1977 an international congress of nearly 2,000 Anglican bishops, clergy
and lay people met in St. Louis, Missouri, to take the actions
necessary to establish an orthodox jurisdiction in which traditional
Anglicanism would be maintained, by returning to the fullness of the
Faith of the undivided CATHOLIC CHURCH. Acting according to the
principles determined by the seven great Ecumenical Councils of the
ancient Church and adopting initially the name "Anglican Church of
North America", they placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the
retired bishop of Springfield, Illinois, the Right Reverend Albert
January 1978 Bishop Chambers expanded that jurisdiction and devolved it
upon others, by taking order for the consecration of four more bishops.
From these four bishops have come two jurisdictions, the Anglican
Catholic Church and the Anglican Province of Christ the King, which now
maintain orthodox Anglicanism in North America and beyond.
Bishop Chambers died in 1993. His steadfast faith and courage earned him a notable place in the history of world Anglicanism.
ANGLICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH is a world-wide body. Since 1978 it has
expanded to include 15 dioceses in the Americas, the United Kingdom,
Australia, a bishopric in New Zealand, a deanery in Spain and in South
America. In 1984 the historic Church of India (Anglican) was received
and constituted as the Second Province; today it has 5 dioceses.
is the text that affirms the establishment of the orthodox
jurisdiction, The Anglican Catholic Church, in which traditional
Anglicanism has been maintained.
The Text of the Affirmation of St. Louis
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY GHOST.
AMEN.The Continuation of Anglicanism
affirm that the Church of our fathers, sustained by the most Holy
Trinity, lives yet, and that we, being moved by the Holy Spirit to walk
only in that way, are determined to continue in the Catholic Faith,
Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and Evangelical Witness of the
traditional Anglican Church, doing all things necessary for the
continuance of the same. We are upheld and strengthened in this
determination by the knowledge that many provinces and dioceses of the
Anglican Communion have continued steadfast in the same Faith, Order,
Worship and Witness, and that they continue to confine ordination to
the priesthood and the episcopate to males. We rejoice in these facts
and we affirm our solidarity with these provinces and dioceses.
The Dissolution of Anglican and Episcopal Church Structure
affirm that the Anglican Church of Canada and the Protestant Episcopal
Church in the United States of America, by their unlawful attempts to
alter Faith, Order and Morality (especially in their General Synod of
1975 and General Convention of 1976), have departed from Christ's One,
Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Need to Continue Order in the Church
affirm that all former ecclesiastical governments, being fundamentally
impaired by the schismatic acts of lawless Councils, are of no effect
among us, and that we must now reorder such godly discipline as we
strengthen us in the continuation of our common life and witness.
The Invalidity of Schismatic Authority
affirm that the claim of any such schismatic person or body to act
against any Church member, clerical or lay, for his witness to the
whole Faith is with no authority of Christ's true Church, and any such
inhibition, deposition or discipline is without effect and is
absolutely null and void.
The Need for Principles and a Constitution
affirm that fundamental principles (doctrinal, moral, and
constitutional) are necessary for the present, and that a Constitution
(redressing the defects and abuses of our former governments) should be
adopted, whereby the Church may be soundly continued.
The Continuation of Communion with Canterbury
We affirm our continued relations of communion with the See of Canterbury and all faithful parts of the Anglican Communion. [Note:
Because of the action of General Synod of the Church of England,
Parliament, and the Royal Assent, the College of Bishops of the
Anglican Catholic Church is obliged no longer to count the See of
Canterbury as a faithful part of the Anglican Communion.]
with a firm trust in Divine Providence, and before Almighty God and all
the company of heaven, we solemnly affirm, covenant and declare that
we, lawful and faithful members of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches,
shall now and hereafter continue and be the unified continuing Anglican
Church in North America, in true and valid succession thereto.
In order to carry out these declarations, we set forth these fundamental Principles for our continued life and witness.
the firm conviction that "we shall be saved through the grace of the
Lord Jesus Christ," and that "there is no other name under heaven given
among men by which we must be saved," and acknowledging our duty to
proclaim Christ's saving Truth to all peoples, nations and tongues, we
declare our intention to hold fast the One, Holy, Catholic and
Apostolic Faith of God.
We acknowledge that rule of faith laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins:
"Let us hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by
all, for that is truly and properly Catholic."
I. PRINCIPLES OF DOCTRINE1. The Nature of the Church.
We gather as people called by God to be faithful and obedient to Him.
