We are now 22 dioceses stretching from Arctic Canada to the Rio Grande, and from Newfoundland to California. Three new dioceses were organized in preparation for this meeting of Provincial Council: the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas and the Southwest. A fourth, Cascadia – originally built from congregations that had been under Recife and from congregations of the Reformed Episcopal Church – sought change of status from diocese-in-formation to diocese. One Diocese has asked this Council for discharge, for recognition that its call as a diocese has been completed. The Diocese of the Holy Spirit grew out of the Missionary Convocation of Uganda. All of its congregations and clergy have now been dispersed to other dioceses and a remarkable chapter in our early history is closing. Holy Spirit’s bishop, John Guernsey, has been elected Bishop of the Mid-Atlantic, a diocese principally formed by parishes that had been under Nigeria (chiefly in CANA’s Anglican District of Virginia). But Mid-Atlantic also draws in some congregations that had been part of Southern Cone and others part of Uganda. In microcosm we see the transition from our early history of global protection and sponsorship toward domestic geographical coherence.
There are many evidences of God’s favor toward us, not because we deserve it, but because we continue to work so hard to align ourselves with His will. As this Provincial Council meets, I am announcing a re-organization of my team of advisors (my “cabinet”) to reflect where we are headed, rather than where we have been. This change is like the change represented in the diocesan stories just told. The Lead Bishops of the Common Cause Partnership – representing all the jurisdictions and organizations out of which the Anglican Church in North America was gathered – were the original Executive Committee of the Anglican Church in North America. Last June the transition was made to an Executive Committee of six clergy and six laity, chaired by the Archbishop. Yet because we are – in the best Anglican fashion – to be “episcopally led and synodically governed” [Lambeth Conference, 1930] the need for wisdom from Lead Bishops representing our jurisdictional and organizational roots caused me to retain a body that had literally led us together into unity. They ceased to be the Province’s Executive Committee, but became the Archbishop’s Cabinet.
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