Who opened the gate and let Bishop Minns in?

Over on Anglican Mainstream there are comments from Bishop Minns re his place and the place of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). AM said he was attending the Primates Meeting with press credentials. So far I have seen nothing resembling an articleor other writing from him. Perhaps I simply have not found it yet. You would think that if he had written something Anglican Mainstream or Stand Firm would have published it. The "press credentials" gave him a way to be there as assistant to his superior, the Archbishop of Nigeria. And, he could conveniently hang out at the press conference and take questions afterwards. How nice.

Here are some choice remarks from Bishop Minns:

"We are not intruders. Our place has been recognised and explained in a better way than before. What we are doing is recognised as a valid Anglican Communion ministry. This encourages us to continue our ministry and flourish. We are really about showing the love of God for people.

The Anglican Communion is recognising the serious break in the TEC. It recognises that CANA does the work of the gospel. We want to be a gospel centred church."

Actually, what the Communique said about CANA was this:

"Although there are particular difficulties associated with AMiA and CANA, the Pastoral Council should negotiate with them and the Primates currently ministering to them to find a place for them within these provisions. We believe that with goodwill this may be possible."

The Primates must have been exhausted when they said that.

More generally about boundry crossings and intrusions, the Communique said this:

"The interventions by some of our number and by bishops of some Provinces, against the explicit recommendations of the Windsor Report, however well intentioned, have exacerbated this situation." (26)

"Once this scheme of pastoral care is recognised to be fully operational, the Primates undertake to end all interventions. Congregations or parishes in current arrangements will negotiate their place within the structures of pastoral oversight set out above." (From the Pastoral Scheme.)

Bishop Minns seems to think that what the Primates said is an affirmation that "CANA does the work of the gospel." How does he get that reading?

About the matter of property, Bishop Minns said,

"I do not want to see thousands of Christians evicted from their homes and churches. We want a process of mediation. We never started this. This is their initiative."

and later,

"In Virginia there are legal actions. They primates are saying that all legal actions should stop. I hope so. The Presiding Bishop initiated the legal actions and she has signed on to a document that says that she will stop them."

Well, to start with "thousands of Christians have not been evicted from their homes..." What in heavens name is he talking about? "We never started this." Well, actually, determining to leave the Episcopal Church and then claiming the property, by actually sitting on it, seems a bit preemptive.

And, just so he understands, for surely he does, the Presiding Bishop in "signing off" on this Communique is in no way saying that the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia or the Episcopal Church must cease its legal actions but only that that is what the Primates decided to ask the Episcopal Church to do. Here is the wording from the Communique:

"The Primates urge the representatives of The Episcopal Church and of those congregations in property disputes with it to suspend all actions in law arising in this situation. We also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations."

That's what the Primates urge.

"Signing off" on the Communique is not the same as consensus. This is something that gets twisted over and over again. The Communique states where the Primates came out as a group. I believe any one of the Primates could sign the Communique as a true statement of the results of discussions without agreeing to its conclusions. But even on a more narrow reading, what the Communique states is "urge" not "She will stop them."

And then Bishop Minns states the reasons why the Primates refused to take communion with the Presiding Bishop (not his, I realize, but perhaps he might have referred to her as Presiding Bishop Katharine (or Jefferts Schori)). He said, "The primates who refused to take communion with Katharine Jefferts Schori take the Eucharist very seriously. They refused to take communion because their churches are in broken communion.. They are broken right now."

Good for them, taking the Eucharist seriously. The Presiding Bishop I am sure takes the Eucharest vary seriously. I am sure Bishop Minns does. I know I do. The brokenness that exists is there. OK.

That means, of course, that there is no reason at all why Bishop Minns should feel his job is in danger. He is not here to heal: he is here to start a new work, having decided that the Episcopal Church is no longer a real church. After all, we are in "broken communion" a state remarkably similar to being out of communion.

Bishop Minns is, in other words, an Intruder. He volunteered the information that he is not. It does not appear that anyone asked him if CANA was. It reminds me of someone who in the recent past said, "I am not a crook," and another who said "I never had sex with that woman." Volunteered information of that sort tells us something.

It tells us there are problems here.

Now my question is, "Who opened the gate and let Bishop Minns in?"


  1. Actually, IIRC, the parish in Virginia did more than just sit on the property and vote to leave. I recall hearing that they had filed papers in court to claim the properties they're squating on before the Dio. of Virginia took action in the courts. It was the parishes' court actions that precipitated the diocesan court actions.


  2. What I understand it to mean is that property will remain, basically, in the possession of the diocese without court action. Or it ought to. But my question is what happens to the loyal Episcopalians that have been ousted from the use of the church? Do the primates consider all angles or just jump to conclusions?

    (I think that breaking communion in judgement of others is an act of not discerning the Body. I will never be reconciled to the idea that this free gift may be meted out according to our politics, denying the Imago Dei and the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Sacraments and the forgiveness of sins and if sin is a consideration . . . well, I think it is faithless.)

  3. Jon, that is incorrect. We have recorded our vote with the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have done nothing else - we were prepared to take the next steps to negotiate following the Diocese of Virginia's protocol for departing churches. It is the Diocese that filed lawsuits - we have not done that. The diocesan (and now national church's) lawsuits were done unilaterally. We were putting our negotiating teams together (in fact, I participated in a Vestry meeting on Sunday to vote for our reps to the "Property Commission" that Bishop Lee had just created) as Bishop Lee requested (again, following the protocol) when he abruptly (following a meeting with David Booth Beers of 815) cut off negotiations and filed suit against the voting parishes. Let's be clear about that. You can check all this at the courthouse. The voting churches have done nothing else but report our vote.


  4. The gate opens both ways even though some guests "aprovechar" and aren't invited back normally because of their sociopathic/ultraselfcentered tendencies.

  5. Padre Wayne22/2/07 9:12 AM

    BB: You "reported your vote" and nothing more? Get a grip! You have left our church and my gentle, oh-so-brotherly-in-Christ request is, "Don't let the door slam ya on the way out."

    "And no, you cannot have the door. It belongs to the faithful."


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