Robert McNamara dies, Al Franken is Senator, FOCA UK bashes Church House.

Robert McNamara died today (July 6), Al Franken will be sworn in on Tuesday as Senator Frankin, and FOCA UK (The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) is meeting today and is busy bashing liberal Anglicans in General, the CofE in particular, and talking about the devil roaming the halls of Church House. Of the three, only the third of these stories is no surprise.

I had forgotten that Robert McNamara was still alive, frankly, so his death was a surprise. I am surprised that Al Franken stuck it out and it will indeed happen that he will become Senator Franken. But I am not surprised that FOCA UK is hammering away at all things bright, beautiful, and visionary in Anglicanism.

Here are some choice quotes from Ruth Gledhill's blog article on FOCA UK.

" Greg Venables, primate of the Southern Cone, has just spelled out the issues at stake in the launch at Central Hall of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. See our report today . 'In North America and here, true orthodoxy is being outlawed' warned Bishop Greg who has taken many congregations and even a diocese or two fleeing liberal episcopalianism under his conservative wing. 'We must remember we are not fighting flesh and blood. This is about principalities and powers.'"

Primate Greg Venables, who has had no problem disregarding the clear mandates of the Windsor Report and every subsequent variation concerning spitting in the soup of other jurisdictions than his own, has invoked the spiritual warfare call to arms.

"Orthodoxy proclaims one truth at a time when that is unacceptable in western culture,' said Bishop Greg. 'Truth has become relative. 'To believe in one truth which excludes others is to be intolerant, bigoted and dangerous.' He also said there was a 'false view of institutional loyalty.' 'And sadly there is a great fear of being
marginalised and blackballed.'

And here the good bishop exhibits a level of crackpot analysis that wraps into one tidy sound bite all the wild claims of th
is gang: That this or that Anglican Church (The Episcopal Church, the Church of England, etc) has become relativistic, and that its inclusiveness leads to exclusion of those it considers intolerant, bigoted and dangerous, i.e. the so called "orthodox" who then fear being marginalized and blackballed.

Unwrapping this pot of messages and working through how toleration cuts both ways and how marginalization and blackballing can be carried out quite well by those holding minority opinions, etc., is a full time task. Right now I don't have the time or even the energy to untangle this garbage, except to say: "Nuts."

Ruth Gledhill then quotes Bishop John Broadhurst:

"John Broadhurst bishop of fulham is now on the platform, about to introduce Archbishop Bob Duncan. Broadhurst said he did not believe in the devil when he was first ordained. 'I now believe Satan is alive and well and he resides at Church House.'"

So now we get to the nub of the matter in CofE affairs: Satan has been seen wandering the halls of Church House. I wonder who he looks like? The janitor? The Archbishop of Canterbury? The whole lot of them?

In a larger article in the Times,
"Bishop of Sherborne Graham Kings says new group could split Church," Ruth Gledhill refers to "Dr Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the newly founded province that is claiming to be the authentic Anglican Church in the US but is awaiting recognition from the Archbishop of Canterbury, will give a keynote address to today’s meeting."

So the press seems willing to make the jump. The niceties of referring to Archbishop Duncan as "Dr Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America," following the formal mode of respectful English journalism reads oddly here in Anaheim. Here it would be simply "Archbishop Robert Duncan." But there you are.

More to the point, ACNA is referred to as "the newly founded province that is claiming to be the authentic Anglican Church in the US..." ACNA is not a province of anything. That's the point. It is a church, and Archbishop Duncan is its chief bishop. It is at this point not a part or province of anything. It is a church.

As a church I think we who write about it ought to respect the fact that in that church Robert Duncan, deposed bishop of Pittsburgh, former bishop of the Southern Cone, is now the Archbishop. We should call him what his church calls him. But he is not the Archbishop of a province of anything at all.

God forbid, but the time may come when in England there is the need to parse the titles carefully as well. Ruth Gledhill reported the following:

"The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, who will deliver the final address to more than 1,000 delegates from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland at the conference, said that he believed the Church of England could split. Dr Nazir-Ali, who steps down in September but is ideally placed to become Archbishop of the fellowship should organisers wish to follow the American path, said the Church must not be “rolled over by culture”. He endorsed the biblical line against homosexuality."

