6/18/2009

10 Bishops for AMiA, and no protest from Canterbury


Now there are 10 usurper bishops in The Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA), ten bishops part of the newly forming Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) that will have in it now at least 42 bishops. Some of the bishops in ACNA are deposed or resigned from The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada, but many more come by way of the Churches in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. Bishops from these four Provinces are set apart precisely for missionary work in the United States and Canada contrary to the expressed wishes of the Windsor Report, against the long standing rule that bishops should not exercise their ministry except in their own diocese without permission of the bishop of jurisdiction. The fact that these Churches have sent these bishops is evidence that either the Primates or the synods of bishops that constitute their houses of bishops are not in communion with The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada. These bishops are either usurpers or so clearly out of communion with the churches of jurisdiction in the Anglican Communion as to not be part of the Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Communion is not at present a group of 38 Provinces in communion. To continue to insist that it is is a fabrication and wishful thinking.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council have acted shamefully in not challenging the inclusion
representatives of the Churches in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria, given the blatant disregard by these churches of past and present demands that they stop such incursions.

The AMiA is considered by the ACNA to have about 22,000 people average Sunday attendance in 180 congregations. With 10 bishops that makes about 2,200 persons per bishop and about 18 congregations per bishop. How many of those were ever members of TEC or ACoC is hard to tell. Their mission objective is to reached unchurched people. In the Anglican Church in North America they will contribute about 1/4 of all the bishops.

AMiA is not the issue. Rwanda is. AMiA is not part of the Anglican Communion. Its bishops did not attend Lambeth. Rwanda is. So it is Rwanda that is accountable, but no one seems to care.






43 comments:

WilliamK said...

If the Rwandans were consecrating bishops for an alternative "Anglican" entity in England, I imagine ++Rowan would be objecting strenuously.

PseudoPiskie said...

Bishops are far more expensive to maintain than priests. They have travel and costume expenses that others don't. Perhaps we should encourage more and more bishops among the dissidents?

Peter Carrell said...

Uganda has a bishop in London (Sandy Miller of Alpha/Holy Trinity Brompton fame) and no one is objecting (but then the arrangement as properly discussed and agreed to)!

As for Mark's post: and, hey, I know I will be in a minority of about one in raising these questions!!

(1) The impression is conveyed that the ratio of bishops to parishioners really, really matters with respect to ACNA. Does it? Why? Why to an outside-of-ACNA commentator? Are there not various places all over the Communion, and in TEC itself, where the ratio of bishops to parishioners raises questions of, shall we say, a mathematical nature about (in)appropriate ratios?

(2) The bigger issue in the post concerns Rwandan etc external jurisdictional reach into North America. It defies the 'law' of Windsor but it is conducted in the spirit of New Testament ecclesiology, one church reaching out to care for another church. What matters more? Obeying the law or reaching out in love to fellow Anglicans who feel disenfranchised by a mother church whose version of 'inclusion' is exclusion to their vision of faithful Anglicanism?

(Just to be clear about my underlying presupposition in raising these questions: I think things have come to such a state in North America that for the time being there need to be three expressions of Communion Anglicanism - ACCan, TEC, and ACNA. My plea is for mutual recognition among these three entities, and by the Communion; but I acknowledge that talk from within ACNA of seeking to supersede the first two is unhelpful, painful, and unfruitful).

Anonymous said...

"The AMiA is considered by the ACNA to have about 22,000 people average Sunday attendance in 180 congregations. With 10 bishops that makes about 2,200 persons per bishop "
That is higher ASA than at least 15dioceses in TEC and they are growing, not shrinking. Bishops in AMiA are church planters and frequently also pastor congregations like their African colleagues. And what, pray tell, do the bishops in TEC do beside marching in Gay Pride parades?
Len

Mark Harris said...

