6/23/2011

So, explain again just what the Church of England is up to in America?


"It is also a privilege to welcome Fr. Thomas Seville, CR, of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England here as participant and observer, in partial response to the action of the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2010 regarding consideration of an appropriate form of recognition or relationship with the Anglican Church in North America."

Participant and observer....sounds like more than just an exploratory visit. What in the world is the Church of England proposing to do "regarding consideration of an appropriate form of recognition or relationship with the ACNA"?  

I presume the Archbishop of Canterbury, not in communion with ACNA as yet, knows that the Archbishop of ACNA is not the Archbishop of a Province of anything, much less a Province of the Anglican Communion.  So it must be that in sending Fr. Seville over to participate and observe, the CofE is feeding the optimistic fires of ACNA's Archbishop for recognition.

The ACNA Archbishop makes a great deal of the fact that he is recognized as having primatial status in various settings, 

"we continue to be seen as “gospel partners” and bearers of “authentic Anglicanism” (South-South Encounter IV) by most of the world’s Anglicans.  The GAFCON Provinces accord our Province status as the North American Province and I am seated as a Primate in the Primates Council.  I was privileged to be present at Archbishop Ian Earnest’s invitation at the All Africa Bishops Conference (of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa) last August in Entebbe and was accorded a seat there for public and state events as one of the archbishops of the provinces." 

I have heard from other sources that the accolades given the Archbishop of ACNA and his entourage has not been all that great even at CAPA's All Africa Bishops Conference. But never mind, that is not the point. The point is ACNA's Archbishop is mightily pleased that he is seated as a Primate. 

As yet, however, he is not a Primate in the Anglican Communion. It can be argued that since ACNA is not (in spite of its own press) part of the Anglican Communion, that he is not even an Archbishop, Primate, Presiding Bishop, Moderator, etc, at all. The missing link is that the only link the present Archbishop of ACNA has to the Anglican line of bishops is that he was made a bishop in The Episcopal Church. He was deposed from that office and ministry in The Episcopal Church, a matter mostly honored round and about the Communion. (See for example the state of the deposed Bishop of Harare.)  ACNA's Archbishop is now without an Anglican home, unless you can call the temporary "protection" of The Province of the Southern Cone and the cobbling together of a synod of deposed bishops, together with bishops of various alternate, non Anglican Communion Anglican bodies an "Anglican home. " So he wants a home and has found it in GAFCON and various international meetings where he and his fellow ACNA bishops are outsiders with agendas that are marginal to CAPA or even GAFCON interests.  They are not South, they are not African (and there are many sorts of Africans and African Anglicans), they are not Global South. They are American and without a provincial home.

What the CofE presence does is give ACNA just one more speck of encouragement that they are real Anglicans, a "Province in formation."

I have no idea if the CofE or the ABC has any idea just how ACNA will use the presence of a representative of the Faith and Order Commission of the Cof E at the ACNA meeting. But it is clear that ACNA knows how to use it. They use it to suggest that they are being taken seriously, that they are loved, or at least liked. Which of course reminds me of this odd bit of past glory.





Too bad it has to be this way. The record of other activities in ACNA and their continued apparent good health warrants attention and often honor. But this does not.

I have heard nothing of the CofE sending anyone from Faith and Order to ask The Episcopal Church what it thinks of ACNA in its midst.  One day, when the CofE finds its own Anglican Church in England, Scotland and Wales (ACESW) claiming to be the Province of record in the Islands off the coast of Europe, they will understand.

25 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Sadly, we see more of the the ABC and his Faith and Order Commission enabling the ACNA to use the putting facts on the ground strategy. Let them do it. Let them be recognized as the "real" Anglican church in North America. The ABC's Anglican Communion (and it is his institution at present) looks more and more like a club to which I don't want to belong.

The club is not world-wide. It is more and more controlled by a few at the top. The Anglican Covenant is not yet widely adopted, but the powers in the ACO are exercising their authority as though it has.

We'll continue our relationships and partnerships with those who welcome us, and let the others be. I'm sick and tired of the whole mess. What I see happening with the ABC and the ACO is a massive power play that is largely going unnoticed. Let them have their exclusive club. I don't think I want to belong.

don francisco said...

God recognizes ++ Robert... who cares what excusa says, they are now irrelevant

Kurt said...

Wow! Francisco knowns the mind of God!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Aren't you missing a simple point, Mark, that the C of E General Synod, a democratic institution, has been responding to a motion put up by one of its members? That response could lead to the C of E making a decision whether to recognise (to one degree or another) ACNA or not ... a consideration that is the autonomous right of that member church of the Communion to choose to make or not ...

