5/07/2007

Just in: Akinola found the letter, responds.

Somehow, o yes, David Anderson being canon missioner of CANA and all, he has published on the American Anglican Council site the Archbishop of Nigeria's answer to the Archbishop of Canterbury:


Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace, London

Sunday, May 6th, 2007


My dear Rowan,

Grace and Peace to you from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus the Christ.

I have received your note expressing your reservations regarding my plans to install Bishop Martyn Minns as the first Missionary Bishop of CANA. Even though your spokesmen have publicized the letter and its general content I did not actually receive it until after the ceremony. I do, however, want to respond to your concerns and clarify the situation with regard to CANA. I am also enclosing a copy of my most recent letter to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.

We are a deeply divided Communion. As leaders of the Communion we have all spent enormous amounts of time, travelled huge distances - sometimes at great risk, and expended much needed financial resources in endless meetings, communiqu├ęs and reports – Lambeth Palace 2003, Dromantine 2005, Nottingham 2006 and Dar es Salaam 2007. We have developed numerous proposals, established various task forces and yet the division has only deepened. The decisions, actions, defiance and continuing intransigence of The Episcopal Church are at the heart of our crisis.

We have all sought ways to respond to the situation. As you well know the Church of Nigeria established CANA as a way for Nigerian congregations and other alienated Anglicans in North America to stay in the Communion. This is not something that brings any advantage to us – neither financial nor political. We have actually found it to be a very costly initiative and yet we believe that we have no other choice if we are to remain faithful to the gospel mandate. As I stated to you, and all of the primates in Dar es Salaam, although CANA is an initiative of the Church of Nigeria – and therefore a bonafide branch of the Communion - we have no desire to cling to it. CANA is for the Communion and we are more than happy to surrender it to the Communion once the conditions that prompted our division have been overturned.

We have sought to respond in a measured way. We delayed the election of our first CANA bishop until after General Convention 2006 to give The Episcopal Church every opportunity to embrace the recommendations of the Windsor report – to no avail. At the last meeting of the Church of Nigeria House of Bishops we deferred a decision regarding the election of additional suffragans for CANA out of respect for the Dar es Salaam process.

Sadly we have seen no such respect from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. Their most recent statement was both insulting and condescending and makes very clear that they have no intention of listening to the voice of the rest of the Communion. They are determined to pursue their own unbiblical agenda and exacerbate our current divisions.

In the middle of all of this the Lord’s name has been dishonoured. If we fail to act many will be lost to the church and thousands of souls will be imperiled. This we cannot and will not allow to happen. It is imperative that we continue to protect those at most risk while we seek a way forward that will offer hope for the future of our beleaguered Communion. It is to this vision that we in the Church of Nigeria and CANA remain committed.

Be assured of my prayers.

Sincerely,

+Peter Abuja

Well, that's that.

Execpt of course that we (i) still don't know what the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, and (ii) how the Archbishop of Nigeria happened not to get it on Saturday until after the service.

BTW, as of 11:15 EST the Church of Nigeria has not posted its letter to the Archbishop (done instantly in regards to the letter to the PB, nor has the ABC's site, but then neither have they published the letter to the Abp of Nigeria. TItusonenine (always on the case) posted it at 10 AM, I suppose from the same source.

More later.

13 comments:

  1. No NEWS is "Good NEWS" from +Peter!

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  2. The fact that one questions the full truth of this "not receiving" the letter aside (and one can certainly arrange not to receive particular bits of information) there is the fact that in any other aspect of life we would not accept this excuse from anyone in a position in authority. Can you imagine if a CEO of a company used this same excuse or a member of parliment.

    There is also the fact that being a member of the Anglican Communion, ++Akinola knew quite well that what he was doing was not going to be well received by others including the ABC, and still went ahead and did it. It does not speak well of his personal integrity that he hides behind such a weak excuse as "I didn't see any letter." He needs to be called to account on this as well rather than those who have influence just shrugging their shoulders and saying "Oh well. It's done now. Not much we can do about it."

    Love and Prayers,
    Ann Marie

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  3. Malcolm French+7/5/07 1:21 PM

    One might consider the "decisions, actions, defiance and continuing intransigence" of the Anglican Church in Nigeria (and some other places) regarding certain other bits of both Lambeth 1:10 and Windsor.

    But then, the utter hypocrisy of this foreign prelate never ceases to astound.

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  4. Shorter version: "Look at what TEC made me do NOW!"

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  5. Akinola says - "In the middle of all of this the Lord’s name has been dishonoured. If we fail to act many will be lost to the church and thousands of souls will be imperiled. This we cannot and will not allow to happen."

    I would read this to mean -You sit by and allow our Lord to be dishonored. You might allow this to happen, but I will not. You're failure to act means thousands might go to hell. You might not care, but I do. You are a weak and ineffectual leader. I am not. I plan to take the lead from here on out.

    I wonder how the ABC would read it?

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  6. Thousands of souls will be imperiled. Really now. Whose souls might those be?

    LPR

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  7. Does it matter whether he got the letter before or after the installation? He knows that intruding in another bishop's juridiction is verboten.

    I do hope that the Primates censur him as they did TEC. But in the long run, it will mean nothing. The Nigerian Church of America will last for one generation at the most as have the churches that split over women's ordination or the change of the prayer book in 1979.

