Remember the old picture game? ...A drawing and in the drawing there are things "wrong." A shoe without laces, for example, or a chair missing a leg. Of course if you were connected by DNA to Salvador Dali it might not seem so wrong. But for most of us it was a game that trained us in observation.
Well, what's wrong with this picture? (This is from the website for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.)
First off, of course is that one of these is not like the others... Dr. Les Martin is not a bishop.
Second, there are no women.
Third, they are all smiling...I wonder why?
Then, the picture is talking about connection - surely they indeed are connected by one Lord, one faith, one baptism. But what about that symbol, the compass rose of the Anglican Communion? The idea is to make the connection between these four gentlemen and the Anglican Communion. Well, yes and no. Yes, they are bishops in churches part of the Anglican Communion, but No, CANA is not an entity in the Anglican Communion. The Churches of the Communion are part of it. We (and they) are members of member churches. What's wrong here is the direct identification of CANA with the Anglican Communion, useful for making a claim to legitimacy. But of course CANA is not a legitimate agent of the Anglican Communion. It is an effort to establish an alternative church within the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church.
The CANA website invites us to the "Installation of the Right Reverend Martyn Minns as the Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America." Well that should be a treat. Installing a bishop, rather than having him tromp around doing good for the lost, etc, is pretty establishment. This looks more and more like a movement to establish an alternative province in the US, and less and less like a movement to care for those needing pastoral care.
Oh yes... And, what is wrong with this picture?
Three bishops: Bena, Kwashi and Minns. In Anglican lore it takes three to tango. With three bishops part of CANA, others can be set apart as well. Dr. Les Martin looks like a prime candidate. He has a Canterbury hat. What more could we ask? Then again, don't forget Canon David Anderson (formerly Canon somewhere in California), now Canon Missioner in CANA.
Over in CANA land the brood of bishops is growing and it will only be time before they have three who lay hands on a fourth, and away they go. Then well will have the beginnings of a province in waiting, recognized by at least their mother church, Nigeria, and beating at the gates of the Instruments of Unity to be let in.
It will not be a pretty sight.
Better the Instruments get straight about this now, immediately. Well, the Primates couldn't do it, could they? They recognized CANA and AMiA as problem children for another day, but somehow needed now.
If the Primates won't act as a whole, we can pray that the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion and perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury will say something. CANA has no business identifying itself as part of the Anglican Communion, it is an illegitimate agent in the Communion and needs to be named as such.
In all the talk about a province in waiting, this is getting closer to the mark. Three bishops, installation of one, establishment of all as the visual sign of "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" under the sign of the Compass Rose.... it smells bad.
What is wrong with this picture is that it looks only triumphal. It is more.