As it faces disapproval from one Canadian bishop for its activity in one western diocese, Anglican Essentials Canada (AEC), a conservative group within the Anglican Church of Canada, is appealing for funds and members, according to an open letter “to concerned Anglican Christians” circulated in early October.
“We ask you to actively recruit members for Essentials … and we ask you to give generously to the work of AEC and give now. The leadership is in place, nationally and regionally, and willing to lead but we are handicapped by our lack of funds and need for numerical support from concerned and loyal Anglicans,” said the letter from Rev. George Sinclair and Canon John Paul Westin, leaders of Essentials.
Essentials was formed in 1994, but within the last few years has become the voice of those concerned about more liberal attitudes toward homosexuality and interpretation of the authority of Scripture within the church.
“We are … in the midst of great changes and a crisis in leadership. Anglican Essentials Canada (seeks) to restore a living biblical Anglican witness in Canada which is in full communion with the Anglican Communion worldwide,” the letter read.
Meanwhile, the bishop of the diocese of Brandon, in western Manitoba, Jim Njegovan, wrote in his September letter in the Mustard Seed, Brandon’s diocesan newspaper, a strongly-worded letter about Essentials. In it, he called for an end to the distribution of what he called its “national paper” and other similar “‘essential’ tracts” in the diocese.
“There are those who are working to undermine the church family … while claiming for themselves the guidance of the Holy Spirit and holding on to what they themselves have determined to the ‘Essentials’ of Anglicanism, they ignore the basic structures and governance of the church,” Bishop Njegovan wrote.
“Being an issue-driven movement, they distort for their own benefit statements made by our synods and bishops … They have launched their own ‘national’ paper to share the ‘truth’ and have seen fit to distribute it within dioceses and parishes without seeking any approval for doing so … I do not endorse any such material nor do I wish to see it distributed in or through our parishes,” he added.
While the bishop did not name Essentials’ “national paper,” a monthly newspaper called the Anglican Planet began publication earlier this year. While the newspaper says it receives no funding from Essentials, its October issue reported that it was the newspaper “banned” by the bishop of Brandon.