1/06/2009

Flying below the radar: Anglican Church in North America activities.

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? 
 
 
 

30 comments:

  1. Sir, ACNA is waiting for the Primates Meeting at which TECUSA is going to be asked to sign on the covenant unless it has decided "to walk apart"

    ACNA and GAFCON are not in a rush...remember they do not need the ABC, he needs them (or on his watch, the AC reduces to a tiny (20m, western, shrinking, liberal denomination....not much of a legacy!)

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  2. "Orthodox Church of North America". Do you mean the "Orthodox Church of America"? There is a Metropolitan Jonah in the OCA. He's also pretty awesome and unfundie. Is the picture was more for Iker's reputation than Jonah's support?

    If Duncan is preaching at Antiochian Village he's also cuddling up to the ORthodox - although that surprises me a lot as the Orthodox are a bit too high, sacramental, and iconophile for the prots out there.

    Huw

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  3. Observer,
    Give me one person with a message of love and forgiveness; of inclusion and hope; of life and a new day. You can keep your 35 million with its message of death and destruction and hate and bigotry.
    The idea that GAFCON can "scare" TEC and/or the Archbishop of Canterbury is ludicrous.

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  4. I'd say that things are quiet in this country because it's over. The coup is done. Four dioceses broke apart. Their parishoners did not all follow the bishops in lock step out the door. The huge exodus of alienated laity from the Episcopal Church never happened.

    I'd say that you're probably right about the international new communion entity. They are quietly counting heads to see how many primates are willing to ditch Canterbury and form a new communion. I'm sure they are also trying to figure out how many of the bishops and congregations under each primate would follow, and how many would opt to remain with Canterbury and the rest of the communion. Some will be obedient subjects. Some will not.

    As for the usual "Nothing $ucceeds like $uccess!" numbers canard, I think that as goes Spain these days, so goes the rest of the West (including the USA); a greatly shrunken church dominated by fanatics who accelerate shrinking church attendance by alienating the rest of the population; a church that wears a heavy millstone of rightwing and reactionary politics around its neck in an increasingly cosmopolitan country.

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  5. Mark, can you offer an explanation as to why a former TEC bishop who was deposed was allowed to preach at an Episcopal Cathedral that said it was staying **IN** TEC?

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  6. Fred - not sure who the horrible people you describe are....surely it cannot be mild mannered Anglicans who stick to what our bishops say re scripture's teaching on moral issues?

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  7. There's an interview with +Minns on Christian Today where he talks a bit about ACNA.

    He still somehow thinks one can be a member of the Anglican Communion without the recognition of Canterbury:

    "CP: Has the Archbishop of Canterbury offered any recognition of CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) and your position as missionary bishop?

    Minns: Not any formal recognition. But then again, we are part of the Church of Nigeria so in that sense, his recognition isn’t strictly necessary."


    and

    "CP: How important is it for this new structure to be recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury? Some say without recognition, it’s not following Anglican tradition.

    Minns: I think part of the problem right now is that the Anglican Church is a global church. It started as an outgrowth of England. But in that sense, I think we’re not post-colonial. We’ve now past that whole colonial era. So I think what we’re looking for is a structure that reflects that where there’s genuine authority given to people other than the Archbishop of Canterbury. For example, the primate of the Church of Nigeria, there’s 20 million members there. It’s a far bigger province than any other province. The idea somehow that he has to ask permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury to do anything is a bit silly. It’s also a bit of the old colonial mindset. So I think there’s need for some new structures. And I think that’s what we hope will come out of this. We’re an international church and yet right now the leadership still looks like the old British Empire. So that needs to change."


    Um, perhaps someone forgot to tell +Minns that there is no 'Anglican Church'; there is an Anglican Communion of Provincial Churches, a very different thing.

    As for numbers in the new 'province', he has again inflated the no. of churches to up to 800! (the current 'official'figure is c.650). At least he no longer claims the 100,000 as ASA, but merely as total membership; although by saying 'within the various Common Cause Partners' is he including those ACN, AAC, FiF members who remain in TEC?:

    "CP: And how many would be a part of that new province?

