Recognition of the Orders of the Anglican Church in North America
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have recognised the orders of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967. The Measure gives the Archbishops authority to determine whether the orders of any Church are ‘recognised and accepted’ by the Church of England for the purposes of the Measure.
This follows work undertaken by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) in consultation with the Council for Christian Unity both (a) to clarify the general criteria by which the Church of England recognises the ministry of those whose orders are of churches within the historic episcopate and with whom the Church of England is not in communion, and (b) to consider whether the orders of ACNA meet these criteria. The work on the general criteria is presented in Recognition by the Church of England of Orders Conferred in Other Churches, available on the FAOC page of the Church of England website. The work on ACNA specifically was communicated to the Archbishops, whose responsibility it is to make the decision in such cases. The Archbishops, having carefully reflected on this advice, have decided to act on it by formally recognising ACNA’s orders.
When someone who was originally ordained in ACNA or any other church whose orders are recognised under the Measure wishes to minister in the Church of England, the first questions to be considered are those of whether the person concerned is suitable for ministry in the Church of England and if so, whether any further training is necessary. Where those questions are resolved satisfactorily, the Archbishop of the relevant Province can decide to give the minister permission to officiate in the Church of England without being ordained in the Church of England, either permanently or for a specified period.
Other churches whose orders the Church of England recognises although it is not in communion with them are the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (formerly known as the Church of England in South Africa), and the Free Church of England.
These churches are distinct from those with which the Church of England is in communion, which include all churches of the Anglican Communion. For up to date information on this, please see Part 5 of the current edition of the Church of England Yearbook.
The Bishop of Peterborough Chair, Council for Christian Unity