The Bricolage of Global Anglicanism: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, San Antonio

By Miller, Duane Alexander | Anglican and Episcopal History, March 2014 | Go to article overview

The Bricolage of Global Anglicanism: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, San Antonio


Miller, Duane Alexander, Anglican and Episcopal History


The scholar of history is often asked to specify a year when this or that movement started or ended. So we connect the Protestant Reformation to 1520 when Pope Leo X issued the bull condemning Martin Luther's errors as a turning point and a symbol of the breech between Rome and those who were protesting. In the same way, we might propose 1998 as a key date to represent the shift of the locus of power in worldwide Christianity from the West to the two-thirds world. In that year the bishops of the Anglican Communion met at the XIII Lambeth Conference for their decennial meeting. For the first time in many centuries, a global Christian body (the Anglican Communion), founded and based in the West, saw the position of the two-thirds world in relation to human sexuality victorious over the position endorsed by many of the progressive/liberal leaders based in countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Years later, some of those Anglican provinces from the two-thirds world would eventually organize missions or missionary dioceses to engage in evangelism and church planting in the United States. Holy Trinity, in San Antonio, Texas, is a parish of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), which was founded in 2005 as a missionary effort of the Anglican province of Nigeria.

Christ Episcopal Church is a parish of the Diocese of West Texas, which is centered in San Antonio. It celebrated its centenary in 2010. St. Mark's in downtown San Antonio (its mother church) and Christ Church for a long time counted as the two largest congregations in the Diocese of West Texas. After the events of General Convention in 2003, it became clear that a substantial number of the parishioners and some of the clergy felt that they could no longer, in good conscience, continue to worship and minister within the context of the Episcopal Church. There was much discussion among the parishioners as to whether Christ Church should leave as a congregation, and if that happened, what of the large, valuable, and beautiful church campus? The sense of an impending shift increased as it became clear that the Episcopal Church would not heed the calls for moderation, patience, and dialogue from other members of the Anglican Communion regarding questions of human sexuality. Would families be willing to leave the church if that meant leaving behind the campus, or perhaps engaging in a lengthy series of lawsuits with uncertain outcomes?

In 2010, a majority of the vestry resigned and went on to form a group that went by the unofficial name "Something's Coming S.A.," and is now formally called Grace Fellowship. ("S.A." stands for San Antonio; the locals often use "S.A." in informal conversation or writing to refer to the city). As of 2011 they had called their first pastor and are a congregation of the Anglican Mission, a missionary endeavor founded in 2000 by the Anglican province of Rwanda. As of 2013 the Anglican Mission is not affiliated with the province of Rwanda, but describes itself as "a society of mission and apostolic works." This is significant because it means that they are not part of the new "province-in-formation" called the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

In 2010, the rector of Christ Church started an overdue sabbatical, and during that time announced that he would be resigning as rector of Christ Church. Many people, including the priest, assumed that he would go on to lead Something's Coming S.A. For multiple reasons, which are difficult to disentangle and interpret accurately, this did not happen. The priest, now retired from the Episcopal Church and having come under the jurisdiction of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), resolved to start a new church: Holy Trinity Anglican. CANA was originally a missionary outreach of the Anglican province of Nigeria, which is in some ways the most powerful province in the entire Anglican Communion. Martyn Minns, formerly rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, was ordained as a bishop in 2006 for the Nigerian mission in the United States. …

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