THE FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED CHURCHMEN was founded in 1973 as a coordinating agent for laypeople and clergy concerned about the breakdown of faith and order within the U.S. Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC).
When TEC decided to ordain women as priests and promulgate a new prayer book in 1976 (in Canada in 1975 and 1983, respectively) – the opening salvos of a liberal revisionist assault on TEC/ACoC – the FCC sponsored the September 1977 Church Congress in St. Louis. There, some 2,000 faithful clergy and laity adopted The Affirmation of St. Louis, spelling out the fundamental principles and doctrine of orthodox Anglicanism, and sparked the start of the “Continuing Anglican” movement.
The FCC’s role evolved in ensuing decades, though, as revisionists continued pressing for dominion in TEC/ACoC, ultimately targeting orthodox doctrine on homosexuality for alteration as well. That set the stage for the hardest-fought battle with faithful believers remaining in the U.S and Canadian Churches, but a decisive win for heterodoxy. That, in turn, spurred the second major (and larger) wave of departures from TEC/ACoC in the first decade of the new century.
Today, the FCC strives to promote not only orthodox Anglicanism itself, but communication, harmony and (ultimately) full unity – with no compromise of Apostolic Faith – among the significant body of survivors of the North American theological turbulence, most of whom have found the means of continuing as faithful Anglicans outside TEC/ACoC, but not yet as one. Rather, the orthodox Anglican movement remains in some degree of disarray.
CONTINUING ANGLICANS are still working to overcome what remain of the unintended ill effects of their early efforts to organize after departing TEC/ACoC, when they telegraphed via the Affirmation their determination to go forward as the one “Anglican Church in North America.” Instead, due to various pressures at the time – not least that the St. Louis movement was attempting to chart new ecclesiastical territory – the movement began breaking up into a few different jurisdictions, none of which bore the name “Anglican Church in North America.” The “extramural” Anglican situation became more confused in ensuing years, moreover, as numerous other jurisdictions claiming to be part of the Continuing Church appeared on (and sometimes later disappeared from) the scene.
Happily, the situation of the Continuing Church today is much improved. As well, it has often been misperceived as worse than it actually is. The majority of the movement has always been concentrated in the handful of jurisdictions representing the Continuum’s mainstream, among which a certain level of unity has always existed, based on their common support for the Affirmation. And at this writing (June 2015), prospects for reunification of the Continuum’s mainstream elements appear to be better than ever before. Still, the difficulty of healing the Continuum’s divisions should be obvious from the length of time they have resisted healing.
Even if Continuers were now united, though, a separation would remain between the Continuum and the 2009 conservative Anglican body that (perhaps ironically) now bears the name that Continuers abandoned in 1978, the ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA (ACNA); nor does the ACNA enjoy complete unity within itself. Formed mainly by more recent TEC/ACoC refugees, the ACNA is remarkable in that it has managed to bring under one ecclesiastical roof even former TEC dioceses and extramural bodies of ex-Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans organized between 2000 and 2009, as well as the much older Reformed Episcopal Church. But while a slight majority of its parishes appear to be entirely orthodox, the ACNA has not – yet – resolved the fact that different views and practices exist among its members on the issue of women priests.
What are some of the things the FCC does to try to keep faithful Anglican believers extant in various jurisdictions – including the small number still hanging on in TEC/ACoC – in touch and moving toward rather than away from each other? It seeks persons from all parts of the orthodox Anglican movement to serve as FCC members and directors. It hosts and supports conferences and meetings that bring communicants from the various jurisdictions together. It publishes a newsletter, The Certain Trumpet, a few times each year. And it has for a number of years produced and maintained – first in hardcopy and now online – a thorough DIRECTORY OF ORTHODOX ANGLICAN/EPISCOPAL PARISHES in the U.S and Canada. Indeed, if you are an orthodox Anglican residing in North America, the chances are that the FCC has long been providing free advertising for your parish. (Though all parishes listed in the directory are also invited to support this ministry by becoming FCC members.) At this writing, the online parish directory (anglicanchurches.net) was undergoing a comprehensive update. When that work is finished, we believe the FCC’s directory will be the most complete listing of U.S. and Canadian orthodox Anglican parishes available.
Do you believe that the Anglican expression of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith is worth preserving? Do you support our work for a unified orthodox Anglican witness, and the purposes and goals of The Affirmation of St. Louis? If so, please join us to make a common voice, praying together and calling upon the Holy Spirit to guide us in this undertaking. Annual dues are US $20 for individuals, US $25 for family memberships (married couples), and US $10 for individual parishes/churches. Amounts donated in addition to annual dues are greatly appreciated, and are tax-deductible for US donors. (The FCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.) Those seeking to become FCC members are asked to complete the form at this link and send it to the address indicated on the form. FCC Membership Form (this document is available in PDF and Microsoft Word formats).
The FCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in Maryland in 1983. Donors are invited to make tax-deductible donations to support our efforts. Please contact us to learn about donations.