Bishop William Ilgenfritz of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS and Bishop Alexander Barroso of the Iglesia Anglicana Carismatica (IAC) of Venezuela signed a concordat of full intercommunion and mutual recognition as sister dioceses in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday, November 5, while meeting clergy of the Anglican Diocese of Christ the Redeemer to discuss the reception of that group into the MDAS.
Bishop Barossa leads a new diocese of six congregations in Venezuela, including the Cathedral Iglesia Bethabara in the city of Cabimas, which has an average Sunday attendance of over two thousand people. The other five congregations started within the last two years, have attendance ranging from fifty to two hundred believers.
The Missionary Diocese of All Saints will now seek support from Archbishop Duncan and other members of the College of Bishops in the Anglican Church in North America to move beyond the geographic confines of North America. We will work diligently and pray earnestly for the inclusion of the IAC as the Latin American Convocation of the Missionary Diocese.
On November 12 the MDAS received a former diocese of the Communion of Christ the Redeemer as the fourth Convocation of the diocese.
We welcome The Rt. Rev. Kenneth Myers, The Rt. Rev. Rick Painter and the clergy and laity of the following congregations of the Convocation of Christ the Redeemer:
- Christ the King, Phoenix, Arizona
- Church of the Holy Redeemer, Tucson, Arizona
- Holy Trinity Formation Group, Plant City, Florida
- St. Francis, Roswell, New Mexico
- Christ Church, Sherman, Texas
- St. Andrew’s, Hermleigh, Texas
- St. Clement, Muleshoe, Texas
- King of Kings, Katy, Texas
- Christ the Redeemer, Kennewick, Washington
- Iglesia Santisima Trinidad, Guerrero, Mexico
In this report I have used the term “Convocation” to describe groupings within the MDAS. I believe this term best describes the structure of the Missionary Diocese. Unlike most dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America, the MDAS has admitted three whole former dioceses. As dioceses each of them came with existing bishops who had strong positive relationships with the clergy and congregations committed to their episcopal oversight. The MDAS honors and supports those relationships.
Therefore, the MDAS is now comprise of four Convocations whose bishops derive their authority from the Bishop Ordinary of the MDAS.
The Founding Convocation, as the name implies, was the first. This Convocation dates to the Consecration of the Bishop Ordinary on August 22, 2009. The “Flagship Congregation” of the MDAS is St. Nicholas Anglican Church in Kissimmee, Florida under the leadership of Father Geoffrey Boland. The Founding Convocation now claims eight congregations, two new church plants, one congregation currently in discernment, two prison ministries and an Anglican Chaplaincy at Eastern Illinois University.
The Rt. Rev. Richard W. Lipka serves as Suffragan Bishop of the MDAS and Bishop of the Delmarva Convocation. This Convocation is comprised of seven congregations. The Missionary Diocese, the Delmarva Convocation, Forward in Faith North America and the ACNA College of Bishops are indeed blessed by the many contributions and hard work of Bishop Rich. The Suffragan and the Ordinary meet in person on a monthly basis for prayer, mutual support, problem solving and planning for the MDAS. Bishop Lipka’s considerable experience saves us much time and effort since we are not constantly “reinventing the wheel.”
At the Forward in Faith North America Annual Assembly in June of 2010, the Missionary Society of St. John (MSJ) under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Frederick G. Fick became our third Convocation. The MSJ Convocation has five congregations and six non-parochial ministries including our Office of Foreign Missions for ministry in Africa, a prison ministry, a hospice ministry and a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
As of this date the MDAS has thirty congregations, two church plants, one parish in discernment and nine non-parochial ministries.
The Missionary Diocese of All Saints is constituted and embraces the “three streams” of Anglicanism. We are a Diocese in which hands can be raised in praise; drums, guitars and keyboards can provide worshipful music: the rosary can be prayed and Benediction and Adoration a regular part of our piety (the 39 Articles not withstanding). Some of our congregations use the 1979 Book of Common Prayer while others are convinced that their fingers would be burned if they even touched a copy. We are a fully Catholic Diocese, but our worship styles vary. We exist for those who wish to remain faithful to the Anglican Way within the Anglican Church in North America.
The Missionary Diocese of All Saints believes that the Church is wherever two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ Name. At the same time we embrace our responsibility to make new disciples who make new disciples. For us, evangelism and church growth are not optional.
As a Diocese we will gather in Ocean City, Maryland this coming April for our Constitutional Synod and annual clergy and wives retreat. The Canons of the Anglican Church in North America require a minimum of twelve congregations each with an ASA of at least fifty and an aggregate ASA of one thousand for recognition as a Diocese. While our combined ASA is one thousand two hundred and seventy-nine, we have only eight congregations that meet the ACNA requirement of fifty ASA. The decision to apply for a change in our designation as a Diocese-in-Formation to a Diocese will depend largely on our growth between now and next June when the ACNA College of Bishops meet. The question will be brought before our Constitutional Synod this spring.
The Constitutional Synod will in addition to adopting a Constitution and Canons elect a Bishop’s Council (Standing Committee), approve a budget and appoint a Treasurer and Chancellor.
The relationship between Forward in Faith North America and the Missionary Diocese of All Saints is greatly misunderstood and will require clear and unambiguous clarification. An article recently published by David Virtue concludes with the following: “Forward in Faith North America is a jurisdiction within the Anglican church in North America (ACNA), and has oversight of the non-geographical Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS).” There are two errors in this one sentence. First, Forward in Faith North America is not a jurisdiction. And Second, FIFNA does not have oversight of the MDAS. The relationship between FIFNA and the MDAS can be likened to that between a parent and child. The child is grown, is financially independent and provides financial support for the parent. The parent and child embrace the same values, but they are individuals with the right of self-determination. To put it another way the relationship between the MDAS and FIFNA mirrors that of the “FIFNA Dioceses” and other “Continuing Jurisdictions.”
Thank you all for your prayers and support as we move forward in faith.
The Rt. Rev. William H. Ilgenfritz
Bishop Ordianry, Missionary Diocese of All Saints
Senior Vice President, Forward in Faith North America