Peter Carrell...The ratio of bishops to clergy does not particularly matter. In fact, given the reach that AMiA is attempting to make 10 bishops is none too many. On the average the number of members or congregations per bishop makes the ratio not nearly as bad as it in in some dioceses, left or right. And, then again I didn't say that the numbers did matter. I included it as part of a description of the size and shape of AMiA. As I said in my post, it is not AMiA that is the issue here, it is Rwanda.

And even there it is not finally that they are not acting in accord with Windsor (which they at one time thought was great stuff), or the so called "spirit" of the Covenant. It is that they are flat out not in communion with Churches in the Anglican Communion, act in ways that widen the gap, and make no mention of doing so. Finally, of course, it is the Archbishop of Canterbury looking the other way that gets me.

Mark in Spokane said...

When I was in law school, I taught a simple truth about argument. Anytime somebody uses the word "clearly," things aren't really all that clear...

Grandmère Mimi said...

TEC must cease to look to Canterbury for help to stop the unauthorized incursions into our province by bishops from other countries, provinces, groupings, etc.

On the other hand, those of us in TEC should take directions from Canterbury on how to run our affairs with more than a few grains of salt.

David |Dah • veed| said...

I am not expert on all of my own church's issues, because communications here is not what it could be. Our provincial website is lacking, our dioceses, save one, have none, and a couple Statesonian/Canadian expat English language parishes have one, but none are up-to-date.

I try to stay abreast of US & Canadian Anglican issues as well as I can, but that takes a bit of work.

So I find it interesting that we acquire another down under expert on things North American.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Mark for rapid response.
I acknowledge the difficulty not being addressed that an ostensible Communion has within its ranks churches not in communion with each other.

WilliamK said...

...fellow Anglicans who feel disenfranchised by a mother church whose version of 'inclusion' is exclusion to their vision of faithful Anglicanism?

I'm SO tired of hearing those who have departed TEC being characterized as victims of exclusion! They have not been excluded, nor has "their vision of faithful Anglicanism". What has happened is that they have decided they cannot be part of a church that includes gay and lesbian believers as full members of the church. These folks have decided to exclude themselves because they have been unable to force the church to exclude others.

This is absolutely the same situation as with the folks who left over the ordination of women, who excluded themselves from the church because they couldn't force the church to exclude women from the ordained ministries.

robroy said...

All the interest in the ACNA is somewhat strange. It is not recognized as an Anglican structure, as you say.

By the way, I have this news to add: Rwanda will be consecrating three more bishops for the AMiA in a final fling prior to the Bedford meeting including Rev Dr. Todd Hunter who is a featured speaker as an expert of church planter. (I had the pleasure of attending an AMiA church in Denver, Wellspring Anglican. Wow. Really a fantastic church.)

Clearly this does violate one of Rowan's three moratoria. I was reading about the Prop 8 business in the LA Times where it quoted a homosexual who said that she along with 29 other couples were married at All Saints, Pasadena during the window where such marriages were permissible. Does Bp "Not in my diocese" Bruno not read the LA Times?

The cross border interventions are coming to an end. Does anyone believe that SS marriages will stop? I would be very surprised if B033 wasn't made moot this Gen Con.

Mark+, are you going to call for Rowan to condemn these moratoria violations?

What can be done? The instruments of "unity" have been neutered by indaba. The only power left in the Anglican Communion is the FCA. I doubt it will be condemning Rwanda.

PseudoPiskie, unlike the situation in the TEC, most African bishops have their own parish and they must justify their existence. This is the case in the AMiA.

Brad said...

"Oh noooooooooo!!! He's gonna be mean to me!"

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David
I am not an expert on North American Anglicanism! But I am a concerned observer from Down Under; not least because (a) the TEC way of doing things seems quite influential on some of our leaders (b) the schism developing in North America is a 'model' for how disaffection elsewhere in the Communion might be played out: it would be helpful in places far away if 'mutual recognition' were possible rather than 'We are the true Anglicans ... No, it's us who are; not you'.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Sorry robroy - but if you read your link a little more closely you'll find the 3 to whom you referred were consecrated last Saturday. Making a total of 10, as Fr. Mark correctly stated.

