Lo and behold he is still at work, although retired. Apparently no one at the ecumenical conference between scholars of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox traditions held at Nashotah House Theological Seminary on October 8-10, 2009 thought to check his credentials. At the time he was a retired bishop in good standing in The Episcopal Church. But the conference lists him as the Bishop of Quincy, an error perhaps. Now, less than a week later, he is not a bishop in The Episcopal Church.
The worthies in this conference at Nashotah House according to this blurb, were,
Fr. Robert Munday - Dean of Nashota House Seminary
Metropolitan Jonah - Primate of the Orthodox Church in America
Fr. Chad Hatfield - Chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
Fr. William Olnhausen - priest at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cedarburg, WI
Fr. Stephen Platt - priest of the Russian Orthodox parish of St Nicholas in Oxford, England and General-Secretary of the UK Fellowship of Ss Alban and Sergius.
Bishop Melchizedek - OCA Bishop of Pittsburgh
Anne Glynn Mackoul - Executive Chair of the St. Vladimir’s Board of Trustees
Fr. Arnold W. Klukas - Professor of Liturgics and Ascetical Theology at Nashota House
Fr. Jack Gabig - Director of the Young Anglicans Project
Bishop Frank Lyons - Anglican Bishop of Bolivia
Archbishop William Duncan - Anglican Bishop of Pittsburgh
Bishop Keith Ackerman - Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy
I like Dean Munday and the institution of which he is the Dean. Nashotah House is an important formational center for priests in the Episcopal Church. The Dean has, however, seen fit to host a meeting on Anglican and Orthodox matters to which no scholar in The Episcopal Church was either invited or present (can't tell from the list, of course). The Dean has identified the House with the emerging Anglican Church in North America to a considerable extent. How from that group it was decided that Ackerman, Duncan and Gabig were of scholarly import is a mystery.
Dean Munday has also made it clear that he thinks the Presiding Bishop is in error in declaring that Bishop Ackerman has renounced the ministry of this church. Bishop Ackerman has left, he has said so, off to Bolivia but with the intent to continue work in the US. The thing is, if he were going to Bolivia to work there, fine. He is retired. He can do that. We might even suppose that The Episcopal Church would release him from the connection here so he could do work there.
But Bishop Ackerman is not a person in mission to Bolivia. He is using Bolivia as a stepping stone for work in the US with Forward in Faith and ACNA. Ackerman is part of the Leadership Round table of ACNA, part of various committees in the formation of ACNA and continues with Forward in Faith North America (FIFNA). Ackerman has not left at all. He is here to stay and is about the business of claiming that ACNA is the true Anglican presence in North America. He has renounced the ministry of The Episcopal Church with extreme prejudice (as they say.)
The Presiding Bishop was right to say he had renounced the ministry of this Churh and to make it absolutely clear that he has no rights to exercise ministry in The Episcopal Church as a minister of whatever stripe. Dean Munday doesn't seem to get it. Ackerman could not be "transferred" to another Province because he is not going to another Province. He is staying here to muck about.
As for Fr. Jack Gabig: He holds an advance degree from Kings College, but as far as I can tell one unrelated to matters concerning Anglicanism or Orthodoxy. His field is youth ministry - a wonderful ministry that I take part in with great joy. The thing is, the list has him as part of the Anglican Communion Network. But ACNA has him as a link within the ACNA which replaced ACN as a body. Gabig works for ACNA.
So, there it is. The center piece of this little tale is that Bishop Keith Ackerman, retired and now having renounced the ministry of this Church, is - just as I predicted - going to be around mucking about here in the US, where he holds no office, title, or jurisdiction in the national or regional church know as The Episcopal Church, and no license within it to exercise ordained ministry.
Bishop Ackerman seems a fine person. Reading his bio I was very impressed with his work in various parishes. I'm all for his ministry in Bolivia. I think he might do well in that missionary context. Stay there. Sit. Stay.
But no more mucking about here.