taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury towards the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) intimated the Bishop of Chester in an address to delegates to the 2014 ACNA Assembly today.
Speaking to the 900 delegates and bishops attending the evening plenary session of the Assembly on 25 June 2014, the Rt. Rev. Peter Forster spoke of his warm personal regard for outgoing Archbishop Robert Duncan, noting their relationship could be traced back to a pub crawl the two had taken together during a free evening at the 1998 Lambeth Conference.
Archbishop Welby sent his “most warm fraternal greetings” to the ACNA Assembly, and would keep the gathering in his prayers this week, he said.
Dr. Forster noted that he had “followed with much sadness” the “difficult period” for the North American Anglican churches since Lambeth ’98. However, “through all your struggles,” he prayed that “truth will emerge” that would strengthen the witness of the church to America and Canada.
Archbishop Welby had met Archbishop Duncan on a number of occasions as he was “travelling widely” during the first 18 months of his archiepiscopate to meet the leaders of the overseas churches. He expected Archbishop Welby would continue this practice and meet Archbishop-elect Beach in due course, but declined to develop this theme.
He did explain that the Archbishop of Canterbury believed that the way forward for the Anglican world was to “listen prayerfully” and to “listen patiently” to each other in order to heal the divisions within the body of Christ.
Dr. Forster observed that for him, his time at the ACNA Assembly was “a time of great blessing for me in my journey with the Lord,” and looked forward to participating in the work of the congress in the week ahead.
(Photo: Bishop Forster offering the chalice to Dr. J.I. Packer at the ACNA opening Eucharist on June 25, 2014)