Challenging the Archbishop: The latest report from the pack of cards.

The Anglican Communion Network (officially the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Provinces) began its third Network Council Meeting, Monday July 31st. The Moderator’s opening address has been posted, and Fr. Jake Stops the World has published a first rate critique of the Moderator’s latest trip down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.

Looking through the Address, which is every bit as much a linguistic, theological and ecclesial hodgepodge as Fr. Jake contends, I find several items of interest:

(i) I have wondered whatever happened about Canon Martyn Minns’ consecration, the date of which has not been published. The Moderator partially answered this by saying, “One person who will certainly be present to these developing discussions (working toward an inter-related and provisional “missionary district” made up of congregations overseen by other Provinces) is martyn Minns, who upon consecration in Nigeria in the very near future, will necessarily leave the Network’s Cabinet.”

So, Minns will be consecrated in Nigeria in the very near future. And he is expected to be part of the discussion about the development of a missionary district. Since he will be “in place” in the US, one supposes his role in this missionary district might be, dare we think, bishop in place?

(ii) The Moderator raises the question of the term of office of the Moderator and the Secretary and said “it would be wise for this Annual Council to discuss its intentions about matters of re-election and of process of nomination.” Note, the question is not about election, but about re-election, all of which assumes that the Moderator is willing to stand again for election but of course needs to be nominated and elected. It is to his credit that the Moderator is the one to put this issue on the table. I would be surprised if anyone else stood for election or that anyone other than the current Moderator would be elected.

(iii) An interesting note about money. There have been a number of articles and blog entries on the matter of the funding of the American Anglican Council and the extent to which the Network was funded out of AAC coffers. The Moderator had this to say, “From the almost limitless benefaction of the American Anglican Council in the first eighteen months of the Network’s life to the present day there has always been enough income to sustain and, as appropriate, to grow the work.” Given that the Network is now only three years old, eighteen months is half its life. What kind of money is represented by this “almost limitless benefaction?” And, interestingly, do we ever get to see the financial pages of the Network? The income and expenditures of The Episcopal Church are reported, the budget is available, the trust funds can be explored, and people can be held accountable. Perhaps the Network could post its budget and income? I can’t find them on their web pages. The nearest thing is the thank you note that indicates the percentages of the budget paid from various sources.

(iv) The Moderator is going to Cambodia to take part in an ordination there of a person who seems a wonderful young man. Colin and his wife, Julie Larkin, are with Global Teams, a missionary organization related to the Network.

It is always wonderful to contemplate the possibility that God does more with those sent in mission than either the individuals or the sponsoring organizations can imagine. Every missionary has been blind sided by the baggage of their communities, but the Gospel seems always greater. (I ought to know, I was one.) So I am glad to see that the Moderator is going to Cambodia to ordain this young man, for the encouragement of mission is never just about “our” mission, but about God’s mission.

And, perhaps the Moderator will be swinging back by way of Nigeria? Who knows. Canon Minns’ consecration is “in the very near future.” How near?

(v) The Episcopal News Service just came out this morning with an article the headline of which is, “Network meeting opens with challenge to Canterbury” Challenge is right! The salient partial paragraph from the Moderator's address is this:

“This is a kairos moment in the life of the Anglican Communion, especially as regards the evolving role of its leadership by the Archbishop of Canterbury. If Canterbury can find a way to recognize the spiritual legitimacy of the claim of the Network Dioceses (and of the Network Parishes in Non-Network Dioceses) – together, one would hope, with the wider fellowship of emerging “Windsor dioceses” — to be that part of ECUSA that has “not walked apart” from the Communion – that has sacrificially and faithfully stood for what is the Communion’s articulated teaching and for what are the accepted boundaries of its order – then Canterbury sustains and renews his claim to be “gatherer” and “moral voice” of the Communion. To do this, he must bring along a strong majority of the Primates and of his own House of Bishops, for he is no pope. But do this he must. If he fails, any hope for a Communion-unifying solution slips away, and so does the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion as we have known them.”

Well there it is, the threat and the promise: The threat – recognize the Network and “Windsor Dioceses” as the constituency of the Anglican Communion in the US or else. The promise – the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion will be changed. The Moderator classifies all of this as a “kairos moment.” “Part of the kairos nature of this moment is that the Global South Primates meet in mid-September – those who have stood with the Network again and again – and we can be sure that they will not be voiceless on our behalf or on behalf of “the Faith once delivered to the Saints.”

In just a few brief words, there you have it: If the Archbishop does not do it our way, we have other friends and leadership will swing to them.

The whole thing is shameful.


  1. Bill Carroll1/8/06 3:40 PM

    Three theses:

    There is no one Anglican teaching on these matters.

    The Network is an interest group and not an ecclesial structure. If the Anglican Communion starts attempting to elevate every interest group with a dissenting opinion to the level of ecclesial structure, then it should and will die in schism.

    The Anglican Communion is a creature fo the autonomous provinces and not vice versa.

  2. Why shouldn't +Pittsburg not threaten ++Cantur and TEC? After the Jeffrey John affair, and B033, one thing is clear, they both can be bullied. A new presiding bishop begins her term by leading the cave-in, and we are surprised?




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