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The United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA) is a traditional Anglican Christian church that is part of the Continuing Anglican movement. It is not part of the Anglican Communion. Currently the Anglican Catholic Church, Anglican Province of Christ the King and the UECNA are seeking organic unity.

The UECNA describes itself as orthodox, catholic and evangelical in scope, "embracing the broad base of ceremonial practice inherent in the Historic Anglican Communion - The Anglican Catholic Episcopal Tradition." The UECNA uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

The changes in the mainline denominations that it and other continuing churches object to include the acceptance of abortion rights, broadened definitions of marital relationships, the ordination of women, and changes to the theology of the Book of Common Prayer. They now also object to the ordination of openly homosexual clergy.

The UECNA does not consider itself to be a Protestant denomination or part of the American fundamentalist movement, but rather a continuation of the ancient Christian church.

History

See also: English Reformation

Founding of the UECNA

Bishop Charles D. D. Doren is considered the founder of the UECNA. The church was established in 1981 after he and three parishes left the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) to create the UECNA as a home for Anglicans of the Low Church tradition. Today the UECNA has reconciled with the ACC and, as of 2007, has an intercommunion agreement with the ACC. Excerpts from the website of the UECNA

There are 18 UECNA parishes in 9 states including: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

Convention of 2008

At the UECNA's ninth triennial convention the clergy and delegates elected three suffragan bishops: the Rev. Peter Robinson, the Ven. Sam Seamans and the Rev. Wes Nolden with the intention that they would serve the church and also assist the ACC and APCK when requested. Nolden and Seamans subsequently departed the UECNA for the Reformed Episcopal Church, leaving Bishop Robinson as the sole suffragan bishop in UECNA until his appointment as Bishop of the Missionary District of the West in November 2009.

The delegates also elected the National Council and a vice-chancellor. Bishop Presley Hutchens of the ACC addressed a banquet and discussed uniting the ACC and UECNA.

Apostolic succession

The UECNA traces its apostolic succession as follows:Bishop Samuel Seabury was consecrated by three Scottish "non-juror" Bishops named Kilgour, Petrie And Skinner in 1784 at Aberdeen, Scotlandmarker. Later William White and Samuel Provoost became the first bishops of Pennsylvania and New York. They were consecrated in London in 1787 by Archbishop J. Moore. So the line is traced from:



Intercommunion agreements

See: Anglicanism

The UECNA has effected intercommunion agreements with a number of other Continuing Anglican churches. Those presently in effect are with:

The UECNA recently ended its intercommunion arrangement with the Anglican Province of America, citing the APA's signing of a similar agreement with the Reformed Episcopal Church.

Current leaders

  • The Most Rev. Stephen C. Reber - Presiding Bishop (Archbishop) of the UECNA, Grace Chapel, Statesville, North Carolinamarker
  • The Right Rev. Peter D. Robinson Bishop of the Missionary District of the West, and Rector of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Prescott, AZ
  • The Rev. Glen Hartley, Bishop-designate of the Missionary District of the Ozarks.


National Council

The National Council is composed of the archbishop and ten members chosen from the clergy and laity.

Doctrine

According to the Most Reverend Stephen C. Reber, the UECNA's archbishop:

"As Anglicans, we then accept the components of the faith revealed; the Scriptures, Creeds, Councils, Sacraments, Worship, Ministry, and Tradition. We believe that all of the components are like strands of a rope; a unity which holds the church together. In this belief we share a Catholic ideal way of faith.

The Reformation of the 16th century was the most comprehensive and far reaching effect to return the Christian faith to its legitimate roots of faith and practice. We accept the English Reformation as that which diligently sought the true sources of faith and discredited the many corruptions and distortions of the Middle Ages. Actually, the Articles of Religion found in the Prayer Book were written not as a statement of faith, but to deal with the above mentioned distortions and corruptions of the medieval church.

We do not, however, accept the theology of the Continental Reformation or its uncatholic effort which tried to discard the fundamental principles of the historic faith along with the abuses. We do not accept private innovations intruding into the Church’s teachings. We honor Luther, Calvin, Knox and others for their efforts to explain the faith, but do not accept them as having prophetic abilities to speak for God."

