5/03/2007

And then there were two: The Archbishop and the Moderator

Episcopal Cafe alerts us to an article in the Washington Times in which the writer Julia Duin does some homework. "A phone survey of 10 Episcopal dioceses that belong to the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) -- a confederation that opposes the Robinson consecration -- revealed that only its moderator, Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, plans to attend. Bishop Don Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network of Canada, has also accepted."

Recalling that the Moderator, Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh, represents and speaks for the Anglican Communion Network and that the Global South Steering Committee wanted someone specifically who could speak for the realignment community in the US, it is not surprising that he will be there.

It is of some interest to note in the article that some in the ACN have reservations about CANA and the Archbishop's motives.


"I'd go to offer personal support for Martyn," he said. But as a diocesan representative, "it'd be associated with schismatic behavior. It's that kind of climate."
As more conservatives bolt the Episcopal Church, their leaders are disagreeing privately over strategy . Some prefer the ACN's method staying in the Episcopal Church, but others say it's time to leave.
Others say the issue is not Bishop Minns but his sponsor, the outspoken Archbishop Peter Akinola, who founded CANA as a mission of the Church of Nigeria, which he heads."

" "There's a sense that Akinola is a very strong leader. Does he want to take over?" said Bishop John Rodgers, the retired co-founder of the Anglican Mission in America, which was founded in 2000 as a U.S. breakaway group by foreign bishops."

"Not all conservatives are convinced CANA wants to be a team player. 'No one can be sure if they're competing against us or cooperating with us,' an ACN source said."

Remember, Archbishop Akinola comes as Archbishop of Nigeria to install one of his bishops. He also comes as Chair of the Global South Steering Committee and it was in that context that he received committments of the bishops in Virginia to act as one. We will read with interest the Archbishop's words at the installation regarding his vision for this strange beast, CANA.

So what is going on here? Is this the continued fracturing of the realignment crowd? Is it a distancing because of the suspicion that CANA is sheep stealing from ANC folk, or stealing their thunder? Is it a distancing because what CANA is doing does indeed appear to be schismatic. Or is it primarily a meeting of two streams flowing to the same end?

At any event it would appear that unless there is another meeting tacked on at the beginning or end of this one the possibility of a meeting of "five bishops bolting" is not immediately on the horizon, unless of course The Moderator is coming on their behalf precisely to offer the Archbishop a scheme by which the hard line ACN bishops can collectively make use of CANA as an instrument for a province in waiting. In which case the Moderator gets to negotiate some part of a collective pie, and "five bishops bolting" becomes "five bishops piping."

If so, who will dance?

3 comments:

  1. Well, yes, of the CANA stealing sheep from the ACN fold. The problem is the morphing of CANA from the Convocation to serve Nigerians in the US to the Convocation of North American Anglicans. To some extent it had the blessing of the ABC when its purpose was to serve Nigerian expatriates in the US, but, when it morphed into serving North American Anglicans, (not a Nigerian in sight), that got sticky. ++Carey said no to Rwanda when it tried that. Now the Chapman memo, as did the Globabl South Steering Com memo from +Duncan, seemed to make clear that the off-shore relationship was temporary. But what of the Oath of Allegiance that +Minns took:

    3. OATH OF OBEDIENCE
    At his consecration or translation, every Bishop of the Church of Nigeria shall swear an oath of Canonical obedience to the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria and to his lawful successors.

    How temporary does +Akinola want his foothold to be? Is +Duncan willing to make such a deal? +Akinola has, de jure or de facto absolute control over Nigerian clergy. How well would that sit with Network bishops and dioceses? Well, yes, +Duncan (and the unknown others in the Westfields Response document) did acknowledge +Duncan as leader for the purpose of Tanzania and, to some extent "allegiance" to +Akinola, but as pointed out, that was as you pointed out Akinola as leader of the Global South. What happens when its +Akinola as your primate to whom you owe absolute fealty. +Akinola has already said that the timing of events would be on the GS schedule, not scheduled by events on the ground in the US. It would seem that some bishops, even those who might be considered far right have real reservations about +Peter in terms of both the exercise of power, and his claim of authority. He was wonderful when he was corralling the primates to do his bidding ...in Tanzania, but, over here...Now that gets more and more interesting.

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  2. Interesting point, Emily.

    I find it hard to believe such strong egos (to put it politely) as Iker will take orders from anyone for long.

    And then, of course, there is the fact that most of the secessionists in the U.S. are political reactionaries while the Africans, as conservative as they are on sex, are not so right wing in other ways. How will they respond when one of the princes of the African church to which they have sworn undying loyalty steps beyond the ideological pale by, for example, condemning U.S. business practices in the third world or expressing support for debt cancellation?

    And then, of course, there is race. Is it reasonable to expect country-clubbers in lily-white burbs to take orders from black men for very long?

    This could get very interesting.

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  3. There has been an interesting duscussion over on the Stand Firm site. Of particular interest is this post from the Rev. David Wilson, a priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh and a very vocal critic of TEC. It does not paint a rosy picture for +Duncan's group.

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