12/09/2006

Truro's Vestry has gone round the bend.

Mary Springmann, Vestry Registrar, Truro Church, has written a reflection on why Truro’s vestry has recommended to its congregation that “Truro Church sever its denominational ties with The Episcopal Church (TEC) and seek affiliation with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), subject to the establishment within CANA of the Anglican District of Virginia.”

The 40 days of discernment, the context in which the people of Truro made their decision, began with the proposition that the Episcopal Church has gone astray. Given that they eventually got to the question of where then should they go. In working for a solution, Ms. Springman says, they asked a variety of questions,

“such items as:
  • Does it believe in the uniqueness of Jesus Christ?
  • Does it endorse Bible centered teaching?
  • Does it have a mission minded focus on evangelism?
  • Does it have liturgical worship?
  • What are the criteria for ordination, especially for women and divorced clergy?
  • Is it completely separate from TEC?
  • Is it a “Common Cause” partner?
  • What is the nature of the relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury?
  • Does it have an American structure with American Bishops?
  • Can the parish own the property?
  • Is there financial independence that would allow transition to a permanent American Anglican structure in the future?”
They found themselves with three options:
  • Anglican Communion Network (ACN),
  • Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), and the
  • Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).
ACN was rejected because dioceses within it are “currently under considerable pressure and legal threats from TEC to conform to the latest innovations.” In other words, ACN dioceses are a bit dicy.

AMiA was rejected for an interesting reason: “The relationship is primarily through the Primate of Rwanda rather than through an ecclesiastical structure. There is an ongoing financial connection between Rwanda and AMiA. The current Primate of South East Asia has withdrawn his support.” So, AMiA is known by fellow travelers as (i) not really a subset of the Province of Rwanda, but a sinecure of the Archbishop, and (ii) not supported any longer by the Primate of South East Asia, one of the two founding Provinces. So much for AMiA.

So it chose CANA , “a newly formed Anglican structure in the United States sponsored by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to support orthodox Anglicans. It is legally and canonically established and is designed as a transitional entity with built-in flexibility to move to a permanent orthodox American structure. It allows for an ‘Anglican District of Virginia.’” No surpise here. Bishop Minns, their priest in charge, is the Bishop of CANA.

I don’t know where they got the idea that CANA was a “transitional entity”…the Province of Nigeria considers it a missionary district as far as I can tell.

The reflection then continues, “CANA is an authentic part of the Anglican Communion and acknowledged by the Primates and by Archbishop of Canterbury. Many churches are leaning toward CANA. The Falls Church vestry has voted to recommend CANA to its congregation as well.”

Where, oh where, is “CANA acknowledged by the Primates and by the Archbishop of Canterbury”?

Truro is either being misled by Bishop Minns, who by the way is indeed a bishop in the Anglican Communion, but without license of any sort as bishop in the territories of the Episcopal Church, or is being misguided by its vestry’s own grasping at myths.

CANA is neither a “transitional entity” nor “acknowledged by the Archbishop of Canterbury."

Then again, maybe I am wrong.

Show me.

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