When Bishop Ackerman resigned his see it was unclear just what he planned to do next. He offered his services to his former diocese, Quincy, in whatever way might be helpful. The majority of the clergy and lay leaders, and probably lay persons, of that diocese have left and have become part of a new diocese within the Province of the Southern Cone. Apparently, Bishop Ackerman has not.
The Living Church reports today that Bishop Ackerman has been appointed assisting bishop in the Diocese of Springfield. The Diocese of Springfield, and its Bishop, Rt. Rev. Peter H. Beckwith, are next door to the Diocese of Quincy. Both dioceses and bishops have been part of the Anglican Communion Network. Unlike Quincy, Springfield has not yet mounted the effort to leave The Episcopal Church. Quincy has about 1900 members, Springfield about 5600, so Bishop Ackerman is going to a larger, but still quite small diocese. I am sure he will be a fine addition to the episcopal presence in Springfield.
This places Bishop Ackerman in an unique position: retired, in active service as an assisting bishop in a diocese part of The Episcopal Church, he can (and may very well) continue to serve within The Episcopal Church. At the same time, anchored in a TEC diocese he may from time to time be called upon to minister to those who left the Diocese of Quincy to form a new diocese in the Southern Cone apparently with the same name. If invited by the ecclesiastical authority of that church and game to do so, what would his status be vis-a-vis The Episcopal Church?
A lot has to do with how we read the relationship between the Province of the Southern Cone and TEC. TEC has not declared itself out of communion with the PSC, but it would seem from its actions that PSC does not believe it is in communion with TEC, or at least that it is in impaired communion with TEC.
Furthermore, if Bishop Ackerman exercises episcopal ministry in the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Quincy he will be doing so without the permission of the ecclesiastical authority of the TEC Diocese and therefore contrary to the Constitution and Canons of TEC. So it would appear that if Bishop Ackerman has gone to Springfield to stay within TEC he will have to minister only there and where invited by the TEC jurisdiction throughout the province of TEC.
It may be a good beginning of a new good ministry. If so his new venue bodes well. If it becomes a stepping point for new activities in the Diocese of Quincy, we suggest he exercise some care. These are not good times for new Anglican shell games.