By Mark Michael
The Rt. Rev. Chandler “Chad” H. Jones was elected coadjutor of the Eastern Diocese of the Anglican Province of America at the diocese’s synod on July 18. He will succeed the Most Rev. Walter Grundorf as diocesan bishop. Grundorf is also the founding presiding bishop of the APA, and when he eventually retires, his successor as presiding bishop will be separately elected by the full provincial synod.
The Anglican Province of America is the direct successor of the American Episcopal Church, which was established in 1968 as the first of several 20th century church movements to leave the Episcopal Church over doctrinal issues. These organizations often refer to themselves as the continuing Anglican movement, maintaining that they are continuing the traditional teachings of Anglicanism.
According to the APA’s website, the AEC was founded “in response to the heretical teachings of Episcopal Bishop James Pike, the Social Gospel Movement in the mainline Protestant churches, and the liturgical movement spawned by the dramatic liturgical revisions of Vatican II.”
The APA was formed in 1998 by the merger of two related continuing Anglican churches, one based primarily on the East Coast and the other in the West. The APA claims 60 churches and about 6,000 members. Since 2008, when 22 churches of the Western Diocese left the APA to merge with the Reformed Episcopal Church, the vast majority of the APA’s parishes have been part of the Eastern Diocese.
In 2017, the APA signed a concordat – an agreement for formal affiliation – with three other continuing Anglican churches: the Anglican Catholic Church, the Anglican Church in America, and the Diocese of the Holy Cross. The four churches pledged to seek “full, institutional, and organic union with each other.”
The APA is also a ministry partner with the Anglican Church in North America through its membership in the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, an umbrella group for churches of the North American Anglican continuum. ACNA, which is by far the largest movement to separate from the Episcopal Church, is not considered a continuing Anglican church. Some ACNA churches permit the ordination of women, and opposition to women’s ordination was one of the major forces behind formation of the continuing Anglican movement.
Jones has served since 2010 as suffragan bishop of the Eastern Diocese, and he is also rector of St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Dunwoody, Ga. Jones became an Episcopalian as a teenager in North Carolina before joining the APA, and is a graduate of Duke Divinity School. He and his identical twin brother, the Rev. Brad Jones, a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, were the focus of a Wall Street Journal feature about denominational switching in 2015.