1/15/2007

Nigeria HoB 20% larger, Archbishop opines on Tanzania and Lambeth

Two interesting items posted on the Church of Nigeria web pages:

At the Bishops Retreat held a week ago 19 new dioceses were mapped out and bishops were elected for them. It was all done in one night. The story may be found HERE. There are roughly 80 dioceses now. Ninety-three Bishops took part in the election process. Bishop Minns was one of the ballot counters. The missionary decision to expand by sending bishops who in turn develop congregations has been used in the spread of the church in the US and by the Episcopal Church in its strategy for developing work in Latin America. Other situations have called for missionary lay and clergy persons to go first into an area and then establish communities from which dioceses emerge.

This rapid expansion of the House of Bishops does two things: (i) provides a cadre of new missionary agents who are themselves empowered to raise up and ordain ministers and to develop new work, (ii) it further expands the number of Global South bishops at Lambeth.

About Lambeth, Archbishop Akinola had this to say :

“We are part and parcel of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Lambeth Conference is called once in every ten years for all Anglicans Bishops therefore it is our conference. What we are saying in Church of Nigeria and in many other provinces in Africa is that for us to gather all over the world as many as 800 Bishops, and to build that consensus and to agree on certain things, and for some to say “well it doesn’t matter; we can continue things in our own way”. Then think of the financial implication, think of the risks involved. For 120 Bishops from Nigeria to travel to England, consider the financial implication. It will not cost any diocese in the country lest than N1million – for the delegates and other expenses-. We are talking about N120million and we are going to spend three weeks there. And then on return, there is nothing to show for it, that is what we are arguing against. So, we are part and parcel of Lambeth Conference, but we are challenging the authorities that before we come, we have to be sure that we are not coming for a Jamboree. We are coming for serious business and we have plenty of time before Lambeth to decide whether we are coming for a mere jamboree or a serious conference.”

The issue then is, is Lambeth going to be “A jamboree or a serious conference?” By “serious” the Archbishop seems to mean one where agreement and consensus leads to enforceable decisions that are the clear mandate of the Communion. Lambeth, however, has never in the past been legislative. A Jamboree seems not to the Archbishop’s liking.

About the Tanzania meeting, the Archbishop opined:

“We are not going to Tanzania to discuss gay marriages. We are going to Tanzania because we are Primates of the Church and we have many things to talk about and to pray about. We come together primarily for fellowship as Primates, we come together to study the word of God and to think together on various matters that concerns our provinces. So the gay marriage thing is not the main agenda. It may rear its ugly head again but it is not the main agenda.”

I, for one, am relieved. If the Archbishop truly believes that the Primates Meeting will be for discussion, prayer, fellowship and study, great. He is confirming the reflective nature of the Primates Meeting.

But it would appear that the willingness to sit at table with the Presiding Bishop is going to be an issue for some. About that the Archbishop says nothing, at least not in this press briefing.

We shall see.

16 comments:

  1. obadiahslope15/1/07 6:29 PM

    Mark,
    It does not seem unreasonable for the Church of Nigeria to create new dioceses when one considers the membership of that province is some 17m. From what you report that will give the CoN some 110-120 dioceses.
    TEC has some 110 dioceses for a membership of some 2.4m. So the Nigerian increase in the number of Bishops seems mild. Were the TEC ratio of bishops to members (let alone ASA) to apply, Nigeria would surely have some hundreds of bishops.
    And I should point out that in my province Australia, our ratio is probably a lot closer to TEC's.
    I don't think the Nigerian move is more than housekeeping.

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  2. He absolutely should not sit at the table with someone who so fully exemplifies the apostasy of the church in exchange for the worship of free choice. The Episcopal Church used to embody the best of the Protestant and Catholic traditions -- the rich liturgical and devotional tradition of the one with the strong intellectual and lay leadership history of the other. Now it embodies the worst of both -- the empty formalism of the one with the vapid lack of conviction of the other. Lead on, Akinola!
    -- Dan Farrell

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  3. Sigh...

    There is, in fact, nothing new under the sun.

