4/03/2006

The Archbishop has Been at Work

The Archbishop of Nigeria had some weeks ago proposed a two day work stoppage in Nigeria for all Christians. Not much was heard from within Nigeria. So what was the Archbishop up to? Quite a bit it seems. On March 28th, the second day of the work stoppage, the good Archbishop was hard at work doing advance work on hostile incursion into the province of the Anglican Communion known as the Episcopal Church.

The Archbishop of Nigeria and the Bishop of Forth Worth had a meeting on March 28th, and the Archbishop wrote Bishop Iker a letter dated March 30th, in which he said,

“As you know one consequence of this (brokneness of the Anglican Communion) has been the isolation and alienation of a growing number of Nigerian and other Anglicans. In response to this the Church of Nigeria has established CANA (a Convocation for Anglicans in North America) to provide pastoral care for those Anglicans who are unable to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church during these difficult times. I was pleased to hear your enthusiastic support for this endeavor and especially gratified by your willingness to fully recognize and work in close partnership with the episcopal leadership that we expect to elect and consecrate in the coming months.”

Please note the phrase, “to fully recognize and work in close partnership with the Episcopal leadership that we expect to elect and consecrate in the coming months.”

It would seem from what the Archbishop states in the letter that Bishop Iker has promised to “fully recognize and work in close partnership” with newly ordained bishops from Nigeria, meaning of course to work with them in the United States.

OK. So what we have is a single diocesan bishop “fully recognizing” these bishops. Are they bishops working only in the diocese of Fort Worth? Not likely. CANA – now termed a Convocation for Anglicans in North America – will be sending its bishops here with a connection to a local diocese but with a wide range of responsibilities for mission that is dismissive of the duly constituted Anglican Province in place.

No one is fooled: This is an attempt to get around the spirit and the canons concerning bishops exercising their ministries only in their dioceses, not to mention the specific recommendations of the Windsor Report. The fact that Bishop Iker “fully recognizes” these soon to be bishops is irrelevant to the charge that can be laid against the Archbishop of Nigeria, the bishops themselves and Bishop Iker. There is in this the great potential for collusion in actions against the provincial authority and autonomy of the Episcopal Church.

The Archbishop of Nigeria has become an embarrassment to Anglicanism, and the Bishop of Fort Worth has unfortunately linked his future to the Archbishop.


22 comments:

  1. It's interesting how any "Canon" that I/ME/MY just made up, trumps all the existing ones from Nicea 325 onwards...

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  2. I find it terribly frustrating that while many of our bishops are concerned regarding the implications of the upcoming episcopal election in California, ++Akinola seems happy to ignore both the Windsor report and explicit ancient canon law.

    It show the difference between those who do what is right with fear and troubling--and those who care very little about it.

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  3. I'm wondering, do we have any sort of discipline for Bishops in the Episcopal Church or Archbishops in the AC? Is it just politically not possible or not a good time? Are those who should be responsible for addressing this huge problem just afraid of conflict? This seems to be more than just the problem of a few problem Bishops. I think a Church without any sort of way of addressing something like this is a disfunctional Church.

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  4. From ++Akinola’s letter to +Iker:

    "I was pleased to hear your enthusiastic support for this endeavor and especially gratified by your willingness to fully recognize and work in close partnership with the episcopal leadership that we expect to elect and consecrate in the coming months."


    From +Iker’s response to ++Akinola”

    "• the importance of the implementation of the Windsor Report,"

    From the “Windsor Report:

    154. The Anglican Communion upholds the ancient norm of the Church that all the Christians in one place should be united in their prayer, worship and the celebration of the sacraments. The Commission believes that all Anglicans should strive to live out this ideal. Whilst there are instances in the polity of Anglican churches that more than one jurisdiction exists in one place, this is something to be discouraged rather than propagated. We do not therefore favour the establishment of parallel jurisdictions.
    155. We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own:
    • to express regret for the consequences of their actions
    • to affirm their desire to remain in the Communion, and
    to effect a moratorium on any further interventions.
    (emphasis added)

    These items, taken together lead me to wonder:
    • Doesn’t talking out of both sides of their mouths hurt?
    • Is this resistance to pain when violating one’s ordination oaths included as a fruit of the Spirit for Bishops?
    • What does a homophobe bishop have to do to finally get liberals to file a presentment?

