The first mission of the Church is the worship of Almighty God. And it is in this context that the holiness of individual members is realized. Our worship is elegant, respectfully formal, essentially timeless in its form and attitude. That does not make it an historic relic or a sterile ritual. Rather it is a structured worship that allows the individual mastery over its elements and the ability to pray the liturgy on a deeply personal basis. Yes, our prayers are largely “written down,” but this is so we may use them as familiar and personal avenues to God. Nothing to our mind is more productive of passivity in worship than to have someone else pray for you in ways and words you are hearing for the first time and which cannot be your own (or with which you may, in fact, disagree!). Our liturgy provides the foundation for personal holiness, for the continuing process of each member to stretch and reach and grow in God’s grace.
St. Vincent of Lerins in the early fifth century defined catholicity as “what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.” It is by this test that we Anglicans consider ourselves to be catholic, together with the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholicism and the Old Catholic Churches. The seal of that is the apostolic succession, the consecration of our bishops at the hands of other bishops tracing their consecrations back to the apostles themselves. Our theology is that of the seven Ecumenical Councils and the common understanding of the great churches of Rome and the East. We stress the underlying unity of faith and order with this early Church and judge contemporary issues in the light of Holy Scriptures and that Holy Tradition. We preach an individual living faith in Jesus Christ, but stress a life lived out in the Church, the community of saints. We exhalts the Lord Christ above all – yet it recognizes the proper honor paid to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. We hold to traditional Christian morals, yet provide ready confession and absolution to the penitent sinner. In short, we holds to the catholic faith, the faith once delivered to the saints.
It is often said that our society is too materialistic. perhaps, in many ways, this is true. But it also exhibits a profound disdain for the material. Think for a moment of all the things we use once and then throw away and you will be convinced that we do not value the material or especially respect it. But the Catholic Church has always respected the material world as the loving creation of God Himself. And it is through this material world that God reaches us with his love and power, for He has no other means. Thus we employ material elements (water, bread, wine, oil, married life) as channels of that love and power which He has ordained. Weekly, if not more often, we meet our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, where He allows us to feed on His Body and Blood, His Real Presence, strengthening our souls and imparting eternal life.
By this time, you will have gathered that we are not interested in being “blown by every wind of doctrine”. Trees deeply rooted do not succumb to passing breezes. We are sorry that so many of our Christian brethren have decided to take as their examples of life the passing whims and fancies of the popular culture. We are not trendy. We believe in an historic faith which is a “still point in a changing world”. The Church is a rock, a sure foundation on which we can build our own lives and the lives of our children.
Our historical roots extend back to the Church of England, but our more recent origins lie in the religious upheaval of the late-twentieth century. Starting in the 1970s, a number of churches within the Anglican communion began to question and renounce what we consider to be the catholic and apostolic faith. This is why in 1977, an international congress of nearly 2,000 Anglican clergy and lay people met in St. Louis, Missouri, to take the actions necessary to establish an orthodox jurisdiction in which traditional Anglicanism could be maintained.
Acting according to the principles determined in the Ecumenical Councils of the ancient Church and adopting initially the name “Anglican Church of North America,” they placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the retired Episcopal bishop of Springfield, Illinois, the Right Reverend Albert Chambers. In 1977 at a ceremony in Denver, Colorado, Bishop Chambers expanded that jurisdiction and devolved it upon others by consecrating four more bishops, and the Anglican Catholic Church was born. In decades since, the ACC has spread beyond its North American homeland to most places where the English lanugage and Book of Common Prayer had taken root, and even a few locations where they had not.
While the ACC’s polity and governance may date to the late-twentieth century, our ecclesial origins stretch much further back. We embrace our past as heirs of the English Church, a Church whose history stretches back through the Reformation and Medieval eras, and finds its beginnings in the Patristic Age. To find out more about our past and place our Church in its historical context, click the button below
The ACC’s Archbishop and Metropolitan is the Most Reverend Mark Haverland. He is a graduate of Kenyon College with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and holds an MA in Roman Catholic theology from Duquesne University, and a Ph.D. in religion from Duke University.
Ordained to the priesthood in 1982, he served for twenty-four years as rector of St. Stephen’s Church, in Athens, Georgia. In 1998, the then Father Haverland was elected and consecrated as Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the South, succeeding the late William O. Lewis. At the XVI Provincial Synod in 2005, he was elected to succeed the retiring John Charles Vockler as Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church.
He is author of ANGLICAN CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE, an introduction to orthodox Anglican belief and has written articles and reviews for publications such as Touchstone, The New Oxford Review, and The Journal of Religion.
As Archbishop, he is the head of the College of Bishops of the ACC’s Original Province. To contact the Archbishop, or to read his publications or press releases from his office, click the link below.