By Mike Ford, Clay Today (Florida)
New Grace Church is changing its name to Grace Anglican Church and is a member of the Anglican Church in North America, a new denomination formed in 2009. The denomination is an outgrowth formed after other groups left the Episcopal Church in reaction to the 2003 consecration of an openly-gay bishop in New Hampshire. Early on, the local congregation omitted Anglican from its name to de-emphasize its religious tradition.
“We’re going through a clarification of our identity. Our movement is new and, for a season, it seemed good to drop Anglican from our name but we had it on our legal name in parentheses. Nobody liked the name New Grace because it isn’t theologically-accurate. The grace of God is never new and that was confusing to people,” said the Rev. Mike McDonald, pastor of the Fleming Island church on U.S. Highway 17 South.
Another ACNA-member church in Clay County – Church of the Good Samaritan – is in Middleburg. Rev. Hall Hunt said what church leaders believe about Christ in light of how they interpret the Bible is more of an issue than homosexuality.
“We emphasize the authority of scripture, especially since the Reformation and the same people who are liberal about gay marriage and gay ordination are often the same people who don’t believe in the divinity of Christ and that’s the real issue,” he said.