The governance of the church

The UECNA is run on what might be described as a ‘Bishop in Synod’ or a ‘Bishop in Presbytery’ system where the duties of governance are shared. This echoes some aspects of Ussher’s plan for a moderated Episcopacy which was proposed during the run-up to the English Civil War, but its more specific context is William White’s The Case of the Episcopal Church in the United States Considered (1782.) White proposed creating State and Federal Conventions consisting of clergy and laity to administer the Church, over which would be elected a presiding office who would undertake the functions of a bishop until such time as the historic episcopate could be secured from England. The State Conventions started meeting in 1783, and the first General Convention was held in 1785.

At this stage, the Conventions were unicameral with the clergy and laity sitting and deliberating together, and this was only modified in 1789 to encourage and facilitate Bishop Seabury’s participation in the General Convention. With various small adjustments, the bishop and convention; bishops and convention model at state/diocesan and federal level has continued until this day. It’s intention is to make the government of the church cooperative and consultative, rather than a straightforward monarchical system.

In broad terms, the Diocesan Convocation or Convention, and General Convention decide the broad outlines of policy, set the budget, and address local and national concerns. They also elect the Standing Committee, and the National Council which act as permanent consultative bodies to the bishop(s) between the meetings of the various synods. In some ways, it is the bishop in consultation with the standing committee which is the backbone of diocesan administration. For example, the standing committee approves candidates for ordination, and grants permanent Canonical Residence to clergy. It also consulted in connection with some disciplinary issues, and when there is no resident bishop, it acts as the ‘Ordinary’ of the diocese.

The Bishop, on the other hand, can trace his origins back to the New Testament, and, in accepting the 1662 Preface to the Ordinal, the UECNA is committed to the view that bishops constitute an order distinct from the presbyters in the Church. This was a ‘push back’ against the Presbyterian claims concerning the parity of ministers – an issue that was all too relevant in the aftermath of the English Civil War. The bishop’s duties are to celebrate the sacraments, and to preach the word of God, which are functions which he shares with the presbyterate, to administer the discipline of the Church, which he starts with the Ecclesiastical Courts, and to act as Guardian of the Faith, to confirm, and to ordain. In administration and ordination he is expected to consult with the Standing Committee of the diocese, but it must be understood that the clergy owe Canonical Obedience to the bishop, and, if the bishop’s directions are in accordance with the Canons of the Church, follow his direction.

On the whole, the sort of Bishop-in-Synod government practiced in the UECNA works well if all those who participate in it – bishops, clergy, and laity – understand their duties and responsibilities. It is not a democratic system, but rather a representative system which allows for a broad range of voices to be heard in the administration of the Church. There is, however, one area in which the Bishops and Synods have no discretion, and that is doctrine. The doctrine of the UECNA is based upon the Holy Scriptures, the three ancient Creeds, and the Ecumenical Councils, as interpreted through the Articles of Religion, the Homilies, and the Prayer Book.

Glad Tidings

Sample pages of Glad Tidings newsletter

Select sample pages of recent Glad Tidings issues are now available on the United Episcopal Church website. Glad Tidings is the quarterly newsletter of the church. The publication is typically 12 pages and includes parish news, articles on theology and church history, and items of general interest. It also includes official announcements of church and clergy activities.

These sample pages give a taste of the content included in Glad Tidings, in hopes that more readers will subscribe for the regular, timely updates. Individuals and parishes are encouraged to subscribe to the newsletter and to share it with others.

Click here to view the Glad Tidings page, where you may see the excerpts. Subscribe today!

Presiding Bishop Peter Robinson discusses 18th Century Anglicanism

Peter Robinson, presiding bishop of the United Episcopal Church of North America, was recently the featured guest on the Iron Sharpens Iron radio program on December 31, 2020. Host Chris Arnzen interviewed the presiding bishop on the topic “Lessons to be Learned from 18th Century Anglicanism Today”.

Click here to listen to the program.

2021 Ordo Calendars available

2021 UECNA Ordo Calendars are now available for $5 each with free shipping within the United States. Calendars are printed in full color and based on the 1928 U.S. Book of Common Prayer.

To order, send check or money order, with “calendar” in the memo line, to

UECNA
P.O. Box 1113
Waynesboro, VA 22980

You may also order online by clicking the PayPal button in the sidebar. When checking out, select “Other” as the reason for donation. Please add 50 cents per calendar.

Ordination of a deacon

James (Jim) Everette Neese was ordained deacon by the Most Rev. Peter D. Robinson on October 15, 2020 at Good Shepherd Anglican Church in Waynesboro, Virginia. Deacon Neese is assigned as assistant minister at Paul’s Chapel in Lexington, North Carolina.

Episcopal license

The Rt. Rev. Steven Murrell, formerly Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of the Great Lakes, was licensed to be Assistant Bishop in the Missionary Diocese of the West.

Bible

Clergy license

The Rev. Michael Weiss (ACC) was licensed to officiate in the Missionary Diocese of the East for a further three years, effective October 1, 2020.

Presiding Bishop Peter Robinson guest on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio

The Most Rev. Peter Robinson, presiding bishop of the United Episcopal Church of North America, was a guest on the Iron Sharpens Iron radio show on September 22, 2020. He was interviewed by host Chris Arnzen on the topic of “The Fall of the Episcopal Church & the Rise of Biblically Faithful Episcopal Bodies”.

Click here to listen to Part 1.

Click here to listen to Part 2.

Bible

Ordination of a presbyter

The Rev. Winston Rowlett was ordained presbyter by the Rt. Rev. David Hustwick on September 19, 2020 at Sts. Andrew and Matthias Church in Hastings, Michigan. The Rev. Mr. Rowlett assists at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Traverse City, Michigan.

Bible

Ordination of a deacon

Johannes (Ian) Mosley was ordained deacon by the Rt. Rev. Glen D. Hartley on August 21, 2020 at St. Joseph Anglican Church in Branson, Missouri. Deacon Mosley is assigned as assistant minister in that parish.