Having a bit of time to explore this evening and thinking again about Dr. Noll's concern that evangelicals only send their seminarians to the "right" schools, and in particular Nashotah House and Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, I was wandering around over at BabyBlueCafe, where the music is delightful. She carried the CANA message about new parishes coming into CANA. There are now are 37 churches registered in CANA.
So I thought to find out where the clergy went for seminary training. Results are:
Rev'd Donald Helmandollar, Connecticut, Seminary of the East, Worcester, Mass., and BDS (where is that) for Anglicanization. He is one of the Connecticut Six.
Rev'd David Allert, Florida, TESM
Rev'd Donald Armstrong, Colorado, VTS
Rev'd Bill Haley, Washington, DC, Gordon Conwell, ordained by Frank Lyons as Deacon.
Rev'd Lawrence Harrison, Texas, TESM
Rev'd Toby Larson, Virginia, Gordon Conwell
So of the six, two went to Gordon Conwell, two went to Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, one went to the Seminary of the East, and one went to Virginia Theological Seminary. Five of the six went to "orthodox" evangelical seminaries. Fr. Armstrong alone went to one of the untrustworthy Episcopal seminaries.
On one level Noll's concern as to where evangelical Anglican clergy are being trained is borne out in this small sample. No one went to Nashotah, only two went to TESM.
In looking for this information (which I believe I got correctly…if not I am sure to hear!) I also found something else.
These are good people (including Fr. Armstrong who is into snakes up to his armpits). The folk they are gathering together are doing what we all do in gathering… trying to live out the faith, be followers in the Way, etc. The communities are of various sizes. Two of the clergy are on Louie Crew's list of Black Clergy. Several are only recently ordained. There are no women among them. I am not sure if there are any in CANA at all. (I am sure again that someone will tell me if there are. In fact, it would be helpful if the CANA website would list the congregations and clergy that now belong.)
Looking at the sites for these congregations and at the talents of the clergy I can understand why CANA is glad to proclaim that these congregations have joined CANA.
So, on the grounds that anyone who is a friend of Jesus is a friend of mine, Mazel Tov.
Having said that I am still critical of CANA's leadership for its schismatic actions. It appears that Bishop Minns and Archbishop Akinola are building a community of congregations almost entirely led by evangelically trained clergy with the hope of becoming the "legitimate" Anglican presence in North America to the exclusion of the Episcopal Church. In doing so they will diminish the Episcopal Church, who lose some of the evangelical voices, they damn the Episcopal Church by making it the enemy of the true faith, and they contribute to the demise of a church (TEC) inclusive of a broad range of clergy and congregations.
They will become monochromatic. They will do so because they believe TEC with all its untidiness has abandoned the true faith.
Ok, if that's the case, then they can go start their own church. That is indeed what they are doing. But they are claiming that in doing so they are church, and we are not. There is no reason in the world to put up with this, the worst sort of evangelical purist talk. Many of us in this feisty community called The Episcopal Church are not willing to have CANA proclaim itself as the real thing – the local and specific agent of the Anglican Communion in North America.
Of course it could all be moot rather quickly. Bishop Minns is not going to Lambeth it appears, and Archbishop Akinola may decide not to either, he and his bishops. The break in communion with The Episcopal Church from the Church of Nigeria's side is a reality. It may soon be that that same break comes from them against Canterbury.
I am confident however that The Episcopal Church will continue to have folk from Gordon Conwell, TESM, VTS and every other seminary in the US and from many outside the US. The Episcopal Church will continue to be feisty and contentious within its broad reach. We will be part of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's "untidy" Anglican Communion. The tidy one down the road, well… who knows.
But I come back to this: these congregations in CANA are not the problem. I am sorry that some have felt they could not stay. They are still our companions in Christ, although now distant. They will find their way home just as will we all. I wish them well.