    The more we make a big deal out of it, the more press we give them. Let's be terribly Anglican and ignore them. It is what we have done with recalitrant folk all along. No pies in the face, no more blog ramble, no threats or press. Just let's do what we always do when we don't like people's behavior. Ignore them. It isn't terrribly Christian but it is so veddy Anglican.

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  8. Years ago, the Diocese of Delaware sponsored an evangelism training called Evangelism Explosion. Sounded great, until the afternoon part, which was done after the bishop left. In that presentation we were told that if we pass a person on the street who "has not been saved", and we do nothing to give that person the good news and the chance for salvation, that person's damnation is on our heads and will condemn us to hell.

    That's when I tuned out. I knew in my gut it was a lie. I knew from my own experience with Christ that it was a lie. Over the years I have come to this (probably and proudly heretical) understanding of salvation:

    JESUS does the saving. If it depends on us it will NEVER happen! I don't care HOW holy Peter Akinola is. He cannot save anyone and he is not one jot responsible for the salvation nor is TEC responsible for the damnation of one single soul. All souls that have ever been born and will ever be born belong to Jesus the Christ. Full stop. That's why he died, so we would know that, and his resurrection is the seal on that promise. All are in his hand. Not one will be lost, on the final day. I am a baptized person, a Christian, for the sole purpose of making that good news real, so people can give up their fear, their terror of God. That's what I believe. I'm sticking to it to the day I die. And if I am wrong, then as I have said before, I will gladly go to eternal hell and love all those who God should have loved more and better.
    But I'm not angry or anything. Gee whiz.
    Lois Keen

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  9. This is a leaders letter. what he writes is right. and if the episcopal church can effectively put two fingers up at the communion and say "we don't care about the communion" through its actions of ignoring EVERY request to stop the ordination of Gene Robinson, then who are the episcopal church to complain when someone ignores their request not to come and ordain Mimms. This is a very good letter and Akinola has laid the gaunlet down to Rowan Williams.

    There are two very different epsicopal churches in the usa and the split is inevitable.

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  10. One of the best parts of this letter is where His Grace says "This is not something that brings any advantage to us – neither financial nor political. We have actually found it to be a very costly initiative . . . "

    I wonder if someone would be so kind as to make an accounting of the money poured into this travesty by the Institute on Religion and Democracy and other U.S. neocons with deep pockets. I'll bet there's a cozy prospect for continued future support as well.

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  11. Andy, a split is inevitable, but not the one you are thinking of.

    What we saw yesterday was the beginning of the inevitable fragmenting of the secessionist movement.

    After all his years of conspiring and plotting, and all the false witness he has so eagerly borne against his brothers and sisters, and all those dreams of having the biggest, pointiest mitre in the world, Bob Duncan has been rendered damn near irrelevant, and not by his enemies, but by his alleged friends.

    After all, every parish that the Canaanites gobble up is one that is no longer sending money to the Network and won't be campaigning to make Duncan a primate.

    Moreover, in the eyes of the world, the secessionist movement in TEC is no longer a matter of traditionalist Episcopalians trying to take their church back, as they would have us believe, but a hostile takeover by a foreign prelate who conducts himself more like Idi Amin than a servant of God.

    You know how Americans react when they see foreigners trying to tell them what to do, right?

    In addition, Akinola's launch party has made a lie of the secessionists' pious protestations that this is all about maintaining a connection to Canterbury. Akinola has nothing but contempt for Canterbury and never misses a chance to show it. Will conservatives and moderates in the U.S., many of whom get downright misty-eyed at the thought of tea with the archbishop, really want to align themselves with Akinola?

    Then, of course, there is the fact that not all of the unhappy Episcopalians are Anglo-Baptists and Holy Rollers. Do you really think that the Anglo-Catholics are overjoyed to find that the "realignment" has now been branded fundamentalist and charismatic? (And honestly, you don't have to be a full bore Anglo-Catholic to get queasy when you see people rolling in the floor and babbling and twitching and declaring that their antics are "the new face of Anglicanism.")

    Last, given how jealously bishops and primates guard their territory and prerogatives, do you really think they will want to sign on with an autocrat who feels that he can set up a franchise in any province that does not dance to his tune? Akinola's following among the primates has been diminishing--this latest move will speed up that process.

    So yeah, a split is inevitable, but a different one that what you anticipate. Earlier secessionist movements have splintered, and this one is doing it much sooner than one would have expected just a few weeks ago, thanks is large part to Akinola's raging egomania.

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  12. "Execpt of course that we (i) still don't know what the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, and (ii) how the Archbishop of Nigeria happened not to get it on Saturday until after the service."

    Sorry Mark, You may need to get Lambeth Palace to reveal what was written. As for (ii) the Abp left Abuja before May 1st. I only checked his mail for the letter after contents were made public.

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  13. Thanks to Akin Tunde for his comment. I do look forward to the letter being made public, but wonder if it will.

    I appreciate this comment from a busy worker in the Church of Nigeria at a very pressing time. Your remark helps clarify the sequence of things.

    I was surprised, and have remarked on this, that the ABC's office did not immediately volunteer either the fact of sending the letter or its content as soon as it was mailed. It seems to have finally come to light from a question raised by someone of the Lambeth staff. Then someone here asked a question of the Archbishop or of you and all on the day before the service.

    The real communication scheme seems to have been the oldest around - people asking questions.

    In the logistical difficulty of getting various people from Nigeria to Washington and other matters it is quite understandable that checking the mail drops a bit on the priority list.

    I appreciate your sharing.

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