I'm interested in the figure of 180 congregations - extracting the data from from the AMiA web site (no easy task - sometimes a touch of OCD can be useful: if anyone wants a copy of the resulting spreadsheet let me know) gives a total of 109 congregations.

Perhaps the claim of 180 has been derived the same way as ACNA's figure of 28 dioceses?

Brian F said...

Dear Mark - we have become used to Abp Rowan Williams looking the other way - it's a wonder he doesn't have a crincked neck. He certainly turned his head the other way when it came to inviting the bishops to Lambeth who had been active participants in the consecration of Vicki Gene Robinson, when ECUSA had been clearly warned that such an act would break the bonds of fellowship across the Communion. And he also invited bishops who have been encouraging the development of rites for same sex blessings or allowing same sex blessings to take place within their dioceses without bringing any disciplinary action against the rebellious clergy involved - and only now do you complain?

Brian F said...

"against the long standing rule that bishops should not exercise their ministry except in their own diocese without permission of the bishop of jurisdiction."

Mark there was one valid exception to that rule and that was when the bishops considered that the leadership of a diocese had become apostate. There was another long standing rule that predated Nicea, which is that same sex sexual relationships are sinful. Now many bishops in ECUSA are claiming that they are not. God called such relationships abominable, but these bishops are calling them holy, without providing any theological argument acceptable to the rest of the Communion as to why it is now ok to change the biblical definition and boundaries of what is sinful and what is holy - giving pretty solid evidence to many that those bishops are indeed apostate and so providing the exception for valid intrusions. Which way is Rowan Williams to look?

Lindy said...

What matters more? Obeying the law or reaching out in love to fellow Anglicans who feel disenfranchised by a mother church whose version of 'inclusion' is exclusion to their vision of faithful Anglicanism?

There is a vast difference between feeling disenfranchised because of something you believe and being disenfranchised because of who you are. I think that surly Peter Carrell knows this but, in the absence of a theology which justifies exclusion and bigotry, he is reduced to this tired old yarn. Pathetic.

Observer said...

Of course Rowan does nothing about ACNA.....it was not those people who rejected his pleas for restraint in 2003.....

Rowan's job is much bigger than pushing the rights-based agenda of a few in the AC, even if he agrees with them on certain issues. What's he going to say ACNA? Can he criticise ACNA for not accepting the the rejection of Lambeth 1.10 which he describes as "the mind of the Communion"? Moratoria? Well, we all know those are sticking plasters that are not respected in TECUSA so why ask ACNA to respect them? The sooner TECUSA realises that it ain't going to swing most of the AC behind its revisionist path, the better....for all of us, including TECUSA which can be free of always compromising to be part of the AC club.

RB said...

Frankly, I'm having a hard time seeing the appointment of ten bishops to reach the unchurched of America as a bad thing, or as anything but a good thing. I'm reading elsewhere that AMIA is firmly dedicated to church planting, and is doing quite a job at it. The whole thing is reminiscent of the conflict between Bishop Butler and John Wesley over the latter's ministry to the miners in Bristol, resulting in his famous dictum, "The world is my parish." If their effort really is to reach the unchurched, and not active Episcopalians, perhaps TEC should get over itself, and realize that the point is the proclamation and experience of Jesus Christ, not its personal boundaries.

Lapinbizarre said...

"....the 3 to whom you referred were consecrated last Saturday." Power play on the part of the Rwandans, or, more realistically, on the part of their US backers, upping their numbers and voting strength before they are subject to the canons of the new "province"?