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  4. Christopher15/1/07 10:44 PM

    I quite agree with ++Akinola when he says of the Church of Nigeria that they "are part and parcel of the worldwide Anglican Communion." In fact, I would say EXACTLY the same thing of the Episcopal Church. We MUST get beyond the destructive and divisive notion that, when it comes to issues of non-core doctrine, Anglican brethren of different biblical-interpretive schools of thought cannot share fellowship or be in relationship with each other.

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  5. Mr. Farrell,

    I fear I am feeding the latest troll, but I have to agree with you -- where did Jesus get off eating with that tax collector? Yup, no example there! Got to agree with everyone and be sure they are holy.

    "What an idiot!" Hermoine Granger.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  6. I am more worried about possible bishops here - like a certain proposed Bishop-elect Lawrence in South Carolina who won't answer questions on his plans to lead a diocese out of PECUSA. I saw that the Diocese of Georgia said no. How many more standing committees need to say no for this one to be sent back to the drawing board?

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  7. Dennis --

    Re: SC -- the original consecration date has been delayed since a sufficient number of consents has not been received -- I have heard at third hand that Fr Lawrence is bracing himself to not be confirmed - what next?

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  8. Obadiah
    You are right about the numbers based upon membership but if ASA were the criteria, the case for more Nigerian bishops would be even more compelling. Add to the equation that the Nigerian church is rapidly growing, that its bishops are evangelists and church planters (and not mere caretakers presiding over a slow but steadily declining church), it is clear that Nigeria is doing something right. Attempts to attribute evil motives to making 20 new bishops carry a whiff of racism and paranoia.

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  9. Definition of a troll and an idiot:

    "someone who disagrees with me while I am advocating diversity of viewpoint"
    --D. Farrell

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  10. "Definition of a troll and an idiot" Gutlesswonder

    Bishops who carry more than a whiff of a racist message and are extra edgy/paranoid in regard to their diocese boundry crossing/ thieving...trolling usually originates or is inspired by Global South hatemongers and religious bigots of various Provincial stripes who are your everyday basic cowards and/or demented thug.

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  11. "He absolutely should not sit at the table with someone who so fully exemplifies the apostasy of the church in exchange for the worship of free choice."

    I may be risking feeding the trolls again, but as a gay Chrisitian, all such comments make me so very sad.

    And then I hear a little tune from almost 40 years ago by MC5, "Kick Out the Jams..." , and I feel better.

    I feel even better when I call Davis Maciyalla and others like him in Nigeria to mind as a reminder that not all of Nigeria's Christians march in lock step behind their leaders. And that such non-conformity is full of risk and danger and requires great personal courage, in a way that shunning the Episcopal Church and muscling in on its jurisdiction do not.

    --counterlight

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  12. Definition of "hatemongers and religious bigots of various Provincial stripes who are your everyday basic cowards and/or demented thug": someone who disagrees with me while I am advocating diversity of viewpoint.
    --D. Farrell

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  13. christopher17/1/07 12:58 PM

    It seems fair to say we could all do without name-calling. But this is as true for those who scream "apostate!" at those who disagree with them as for those who would imply that someone is being an "idiot." And if the only possible retort is, "if the shoe fits...!," then let this be equally true for everyone as well.

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  14. The bit of this I rather like was that which pointed out the enormous expense involved in Lambeth. Is this really something any of our churches want to be spending so much on? I'm serious.

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  15. Items on this blog expose very well the nature of the underlying problem. One is feeling sad; another is feeling mad; both would surely like to feel glad. But the moral order itself is based on objective reality, and that is all that matters.
    --Dan Farrell

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  16. "Definition of "hatemongers and religious bigots of various Provincial stripes who are your everyday basic cowards and/or demented thug": someone who disagrees with me while I am advocating diversity of viewpoint."
    --D. Farrell

    Gollygee, I thought:

    We are defining sneaky religious trolls who create crimes of HATE and "exclusion" at all levels of OUR Church life with their cowardly and anonymous "diversity of viewpoint" tactics.

    Surely, you can climb down from the toxic cloud of "pretend" long enough to actually READ and view the words of the +Akinola/+Gomez and other fear/hate generating accomplices as they spew forward!

    Responsible Christians don't behave like hatemongers.

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