Explaining the UECNA's view of itself and its mission, the statement continues:

"We do believe God has given us a special position as a “bridge church” — a bridge between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

We proclaim a living way of faith and worship that believes in every persons right to life, honor traditional marriage between a man a woman and practice financial policies that allow local ownership of local property (Church, parish house, etc). The United Episcopal Church of North America, while coming from the American arm of the Anglican Communion and having our apostolic succession from these bodies, does not belong to either of these organizations nor shares their extreme liberal views on morals and their abandonment of orthodoxy.

We are a church truly catholic and evangelical in scope and embrace a broad base of ceremonial practice inherent in the Historic Anglican Tradition." Excerpt from the webpages of the UECNA, "About us" section

Departures from The Episcopal Church

See: Recent controversies in the ECUSA

Processional of UECNA, ACC and APCK clergy


While the UECNA and The Episcopal Church share some doctrines, practices and core beliefs, the UECNA departs from some modern teachings of the the Episcopal Church.

The UECNA particularly condemns:

  1. the Episcopal Church's acceptance of abortion;
  2. the influence of liberal theology and certain aspects of liberation theology;
  3. the Episcopal Church's alterations in the theology of the traditional Book of Common Prayer (The UECNA rejects the 1979 version);
  4. the Episcopal Church's participation in political movements where free people are denied the right or ability to defend themselves against tyrants;
  5. the Episcopal Church's acceptance of ordained practicing homosexuals and/or women to the priesthood and office of the bishops, although the UECNA believes that all should be loved. The UECNA does actively encourage women to participate in the church through the vestry and as parishioners. Both men and women are eligible to become professed members in the UECNA's religious order, the Order of St Benedict.


Ordination and lay leadership

See: Episcopal polity

The UECNA's leadership is divided among lay leaders and ordained ministers as follows:

Ordained levels

A typical Anglican altar
Those in ordained positions (including students admitted to postulancy) include the following: :

  • Postulant - Is a student for Holy orders, and is not yet ordained. A postulant must complete not less than one year of study consisting of Church History, Pastoral Work, Liturgics, Doctrine and Holy Scripture. He assists the local parish as a layreader in the offices of the church as called upon and allowed by the canons of the church.
  • Deacon - There are two types of deacons: perpetual and transitional. A transitional deacon is training for priesthood. Both serve at the pleasure of the Presiding Bishop. A transitional deacon can be called to assist other priests in the parish. Before priesthood the deacon must serve for not less than one year and complete a course of study.
  • Priest - "The priest will take part in community activities and will actively evangelize the un-churched or the lost to become an active part of the Body of Christ."
  • Bishop - Bishops are "assigned a Diocese consisting of a given number of parishes, and will provide regular oversight, counsel and guidance to those parishes. An Episcopal visit to each parish will be made not less than once a year and attendance at national counsels and meetings as called."


Lay leadership positions

  • Lay Reader - A competent layman licensed by a bishop of the Church to read some parts of a service of worship.


  • Warden - An Officer of the Vestry (parish council)


United Episcopal Church Women

The UECW is an official organization of women who serve the church.

Order of St. Benedict

See also: Order of St. Benedict
Crest of the Order of St. Benedict


The church recognizes one monastic order, which is named the Order of St. Benedict. The order uses a modified version of the Rule of St. Benedict.

Membership is open to married or single men and women over the age of 21 who are convicted that they are called to the religious life.

The order has no established communities and does not establish communities. Instead, "[m]embers provide for their own living quarters and obtain their livelihood through secular or religious employment"

The stages of development are:
  1. Postulant - one who has made application to the abbot, been accepted to the order, and awaits investiture as a novice.
  2. Novice - one who vows to a testing period of one year. These vows are taken in the presence of the abbot, or a priest appointed by the abbot.
  3. Professed Member - one who takes final vows of the order. These vows are taken in the presence of the Abbot.


Publications

  • Glad Tidings, News and Events from the UECNA.


See also



References

External links




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