WilliamK said...

the consecration of Vicki Gene Robinson

The insistance of "reasserters" on referring to Bishop Robinson this way speaks volumes. Yes, yes, this is his full legal name--a result of the peculiar circumstances surrounding his birth, etc. But +Gene regularly identifies as V. Gene Robinson. The respectful thing for everyone would be to do the same... but then being respectful doesn't seem to be a priority for "reasserters." Instead, referring to Bishop Robinson as "Vicki Gene" is a good way of engaging in school-yard bullying, good, old-fashioned homophobic bullying... "Vicki Gene is a GIRL!!!"

nlnh said...

Huey P. Long: Every man a king!

ACNA: Every man a bishop!

Bonnie said...

Hi Mark--Just saying. Perhaps we need to be more proactive in calling his attention to this.

Are we calling his attention to this? And, if we are not, how can we become more active in this?

How can we be more proactive in letting Presiding Bishop Katharine know how we view this situation?

Lapinbizarre said...

The former bishop of San Joaquin is referred to in court documents relating to the current litigation in California as "David Mercer Schofield, also known as John-David Schofield", WilliamK. Incidentally, you're dead right about schoolyard. homophobic bullying. One would like to see a little more integrity from Mr Fyffe, him supposedly being in Holy Orders - or is this just the manly, Australian way of doing things?

nlnh said...

Mark, it's gotten so that the comments section of your blog sounds like a branch location of Stan Firm or Virtue.

WilliamK said...

If their effort really is to reach the unchurched, and not active Episcopalians....

They've made it abundantly clear that their goal is to displace and replace TEC and the ACoC as the "official" members of the Anglican Communion in North American... and no, I really don't believe their claim that they have no designs on active Episcopalians.

That said, I personally no longer care if TEC and the ACoC are eventually excluded from the so-called "Anglican Communion." Our leaders, including (sadly) our Presiding Bishop, have been spending far too much of their time worrying about "what will they say in Rwanda?" We need to get on with our witness and ministry.

Arkansas Hillbilly said...

BrianF said, "There was another long standing rule that predated Nicea, which is that same sex sexual relationships are sinful. Now many bishops in ECUSA are claiming that they are not. God called such relationships abominable, but these bishops are calling them holy, without providing any theological argument acceptable to the rest of the Communion as to why it is now ok to change the biblical definition and boundaries of what is sinful and what is holy..."

Brian,

This is a prime example of your version of the "Listening process". The theological arguments in support of inclusion of and blessings of same sex relationships have been made several times, but you keep putting your fingers in your ears and shouting "The Bible says!!!" I myself have countered your "abomination" argument (a bad translation in the KJV) until I am blue in the face.

This is a prime example of why maybe we should just let the reasserters go on their merry way. Both sides are convinced God is on thier side and neither of us is going to convince the other that they are misinterpreting the spirit of the law. My only caveatte to this is that the reasserters leaving go and plant their own churches and stop trying to walk off with TEC property.

I dream of a day when we are again in full communion with one another and can allow eachother to "live and let live". The wounds are too fresh right now for that. Until then, you stay on your side of the fence and we'll stay on ours, and we'll see eachother in the "great beyond".

Brian F said...

WilliamK - the point of my post at 12:07 was not to engage in a debate about how VGR ought to be referred to, and we should not get side tracked by that issue. My point was in answer to Mark Harris' complaint that Abp Rowan Williams was not intervening to prevent Rwanda from consecrating more bishops for AMiA has a good precedent - he didn't do anything to discipline the bishops involved in VGR's consecration by withholding an invitation to Lambeth 2008 from them. Would you care to respond to the real topic?

