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  • Adam Embry

The ACNA Provincial Assembly

This article was written by Mrs. Elizabeth Demmon.

Provincial Assembly 2024 

This June will be a monumentally important time in the life of the ACNA. Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, will host delegates and observers from throughout the Province, lay and ordained, who will convene for the purposes of worship, fellowship, discernment, and governance at the 15th Anniversary Provincial Assembly. 

What is the Provincial Assembly? 

The Provincial Assembly is the broadest governing body of the ACNA. To understand its function, it is helpful to have a general picture of the other organizational structures of the church: the College of Bishops, the Provincial Council, and the Executive Committee. The Province has created a helpful tool to visualize these structures here

The College of Bishops includes all active Bishops in the province. They meet twice a year to oversee and guard the worship and doctrine of the church. When the Archbishop position becomes open, the College of Bishops gathers in conclave to elect the next Archbishop. The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach was elected in 2014 and has served two five-year terms to their completion, so this June the College of Bishops will gather to elect his successor, who will be the third Archbishop of the ACNA. 

The Provincial Council is the primary legislative body of the church. It meets annually and is comprised of four elected representatives from each diocese in the Province: one bishop, one other clergy member, and two lay members. The Provincial Council has the authority to amend the constitution, adopt canons, and establish the program and budget of the Province. It is a synod, representing the whole church, with equal number of clergy and laity. 

The Provincial Council elects an Executive Committee that functions as the Board of Directors for the ACNA as a non-profit corporation. The Archbishop chairs the Executive Committee of twelve other members, six ordained and six lay, elected by the Council from among its members. Officers of the Province are ex officio members. The Executive Committee prepares the budget, oversees administration, and sets the agenda for Provincial Council business. They meet monthly by conference call and in person three times a year. 

Which brings us now to the Provincial Assembly. The Assembly meets at least once every five years, and must meet at the conclusion of an Archbishop’s term. Like the Provincial Council, it is comprised of representatives from all dioceses of the Province, but whereas each diocese is equally represented in the Council, the number of delegates to the Assembly varies depending on the size of the diocese. Each diocese is represented by its bishop or bishops, two members of the clergy, and two members of the laity, with an additional ordained and lay delegate per 1,000 average Sunday attendance (ASA). Additionally, youth delegates between the ages of 16 and 26 have voice and vote per 1,000 ASA. The role of the Provincial Assembly in the governance of the Church is to ratify the work of the Provincial Council, or otherwise send it back for further consideration. The Provincial Assembly also receives reports from the Council and updates from ministry initiatives, and makes recommendations regarding the mission of the Church. 


What to Expect at the 2024 Gathering 

This year marks only the sixth gathering of the full Provincial Assembly, with the most recent meeting occurring in 2019 at Christ Church Plano. Any constitutional and canonical work the Provincial Council has done since then will be presented to the Assembly for ratification (to include the 2024 Provincial Council, which will meet the day before the Assembly begins). A current version of the Constitution and Canons with all proposed changes from 2020 through 2023 can be viewed here.  

This business will be an important part of the gathering in Latrobe, but the intention is for the Provincial Assembly to focus on the mission of the Church rather than engage in lengthy discussions over legislation. If a measure does not pass by a two-thirds vote of members present, it will return to the Provincial Council for further consideration and be presented to the next Provincial Assembly. 

The governance portion of the Provincial Assembly, while an important part of the function of the Church, is not meant to be the primary focus of the gathering. The ACNA website describes it as “a three-day open-to-all missions conference, the most important and most representative gathering of the Church. Most of the Assembly consists of worship, plenary speakers, and breakout sessions, with a portion of the time devoted to a representative governance session.” 

The theme of this year’s Assembly, which is also celebrating fifteen years of the ACNA, is “Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks,” inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. The schedule includes plenary sessions with speakers from positions of global Anglican leadership and prominent voices in spiritual formation and cultural engagement. There are over forty breakout sessions featuring mission partners and provincial ministries, and an Exhibit Hall featuring ministries, seminaries, supporting business partners, mission opportunities, and other initiatives from throughout the Province. Meals together and receptions provide opportunities to promote fellowship and networking. Finally and most importantly, the Provincial Assembly will be infused from beginning to end with prayer and corporate worship. 

While work of this kind occurs at every Provincial Assembly, this year’s gathering will also be marked by the transfer of spiritual authority from Archbishop Foley Beach to the newly elected archbishop. The archbishop-elect will be announced after the conclusion of the conclave of the College of Bishops, and the handing-off of leadership will take place during the closing Eucharist on Friday, June 28. 

For the published schedule of the Provincial Assembly 2024, click here


Trusting Our Future to the Lord 

At this gathering of the Provincial Assembly there is bound to be a celebration of God’s faithfulness in the past fifteen years of the ACNA. Archbishop Foley Beach deliberately chose the location at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA, to remember with gratitude the 2014 Provincial Assembly that marked the beginning of his leadership, convened at the same location. Especially as we transition to a new leader, there is a sense of outgrowing our youth and developing into a more mature Church, led by God’s grace into our next chapter. We will remember together the many hallmarks of the past fifteen years: the development and publication of our 2019 Book of Common Prayer and catechism, To Be a Christian, church planting, growth in discipleship, formation of global partnerships, and the first tests of our judicial methods. Likewise we will look to the future in anticipation and prayer as we trust God’s movement in the hearts and minds of His people.   

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16-18, ESV) 


Works Referenced 

Anglican Church in North America. “Structure.” Anglican Church in North America. Last accessed May 30, 2024.

Anglican Church in North America. “15th Anniversary Provincial Assembly: Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks.” Anglican Church in North America. Last accessed May 30, 2024.

Ashey, Phil. “How to Pray for the 2021 Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America.” American Anglican Council. Last accessed May 24, 2024.

Ashey, Phil. “Report of the ACNA Governance Task Force 2022.” The ACNA Governance Task Force. March 1, 2022.  


Atwood, Bill. “The ACNA Conclave, Council, and Assembly.” American Anglican Council. Last accessed May 24, 2024.

Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America as ratified by the Inaugural Provincial Assembly, June 2009 and amended by the fifth Provincial Assembly, June 2019. 

Didot, Ernie. “Celebrating 15 Years of the ACNA.” The Apostle, Lent/Easter 2024. 


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