11/01/2007

December 9th, CANA crossing the line.

Under the heading of dates on which significant damage to the Anglican Communion is done, we note the following:

On September 13, 2007 the CANA website posted this news:

"...the Primate, the Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, announced the election of four suffragan bishops and appointed them to serve in the USA. The bishops-elect are the Rev’d Canon Roger Ames (Akron, OH), the Rev’d Canon David Anderson (Atlanta, GA), the Ven. Amos Fagbamiye (Indianapolis, IN), and the Rev’d Canon Nathan Kanu (Oklahoma City, OK). The consecrations will take place in the USA before the end of 2007, at a date and place yet to be determined. These four bishops-elect will join Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns and Suffragan Bishop David Bena in providing an indigenous ecclesiastical structure for faithful Anglicans in this country."

On September 25, 2007 CANA issued the following notice:

With the election of four new bishops to advance the work of the Church, we look forward to a historic consecration in the US during Advent. To be sure that the CANA Council meeting and the consecration of bishops could be accomplished on the same trip for the entire CANA family, the dates for the Council meeting had to be changed from November 1-3 to December 6-8, 2007. Immediately following the Council (December 6-8), the consecration will be performed on Second Advent, December 9, 2007. Both events will be held in the northern Virginia region. The Council (December 6-8) will be hosted at Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, near Dulles Airport; stay tuned for an announcement regarding the site for the consecration (December 9)."

As yet there is no notice of the venue for the consecration, save that it will be in Virginia.

We note the following:

(i) The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has not heretofore consecrated bishops in the US for the US. Doing so violates Anglican practice in a way even more serious than even the ordination of Bishop Minns in Nigeria. Now there is no question that the Church of Nigeria is not in communion with The Episcopal Church and ready to establish an alternative Anglican presence in North America.
(ii) The consecration is contrary to the spirit of the efforts to hold the Communion together and a confirmation of recent comments from a
high official of the Church of Nigeria that, "
"We must forget about Britain and forget about the US."
(iii) CANA members might well rejoice at the selection of these four candidates, but it cannot have escaped them that they were elected and appointed in Nigeria for them, and not in any open way by them. It is, of course, perfectly within their rights to do so. However we might note that several congregational groups within CANA derived from churches with a proud history of participation in the formation of the church structures and leadership.


It is imperative that the Archbishop of Canterbury state unequivocal opposition to these ordinations. That of course assumes that
communication still exists between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primate of Nigeria. Failure by the Church of Nigeria to reconsider its actions gives notice that indeed Nigeria has forgotten about Britian and the US.

11 comments:

  1. Mark:
    (i)It might have escaped your notice that the Anglican church of Nigeria annouced that it was in impaired communion with ECUSA immediately after the false consecration of Mr Robinson in 2003 - perhaps you were hoping that the opposition would simply go away?

    (ii) the most recent response by ECUSA's House of Bishops to the resolutions of the Primates meeting in Dar Es Salaam was contrary "to the spirit of the efforts to hold the Communion together" since the HoB's were equivocal about their intention regarding blessing of same sex unions - it is still happening in a number of dioceses, despite the bishops trying to say that they will not formally approve the practice - no single minister has yet been disciplined for participating in a SSB ceremony. Litigation is still continuing against orthodox clergy, vestry members and parishes attempting to leave ECUSA and still remain in the Anglican Communion.

    (iii) ECUSA's practice of involving the layity in the election of bishops is not necessarily the best practice for choosing bishops to lead dioceses. Other provinces have a variety of selection processes which are at least equally effective. One would assume that if a parish voted to join a foreign province and come under the authority of its Primate, they would have done their due diligence and investigated how their clergy are trained and selected for each of the clerical orders, and they are happy to live within that new polity. Perhaps they are more able to trust the orthodox leadership of their new province than they were able to trust ECUSA's polity, which is becoming increasingly unlikely to approve orthodox candidates to lead their parishes and dioceses.

    It is imperative that the Archbishop of Canterbury state his unequivocal rejection of the House of Bishops resolutions from New Orleans.

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  2. christopher+1/11/07 3:16 PM

    In doing this, CANA is essentially setting itself up as a separate denomination. Sounds like their interest and participation in the Anglican Communion's long-term listening process is pretty much over. One can only pray that is not the case.

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  3. brian, in the few instances where "orthodox" clergy have followed accepted procedure in remaining in the Anglican Communion after leaving the Episcopal Church, there have been no charges. There have been charges where some have sought to enter another province of the Communion without leaving the canonical and territorial jurisdictions of the Episcopal Church. So, there have been no charges against, say, Bishop Bena or Fr. Tory Baucom.

    The Church of Nigeria (Anglican) has indeed asserted it was out of communion with the Episcopal Church. What that might mean if both remain on communion with Canterbury is certainly unclear. This, on the other hand, would seem to take Nigerial out of communion with Canterbury.

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  4. Brian f

    (i) As much as you wish it were otherwise, BISHOP Robinson's consecration was entirely canonical, which necessarily means it was under the sanctity of the Holy Spirit - *legitimate* consecration all the way and no amount of whiney wishful thinking changes that.

    (ii) The HoB's response was inherently honest. Sorry you think honesty is not something that militant bishops in the AC think is of value or something that should hold faithful and orthodox Christians together.

    Beside, please drop the inane litigation whine. These guys are not being sued because they are "orthodox". Let me say that again, and do please try to get this: These guys are not being sued because they are "orthodox". They are being sued because they are engaging in legally untenable and morally reprehensible behavior, neither of which is orthodox and should not be supported by anyone, bishop or lay, who has any integrity or a care to hold the Communion together.