    Minns: I think 700 to 800 churches would be a part of that and we estimated somewhere around 100,000 people are presently within the various Common Cause Partners."


    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/rifts.and.reconciliation.in.north.america/22258.htm

    MJ

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  8. Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) is the newly elected head of the Orthodox Church in America (aka OCA) - just one of a dozen or so jurisdictions in N. America. He is actually a friendly-faced neocon, and was raised Episcopalian. Jonah has given encouragement to schismatic Episcopalians. As you know married priests are normative in Orthodoxy, but married bishops won't fly in any branch of the Orthodox Church. Additionally, like Rome, they do *not* recognize Anglican orders.
    Jonah has a huge mess of his own to deal with in the OCA, huge financial embezzlement and major corruption under the two previous Metropolitans; see: www.ocanews.org

    They, like the Greek Archdiocese and others, are also trying to keep a lid on their clergy sexual abuse scandals.

    See www.pokrov.org

    The Orthodox have been lucky enough to fly under the radar of media scrutiny (unlike the Romans); God help them if the lid ever gets blown off that simmering kettle of s*@t.

    former OCA, now in the Dio. of Spfld

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  9. I was not aware that using peyote was part of ACNA's liturgical/spiritual practice, but surely Observer is smoking something hallucinogenic!

    How, pray tell, could such a sign-it-or-leave show down be in the making for the Primates Meeting?!? There is no Covenant! There is a draft proposal, nothing more. And there are plenty of other provinces that are not convinced about the edification or usefulness of an Anglican Covenant, and all the extra baggage it would entail for the Communion.

    Observer, Phil and BR continue to make rounds of progressive Anglican blogs and repeat ad nausiem these same tired lies about the importance of numbers and who really needs who, etc., etc., etc.

    ::snore::

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  10. Oh dear - you mean we have all of January and part of February before "the next big media event"? This means nothing but an opportunity for mischief and mayhem on the 'orthodite' blogs. They'll be trolling progressive blogs and supermarket mags, looking for something to hold up as target practice or bait to feed the circling sharks.

    The British have a very quaint saying in times like these: "Keep your pecker up!" (Pecker = chin)

    Let's let them fly under or over or wherever they wish, delude themselves with grandiosity, and we'll just keep on doing the work of Jesus the way we know how and to the best of our ability.

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  11. Huv should know that Antiochian Village is used by Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches, and ecumenical entities, and has been for more than 20 years.

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  12. remember they do not need the ABC, Observer

    So the bandits continue to attempt to instigate their ¨hold up¨ campaign at the Anglican Communion? I think the ABC and everyone else has seen enough to know that the selfproclaimed righteous need keep a focus on the dismal and corrupt political, cultural and religious affairs at home in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Niger Delta...massacres such as Yelwa and Jos are hardly a reflection of the Good News that follows when some religious folk preach of their purity.

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  13. Goodness me - I'm sure Duncan would consider me a raving progressive heretic, but I'm sure I've never talked about myself in such a way in any sermon - much less one for Christmas! Martin Luther, indeed. What arrogant, narcissistic bombast.

    Mr. Arabin

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  14. David,

    I’m not sure I’m the “Phil” to which you’re referring, but, as I do “make the rounds” of progressive blogs – just in case –

    1. I certainly have, on occasion, made the argument that ECUSA’s membership decline is a problem. On the other hand, so has more than one ECUSA institutionalist. The point seems virtually inarguable, unless your argument is that ECUSA is in business to shrink.

    2. The point in #1, which is, again, shared by many ECUSA loyalists, is hardly a staple of my commenting, here or elsewhere.

    3. Even if it were my core theme, it’s an opinion, and so doesn’t fall under the definition of “lies.”

    4. Until ECUSA demonstrates it can consistently and significantly grow, the point will not be a “tired” one.

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  15. Feel free to avoid printing this one too, Mark, but I'll tell you that you are a scary person more than you know.

    You claimed that the dissenters in TEC were a trickle amounting to nearly nothing, and an acceptable loss to an otherwise solid TEC. Now you keep spending your time wondering what "they" are up to.