Should such a day come it will be useful to remind folk that he be referred to as something like, "Archbishop Michael Nazir-Ali, of the Anglican Church of England, retired former bishop of Rochester." Who knows, if he were to do such a thing he might be more than retired. What does deposition look like in England? Read both of Gledhill's articles.

On her blog she has just posted a excellent photo, which ought to give pause: lined up together sitting in a pew are Bishop Nazir-Ali, Presiding Bishop Greg Venables, and Archbishop Duncan. They all seem...happy?...no Triumphant.

FOCA, UK, is meeting just as the General Convention is gearing up here in Anaheim. It means, I suspect, that Ruth will not be joining us here. If that is true I will be disappointed. On the other hand there is just so much of this mess that one can deal with at any given time. Our loss.


  1. I had a look at the main photograph posted on the Ruth Gledhill site 'FOCA UK bashes Church House'. Westminster Hall is a big place but the 'congregation' at the U.K. 'Be Faithful' gathering doesn't look particularly big. Also, even when I enlarged the photograph and screwed my eyes up to look more closely, many of those there seemed rather elderly

  2. Al FrankEn, Fr. Mark. Yes there are other things more important, but it matters just the same.

    Now I will read the rest...

  3. Sorry in advance Mark. Is this a triple nuts? I do find it funny. in a rather quirky way, that ++Williams is escaping to come to our convention.

  4. susan S. Got it.... never trust work done in a hurry.. (Sigh)

    penwatch... keep going down.

  5. Sir, I was at FCA in London yesterday......your old friends +Ackerman and ++Duncan were inspiring. Particularly impressive was the unity between evangelical and anglocatholic.... ++Jensen and +Ackerman united in the gospel and in upholding the authority of scripture....++Jensen commented on how surprised and pleased he is by this development..... something to thank TECUSA for?

    penwatch - sorry to disappoint you but the place was full and there were many people in their 20s and 30s (by "many", I mean hundreds...)

  6. Declaring the size and extent of support is always an exercise in relativism. ACNA, and now FCA are habitually prone to err on the side of excess.

    I've also had a look at some of the photographs available of the UK FCA gathering and the numbers don't merit the amount of coverage they have received.

    Where I come from the (very) local football match attracts more every Saturday - and they've got as much commitment!

    American readers need to understand that the way in which the Church of England works the latest FCA gathering is just another smallish demonstration before the summer holidays.

  7. Well, now, our cousins across the pond are finally getting a little taste of what we American Episcopalians have had to put up with for years if not decades. Pretty soon, these folks will be demanding a new “Province” in England, staffed by bishops consecrated in Africa. Then they will try to take possession of the family silver. How anyone can take seriously backward-looking windbags like Duncan and Jensen is beyond my understanding. (TEC supports “the sanctification of sin” Dr. Jensen? We American Episcopalians were preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, baptizing sinners saved by Grace and celebrating the Holy Mysteries when Sydney was a collection of canvas tents and mud huts scattered along the Tank Stream). These people are the last theological gasp of the 19th century mind confronting the 21st century.

  8. As much as I respect and admire Abp Robert Duncan, I believe Ruth Gledhill has overstated the matter by referring to him as Dr Robert Duncan. As far I as can determine of his biography from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh website, he has a DD, not a PhD, and so is not entitled to be referred to as "Dr". I don't think he has ever used it of himself has he?

    Furthermore, in the end, whether ACC or the ABC recognise ACNA as a new Anglican Province or not, or as the new Anglican Province for North America is kind of irrelevant when the Primates who represent the majority of Anglicans in the world recognise ACNA as a genuine Anglican Province of the AC. Like it or not, the definition of what constitutes an Anglican Church is changing in response to the innovations of ECUSA, since no other call to repentance has been listened to by ECUSA.

    Mark - what do you make of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's unprecedented message of encouragement to FOCA? Has she sent a similar message to GC2009?

  9. Wow-whenever I point out that the median age of mainline protestantism is 55, I get called "meanspirited"; whenever mainline protestants notice the demographics of breakaway groups, it's different-how?

