Crusty Old Dean comments on the resolution from the Church of England's (CofE) Synod to reaffirm their relationsip with the Episcopal Church while, "the Synod motion has given Church of England affirmation to the desire of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to remain in some sense within the Anglican family." Tom puts it this way:
This report is good news. Translated from Church of England speak, it basically means, "Nothing's gonna happen with ACNA for a long, long time. This is what "open ended" engagement means.
"Affirming" a "desire" does nothing other than acknoledge that ACNA wants to be in the communion. "Anglican Family" is as undefined a term in Anglican Ecclesiology as "Enemy Combatant" is in the Geneva Convention. This is a pretty vague pat on the back from Lambeth.
Tom spends some time in the article comparing the Anglican Communion to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and points out that all members of the Federation recognize the orders of the other, even if their jurisdictions overlap. The problem with the case of the ACNA is that many of them would refuse to recognize our orders, many of them being held by women.
The root is in the myth of an "Anglican Church" that many people hold. The Anglican Church is the CofE. The Anglican Communion is a family of autonomous churches bound by "bonds of affection." We really are a federation, whether we want to admit it or not, as the LWF is also a "Communion of Churches." To claim we were more than this, (i.e., a church) juridical power would have to be exercised in between provinces, which is something not even contenanced in the proposed covenant. Those in ACNA that claim we are an "Anglican Church" don't want to be added to the Anglican Communion, they want to replace us.
There is a lot of romaticism out there about being an "Anglican." But in the strictest sense, only members of the CofE are truly Anglican. In my experience, when an American starts waxing abouty being "Anglican," It usually boils down to some sort of vague appreciation for tea, evensong and the 1637 Scottish eucharisitc canon. They seem to do this quite often without understading that they are not using the 1662 English canon, and what a thumbing of the nose at the CofE adopting that canon was. Anglophilia does not make one Anglican.
This is why people can join the new Anglican Ordinariate, play act as Anglicans, and not recognize that they have left something essential behind. If Anglicanism is nothing but a minor derivation of the Western Rite, then they are correct. But if Anglicanism is the actual religion espoused by Hooker and Donne and Taylor and Ferrar as a Via Media, then leaving the Anglican Communion for whatever wtipe of purity they seek is not a reaffirmation, but a repudiation (perhaps a refudiation?)
In America, if you are a member of the Episcopal Church, you are an Episcopalian. Because of our participation in the Communion's "Instruments of Unity," we can lay some claim to being "Anglican." Beyond that, all of those who follow the trappings of Anglicanism might certainly be called part of the "Anglican Family," which really does not contain any recognition with it. After all, everyone you are related to is part of your family, whether they are healthy and sane or not.