    FWIW
    jimB

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  5. Mark, I fear you accidentally truncated the title of this posting. Didn't you intend to say, "The Archbishop has Been at Work ... Seeking Whom He May Devour"?

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  6. Pardon me for my possible ignorance, but this seems to clearly establish that it is greed that is driving our dear friend, ++Akinola. He's making the effort to move quickly before ECUSA has the opportunity to even possibly make an effort at concession. Not that I am hoping we will, but that he isn't risking more time for rumors to strengthen anybody's hopes.

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  7. I would ask for your prayers for the members of the Diocese of Fort Worth who wish to remain in TEC. We who support TEC find ourselves quite on the outside, and wonder why we are not eligible for alternate episcopal oversight,since we disagree with a Bishop who refuses to honor the canons, and who does not honor his own ordination vows. The people in this diocese who are loyal to TEC need help!

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  8. I hope the Via Media groups have those presentments against Duncan, Iker, and the other insurgent leaders of AAC/Network ready to go on the day after GC 2006.

    TEC has nothing to repent or apologize for. Clergy who abandon the communion of TEC should be disciplined. The Diocese of CA should elect the best person to be their bishop...period. All this AAC/Network hysteria is just blah, blah, blah.

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  9. Let's see here:
    "Embarrasment to the Anglican Communion"
    "Homophobe"
    "Archbishop has Been at Work ... Seeking Whom He May Devour"
    "it is greed that is driving our dear friend, ++Akinola"

    So ask again "How come no one wants to listen to our stories as Lambeth 1.10 directed?" Who demonizes whom?

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  10. (Dave)
    For anonymous in Ft. Worth: Has your parish requested alternate episcopal oversight? Please share with the list the details of that and the bishop's reply. Any takers on my offer of a wager that there is NONE! And BTW - the prior post is mine also.

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  11. Anon(Dave), In response to your question, I reckon the standard conservative line is appropriate here: We're just speaking the truth in love.

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  12. (Dave)
    Lisa - Your reply, though flippant, accurately reflects why dialog/listening is probably futile. While I have little respect for TEC and its leadership, I would certainly respect them more (albeit not as leaders of a Christian church) if they remain true to what they believe and thumb their noses at the AC on issues concerning human sexuality while crying about territorial invasions by blood thirsty African savages. Makes for great theater, don't you think?

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  13. Anon (Dave),
    No, we haven't requestd it, for several reasons, but the main one is that our parish chooses to concentrate on the more important things we are called to do, like take care of each other, feed the hungry, etc. We really try to keep the politics out of our parish, and have been successful so far. However, that said, many of us are frustrated, nonetheless. I'm pretty sure that there is no way a request would be granted, even if we were to ask. I understand why TEC doesn't step in, but it seems to me that there should be something from the national church. We are not alone in this. There are plenty of churches in areas with bishops like ours. I don't think there's any doubt about it being dysfunctional, but again, I guess since the church is us, what else can we expect? We just try to take care of the needs put before us, worship like we always have, and will continue to do, and trust that God will win in the end.

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  14. (Dave)
    Re anon: Just as I thought! Cry you are being persecuted! Lament lack of support! "No one cares about us poor folks." But never even ask for the alternate oversight that is there for the asking. Oh - and don't forget to imply that your bishop would refuse it if you asked. Maybe he should be accused of not reading your minds. Please forgive me for not feeling sorry for your imagined plight.

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  15. Alright, Anonymous(Dave), I'll make a more serious effort this time. Though I truly don't think it's going to make a bit of difference. Your mind is made up. My mind is made up. Nothing we say here at Preludium is going to change anyone's long- and firmly-held beliefs.

    To borrow a phrase I recently read elsewhere, I've spent a fair bit of time looking at trees and studying their fruits. What I hear from Akinola is anger and venom. He wants to throw people in prison for even suggesting the full humanity of gay people. He refers to gay people as "lower than dogs." He certainly did not seek to resist or calm Anglicans in Nigeria who went on to attack Muslims.

    I look at his actions and ask, is this what Jesus would do? No, his actions do not reveal to me the fruits of the Holy Spirit -- but of some very different spirit indeed.

