4/26/2007

Bishop Minns moves on, up, and out.

Bishop Martyn Minns has been in rapid order: (i) Rector of Truro Church, in the Diocese of Virginia, (ii) licensed Priest in Charge of Truro Church and Bishop in the Church of Nigeria for CANA, (iii) Bishop in the Church of Nigeria for CANA and pastor of the majority of the people of Truro Church no longer licensed in Virginia, and as of last Sunday, (iv) Bishop of the Church of Nigeria for CANA only. There were two heartfelt and quite gentle statements about Minn's last Sunday at Truro. The one is posted on Truro site. The other is on BabyBlueOneline. The affection of the people of the congregation is readily apparent and we can be glad that they were able to show that affection for them.

So now Bishop Minns is no longer the Pastor for the CANA congregation in Fairfax, Virginia. His ministry now is entirely as bishop in the Church of Nigeria. In that regard there is yet another celebration coming up. This from the Truro Newsletter for April 28-Mar 4, 2007: "There is one more Celebration for which we are all preparing and that is the Celebration of my new Ministry and formal Installation as Missionary Bishop of CANA. Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria, Chairman of the Global South, will officially install me on Saturday May 5th at 12:30 p.m. at the Hylton Chapel in Woodbridge. It will be a truly festive occasion with guests from all over the world. Everyone is invited—please come and join in with the celebration."

Several things are interesting about this announcement:

  1. Archbishop Akinola will preside, thus making the Installation, while not to a specific chair or see, none the less an installation in place. It thus further exacerbates the boundary problems between the Church of Nigeria and The Episcopal Church. This is not simply sending a missionary presence into another province of the Anglican Communion. This is establishing a diocese or missionary diocese in place.
  2. (ii) The Archbishop is named as "Primate of All Nigeria, Chairman of the Global South." While Bishop Minns is given to modest overstatement at times, this is a telling statement. At the very most the Archbishop is the Chair of the Steering Committee of those bishops and provinces that have gathered for the various Global South conferences and who oversee the work of the committees of that Conference, and the secretariat (of whom Bishop Minns is part). But that does not sound nearly as elegant as "Chairman of the Global South."
  3. The installation will be at the
    Hylton Chapel
    in Woodbridge. This is a "a nondenominational Christian Event Center that opened in 1995. The facility does not accommodate a local church or congregation on a regular basis. It seats nearly 3500. The facility was designed to host large Christian events and facilitate renewal throughout the region." The website states that Hylton Chapel is "Dedicated to Unity, Reconciliation and Restoration." Given its statement of faith, the directors are very clear that unity, reconciliation and restoration are ideas constrained by what they consider orthodox. "Hylton Memorial Chapel accommodates only events of Christian, community, or charitable nature. We reserve the right to refuse to accommodate any group whose events will violate HMC's charter or the instructions of the HMC Board of Directors or whose doctrinal position deviates from orthodox Christian tradition." So, of course, the Installation of Bishop Minns is something they will feel comfortable with. Still, they don't list the Installation as one of the upcoming events.

So Bishop Minns will be installed in a "Chapel" that is not only "nondenominational" but seemingly without any ministerial staff of its own. It is a for rent facility. He will be installed by the Primate of Nigeria who will straightforwardly step across the line and act as Primate in the establishment of a new ministry in a Province not his own without permission of the Bishop of the Diocese or the Primate of the Province. He will be "established" in the specifics of a new ministry with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, and will have at least one other bishop, retired, as part of the convocation, and another, Bishop Ben Kwashi, as "coordinating visiting bishop," meaning he will be around sometimes. To bad Bishop Minns is not being installed in a church congregation, with a decent relationship with the Province in place, and with colleague bishops here who are not retired or imported.

I expressed my concern earlier about this strange mix. My sense is that come September 30th, we will see the emergence of a group of at least three bishops in CANA ready to form a new province. The Archbishop has only promised not to move further on new consecrations until that date. CANA has already had its first ordinations. If it acts like a diocese, walks like a diocese, talks like a diocese, it must be…but wait! Everybody in the Anglican Communion agrees that dioceses are parts of provinces and do not run amok in one another's fields. So CANA is not a diocese in the Anglican Communion, no matter the visit of the Archbishop of Nigeria or its own words to the contrary. But then again, when are we going to hear from the Anglican Consultative Council, the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Primates? Who knows?

The Church of Nigeria is on the move, and the end game is in hand. At some point the rest of the Provinces, and indeed some of our own bishops, are going to have to choose between The Chairman and the fellowship of churches that now constitutes the Anglican Communion. Meanwhile Bishop Minns will now have plenty of time to pursue new tasks.


11 comments:

  1. Yes, it seems like this installation is to function at some indefinite future time as the a new North American Anglican Province distinct from the Episcopal Church, though that may be some time coming. I bet CANA's belonging to Nigeria--perhaps for a time as a diocese-like entity--should probably be taken as only temporary.