And ArkansasHillbilly - do you really believe that ECUSA has done enough to convince the rest of the Communion of the correctness of its position on same sex relationships? It produced a fairly lightweight treatise for the ACC, but it did not persuade anyone. It has not yet responded to the devastating critique by people such as Gagnon of its distorted exegesis of the key Bible passages but has merely regurgitated its novel interpretations as if that is sufficient. Nor has it succesfully proven that homosexual orientation truly is a result of genetics, nor has it countered the critique of its false assertion about the difference in understanding and practice of homosexuality between the ancient and modern worlds, as if now we know better. Is the only measure of success of the listening process that conservatives are either changed or driven out of the Anglican Communion? My understanding of the resolution on listening from Lambeth was that the church was obliged to listen to the experiences of homosexuals in the church - not necessarily to change our thinking about what is holy and what is not, but to improve the way homosexuals are ministered to, which might even result in them changing their lifestyle if they are ministered to more lovingly with Biblical truth and hope.

Yawner said...

nlnh,

I am intrigued by your idea that the comments here are more like conservatives sites. So, I would ask- where are the progressive commentators? Why is always the same 10 progressives commenting? Does that provide a clue to you about which group may be larger, even within TEC? And if that is not a clue... then where are the progressive commenters?

Jim said...

I am not a fan of AMiA, but to be fair, it uniquely among the holier-than-god-dares folk has not sought to be an attack on TEC. Oh they stalked off because they were to holy to risk getting gay cooties, but they have not been active sheep stealers. Rather they have been in the business of evangelizing period and seeking out un-churched in specific.

FWIW
jimB

Grandmère Mimi said...

And ArkansasHillbilly - do you really believe that ECUSA has done enough to convince the rest of the Communion of the correctness of its position on same sex relationships?

Brian F, I'm sorry, but laughed at those words in your comment. No disrespect intended, but you know, and I know that there is nothing, NOTHING that TEC could do or say to convince certain of the "rest of the Communion" of the correctness of our position on same sex relationships. What would be "enough"?

IT said...

On the Anglican merry go round
The same opinions will always abound
either gays are okay
or you have to say nay
And there's no chance of a middle ground.

To Yawner I have to say, "hey,
By now both sides have had their say
There's no point in repeating
The same thing at each meeting
So they're out doing God's work today."

IT said...

Oh, wait, this wasn't the limerick thread?

Lapinbizarre said...

If "we should not get side tracked by that issue [referring to Gene Robinson as "Vicki Gene"]", BrianF, it will be simple enough for you to settle the matter by stating that when you referred to him in this fashion, you did not do so with homophobic intent. Sweeping the question aside as irrelevant does not get the egg off your face.

The "devastating critique by people such as Gagnon". Give me a break!

Christopher (P.) said...

As a response to Yawner: I don't always feel the need to comment, though considering myself a progressive! I suspect that there are lots of readers like me.

I learn a lot from the comments, and certainly I learn a lot from the "conservative" comments here, mostly about how those who ostensibly uphold good order come to justify their quite disorderly actions. It makes me pause, as a progressive in a conservative parish, where I don't know from season to season whether seccessionist movements will again raise their heads.

Interestingly, the departure of the "liberals" from my parish some 5 years ago (didn't like the constant possibility of schism) is now being matched by a departure of "conservatives" this year (got tired waiting and hoping for the schism to happen), leaving behind a church that is now mostly populated by young folks who are exceedingly new to the faith, as well as to the Episcopal branch, and quite likely to follow wherever their Rector would lead them.

Brian F said...

Lapinbizzare
please accept my apology for referring to VGR by his full name for any offence that has caused. It was not intended as a homophobic slur.

Lapinbizarre said...

Good to hear Brian - thanks.

WilliamK said...

Father Brian (F),
Now that you have clarified that there was no ill-intent in the way you referred to Bishop Robinson....

My point was in answer to Mark Harris' complaint that Abp Rowan Williams was not intervening to prevent Rwanda from consecrating more bishops for AMiA has a good precedent - he didn't do anything to discipline the bishops involved in VGR's consecration by withholding an invitation to Lambeth 2008 from them. Would you care to respond to the real topic?

I didn't read Father Mark as wanting the Archbishop to intervene to prevent the consecrations of the bishops. I doubt Mark+ thinks ++Rowan has such power. His complaint, like mine, is that the Archbishop has said nothing at all about this event; he's expressed no concern, no objection.

