Bishop Bena abandons Episcopal Church.

Bishop David Bena, retired Suffragen Bishop of Albany, has abandoned the Episcopal Church and has become a bishop in the Church of Nigeria.

The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has released a statement in which the following appears: "We also heard a report from the Bishop of CANA, the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, on the growth of the ministry in the USA and pledged our enthusiastic support for this vital mission initiative of our Church. We welcomed the news that the Rt. Rev’d David Bena, recently retired Suffragen Bishop of Albany, has now transferred to the Church of Nigeria to assist with the work of CANA.

In light of the report from the recent meeting of Primates in Dar es Salaam we agreed to defer the request for additional Episcopal elections for CANA until our meeting in September 2007."

Please note that the HoB statement from Nigeria claims he has "transferred to the Church of Nigeria." That is considerably more polite than the truth of the matter. It appears that Bishop Bena in his retirement has joined a body of bishops of a church not in communion with this church. In doing so he has abandoned this church for another. This is in no way a "transfer."

I will grant that this does not make much practical difference, except that he will have no place in the American House of Bishops, which means one less negative vote and negative presence here. He will exercise this new ministry in the Convocation of Anglican Churches in America, an organization of the Church of Nigeria which in no way provides alternative pastoral oversight, but rather an alternative to the Episcopal Church. He will do so on a living consisting, I suspect, of his pension drawn from the Episcopal Church. Bishop Minns draws a pension as well. So the emerging CANA episcopate consists of retired clergy of the Episcopal Church using their pension income to subsidize in part their efforts to undermine this church.

Well, all is fair in love and war. It is clear they are not in love with the Church that provided them the structures in which reasonable retirement income was possible. Perhaps in war this bit of creative financing is considered honorable. I fail to see much honor in it.

If CANA expects to have more bishops (and the HoB Message from Nigeria assumes the possibility) they may not need to consecrate more. They may end up with enough retired bishops in their CANA effort to begin ordaining more of their own here in North America, thus forming a second church out of CANA, in communion with Nigeria and not with the Episcopal Church. And all of this without having to spend a dime of missionary monies from Nigeria at all, but rather having the whole effort underwritten by the pensions given bishops here in the US.

Bishop Bena needs to be dropped immediately from the rolls of The Episcopal Church.


  1. What a strange understanding you have about pensions. The Bishop EARNED his pension. He has now moved on. You are no more underwriting his new ministry than you are promoting smoking if he were to use his pension to buy cigarettes. Whether he can still be considered a bishop in TEC is something entirely different -- but I fail to understand the logic of why someone who was consecrated a bishop of the church should no longer be considered one simply because he has been trasferred to Nigeria. Are any priests of TEC ministering in Global South provinces like Kenya, Uganda, Central Africa or Nigeria? Are they no longer priests becasue those provinces have determined they are not in communion with TEC? I thought that if both churches were in communion with Canterbury, they were still "in communion."

  2. I think this is a riot! I spoke with Bp. Bena when he came to Pittsburgh for the "Hope and Future" Conference and asked him what he thought about Archbp. Akinola's statements at that meeting. His response? "Oh, I didn't go to that - I can't understand one word those African bishops are saying!"

  3. Richard III6/3/07 11:30 AM

    If only the other malcontent bishops in this church who are of the same mind would do the same. They would be in communion with people they apparently feel they have something in common with and the rest of us apostate sinners in TEC could then be left in peace to pursue the Gospel imperative as we see it and the direction the Spirit of God compels us to move.

  4. In response to Dan... I perfectly agree that he earned his pension. I was pointing out the fact that the CANA efforts in the US will have its bishops substantially funded by pensioners. I too am a pensioner (being increasingly older then dirt) but I am not now in a the ministry of a church that is not in communion with this Church. They are of course free to do in retirement what they wish and no one should attempt to take away their pensions. Bishops Bena's move to CANA, and Bishop Minns retirement as a priest of the Episcopal Church, might be the beginning of a pattern of clergy willing to wait out their time until retirement, the join the CofN where they may have more wealth in retirement than most clergy and bishops of the CofN and exercise a ministry in conflict with the ministry of the church whose pension fund is engaged.

    You write: "I thought that if both churches were in communion with Canterbury, they were still "in communion."" We are living into the anomaly of a communion where that does not appear to be true.

  5. David Wilson+6/3/07 4:27 PM


    Should we remove Bishop Mark McDoanld immediatley from the rolls of TEC House of Bishops since he has abandoned the TEC for tha Anglican Church of Canada?

  6. david wilson...Bishop MacDonald (remember the "a") has resigned as bishop of Alaska, with permission of the HoB, to take up a new ministry with the Anglican Church of Canada, with whom we are in communion. He continues as assisting bishop for Navajo Land. One assumes that arrangements about pension will be made. He has indeed transferred jurisdictions. He has not abandoned TEC. I have no idea how the HoB will handle his membership in the house via Navajo Land. I would not be surprised if he were members of both houses. Poor man, he might have to go to both sets of meetings.

    At any event, Bishop MacDonald continues in a ministry in this Church, has a new ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, is in no way working for a church that is crossing jurisdictional lines because it believes The Episcopal Church is immoral or heretical. Bishop Bena is. Bishop MacDonald may or may not continue on the rolls of the HoB, but he has not denied the validity of this Church. Bishop Bena, in joining CANA, has.

  7. if they are truly trying to create an "alternative" structure to the real Episcopal Church, expect them to start bishoping up... they will likely come up with a fair number of bishops and nowhere nearly enough congregations to support them... outside of their Episcopal church pensions.

    more and more this crowd looks a lot like all of the previous autocephalous and breakaway continuing groups before them. I wonder when one of them will proclaim himself the Orthodox Anglican Primate of All America or some such other pompous title.

    Do you think they will accept fake Mar Thoma line episcopal ordinations, soon? Villette and Matthew "old catholic Anglican" wannabe bishops are waiting for the call.

    Operators are standing by, as they say!

  8. Oy. On all accounts.

    So now, our retired disgruntled Bishops can bankroll the churches of hate.

    Humanity is filled with so much wonder and grace. NOT.

  9. Any chance that Bena might persuade Iker, Duncan, Schofield, et. al. to go with him?

  10. It looks like since the years that this blog started that the good bishop has joined in a movement of the Holy Spirit that indeed has legs.


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