1/17/2009

Will the Moderator, the Archbishop in waiting, be on vacation in Egypt or perhaps elsewhere in the Middle East?

Moderator Duncan has suggested that certain Primates, friendly to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will bring to the Primates Meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, a paper on the status of the ACNA as a "Third Province" in North America. (See The Living Church.)

At an earlier meeting of the Primates in Ireland then Bishop Duncan, of the Anglican Communion Network, was noted to have been on vacation in the vicinity. At the Jerusalem GAFCON meeting, the then Bishop Duncan was present or at least had a paper read in Jordan, but then was on vacation in Europe. Now he is "involved in “an unanticipated series of consultations with the primates who originated the call” for a new Anglican province in North America." What are the bets that he will strangely be lingering about in the neighborhood of Alexandria?

In Anglican Land's rumor factory Alexandria has been the favored place for the emergence of an alternative Anglican Communion. The Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is currently the bishop of Egypt, who has had an off again - on again relationship with the core of the GAFCON bishops and has been very involved in the Global South Anglicans movement. Egypt was the home of some body parts of St. Mark and an ancient patriarchy. Why not revive that patriarchy as the home of a new improved Anglican Communion - a world wide church. The dreams are big, but why not dream?

Of course it has nothing to do with the Anglican Communion, a "fellowship" of churches.

To put it plainly, the GAFCON crowd is lurching towards some new revelation of plans. The website is stirring to action. The bishops are consulting with Moderator Duncan and one supposes others. Something is afoot. Perhaps GAFCON folk are acting a bit early on, given that the ACNA is not an actuality yet. But the Archbishop in waiting is waiting, and the GAFCON Primates are mating. It would be interesting to know where Bishop Minns is these days.

The sport of finding just who the hangers on are is beginning. In Dar Es Salaam they were so many and so organized that they planned into the night and pushed the agenda to the breaking point. The hangers on are now going to be mostly GAFCON functionaries and in particular those related to the Common Cause Partnership's bid to begin ACNA and push for status as a "Province" of the Anglican Communion.

They will of course argue that they are the best resolution to the problem of incursion. They will be wrong. They will argue that a Third Province is a pastoral response to hurting orthodox people longing for relief. They will be wrong.

The Anglican Communion is as messy as always and the Primates have a lot to clean up. Perhaps a short reading of the business about the splinter in the eye of the other and the log in one's own eye might be in order. Perhaps the Primates will be too busy to take on the agenda being planned for by those meeting with the Moderator.

I wonder if there will be a group photo at the close of the Primates Meeting? There was none at the close of Dar Es Salaam. The Primates split as soon as they could and those who remained were indisposed to gather for a group photo.




But here is the good news: The Primates have no authority at all unless it is given them by the actual Churches (plural not singular) that make up the Anglican Communion.

As stated by a good friend in prayer: Let us not become the instruments of our own oppression.

16 comments:

  1. Hi Mark
    One way to read this and some of your previous posts is this: Duncan and co represent precious few Anglicans/Episcopalians, despite their constant efforts to make out they are onto something real big.

    In which case, why do you spend so much time on their case?

    Or do they represent, in reality, something quite significant, a seismic change in world Anglicanism? Thus your anxiety would be justified, but then so might their self-estimation of their importance!

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  2. Nom de Plume18/1/09 7:02 AM

    Why spend so much time on the case of the Gafconites et al?

    Surely because they have been acting like the tail that wags the dog in so many fora. For them to show up with their minders at the Primate's meetings and then engineer a gradual shift to a Primatial curia is worrisome and damaging to the Communion and its members, and these efforts must be rebuffed.

    Surely because the North American dissidents continue, notwithstanding several rulings of courts, and at least one signed agreement, to make claims on properties and assets to which they have no right. They continue to occupy buildings and use property which belongs to another. And it is a duty for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to defend their rights in court.

    This is no "seismic shift in world Anglicanism", though they would like to present it as such. It is just a particularly clever, well-organized and well-funded dissident movement in the Episcopal Church that has internationalized an internal dispute in hopes of seizing control of the agenda and, when that failed, have had no choice but to go the next step and engage in the threatened schism.

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  3. Peter,

    Perhaps the posts represent an honest effort to bring acclamations, claims, PR statements, etc. into the shining light of reality

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  4. ER, wouldn't this new province be the fourth "Anglican" province in North America? Don't forget La Iglesia Anglicana de México!

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  5. The North American schism is now almost complete and showing signs of running out of steam - there are very few new parishes coming on board. All Canterbury needs to do is procrastinate.

    The conservative North American faction will soon begin to run out of monies and its influence will start to wind down . Then slowly Gafcon provinces will return to the Canterbury/Anglican fold.

    Realistically, Alexandria is going to be Duncan's last stand.

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  6. John Sandeman/Obadiah Slope18/1/09 8:26 PM

    When the Gafcon conference was held last year, and subsequently many of the attending bishops did not go to Lambeth, it raised the question of whether the Gafcon group were leaving the communion. The big news so far of this primates meeting is that the Gafcon primates are all attending, confirming that the Gafcon group intends to remain within the Anglican Communion.
    Naturally the North American situation is Mark's focus in his blog, but for those of us elsewhere in the communion the story is that gafcon is staying in.

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  7. "The Anglican Communion is as messy as always and the Primates have a lot to clean up. Perhaps a short reading of the business about the splinter in the eye of the other and the log in one's own eye might be in order."