    (iii) We involve the laity because we are not congregational. We understand the baptized to be called to ministry every bit as valid as those who are ordained. If you don't want to be in that tradition, other traditions already exist where that's the case, but I don't want to be a part of your "new thing", the innovations that you guys are proposing that will fundamentally change what has been of uncalculable worth to Christendom.

    From what I hear from African clergy, the vast majority of African in Nigeria have never even heard of Akinola, so don't think for a second that people here have done their homework. They're more interested in defining themselves by what/who they are not than by what/who they are.

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  5. When will Peter Akinola, and others like him, be called to repent from his actions and statements over the past few years? Akinola attempted, in his position as Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria, to influence his government there in writing legislation that would imprison an entire class of people who are breaking no laws. Yet not a word was spoken against him by the Church as a whole, or by individual "orthodox" members.

    His - and others' - anti-gay statements betray a complete unwillingness to submit to calls from the Lambeth Conference (and from every official body of the Anglican Communion) for sensitive pastoral care for homosexual persons in the Church.

    When will these church officials be called to account?

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  6. ECUSA's practice of involving the layity in the election of bishops is not necessarily the best practice for choosing bishops to lead dioceses.

    So, Brian F, is it your opinion that the proper position of the layity [sic!] to "lie back, and think of the Global South"? };-/

    I'm sorry, but unless you think TEC's polity went off the rails 200+ years ago, this isn't REMOTELY true to (on this day of "All Faithful Departed") the faith we've received in this church.

    You want Nigerian polity? Go to Nigeria!

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  7. I'm sure you've noticed this, but it is being said on conservative blogs that a co-ordinated effort is planned across the board in December. No doubt the CANA consecrations are in that grid.

    See, for example, the comment at http://www.tiny.cc/h7lXL, which says that the San Joaquin diocesan convention has been moved from October to December "to enable all of the dioceses to act as a bloc together."

    See also the quote from the press officer of Quincy diocese (to which the above comment from San Joaquin is responding):

    The main reason the diocese didn't take definitive action at its annual synod on Oct. 19-20 was to wait until other dioceses, which are also considering leaving The Episcopal Church, make its decisions in coming weeks, Spencer said.

    "We really are serious about the fact that we're trying to move in concert with several other dioceses, not just be mavericks," he said.

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  8. badman - Yes it would appear that unless the ABC calls an emergency meeting of the Primates, there will be be a concerted effort in December to demonstrate that the GS Primates are moving ahead with formally establishing a "temporary" province in the US for neoconservatives. I say temporary because they are hoping to be the replacement province one day.

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  9. Mark - I am not arguing as to whether Robinson's election and consecration was canonical or not. It was; but that does not make it legitimate, and it is certainly not under the sanctity of the Holy Spirit when He expressly forbids same sex relationships in God's Word in both the Old and New Testaments - unless of course you are elevating the canons and constitution of ECUSA to the status of divine revelation, which I assume even you would reject such a proposition.

    Now you be honest - the HoB's response in New Orleans was a fudge and has been called such by many more qualified than me. It certainly has not been universally accepted as an honest response and in no way deals with the illegitimate blessings of same sex relationships in many dioceses in ECUSA.

    Now, what about Schori's "reaching out" in reconciliation to Bp Duncan - what is that if not a clear threat to bring litigation against Duncan and the diocese if Pittsburgh continues to hold fast to orthodox faith and practice and reject ECUSA's non Christian secularist innovations?

    How can anyone in authority in ECUSA claim to have any care about holding the Anglican Communion together when it has proceeded so resolutely and unilaterally on a self destructive path to fully accept and even bless the kinds of sinful behaviour the whole of Christendom believes the Bible has forbidden? Your actions expose the lie in your empty words.

    And JCF - I am not suggesting that Nigeria's process of electing or choosing clergy and bishops is necessarily the best either, but simply tried to point out the there are other ways of doing things. It is quite arrogant of ECUSA to think its way of electing bishops is the best way. Look at some of the walking disasters ECUSA has chosen to be bishops - Pike, Spong, Bennison, Swing, Robinson, Griswold, Schori etc etc.

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  10. brian f...we can change the constitution and canons as well as interpret them in actual practice (all judicial bodies do) and we cannot change the words of scripture in their original language, but we always interpret them in translation and sometimes change their meaning. Sometimes we don't know precisely what was meant in the original language. I do not "elevate the canons and constitution" to a place where it is not...for example divine revelation. And I certainly believe that the words in the canons and constitution can be changed. But I don't elevate particular translations of the Bible to that height either and I firmly believe that the churches are always in the business of interpreting what the words in the Bible mean.

    Its a little late to be invoking the absolute literalist position don't you think? Is it, 'you shall do no murder' or is it 'you shall not kill'? What about divorce? Where is there biblical support for the particular ordering of the church's life, with bishops, dioceses, primates, etc? Where in the world did Papal Infallibility come from?

    I am sorry the posting of the Presiding Bishop's letter was accompanied by an article that talks about reaching out. The letter was a reality check note...that if the Bishop of Pittsburgh were to continue in the path he has set the Presiding Bishop would be obligated to raise the question as to whether or not he has abandoned the Communion. The "reaching out" part of the letter was to suggest that he did not have to go in the direction he seemed to be headed and that if so the Presiding Bishop was willing to work to include the Bishop of Pittsburgh in the Episcopal Church.

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  11. brian f.... I forgot. If you are offended by the lie in my empty words then perhaps you should go read somewhere else.

    As to my actions, I am continuously engaged in relationships with others in the Communion. How well those actions are received I do not know, but I spent six days with the Primates of Mexico, Central America, Brazil and the Philippines last week and believe it was productive time with respected friends.

    I find it odd that there have been a number of comments to this post but no response to my wish that people pray for Bishop Yamoyam. I can hope that people read that note on my blog and that his name is lifted in prayer.

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