You know where I am coming from and I know where you are coming from on this matter, but, to be blunt, I find your post quite miserable in its appreciation of ACNA. Is there no point in the diversifying of North American Anglicanism where you would concede that one way to accommodate the diversity is to have overlapping churches (i.e. ACCan and TEC as well as ACNA)?

Such overlapping would be a new concept measured by Nicea and by the historic development of the Communion. But then the diversity within North American Anglicanism is also somewhat new in the history of Christianity.

Kurt said...

Well, both Fr. Mark and Fr. Peter know my position--recognize ACNA as an Associate Member (not a full member like TEC) of the Anglican Communion if ACNA agrees to inter-communion with TEC. I'd even welcome the Reformed Episcopal Church as an Associate Member of the AC if they too were to allow Episcopalians to receive at their altars (er, Holy Tables).

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

The problem with "overlapping provinces," as most are well aware, is that the goal of the ACNA is not to coexist as an "overlapping province" with TEC, but to replace us as the one and only legitimate province of the Anglican Communion in North America. Not too surprising that TEC folks are not thrilled with that idea.

Brother David said...

Kurt, does the REC still exist? I thought that it had folded into ACNA. No? If not what happened? Is ACNA already falling apart?

Peter Carrell said...

Has anyone seated ++Katharine, ++ Bob, ++ Rowan in the same room and said, "Bob, will you and ACNA drop your replacement strategy in return for full membership of the Communion?" and "Katharine, will you and TEC accept the Communion's welcome of ACNA into full membership of the Communion as a reasonable consequence of 2003 etc?" and "Rowan, will you accept that there may be a new Anglican church established in England which is more progressive than yours?" ... if that hasn't been done, how would we know the answers to the questions?

Fred Schwartz said...

Peter Carrell,
And just why would that thought ever cross anyone's mind? These are all renegades with no rightful place in the United States. They were all deposed and justifiably so. It is a shame that the rest of the communion sees fit to entertain these woeful, mean-spirited, lustful people.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Fred,
I have met some of the people you describe as 'woeful, mean-spirited and lustful', including Archbishop Bob himself.

I am afraid that your description does not tally with mine. Perhaps that is why Anglicans elsewhere in the Communion are delighted to incur the charge of 'shame' if it is the price of supporting brother and sister Anglicans so they remain connected to the global fellowship of Anglicans.

Paul Powers said...

The chances of the ACNA being admitted as a province of the AC are nil. It would involve amending the schedule of membership to the ACC constitution. This requires action by either the ACC or the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (I'm not completely sure which, but either way the votes aren't there), and then it has to be ratified by 2/3 of the Primates, and the votes aren't there either. That goes for admission of the ACNA in addition to TEC or in place of TEC. Ain't going to happen.

Ironically, what the ACNA should do is exactly what Mimi suggests for TEC: continue relationships and partnerships with those who welcome us, and let the others be. And on the domestic scene, both the ACNA and TEC should concentrate their efforts on the unchurched instead of on each other (which I believe is what's happening). What neither Church needs to be doing is fretting over whether they have Daddy Rowan's approval.

Perhaps at some point there will be some benefit to sitting the two sides together. But right now, I think it is premature. I don't think there will be any hope of a détente (let alone a reconciliation) until the various property disputes have been resolved. It may also have to wait until TEC has a new Presiding Bishop and the ACNA has a new archbishop.

The Reformed Episcopal Church is part of the ACNA, but it has also retained its separate identity, at least for the time being. In the corporate world, mergers aren't completed overnight. There's no reason to expect they would be in the ecclesiastical world either.

Fred Schwartz said...

Peter,
what you apparently haven't met are the people that were left behind and the churches that were sold, and the lies that were told, and the many conventions that were a sham and the many lives that were devastated by these people -- opps, maybe yoiu areone of them.

Paul,
What part of "the ydo not care" don't you get? They do not want this anglican communion they want their Anglican Communion and they will have it -- just as Peter.

Fred Schwartz said...

Sorry the word is ask not as.

Paul Powers said...

By the way, Kurt, the ACNA canons permit baptized Christians who are members in good standing of their own denomination to receive communion in ACNA churches. If TEC members are being turned away, that's a decision of the bishop or priest involved. And unless the person is turned away for some reason other than membership in TEC, to do appears to be a violation of the canons.

Paul Powers said...

I should further clarify that I don't think anyone should be turned away at the altar. If a priest believes that someone should not be allowed to receive the sacrament, he or she should approach the person privately.

Lapinbizarre said...

I suspect, Fr Carrell, that you do not fully appreciate the extent to which ACNA and its supporters are what may fairly be termed "Tea-partiers at Prayer". There is a right-wing agenda which co-opts religion for its support. Spend a little time, on a regular basis, in the comments sections at Stand Firm & you should see see this very clearly.