    Perhaps 1 Corinthians 5-6 would also help clear things up......

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  8. Mr. Slope! It's nice to see your nom de guerre again. And always nice to be reminded that the Anglican Communion in other parts of the world has another perspective than those of us in North America.

    Mr Arabin

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  9. Observer, beware the danger of citing two verses. Paul was talking about a man who was sleeping with his father's wife, and how the community had reacted. Are many of you sleeping with your stepmothers or stepfathers? Didn't think so, but it's a relief to hear the sounds of your silent disbelief. It certainly is a cruel thing to do, would hurt many people, and could cause quite a ruckus of retribution within a family (and probably an entire small community).

    Mark's reference to Jesus' parable in Matthew 7 is at least referring to an entire chapter, and the folly of all who are imperfect that pass judgment best left to God. Even un-churched atheists understand the concept of "judge not lest ye be judged," or "look in the mirror when you say that to me." The citation admits one's own foibles.

    Peter C., many people took the route of thinking all the fundamentalist fuss would go away if everyone let it blow over. I am one of many people who find Biblical literalism an impossible way to live; there are huge contradictions. There is the tendency to only follow what suits your views, never thinking about what God wants you to do under the specific circumstances. And Let's face it - flat-earth understanding of morality was based on questions that have been answered through science and mathematics. God is still with us, but his expectations of us have changed.

    I am a product of my upbringing in an Episcopal Church that taught me to think about the total picture of morality, with an emphasis on the two great commandments. Teachers that gave me tools AND rules to work through the craziness of life.

    Do people like me have a right to save what we hold dear? Yes we do, because life isn't simple, and you are closer to God when you work through the subtleties, praying for guidance, trying to treat all with the love and compassion shown by Jesus. Everything else is the easy way out Mistakes happen through faulty reasoning and selfish desires, just as they do when you select the wrong bit of scripture.

    Drink your Kool-Aid* if you wish, just don't hand the rest of us the cup and use childish games to guilt us into drinking from it. Now, if y'all will excuse me, I have to get this beam out of my eye. I'm wise enough to know it isn't a mote.

    (*Even the inventor of Kool-Aid was smart enough to adjust, realizing that a powdered mix made more sense than a liquid concentrate. And before airline security restrictions, even!)

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  10. Lynn says:
    "I am a product of my upbringing in an Episcopal Church..."

    Perhaps that is why you didn't realize Observer's reference was to 1 Corinthians CHAPTERS 5 and 6. But at least you dusted off the Bible to look up the supposed reference. Now back to the handy general principles.

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  11. Stan, (everyone sing along...) "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..."

    1 Corinthians 5, NSRV:

    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his fathers wife. And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you? It is interesting that Paul admonishes them to do just the opposite of Jesus when dealing with sinners...do not eat with them, cast them aside... In chapter 6, of course, Paul starts out talking of lawsuits among believers - but somehow manages to bring sexual immorality into that at the end. (pretty interesting tactic, but not very helpful).

    What were you reading?

    You would have no way of knowing that I own several Bibles (no dust), was confirmed by an old-fashioned catechist using the 1928 BCP, went to evening Bible study classes in high school at a fundamentalist church (my choice), and that I was a Methodist in the 1980s. I own a rather sizable library on church history and theology, most of which I have read - though some are reference volumes, and others treasure to savor at another time.

    No doubt you thought you were dealing with an uninformed nitwit - but alas, you were dealing with a truly informed one. Can my next test be on the decrees from the Council of Trent? You can declare me...anathema. Everyone is a hertic to someone, you know.

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  12. Hi Lynn
    I am slightly puzzled as to what 1 Corinthians 5 has to do with the point I attempted to make in response to Mark's posting, which neither you nor some others here have helped me with your responses.

    Let me put it another way: how significant is the departure of Episcopalians from TEC at this time? If it is insignificant (just four dioceses, and then not all the churches in those dioceses) why the angst about them leaving?

    My question is whether the departures are more significant than is being admitted by TEC leadership.

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  13. Lynn - thanks for your reply....1 Cor 5&6 deal with more than just one sin, as you know.... immorality in general is addressed as are law suits....that is why I think it is relevant (And the chapters need to be read in the context of the whole book and the book in the context of the whole bible, of course)

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  14. Peter C -
    My initial comment about 1 Corinthians was specifically addressed to Observer - whose reference was a comment on a part of Mark's post. My second one was addressed to Stan, who hopefully realizes there is scholarship behind my passion, and perhaps even that Episcopalians read the Bible.

    Now, as to your question. I can only say it would pay to dig back into many impassioned discussions, in many venues dedicated to the viewpoint that Mark espouses; otherwise, will seem naive or provocative to some people. This is not a new issue, and this thread cannot address your complicated question with a simple answer.

    You have several blogs, why not post your question there with a bit of background on how you see the situation? For the record, I do not think a step backward into fundamentalist Protestant thinking is a seismic change, it's hardly the first time such thinkers have wanted to control things Anglican. Certainly the Methodists made a clean break, and if that is success - they won. The earth did not shatter nor did things Anglican.

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  15. Thank you, Lynn.
    Its hard to work out what the 'significance' or otherwise of developments in North America is ... but I accept that it is not straightforward to determine!

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  16. Lynn - you speak of "things Anglican"....the problem is that TECUSA seems way out of line with many "things Anglican" these days....unless TECUSA is "true" Anglicanism and most of the AC is wrong.......

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