4/20/2008

Clustering and Coagulation: An Anglican Heart Attack

The Southeast Convocation of the Anglican Communion Network has just held a confab in Logansville, Georgia. I have no idea how it went, but many of the luminaries of the Network including the Moderator of Common Cause were to be there. I read the ACN blurb on the conference HERE. One thing stood out. "Friday’s morning session will feature Bishops Alex Dickson, John Rodgers, and David Anderson, Bishop-designate William Ilgenfritz and other Common Cause leaders in a panel discussion on God’s work being accomplished through the gathering – or “clustering” – of Anglican congregations all over the United States."

The clustering concept is part of the strategy of drawing together Anglican Communion Network parishes with congregations of Common Cause Partners to form a proto-diocese that is no longer attached to the Episcopal Church at all. These cluster come dioceses will be post-Episcopal in that it will not matter that the Episcopal Church continues in operation or not. They will also be post- Reformed Episcopal Church, post- whatever because they will be generating a new thing which they propose will be a "biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.

Look at the informative video ACN produced last year and it becomes very clear that clustering is the first step towards this end. The notion of a "Network Diocese" becomes irrelevant to this clustering, for it does not rely on existing diocesan or ecclesiastical structures at all. Here is the video:



The Network Dioceses are, along with the other groups part of the Common Cause Partnerships, finally to be viewed as relics of the past. The new entity is meant to replace or absorb them.

The gamble of course is that in doing so the fractious nature of some of these ecclesiastical entities (REC (Reformed Episcopal Church) and FiFNA (Forward in Faith North America)and the strange partnerships required to advance others (AMiA (Anglican Mission in America and CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America)can be overcome and with former Episcopal Church congregations claiming to be part of some other Province for convenience sake can actually pull off a real united stand.

The Common Cause Partnership is an odd grouping of entities. Only the REC is at present its own independent church. CANA and AMiA are subsidiaries (at least in name) of other Provinces. The American Anglican Council is a council of like minded organizations and people. Forward in Faith is a caucus. Who knows what the two Canadian groups represent, apparently a new Canadian church entity in formation.

So on the off chance that the REC, CANA and AMiA can really come together and FiFNA can put up with churches that have ordained women leadership and the Canadians can bear being with folks from the US, there will be a new church.

Common Cause and the Network seem to think that it will be understood to be the "real Anglican entity in North America." Notice that the Episcopal Church fades from the circle of Anglicanism. But just how possible that is is also unclear.

So Common Cause Partners must deal on the other side with just who will accept them as the "true" Anglicans in North America. That is where GAFCON and the Global South leadership crowd with such splendid Global South theologians and strategists as Minns, Jensen and Sugden come in. They will be the ticket to viable and legitimate claim to Anglican status.

The missing piece of the Video is that Anglicanism itself will be redefined by some part of its current body to be something else, a new cluster in world Christianity.

The systematic destruction of the Anglican Communion will not have to wait on the rejection of an Anglican Covenant. It will not have to wait on loyal engagement with the Windsor Report. It is a project underway already. Whether or not it succeeds, the Episcopal Church will remain and will continue in its ministry and will find companions amongst world Anglicans and other churches.

As for the rest...well it was a fine video. Reality at eleven.

7 comments:

  1. Well, I found the music quite unsettling...and appropriately titled "Lament". And I guess in their view of the world, TEC will "fade away" and a new church will become the Anglican face in America. But I don't see the Episcopal Church dropping out of site in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. And I'll be interested to see if the various other dots will merge like the Borg on Star Trek. Doubt it.

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  2. Mary Clara21/4/08 5:11 AM

    Interesting video. My audio is broken so I could only watch and not listen. Notice how the blue circle representing TEC is ultimately replaced by the new (identical) blue circle representing the Common Cause partners' new entity. The message is clear: that they will displace TEC.

    In their dreams.

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  3. I hope it hasn't escaped anyone's notice that the predominant image in that presentation is a blur.

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  4. The imagery reminded me of viruses invading the nucleus of a cell.

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  5. Reminded me a little of "The Dot and the Line", tho' not nearly as entertaining. Other folks' private fantasies can be so dull.

    "The Dot and the Line":

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmSbdvzbOzY

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  6. "We will bury you!" said a former head of a former state.

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  7. Robert Dodd22/4/08 10:50 AM

    "Reality at eleven."

    Here's some reality, Mark: When 60%of Albany's parishes that were represented at our 2004 Convention voted to affiliate with the Network, said Network claimed all 116 Albany parishes. Only those that formally resigned were removed from the head count, which now stands at 102 (88%). With no obvious justification,the Common Cause Partnership now shows 102 Albany parishes on its membership map (united-anglicans.org). Big score for ACN and CCP, eh?

    Not really. Let's widen the perspective a bit. The seven dioceses that lie closest to Albany (from Vermont to Newark) include 815 parishes. How many of these belong to the Network and CCP? Eighteen! Conclusion: Just 2% of the parishes in these non-Network dioceses dislike our Church enough to join organizations that seek to scuttle it. The high score for Albany (and for other Network dioceses?) testifies to vestry inertia rather than commitment to ideological purity.

    The Network's "winner-takes-all" tactic wildly exaggerates its strength and the fragility of the Episcopal Church. ACN and CCP are mice that squeak into a bullhorn, hoping that no one, Canterbury included, will notice that they're not lions.

    It's time for faithful Episcopalians to see the mice as they are and ignore their bull...horn.

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