There was a great deal of hoopla early on in December when the Anglican Church in North America was first announced as a "province in formation." Those who left the Episcopal Dioceses of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth and who formed the ACNA along with CANA, AMiA, the Reformed Episcopal Church and bishops from Kenya, Uganda and various parts of the Southern Cone all were making headlines of one sort or another. Well, "in formation" turned out to be different from "begun." The references to Bob Duncan as Archbishop have died down, the ACNA is not yet formed, its status in any Anglican Province is not yet clear.
Then of course we all got busy with other things: there was after all the wrecked economy, the eternal face of war now turned from Iraq to Afghanistan, Christmas and the Gaza war. It has been a busy month.
The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) bishops met with the Archbishop of Canterbury who said nothing, his mind already turned towards the British side of the various problems of the day. Not a peep from GAFCON, save their mild statement, in which they said, "We welcome the news of the North American Anglican Province in formation. We fully support this development with our prayer and blessing, since it demonstrates the determination of these faithful Christians to remain authentic Anglicans." Note the absence of any enabling recognition, or any hint of when such recognition might take place. Supporting a "development" is subtly different from recognizing a province of something, or even pledging to support its recognition to ACC or the Primates.
Perhaps it is unclear to the Primates just what they intend to do. My sense is they are quietly counting noses, looking for those who can be numbered among the elect of a new international Communion like thing that will recognize the ACNA.
Meanwhile, Robert Duncan, deposed bishop of Pittsburgh, preached a Christmas sermon at Trinity Cathedral and at the Chapel of the Antiochan Village, and helpfully posted it HERE. In it he says,
"Have you ever wished that someone else would take your place? Have you ever wished that you might take someone else’s place? In a year where the syndicated columnist George Will likened me to Martin Luther, and where the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church purportedly deposed me, I can say that I have! But longings to switch places are common enough in more ordinary circumstances, and for most of us. In moments of self-pity or desperation we ask, “Why did this happen to me?” And in less caring moments, “Couldn’t this have been someone else’s lot?” In lapses of envy we ask, “Why couldn’t I have had his (or her) parents, or children, or relationships, or health, or circumstances, or preferments, or resources (or investments)?” Few or us would desire the pauper’s lot. Most would willing trade for the prince’s."
Moderator Duncan, aka Archbishop of ACNA Duncan, continues to believe that he was not deposed, but "purportedly deposed" and that Geroge Wills was on to something in comparing him to to Martin Luther. Lest he be confused, he was deposed, and he is no Martin Luther.
But what else is he up to these days as Moderator and Archbishop in waiting? Well, he has supported the The Church Alliance for a New Sudan, something growing from the work of the Institute for Religion and Democracy. He signs off on that as the Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP), and as "The Rt. Rev." The Anglican Communion Network has finally announced that it is shutting down operations. Moderator Duncan has made an end of the year plea for about $100,000 to cover 2008 expenses for ACN. Beyond that, we hear little. The CCP website says nothing. The ACN website says nothing. The "Anglican" diocese of Pittsburgh says nothing. But with only three weeks until the wind up and pitch at the next meeting of the Primates, we can assume there is work being done, cases being made, Primates being lined up.
Nothing has been heard from the Diocese of Quincy. But one can be sure that some sort of episcopal oversight of the breakaway group is being organized beyond having a deputy appointed from the Southern Cone to supervise. As ACNA begins to form the bishops will either appoint one of their number to take on Quincy or will entertain election and ordination of a candidate there. Either way it will, we might expect, be the first act of new episcopal oversight organized by this church in formation. Perhaps a definitive decision will be taken at the summer 2009 Bedford, Texas, meeting as a "church wide assembly." Surely then, but perhaps earlier.
John David Schofield, deposed bishop of San Joaquin, is still out there and Real Anglicans gives us a sense of what that means for continuing Episcopalians in the Diocese of San Joaquin. Real Anglicans' most recent posting suggests that the door is open to welcome back those who have left. Desert's Child fills us in on Jack Iker's continuing fantasy that he is the Bishop of Fort Worth and other doings in the continuing and REAL Episcopal Church in Fort Worth.
Bishop Iker's webpages show him close up and personal with Archbishop Jonah of the Orthodox Church in North America. Perhaps now that Rome has no interest in a gang of Anglicans who have left the Episcopal Church Iker is turning to the Orthodox. Schofield? Who knows.
Bishop Ackerman, retired of Quincy, seems to have found a home in Springfield, this side of the great divide (although just.)
There is little going on out there, at least on the surface. Any bets on what is going on behind the curtain?