9/14/2009

FOCA NA? Rounding up the Cattle.


If there is anyone left who thinks that the conglomeration of agents for realignment change all left The Episcopal Church for the Anglican Church of North America, they have another think coming. The dance is going on and the conga line is forming.

First there are the Communion Partner Bishops, who are willing to be in, but not of, The Episcopal Church, very much like being in, but not of, this broken and sinful world. But they are very busy at this realigning: First the Communion Partner Bishops published a variety of articles making it clear that they can sign the Anglican Covenant if they want to, engaged in Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) on a diocese to diocese arrangement, grab onto a resolution on domestic mission partnerships and turn it into a way to support so called 'orthodox' minorities in liberal dioceses, and all without any reference to The Episcopal Church as a system of governance.

Bishop Mark Lawrence has become the lead on some of this and his diocese seems determined to be symbolically and practically in but not of The Episcopal Church. So much for taking his place among in the governance of the church.

Meanwhile the Communion Partner Rectors have come on board essentially determined to do everything the bishops are, except DEPO, which of course is the bishop's business.

ACNA keeps its hand in always, by wringing its hands and lamenting the sad state of those "orthodox" types who are sadly caught in revisionists dioceses.

But now enters a new player in the dance, FOCA previously formed in the UK with very small drums beating, and in South Africa mostly in the break away Anglican group there, also with less than stellar beginnings, although to hear tell from their supporters, both were grand affairs. Now a new FOCA group is forming in the US.

Reported out by Anglicans Mainstream in an article by David Virtue and Mary Ann Mueller, titled, WISCONSIN: American Anglican Council Announces Formation of Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans-NA"

A major part of the "roll out" of FOCA -NA, was an address by Fr. Phillip Ashey. His remarks are part of the record, but these in particular stand out:

"Fr. Ashey enumerated various points on how ACNA can gain recognition as the Thirty-Ninth Province and help stem the tide of the false Gospel from continuing to spread and infect "the torn Communion."

He noted that ACNA’s leadership needs to join in demanding that the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant be immediately released; that ACNA join others in asking the Archbishop of Canterbury to request that all TEC representative withdraw from participation in any Anglican Communion office including the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council; request that the Church of England’s General Synod, as well as the other primates of provinces of the Anglican Communion, recognize ACNA as the only Windsor-compliant authentically Anglican body in North America; help facilitate a meeting of wider the Confessing Communion to address various aspects of TEC’s revisionist theology which depart from the historic faith and order of the ancient church; and support Nashotah House as it enters into theological collaboration with the Orthodox which could hopefully lead to an Anglican-Orthodox statement.

Also: ACNA leadership must demand that the Communion-wide "Indaba listening process" be suspended until such time that an alternative funding source can be secured; continue to help inform the Global South and GAFCON partners of TEC’s underhanded way of attempting to infiltrate their Provinces through the use of money, seminary exchanges and the corrupted Indaba listening process; help the GAFCON’s Global South partners establish solid Biblical and confessional inter-Anglican ministry networks and help bind together the Confessing Communion; and finally, help support Global South and GAFCON provinces in engaging the Torn Communion other than on Canterbury’s terms and TEC’s liberal agendas, focusing instead on the Jerusalem Declaration."
If this is Fr. Ashey at his best, we are all in trouble. These comments are equal parts rat poison, rousing the troops, and idiocy. Shall we taken them in turn? Sure.

1."help stem the tide of the false Gospel from continuing to spread and infect "the torn Communion." Go for it! Let's make it absolutely clear that as far as FOCA is concerned what they are saying to TEC is to hell with you. TEC is seen as spreading a "false Gospel" and infecting "the torn Communion." All this is said in one itty-bitty sentence. Any possibility of parallel provinces, one "realigned" and the other TEC being side by side is out. The object is to be the one and only "orthodox" Anglican presence in North America.

2."ACNA’s leadership needs to join in demanding that the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant be immediately released." What does that mean? "Released?" Where? And who, just precisely, is ACNA joining in demanding this? This is rot for the mind.

3. "that ACNA join others in asking the Archbishop of Canterbury to request that all TEC representative withdraw from participation in any Anglican Communion office including the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council." Well, just who is ACNA joining in asking this? Some people, Primates of the Communion, say, could indeed ask this. For good or evil they at least have standing. But ACNA is not a member of the Anglican Communion, or of the ACC and does not contribute people or funds in support of either. So, ask away.

And, by the way, there is no reason to assume that THIS time TEC will accede to the request. I think, as I did when TEC and Anglican Church of Canada representatives were invited to take a silent observer seat, that it was a bad idea to do so. If they wanted to have TEC and ACoC representatives be silent let them vote the matter. Why should we simply give in?

4. "request that the Church of England’s General Synod, as well as the other primates of provinces of the Anglican Communion, recognize ACNA as the only Windsor-compliant authentically Anglican body in North America." Got it? "The only Windsor-compliant authentically Anglican body in North America." A large part of ACNA consists of bishops ordained as members of synods of bishops of other churches in the Anglican Communion for the express purpose of interfering in the life of The Episcopal Church and its several dioceses. Windsor Compliant? Give me a break. And, as for the matter of "authentically Anglican," I suppose in addition to TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, and Mexico FOCA NA is really going to insist that ACNA is "authentically Anglican" where none of the other "Anglican breakaway churches" are? And what are they to do with the fact that damn near all of the current members of these churches were until just a few months ago part of the inauthentic Anglican world of TEC and ACoC, etc, and there received their ordinations, confirmations, etc.

This bit of hubris will come around and bite them. If FOCA NA and ACNA were people it would be in their behind, as it is, it will come around and consume them from the tail forward.