  10. For some reason, the right wingers gloating over their anticipated destruction of the Episcopal Church remind me of Nikita Kruschyev; "We Will Bury You!"

    As the Chinese curse says, "May all your fondest wishes come true." Since the Right stands against so much and stands for so little, they need enemies to hold them together. As soon as the homos, the uppity women, and the liberals are no longer around to haunt their nightmares, they will wake up to the Night of the Long Knives as their shakey coalition of Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics turn on each other in a feeding frenzy.

    I'm hearing the term "Big Tent" coming from right wing circles in anticipation of these conflicts -- inclusion and tolerance for diverse views, how liberal. I'm still skeptical that it will work. The Absolutely Right don't like to share the planet with others who claim to be Absolutely Right.

    word verification "wingolat"

  11. These folks are going to amazing lengths to create a church purged of "practicing" gay people - and probably any others who might disagree with some aspects of the "one truth" they believe their biblical interpretations reflect.

    How sad that they have abandoned the traditional Anglican notion that the Nicene Creed is "the sufficient statement of the Christian faith" (Lambeth Quadrilateral, 1888). Now the intentional exclusion of gay people is supposed to be a core tenet of the Christian faith, a requisite and defining doctrine for full communion? Yuck - no thanks, FOCA.


  12. And, yes, I know that many, many, many, many, many Christians agree with the people at FOCA that homosexuality and Christianity are fundamentally irreconcilable - regardless of whether the Fathers and Mothers even knew what "homosexuality" is - and, no, this issue *still* does not seem worthy of elevation to the same level as, say, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in terms of Christian orthodoxy and church unity.


  13. Encouragingly the British press, unlike most of their US counterparts, who could give a damn, are calling Sugden & Co on their lies.

  14. what do you make of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's unprecedented message of encouragement to FOCA?

    Brian F, I hope you do not wet your pants for your excitement for your ignorance of the Americas is now overshadowed by your ignorance of your own Queen.

    According to the British Press there is nothing unprecedented about the letter from Her Magesty, for it is little more than a form letter like many others she sends out to most all groups who write to her soliciting Royal greetings for their meeting. They solicited one from +Cantur as well. He wrote them that he would pray for them.

  15. Of course someone with a DD degree is entitled to be called Doctor just as someone with a doctorate in dentistry is called Doctor. My understanding is that even people with honorary doctorates are permitted to do so, as long as it is clearly noted as an honorary doctorate ( e.g., Dr. Ben Franklin).

  16. The letters from the Queen have now been posted on Anglican Mainstream. Comments are closed.
    How those letters could have been seen as 'encouragement' or 'endorsement' is beyond me.

  17. Just in case Brian F cannot find the info;

    Dear Mr Perkin,
    The Queen has asked me to thank you for your letter of 7th August, and I apologise for the delay in replying. Due to the high volume of mail received in recent weeks, correspondence has been dealt with in strict date order.

    Her Majesty has noted the content of your letter and understands the commitment to the Anglican Church that prompted you and your brethren to write as you did.

    I should explain however that the Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England would not intervene in the day-to-day running of the Church of England. Although you have already sent a copy of your letter to him, I have, nevertheless, been directed to forward your letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury so that he may be aware of your approach to Her Majesty from this office.

    Yours sincerely

    Mrs Sonia Bonici

    Senior Correspondence Officer.

    In their second attempt;

    The Queen was grateful for the assurance of your prayers and appreciated your message of loyalty. In return, I am to convey Her Majesty’s good wishes to all concerned for a successful and memorable event.

    It does not speak well for one's cause Brian F, when Her Majesty feels that she must release her private correspondence publicly to clear up the questions strewn about when folks lie about the content.

    It is also quite obvious that the last paragraph of the first letter is a bit of a slap for trying to circumvent the pecking order for the CoE!

  18. ...what do you make of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's unprecedented message of encouragement to FOCA? Has she sent a similar message to GC2009?

    Of course, it isn't really an "unprecedented message of encouragement." It's a form letter... actually, two of them, from different occasions.

    In any case, why would the Episcopal Church expect the "Supreme Governor of the Church of England" to send any kind of message to its General Convention? She's not the "Supreme Governor" of our Church.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, 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.