Shifting Times for the Christian Church
Broadly speaking, the Christian Church has gone through some significant upheaval and transition in the last few decades--not all of it good. Much of this change is derived from questioning the role and authority of Scripture.
Anglicanism has not been exempt from these challenges. Especially in North America, new affiliations have formed within the worldwide Anglican Communion, as a way of staying within Anglicanism and within the historic faith of the Church.
PEARUSA and the ACNA
The vanguard leader in this innovation of affiliations was the Anglican Province of Rwanda. In January of 2000, Rwanda began providing oversight for American clergy who found themselves at odds with their bishops because they wanted to continue preaching and practicing the same gospel they had always known. The result of Rwanda's interventions was the ability to be in America but underRwanda's leadership. This fascinating movement of God breathed fresh life into Anglicanism in North America and gave birth to the Anglican Mission in America and PEARUSA, which was Advent Anglican's original affiliation.
The concept caught on, and the momentum continued to grow, with other global provinces following Rwanda's lead in North America. More and more, Anglicans in North America were hungry for fresh oversight and began to find it outside the U.S. Over time though, these various groups desired to come under a unified, local oversight, resulting in the formation of the Anglican Church in North America (the ACNA), a new Anglican Province in North America.
In 2016, in an act of true humbleness and wisdom, the Rwandan house of bishops decided it was time to relinquish their involvement in North America so that their affiliates could be wholly involved in this local movement, the Anglican Church in North America. Consequently, Advent Anglican now enjoys affiliation with the ACNA.
Today, the Anglican Church in North America unites some 100,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada. It is an emerging Province in the global Anglican Communion, which itself consists of 80 million people around the world.
The Return of the Name "Anglican" in the U.S.
Anglicanism has always been a large part of Christianity in America, but after the American Revolution it became understandably unpopular to call anything "Anglican" or "of England" in the newly independent colonies. Consequently, the Anglican Church in America, without changing its substance in anyway, rebranded itself as the "Episcopal Church." And that is the name by which it is commonly known in America.
Over two centuries later (and the American Revolution far behind us), Americans are recapturing this formerly deported term, Anglican.
Interestingly, it now serves as a way of identifying ourselves with the historic Church, the faith handed down from the Apostles. It is in this spirit that we, and over a hundred thousand people in North America, now call ourselves Anglican.