“I cast my vote to affiliate with the ACNA with eager and expectant faith,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese South Carolina in his address to the convention. “I believe God has called us to this and I believe we will find a deeper richness in our vocation; fuller fellowship in the Spirit; a more zealous thrust in mission. But most of all, I believe a door will be opened, the fresh winds of the Spirit will blow, and a caged eagle will soar.”
Affiliation with the ACNA brings the Diocese into full communion with an organization of 111,853 members in 966 churches and 32 dioceses spread across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
Founded in 2009 at the urging and with direction from Anglican primates of the Global South, the ACNA represents the unifying of a number of different groups in terms of theological approach and worship emphasis including evangelicals, charismatics and Anglo-catholics.
The Most Rev. Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, who spoke to the more than 350 convention delegates and clergy attending following the vote said, “I am thankful for Bishop Mark Lawrence, for his steadfast and Godly leadership, for his friendship, and for his humility throughout this entire process. Your witness in mission, in scholarship, and steadfast commitment to the historical teaching of the Bible is commendable. You are bringing with you many gifts that will further strengthen our Province, and the larger Anglican world.”
“From Pentecost on Christians are meant to be connected,” said the Very Rev. Craige Borrett, Rector of Christ-St. Paul’s, Hollywood, who served as Chairman of the Provincial Affiliation Task Force for the Diocese, and who recommended this affiliation last March. “We’re family. And with this decision we’re uniting ourselves with a diverse group of biblical, orthodox, Anglicans who are recognized by the majority of the Anglican Communion. I’m excited about the impact we can have as well.”
“The ACNA is full of ministry friends and colleagues we have known and worked with for many years,” said the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis. “It is a joy to now be under one roof with them. We’ll be blessed to have the benefit of the work they’re doing in important areas like church planting. And we look forward to sharing our assets as well – things like our strong youth and grandparenting ministries and our beachfront camp and conference center, St. Christopher’s.”
The Convention was also blessed with a recorded greeting from the leadership of the Anglican Communion’s GAFCON movement, The Most Rev. Peter Jensen and the Most Rev. Peter Akinola. “In times like these we need to be able to partner with fellow Christians who share common faith with us,” said the Archbishop Akinola. “We need to stand together to make a difference in this world of darkness where people are deviating day by day from the standards of scripture. We know that in the ACNA we can stand together to work for the glory of God.”
The ACNA Provincial Assembly will meet in June of this year and take up the application of the Diocese for affiliation. The expectation is of an enthusiastic welcome.