Kurt said...

As far as I know, Br. David, nothing has changed with the REC since 2009. As I understand it, at this point the ACNA is a confederation of religious groups. Presumably a fuller merger will happen if (fat chance) the ACNA replaces TEC.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Paul Powers said...

Whether a fuller merger of the ACNA and its constituent parts will ever take place remains to be seen, but I don't think it depends on the ACNA "replacing" TEC. At least it shouldn't.

Peter Carrell said...

I haven't been left behind by anyone, nor met a conservative who tells lies, though I have met some who speak plainly.

Property matters are being sorted out in the courts. Attempts are being made there to argue that 'St Swithins belongs to the local congregation not the wider body of Christ.' The arguments are public, the courts are mostly rejecting these arguments or shunting them further up the line. (Why conservatives do not understand they cannot obtain their properties does defeat me, but the charge there is self-deceit not deceit).

There is a "right wing agenda which co-opts religion for its support" could be mirrored by "there is a left wing agenda etc": to both sides I say, There is genuine commitment to live the gospel ... let's engage with how we understand the gospel, not call each other political names.

(In reality is it not the case that a lot of moderate Americans are members of ACNA and of TEC? Just wondering ...!)

Leonardo Ricardo said...

They, the ACNA, already did say they would sign-on to the +Drexel Gomez ¨family ejecting¨ Anglican Communion Covenant hypocrisy/cleansing document (of course the nasty lawsuits continue to depoach these eager potential ACNA/CANA/etc ¨signees¨ one by one from TEC and Anglican Church of Canada properties they have stolen (and continue to attempt to steal in California, Virginia and Georgia just like in Zimbabwe and Brazil).

Meanwhile ++Rowan preaches yesterday to the GAFCON schismatic chairperson and others in Kenya (sponsors of unauthorized Bishop operators of North America) about ¨high standards¨ and even complimenting Kenyans on civil morality (the Anglican Church of Kenya fought the NEW Kenyan Constitution that grants FULL EQUALITY for all citizens).

Dr. Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday also said (in Kenya)that ¨the church¨ (Anglican) in Africa must be ¨at the forefront in challenging greed and exploitation especially at a time of strife.¨ ++Rowan said the church in Kenya, Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Pakistan (left out bloody Uganda and Drexel´s crime riddled Jamaica/West Indies) the are experiencing ¨tough times¨-- it appears that Bishop Duncan/Pittsburgh and The selfserving ¨Anglican¨ Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti have a combined great depth of knowledge of NOT being ¨church leaders¨ who MUST stand up against land and money grabbers. "It will pit you against some of the most powerful individuals but God is always on the side of the righteous," Dr. Williams said...makes me wonder if Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury knows what a ¨mess he makes as HE deceives¨ throughout the Anglican Communion and +Duncan Pitts thinks he has clean hands and is quite perky being ¨recognized¨ by those who won´t sign the Anglican Covenant...not quite yet anyway, it is possible the Anglican shell/hell game might reshuffle the shells at any time...the whole thing is a unhealthy non-spiritual crap shoot.

Lapinbizarre said...

"There is a "right wing agenda which co-opts religion for its support" could be mirrored by "there is a left wing agenda etc"". Actually, no, it couldn't. In contrast to the situation in the Liberal Western democracies, like the UK & NZ, there is virtually no organized, "mainline" left-wing in US politics. What there is has damn-all interest in infiltrating TEC for its Fifth Column. The American Right is a wholly different matter.

Observer said...

realpolitik....- the ABC has to deal with his largest and growing churches at home and the same goes in the AC.... TEC has the support of Brazil, Canada and NZ.....ACNA has the support of huge AC provinces and that means they have a future with most of the AC.... don't trust English bishops to give up links with the largest and growing provinces.... when few are fighting for 'liberal' ideas. If you don't believe what a powerful force 'realpolitik' is in the CofE, just look at the ABC pre and post his elevation to ABC....are you not surprised by him? (I am...expected him to support those with whom he agrees much more....but he cares much more than I for institutional unity....and TEC bishops too seem to like being in a big, global club)

Lapinbizarre said...

Any plans to learn how to write in sentences, Observer? This breathy, "spasmodic" stuff gets old quickly.

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scott said...

I read through Bishop Duncan's address and was struck by his parting shot on baptisms. He wanted his audience to be in awe that there were 1411 baptisms of persons over the age of 16 in the ACNA for 2010. Impressive? Maybe, until you noted earlier in the address that there are now 952 congregations recognized. So that works out to, what, 1.5 baptisms per congregation? All the fanfare and pain and legal troubles to boast of 1.5 baptisms per congregation? What kind of growth rate does that give? Draw your own conclusions.