As the Royal Priestly People of God, the Church is called to be, in
fact, the manifestation of Christ in and to the world. True religion is
revealed to man by God. We cannot decide what is truth, but rather (in
obedience) ought to receive, accept, cherish, defend and teach what God
has given us. The Church is created by God, and is beyond the ultimate
control of man.
The Church is the Body of Christ at work in the world. She is the
society of the baptized called out from the world: In it, but not of
it. As Christ's faithful Bride, she is different from the world and
must not be influenced by it.
2. The Essentials of Truth and Order
We repudiate all deviation of departure from the Faith, in whole or in
part, and bear witness to these essential principles of evangelical
Truth and apostolic Order:
The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and the authentic
record of God's revelation of Himself, His saving activity, and moral
demands -- a revelation valid for all men and all time.
The Nicene Creed as the authoritative summary of the chief articles of
the Christian Faith, together with the "Apostles' Creed, and that known
as the Creed of St. Athanasius to be "thoroughly received and believed"
in the sense they have had always in the Catholic Church.
received Tradition of the Church and its teachings as set forth by "the
ancient catholic bishops and doctors," and especially as defined by the
Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, to the exclusion of
all errors, ancient and modern.
Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Holy
Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance and Unction of the Sick, as objective
and effective signs of the continued presence and saving activity of
Christ our Lord among His people and as His covenanted means for
conveying His grace. In particular, we affirm the necessity of Baptism
and the Holy Eucharist (where they may be had) -- Baptism as
incorporating us into Christ (with its completion in Confirmation as
the "seal of the Holy Spirit"), and the Eucharist as the sacrifice
which unites us to the all-sufficient Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross
and the Sacrament in which He feeds us with His Body and Blood.
Holy Orders of bishops, priests and deacons as the perpetuation of
Christ's gift of apostolic ministry to His Church, asserting the
necessity of a bishop of apostolic succession (or priest ordained by
such) as the celebrant of the Eucharist -- these Orders consisting
exclusively of men in accordance with Christ's Will and institution (as
evidenced by the Scriptures), and the universal practice of the
ancient office and ministry of Deaconesses as a lay vocation for women,
affirming the need for proper encouragement of that office.
Duty of Bishops
as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers, as well as
their duty (together with other clergy and the laity) to guard and
defend the purity and integrity of the Church's Faith and Moral
The Use of Other Formulae
affirming these principles, we recognize that all Anglican statements
of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with
Incompetence of Church Bodies to Alter Truth
disclaim any right or competence to suppress, alter or amend any of the
ancient Ecumenical Creeds and definitions of Faith, to set aside or
depart from Holy Scripture, or to alter or deviate from the essential
pre-requisites of any Sacrament.
Unity with Other Believers
declare our firm intention to seek and achieve full sacramental
communion and visible unity with other Christians who "worship the
Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity," and who hold the Catholic and
Apostolic Faith in accordance with the foregoing principles.
II. PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY
conscience, as the inherent knowledge of right and wrong, cannot stand
alone as a sovereign arbiter of morals. Every Christian is obligated to
form his conscience by the Divine Moral Law and the Mind of Christ as
revealed in Holy Scriptures, and by the teaching and Tradition of the
Church. We hold that when the Christian conscience is thus properly
informed and ruled, it must affirm the following moral principles:
people, individually and collectively, are responsible to their Creator
for their acts, motives, thoughts and words, since "we must all appear
before the judgment seat of Christ . . ."
Sanctity of Human Life
human being, from the time of his conception, is a creature and child
of God, made in His image and likeness, an infinitely precious soul;
and that the unjustifiable or inexcusable taking of life is always
Man's Duty to God
All people are bound by the dictates of the Natural Law and by the revealed Will of God, insofar as they can discern them.
God-given sacramental bond in marriage between one man and one woman is
God's loving provision for procreation and family life, and sexual
activity is to be practiced only within the bonds of Holy Matrimony.
Man as Sinner
recognize that man, as inheritor of original sin, is "very far gone
from original righteousness," and as a rebel against God's authority is
liable to His righteous judgment.
Man and God's Grace
recognize, too, that God loves His children and particularly has shown
it forth in the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that man
cannot be saved by any effort of his own, but by the Grace of God,
through repentance and acceptance of God's forgiveness.
Christian's Duty to be Moral
believe, therefore, it is the duty of the Church and her members to
bear witness to Christian Morality, to follow it in their lives, and to
reject the false standards of the world.
III. CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES
the constitutional revision which must be undertaken, we recommend, for
the consideration of continuing Anglicans, the following:
Retain the Best of Both
That the traditional and tested features of the Canadian and American
ecclesiastical systems be retained and used in the administration of
the continuing Church.
Selection of Bishops
That a non-political means for selection of bishops be devised.
That the Church be generally governed by a Holy Synod of three branches
(episcopal, clerical and lay), under the presidency of the Primate of
Scriptural Standards for the Ministry
That the apostolic and scriptural standards for the sacred Ministry be used for all orders of Ministers.
Concurrence of all Orders for Decisions
That the Constitution acknowledge the necessity of the concurrence of
all branches of the Synod for decisions in all matters, and that
extraordinary majorities be required for the favorable consideration of
all matters of importance.
Re-establishment of Discipline
That the Church re-establish an effective permanent system of
ecclesiastical courts for the defense of the Faith and the maintenance
of discipline over all her members.
Constitutional Assembly to be Called
That our bishops shall call a Constitutional Assembly of lay and
clerical representatives of dioceses and parishes to convene at the
earliest appropriate time to draft a Constitution and Canons by which
we may be unified and governed, with special reference to this
Affirmation, and with due consideration to ancient Custom and the
General Canon Law, and to the former law of our provinces.
In the meantime, trusting in the everlasting strength of God to carry
us through all our trials, we commend all questions for decision to the
proper authorities in each case: Episcopal, diocesan, and parochial,
encouraging all the faithful to support our witness as subscribers to
this Affirmation, and inviting all so doing to share our fellowship and
the work of the Church.
IV. PRINCIPLES OF WORSHIPPrayer Book -- The Standard of Worship
In the continuing Anglican Church, the Book of Common Prayer is (and
remains) one work in two editions: The Canadian Book of 1962 and the
American Book of 1928. Each is fully and equally authoritative. No
other standard for worship exists.
Certain Variances Permitted
For liturgical use, only the Book of Common Prayer and service books conforming to and incorporating it shall be used.
V. PRINCIPLES OF ACTIONIntercommunion with other Apostolic Churches
The continuing Anglicans remain in full communion with the See of
Canterbury and with all other faithful parts of the Anglican Communion,
and should actively seek similar relations with all other Apostolic and
Catholic Churches, provided that agreement in the essentials of Faith
and Order first be reached.
Non-Involvement with Non-Apostolic Groups
We recognize that the World Council of Churches, and many national and
other Councils adhering to the World Council, are non-Apostolic,
humanist and secular in purpose and practice, and that under such
circumstances, we cannot be members of any of them. We also recognize
that the Consultation of Church Union (COCU) and all other such
schemes, being non-Apostolic and non-Catholic in their present concept
and form, are unacceptable to us, and that we cannot be associated with
any of them.
Need for Sound Theological Training
Re-establishment of spiritual, orthodox and scholarly theological
education under episcopal supervision is imperative, and should be
encouraged and promoted by all in authority; and learned and godly
bishops, other clergy and lay people should undertake and carry on that
work without delay.
The right of congregations to control of their temporalities should be
firmly and constitutionally recognized and protected.
Administration should, we believe, be limited to the most simple and
necessary acts, so that emphasis may be centered on worship, pastoral
care, spiritual and moral soundness, personal good works, and
missionary outreach, in response to God's love for us.
Church as Witness to Truth
We recognize also that, as keepers of God's will and truth for man, we
can and ought to witness to that will and truth against all manifest
evils, remembering that we are as servants in the world, but God's
Pensions and Insurance
We recognize our immediate responsibility to provide for the
establishment of sound pension and insurance programs for the
protection of the stipendiary clergy and other Church Workers.
We recognize the immediate need to coordinate legal resources,
financial and professional, for the defense of congregations imperiled
by their stand for the Faith, and commend this need most earnestly to
the diocesan and parochial authorities.
Continuation, Not Innovation
In this gathering witness of Anglicans and Episcopalians, we continue
to be what we are. We do nothing new. We form no new body, but continue
as Anglicans and Episcopalians.
NOW, THEREFORE, deeply aware of our duty to all who love and believe
the Faith of our Fathers, of our duty to God, who alone shall judge
what we do, we make this Affirmation. Before God, we claim our
Anglican/Episcopal inheritance, and proclaim the same to the whole
Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with the Father and the
Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.