    Why does it matter? You dismissed these people a long time ago. Lowering "them" certainly doesn't raise you, the Executive Committee, or the PB's splintering Church one inch. But, lowering them you do. Certainly takes your mind off of how to fix the Church that you ARE in charge of, though, doesn't it? Isn't that a psychological issue? Should be scary.

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  16. observer,
    Well, in a well documented article in The Atlantic Monthly multiple Nigerian Bishops (including Akinola) espouse violence against Muslims. Mr. John David Schofield closed a mission with no cause and sold the property in order to finance his campaign of theft. TEC Diocese of San Joaquin funds have been sent directly to the Archbishop Venables. Many ex bishops have broken solemn vows once taken in front of both God and friends. Mr. Minns expects LGBT people to commit psychological suicide before they can come into HIS church.
    Observer, what else do you need?

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  17. David - what lies? You say, "Observer, Phil and BR continue to make rounds of progressive Anglican blogs and repeat ad nausiem these same tired lies" What lies? Hope you are not bearing false witness. I guess you don't mind the lie which claims 2.2m members for TECUSA when it gets just 0.7m, that is 0.26% of the US population (and those are mostly getting a pension - where are the millions of young, intelligent Americans drawn to TECUSA's great "new thing"??) Is Scientology bigger than TECUSA???


    You guys know that there is no salvation in the name of the ABC? Of course GAFCON does not have to have his blessing.....IT HAPPENED! It was bigger and more representative of global Anglicanism than Lambeth BECAUSE the ABC invited TECUSA and AoC.....I bet he regrets that - but maybe he wanted to see just how strong feeling in the AC was.....now he knows and I think he was surprised. Still, he drives the AC covenant forward....and dares TECUSA to reject it.

    Anyway, let's see if TECUSA shows integrity or unprincipled political compromise when dealing with BO33 and the AC covenant.......but the ABC knows (post GAFCON) that most of the AC ain't willig to play the word games which worked for Griswold et al in the past...... sorry TECUSA, you are living in a post-GAFCON world and you are clearly failing to attract many Americans....your "new thing" credibility is low in the AC.

    By the way - if TECUSA is so great etc, why isn't Obama getting Mrs Schori to do the prayers on his big day? Even the political progressives in the US don't respect TEUCSA much....obviously.

    But, in the end, TECUSA desperately needs the AC for the global stage on which to buy a voice given it is so irrelevant in the US....so I expect unprincipled, political compromise from TECUSA re BO33 and the AC covenant.....it is the way of TECUSA in recent years, sadly - but GAFCON has moved on and Rowan knows it......he is going to make a choice, he has to ultimately....and I do not think he wants to be the ABC which led the AC to become a small, shrinking, Western, liberal sect.....if he does, it matters little to GAFCON - they have proven that in 08

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  18. Phil, Allen, and Observer,

    If the Episcopal Church is so loathsome, then why do you spend so much time and energy bashing it? Why do you return here repeatedly and predictably, and always with the same result?

    It seems to me that it is long past time to go start a new life somewhere else -- or start your own blogs instead of taking up so much space on this one.

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  19. One of the phenomena that we can observe in the conduct of bullies, is the shifting line in the sand. So now, Observer tells us, the line in the sand is the next Primates' Meeting. Anyone who has paid any attention over the last few years knows that body is not jurisdictional, that our PB does not in her own right have authority to commit the church, and that at the most what will happen is that a 'final draft' will appear for discussion.

    The bullies' need to stampede us however, will lead to this latest line in the sand being the grand moment in time at which we must obey them. When nothing happens, like all bullies they are at core cowards so they will draw another line. I am predicting said line will be the resolutions on B033 at GC.

    It is all so predictable and sad. If they want to leave, what holds them? Oh, they want our respect and validation and all we offer is love and pity.

    FWIW
    jimBe

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  20. Mark, it's gotten so that it's hard to tell the comments section of your blog apart from the one over at Stand Firm.

