In recent years Canadian Anglicanism has been in the news – mostly for all the wrong reasons. Theological decay has taken hold of much of the Canadian Anglican Church as many bishops, clergy and congregations
have capitulated to the latest whim of culturally dictated
While this sad story may be familiar to many Faith
Today readers, it doesn’t do justice to the perseverance
of faithful orthodox Anglicans, nor to a God who brings
beauty from ashes.
Evangelical Canadian Anglicans have responded to the
crisis in various ways. Many, sadly, have left Anglicanism
for other churches. Some are working for renewal within
existing structures. Still others are choosing to preserve
the tradition they love by joining a new Anglican structure
committed to remaining faithful to Scripture.
So there are green shoots of a renewed Anglicanism
springing up across the land.
The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), in which
I am a bishop, is part of the new Anglican structure that
emerged in 2007. ANiC now has 43 parishes and 15 fledgling congregations in various stages of formation.
South of the border, the story is much the same. Thousands of faithful Christians have left the established Anglican denominations to form new churches.
Today in Canada and the United States, nearly 1,000
congregations nurture more than 100,000 such Anglicans.
More importantly these congregations are far from huddles of shell-shocked refugees. God is taking this Anglican
diaspora and, by His grace, transforming us into a gospel
ANiC is one of 20 dioceses that have come together
to form the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA),
online at www.anglicanchurch.org. In June 2009, when
ACNA was formed, Archbishop Robert Duncan, ACNA’s
primate (leader), challenged us to plant 1,000 new congregations across North America within five years.
Anglican1000 (see www.anglican1000.org) is the initiative designed to keep this challenge alive and move the
work of church planting forward. It serves as a catalyst,
bringing together visionaries to strategize, encourage and
resource this exciting work of God. We are seeing God
raise up church planters in Canada and throughout North
beauty From ashes
The national director of the anglican
network in Canada reflects on anglican
America who are seeking to reach people with the transforming love of Jesus Christ, and build communities of
faith that worship in the Anglican tradition.
We in ANiC are focused on this challenge to evangelize
and plant churches. At our synod (annual meeting) last
November, our church planting leadership team reported
that we have planted 20 new congregations already – of
which 14 are church plants and six were existing congregations that decided to move to ANiC. They also told us of another 10 to 20 forming congregations “in the pipeline.” Let
me introduce you to a couple of these new congregations.
Celebration Church in Barrie, Ont., is the most recent
congregation to join ANiC. It takes its name from Acts 8: 8,
which recounts how God used persecution to achieve His
good purpose in spreading the gospel. This congregation’s
deepest desire is to be a means of the gospel going out in
power in the city of Barrie such that the result will be “joy
in the city,” as Acts 8 puts it.
Good Shepherd Church in Richmond, B.C., is a Chi-nese-speaking congregation that launched in May 2010.
It began as a ministry to restaurant workers, meeting late
Tuesday nights after the workers’ shift ended. While the
Tuesday restaurant workers’ fellowship continues, a strong
nucleus of around 40 now worships together on Sundays.
In January of this year Rev. Robin Guinness, a well
known Anglican evangelical leader, joined ANiC. After
40 years in the Anglican Church of Canada he recognized
that it was no longer the same church as when he had com-
menced his Canadian ministry. “God has raised up a new
Anglican Church in Canada,” says Guinness, “that wants
to be true to the gospel and teaching that was originally
embraced and affirmed by those who first planted the
Anglican Church in Canada. Mine is as much a call into
as it is a call out of.”
Today ANiC has more than 120 clergy and almost
4,000 parishioners in church on an average Sunday. Most
congregations are in rented facilities, having left behind
their stained glass windows and familiar pews when God
catapulted them out of their long-time denomination. May
we, like the believers in the Early Church, so evidence
the power of God and declare the truth of the gospel that
men and women across our nation will come to a saving
knowledge of our Lord. And may the result be great joy
in the city. FT
THE RIgHT REvERENd CHaRLIE Mas TERs is national
director of the anglican network in Canada ( www.anglican-network.ca). This column continues a series by affiliates
of The evangelical Fellowship of Canada. For a list see