As for "disciplining" the bishops involved in +Gene's consecration... again, ++Rowan has no such authority over bishops outside of his province. He's not a pope... and I'm always amused when Evangelicals act as if they want him to exercise pontifical jurisdiction. Keep in mind that if he can "discipline" the bishops involved in +Gene's consecration, then he can also "discipline" Archbishop Jensen as soon as the first lay-presided Eucharist takes place in Sydney... and he can "discipline" +Akinola if he continues to support draconian anti-gay legislation in Nigeria.

Be this as it may... I'm one of those who wished ++Rowan HAD acted to "discipline" all the bishops who consented to +Gene's ordination. He also should have excluded our Presiding Bishop. That action would have been very helpful for TEC, as our bishops would actually then have experienced a tiny taste of the cost of discipleship. Instead, our only excluded bishop was +Gene, and all the others happily headed to Lambeth and got their garden party with HRH Elizabeth.

One other thing: ...devastating critique by people such as Gagnon....

The year Gagnon's book was published (or perhaps the year after?), I attended a session of the American Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting where Bernadette Brooten (http://people.brandeis.edu/~brooten/) eviscerated Gagnon's book. The only people who think that Gagnon has successfully critiqued LGBT-affirming readings of Scripture are people who were already committed to his position. Whatever the virtues of some of his particular exegetical arguments, the whole book is tainted by Gagnon's hysterical anti-LGBT attitudes. Gagnon doesn't just object to homosexual conduct. Gagnon holds LGBT people who aren't self-loathing in profound contempt.

nlnh said...

Yawner, what it tells me is that some angry fundamentalists have too much time on their hands.

Lapinbizarre said...

An excellent example of what I consider to be Gagnon's paranoid homophobia (whenever anyone refers to "homosexualists", you know that you've caught a live one) can be found in his recent attack on the new Hate Crimes Bill on the grounds that it promotes "hatred of people opposed to homosexual practice and transgenderism"

Dave Hill said...

[Yawner] I am intrigued by your idea that the comments here are more like conservatives sites. So, I would ask- where are the progressive commentators? Why is always the same 10 progressives commenting? Does that provide a clue to you about which group may be larger, even within TEC?

Perhaps it means that progressive readers find it less necessary to insist upon the last word. Though this comment seems to counter that.

I think there's is a difference between progressive readers and progressive commenters. As a progressive reader, I usually (though not always) find the progressive commenters cover the bases with intelligence, wit, and insight. No need to gild the lily.

Beyond that (and germane, perhaps, to the "eek! dwindling churches!" argument), I was not aware that holiness or adherence to God's will was determined by a popularity contest. I want a large, vibrant church as much as the next person, but I hope I won't mistake numbers for the only "vote" that counts: God's.

Anonymous said...

"I was not aware that holiness or adherence to God's will was determined by a popularity contest"

That IS TEC's polity. That is why the AC is supposed to accept the cosnecration of Bp. Robinson. That is why conservatives are supposed to accept blessing of same sex relationships. Cause the majority voted for it and that is how you still in TEC discern where God is leading. So own it!
Ken

Paulie said...

AMiA is in communion with Christ, and that's what matters. As the growing apostasy occurs within the Episcopal Church, there should be no surprise that Christ breaks off branches so that new ones might be grafted in. I can only hope that AMiA will be seen as the fruitful branch grafted in, and as that branch which replaces the fruitless withering branch that has been cut off. As the transition occurs from the Episcopal Church to AMiA... the gospel will be again preached over and above the acceptance of all sorts of sin. I'm not condemning any member of the Episcopal Church, I'm simply stating why so many are leaving a denomination that has lost its first love...a denomination that promotes sin as opposed to healing the sinner. This isn't, and never will be, about consecrating bishops. This is about the apostasy of the American wing of the worldwide Anglican communion.