    In effect, Akinola and Minns have almost created facts on the ground constituting what many on the Anglican right in this country have said they wanted: a parallel, really distinct Anglican province.

    And it will not stop there. If step one is to set up what could function as a parallel province, step two is to replace the competitor, that is, the Episcopal Church.

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  2. Ya know what I keep noticing? The break-away churches in the Virginia describe themselves as being part of the "Anglican District of Virginia".

    I didn't understand that funny turn of phrase until I realized that it easily permutes to the "Anglican Diocese of Virginia" - the counter to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia...

    I wonder though if it would have to be the Anglican Diocese of Virginia (Church of Nigeria) now?

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  3. Perhaps this is why we have yet another missive from ACI (just posted on T19)prodding the conservative bishops to accept the Tanzania plan as a gift. They see Akinola going forward to up the anty and to challenge the Primates to recognize CANA and its bishops as a diocese of the Church of Nigeria. In effect saying to the Primates, either kick TEC for failing to abide by the recommendations of the Communique or kick me out for border crossing -but you will have to choose. And if you do nothing - then what? Chaos?

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  4. And lest we forget the CANA website clearly states it's relationship to the AC as follows:

    "At their meeting in September 2006, the Global South Primates of the Anglican Communion, who represent more than 70% of the active membership of the Communion, stated their conviction that “the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA.” They are in close consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The intention of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria and of the Missionary Bishop and other leadership of CANA is that it will serve as a transitional entity that may by God’s grace be a building block for this new ecclesiastical structure."

    They are going forward as planned it would seem.

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  5. Cana will join the myriad other anglican entities in the U.S. We have one called the United Anglican Church right here in upstate New York. It's a ranch house with a two car garage. The "archbishop and primate's" residence is presumably the house. The difference for CANA? $ and cheeky friends.
    CSmith

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  6. christopher+27/4/07 9:53 AM

    These folks are placing all bets on the notion that the Anglican Communion will ultimately allow itself to be hijacked and reconstructed in their image. Or perhaps they just hope to split off a "viable" enough chunk to carry on as they would like.

    In any event, they clearly intend either to impose their will on everyone or divide the Communion; they have no interest at all in peaceful coexistence with anyone who disagrees with them. They blame this - again and again and again - on the duly constituted Anglican provinces of North America, but TEC and the ACoC have never tried to impose their will on the entire Anglican world, insisting that all conform or else, as Nigeria and company do. Amidst all this, it is well worth remembering that it is by no means clear that most provincial synods will ultimately accept the "presumptive legitimacy" of this Nigerian-led effort.

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  7. Mary Ailes27/4/07 2:01 PM

    Bishop Minns is the Rector of Truro. The Sunday was a celebration of Martyn and Angela and Rachel's faithful ministry among us - but he is still the Rector of Truro and will be until his successor is called.

    Mary Ailes
    Vestry, Truro Church

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  8. christopher+27/4/07 5:23 PM

    The matter of whether Bishop Minns can be rector of an Episcopal parish in Virginia - and use its property - without a license from the Diocese of Virginia will apparently be settled in court.

    However, as a member and an official of the Church of Nigeria, Bishop Minns will only serve in ANY capacity on behalf of his new church as long as that is the will of the Nigerian Primate.

    One must wonder whether the implications of joining the Church of Nigeria were (or are) fully clear to those Virginians involved. Bishop Minns and those who are part of his community now report directly to Abuja, Nigeria; they are, by choice, members of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. It is entirely likely that they no longer decide important things - like issues of leadership - quite as locally as they have done in the past. Over time, it will become clear that Nigeria really is in charge.

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  9. Actually, I hope CANA *does* drop the "Nigeria" facade.

    As a Nigerian bishop, it would be difficult to find a rationale to keep Minns OUT of Lambeth---assuming Rowan Cantuar wants to (I know, I know: an "out there" assumption
    >:-/)

    But American schismatic splinter so-called "Anglican" "bishops"? ABCs have been able to say "Thanks but no thanks" to *them* for YEARS!

    So, who's up for a Prayerful Vigil of Protest at this wacky Hylton Chapel place?

    [Heh: might even be time to break out the old Thomas Nast cartoon, of Bishop-crocodile Akinola invading our shores! Oh, right: BabyBlue would call *that* one, just like the ChimpPrimate Cartoons of a few months ago, "terribly, terribly racist", getting all her dunder up---and crying, um, crocodile tears! (She might even cite Bono Yet Again). Nevermind. ;-p]

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  10. I just have 1 question... Did Akinola get a work visa from INS before consecrating Minns? By performing the act of consecrating Minns in Virginia, he was WORKING on U.S. soil.

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  11. christopher+, I would rather follow a Nigerian Bishop who stands of the word of God, than an apostate PB like KJS. TEC are the ones choosing to break away from the COMMUNION. The Anglican communion is NOT do what you want as long as you don't force everyone else, it is staying with the one catholic church and move together as everyone agrees.

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