5. "help facilitate a meeting of wider the Confessing Communion to address various aspects of TEC’s revisionist theology which depart from the historic faith and order of the ancient church."

It is unclear if ACNA or FOCA-NA is meant to do this. No matter, FOCA-NA is just a front for ANCA people not yet totally decided or in "hostile" territory. What matters is that this outfit now wants to talk about "the Confessing Communion" by which they mean the GAFCON / FOCA / ACNA crowd. No longer is there any real reference to the Anglican Communion at all. The Confessing Communion dear friends is nothing like the Anglican Communion, except in so far as bits and pieces of liturgical practice (mostly the product of late middle ages early renaissance bad liturgical chip and clip) and reactionary theology, theology that tells us more about what they hate than what they like. The "hosted" meeting of the "Confessing Communion" is an ACNA / GAFCON / FOCA whack at forming a new better and improved Anglican-like Communion.

What ever it is, it will not be the Anglican Communion.

6. "and support Nashotah House as it enters into theological collaboration with the Orthodox which could hopefully lead to an Anglican-Orthodox statement." Well, for starters, what does this say about Nashotah House? I am glad Nashotah House is working with the Orthodox...which Orthodox? Probably the Orthodox Church of America whose presence at the installation of the Archbishop of ACNA was notable. But the OCA does not particularly represent the Orthodox any more than say, the Church of Wales represents the Anglican Communion. More interesting is Ashey thinks this conversation will serve ACNA well. Good luck. If it does the ordination of women is out the door, not only for bishops, but for priests as well.

7. Then we enter the serious rat poison section. Ready?

"ACNA leadership must demand that the Communion-wide "Indaba listening process" be suspended until such time that an alternative funding source can be secured." This is dumping on the Anglican Communion Office and the Archbishop of Canterbury, pure and simple.

"continue to help inform the Global South and GAFCON partners of TEC’s underhanded way of attempting to infiltrate their Provinces through the use of money, seminary exchanges and the corrupted Indaba listening process." This nicely craps on the wide and long term seminary programs taken advantage of by many bishops in the Communion when they were still priests, charges the funding of Provincial activities throughout the Communion as "infiltration," and puts to rest any remaining thought that the listening process has any value at all. In this sweet short phrase ACNA / FOCA NA makes it clear that all the theological sharing between TEC and ACoC and the rest of the Communion is useless propaganda. Makes one wonder just why so many in the Global South have taken advantage of such educational possibilities.

" help the GAFCON’s Global South partners establish solid Biblical and confessional inter-Anglican ministry networks and help bind together the Confessing Communion." Ah yes, the Confessing Communion again. Having dumped on all those terrible networks of the Anglican Communion, Ashey is glad to offer a vision of an alternative.

"help support Global South and GAFCON provinces in engaging the Torn Communion other than on Canterbury’s terms and TEC’s liberal agendas, focusing instead on the Jerusalem Declaration." So there is the clincher. The Archbishop of Canterbury is declared no longer at the center in any way (bye bye Anglican Covenant) and TEC is reduced to a church of liberal agendas. FOCA NA, GAFCON and ACNA are all bound to go the way of the Jerusalem Declaration.

OK. To wrap this up:

The formation of FOCA - NA is a ruse, the front cover of the playbook that has always been there - ACNA as the single, only recognized Anglican entity in North America, in the Anglican Communion if possible, but outside it if not; GAFCON is the new center (look for Canterbury to be replaced by Alexandria or some other reasonably "orthodox" place); ACNA and its new "orthodox" seminary wing - Nashotah House - are working the Orthodox church game while ACNA and Trinity will work the evangelical crowd.

FOCA - NA is part of the effort to round up the cattle. Shame on this foolishness.

6 comments:

  1. How does one get a school dumped as an Episcopal seminary?

    ReplyDelete
  2. And guess who just became available to lead the entire world? I will give you three guesses and his intitals stand for Peter Akinola.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lionel,

    I too have asked this question a number of times of people who I thought should know. Not once have I received an answer.

    Indeed, most peope have flatly stated that they don't know either.

    C

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sorry for this aside, but this bears repeating. One might think the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) - or even the Antiochian Archdiocese - here in North America just might attend to their own internal battles, moral and fiscal corruption, and bitter in-fighting first:

    www.ocanews.org

    Or, on the matter of clergy sexual abuse: www.pokrov.org

    Perhaps Nashotah House and every other Anglo-Catholic needs to be reminded once again that, like Roman Catholics - there are no real Anglican sacraments - in the eyes of any Orthodox jurisdiction either here or abroad. None. There are neither real Anglican bishops nor priests with apostolic orders, no real Eucharist, and for that matter several more conservative Orthodox groups don't even recognize TEC or Anglican baptisms. Furthermore, any TEC or Anglican priest is *re-ordained* when entering Orthodoxy. No matter what some Orthodox Synod in Eastern Europe said a half century ago hinting that Anglican orders just possibly might be ok, this is the reality on the ground today.

    They may call you “brother’ or “Fr.” to your face, but among themselves we are one more mission field of delusional (the Russian word, IIRC is ‘prelest’) ‘heterodox’ outside of the One, True, Church.

    How would I know? I was one of those Episcopalian laity seduced by the ‘romance, truth and beauty of Holy Orthodoxy’. What my wife and I were left with can be seen in my avatar.

    been there ...
    John Iliff

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lionel's question is a non-starter. First you have to figure out how to steal its property.
    (Dan)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice wrap-up for a simple-minded soul like me. I tend to get lost in the various groups and acronyms. Nice beginning, too.

    ReplyDelete

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