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  16. (Dave)
    Lisa: Like most people, Peter Akinola defies pigeon holing. If you took the time to study anything about him, I think you would find much to admire even though you also perceive much that is wrong with his ministry. I am reminded of how most of us felt about Jack Spong. As my bishop, I saw only heresy and apostasy and lamented each breath he drew. That is until I heard Mike Flynn of Fresh Winds Ministries speak at my church. Although Mike is an evangelical and charismatic Episcopalian, he challenged our congregation (and me in particular) to pray every day for Jack Spong that God would use him for good. Here all I wanted was to see him deposed and instead, I had to learn to love him and pray for him despite disagreeing with him on virtually evey statement he ever made. So that is our challenge, yours and mine. To disagree without demonizing or wishing ill for the other. Separate if we must (and I believe that is what must happen), but do so without bitterness or rancor.

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  17. I have little respect for TEC and its leadership, I would certainly respect them more (albeit not as leaders of a Christian church)

    An appeal to faithful Episcopalians on this site---

    Folks, above is a troll, announcing that he is a troll: let's not waste anymore time trying to *reason* w/ "Anonymous (Dave)", shall we?

    Just pray for him, and leave him be...

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  18. I am most amused by this list. You revel in groups like Claiming the Blessing and the Diocese of California working to violate the Windsor Report, and grind your teeth when Akinola and Iker violate it. All this simply shows that the Windsor Report was DOA anyway.

    I see two impending realities, with all forces contributing toward making them happen, whether they want them to or not:

    1. The TEC will have their gay and lesbian bishops and same-sex blessings.

    2. The conservatives will have their "realignment" or schism.

    Both of these have already begun. There is no point in pretending otherwise. The toothpaste will not go back in either tube.

    I would like to know what the ECUSA intends to do "to provide pastoral care for those Anglicans who are unable to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church during these difficult times," as Akinola is? If their chief concern will be citing canons, and protecting the institution and their own power, rather than doing mission and ministry, then God bless CANA, AMIA, and the rest of the 200+ churches under overseas bishops. If they address the needs and concerns of these folks, CANA would disappear. The reality is, however, that they cannot or will not.

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  19. "I would like to know what the ECUSA intends to do "to provide pastoral care for those Anglicans who are unable to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church during these difficult times," as Akinola is?"

    No one in the ECUSA has told anyone to leave. A number of bishops have set up DEPO for parishes that have issues with them. In fact, there are efforts, at many levels, to accomidate those who do not find the course the church has chosen acceptible.

    There are undoubtedly people who feel pushed, and undoubtedly some who do push. We are imperfect. But there is no effort to shove dissenters out, or Duncan and Iker would have been presented months ago.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  20. JimB wrote "But there is no effort to shove dissenters out."

    I disagree, Jim. There is an effort among some of our leaders. Take Ann Fontaine's response to the question today of what would Standing Committees do if a diocese like Fort Worth called an FiF priest to be bishop as an example of the shoving. Her response was that she could not trust such a person's ability to minister to the flock (I am paraphrasing since I did not get her permission to forward it verbatim); yet, she was among those leaders three years ago demanding that we (everyone) give NH the opporturnity and diginity to discern who should be called to be their bishop. And to this point, no one has mentioned the irony of that post (though I imagine Brad or John will). If she, and others who answer like her, are not kicking us out with answers like that, what exactly is she doing? Encouraging us as she wants to be encouraged? Embracing us as she wants to be embraced?

    I will concede that in some dioceses, including my own, bishops and Standing Committees and CoM's, are truly committed to trying to minister to everyone, but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule (and that imperfection exists in both diocesan camps).

    Sadly, rb is probably right in that the schism has gone too far to be averted. Too many lawyers are involved and far too much money. Of course, we serve a God who specializes in resurrections, and the HOB comments that the work was gracious and heartfelt (by both sides) may show He is at it again.

    JB

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  21. Anon,
    My heart goes out to you in your current predicament and so do my prayers. These are anxious times. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Dwell in his love. Come what may, nobody can take God away ...

    A.

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  22. JB,

    I read Rev. Ann's comment. If I were an apologist for her, I would point out that +Gene promised to support the doctrines and disciplines of ECUSA while any FIF priest wont. This church has canon and doctrine on the subject of female clerics.

    None-the-less, I said that there is no effort from the left to split eht church and I think that is true. Individuals act how they do, but the church's left wing organizations, Integrity etc, did not spawn the Chapman memo!

    FWIW
    jimB

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