    Either way, one gets to see little besides the same old embittered fundamentalists repeating the same old slanders.

    Not very edifying.

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  21. Counterlight,

    How inclusive of you. Perhaps the Christmas spirit has already been packed away, along with the ornaments?

    Cordially,

    Phil

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  22. Observer, are you in need of a case of toilet tissue for that dysentery?

    Just one example of the lies that you perpetuate as fact -
    IT [GAFCON] HAPPENED! It was bigger and more representative of global Anglicanism than Lambeth BECAUSE the ABC invited TECUSA and AoC

    Perhaps you are not aware that this is not true, and so you are not aware that you are perpetuating a lie. GAFCON, by their own admission was not representative of global Anglicanism. (As was admitted to me, and all of the rest of us, here on this very blog, by Obadiahslate, when I challenged him on the same lie.)

    GAFCON was almost entirely North American Orthodites of various flavors and African Orthodites, with a tiny, tiny representation of Orthodites from the British Isles, South Asia/Oceania and the Southern Cone.

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  23. I suppose those who split off can call themselves whatever they like, but, as of now, there is no Anglican Church, despite what Bp. Minns says and despite what Canterbury sometimes mistakenly references.

    Until ECUSA demonstrates it can consistently and significantly grow, the point will not be a “tired” one.

    Phil, why do you care?

    Mark, but I'll tell you that you are a scary person more than you know.

    Allen, I don't know. Mark doesn't scare me.

    Mark, I hope my words don't offend you. Should I be scared?

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  24. "How inclusive of you. Perhaps the Christmas spirit has already been packed away, along with the ornaments?"

    Ya know Phil, I just knew you were going to say something like that in just those very words. You're as predictable as the sunrise.

    In all Christian charity,
    Get your own damn blog.

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  25. Mimi, I've known Mark Harris since 1986, so this comes from one who knows: Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. When you meet him in person, his handsome face will absolutely steal your heart away. If that doesn't do it, his intellect will.

    Okay Mark - I think I've earned my remuneration this month. See you next Thursday in Easton, my love.

    (The Word Verification is: Conepig. I wonder if that's Northern or Southern?)

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  26. Grandmère, I would like to see ECUSA be a strong, vibrant and growing witness for Christ and His Gospel, and so I will reserve the right to criticize it when I feel it is pursuing policies detrimental to that goal.

    With respect, the Episcopal Church is not yours alone, and those remaining in the Anglican mainstream, though now ghettoized (some by their own choice, I grant you), care as much as you about the institution. I note that you and most others on your side of the ideological aisle have no compunction about directing fire at people and bodies with whom/which you disagree; it isn’t clear to me why ECUSA, in contrast, merits special “hands off” treatment.

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  27. Phil, Allen, and Observer, If the Episcopal Church is so loathsome, then why do you spend so much time and energy bashing it?

    Indeed. Come on - you guys broke up with us! Stop driving by our house all the time. Stop drunk-dialing us at 3 AM.

    It's just sad. Please go get a life...

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  28. those remaining in the Anglican mainstream, though now ghettoized (some by their own choice, I grant you), care as much as you about the institution.

    And about the people . . . not at all.

    You are dangerous, Phil, you and those like you, and that's why we want you to leave us alone. Like those who've escaped from an abusive spouse, we don't want that abusive spouse coming around to beat on us any longer. We can't trust you, there's no love from you, you insist on continuing to hurt us, so we want you away from us. There's no reasoning with you, no mediation, no nothing.

    If we could get restraining orders, we would.

    Clear enough?

    The big difference here is that we tend to hover around abusing you on the blogs friendly to your side than you do on those friendly to ours.

    If you're leaving, leave. We've already told you you have nothing to offer and your worldview is deluded.

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  29. Phil is not dangerous, just tiresome.

    All would be happier if he'd just start his own blog where he can say all he wants to say as much as he wants without taking up so much space on this blog, same as the rest of us.

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  30. Counterlight, I don't take up much space on this blog. For that matter, I didn't comment on this thread until my name was put into the conversation by somebody else. As to the rest, the feeling is mutual.

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OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.