George Conger, intrepid reporter, gets it half right.

George Conger has been the primary reporter tracking the doings in the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) group. Most of his articles are over on his blog, transferred there from the Church of England Newspaper and other venues in which he writes.  He is an aggressive enough reporter to sometimes get ahead of the curve and become something of news himself, but mostly he pushes just enough to get to some real news. His articles have been very helpful.

However, at the close of an article in Christianity Today he is quoted as making this rather odd statement: 

"The liberals in the Episcopal Church are having a field day," he added. "They're saying, 'They split once, and now they've split again. It must go to show that they are rebels at heart and not really motivated by any gospel imperative."

He has slid off into his commentary persona, reporting on his own impressions than on facts, or at least I think so.  I will admit, I have no inkling of just how much a field day we liberals are having.  There seems to be only limited interest in what AMiA does anymore, since from at least some liberal perspectives AMiA has been living for a long time in an ecclesiastical universe far far away from that of the Anglican Communion. 

I consider myself a liberal (at least some of the time) although my hope is that I will finally be considered as a visionary. But I am not in charge of that. As more or less liberal I take no pleasure in AMiA's troubles.I do not think they are  "rebels at heart and not really motivated by any gospel imperative." Rather because I believe they are motivated by a gospel imperative and have been motivated to new evangelical energy around congregational development I find the recent decisions made by Bishop Murphy sad indeed. AMiA folk do not seem to this liberal to be "rebels at heart."   They have some gospel imperatives well in hand, at least some of the time.

From my perspective, what they lack is church order. They simply don't have a well defined sense of episcopal obligation to a church order out of which their license / orders derive. 

If there is any "field day" being had, at least in this wee part of the liberal camp, it is to note that NOT messing in other's back yards is not only old and good canon law, it is good sense. AMiA's drift from Anglican ways of being was pretty much a settled thing from the outset.



  1. I blogged about this:

    "I want to be clear here, I am not happy about this, celebrating it, nor am I suggesting that all or most of the folks involved are less than faithful Christians as they understand that goal."

    -- and --

    "A good many AMiA lay and clerical members, none of whom were consulted about a schism, are going to find themselves adrift. Pray for them. They are sheep whose shepherds are unable to comfort them."

    I suppose I count myself a "liberal Episcopalian" if a minor voice. I have read that "liberals are celebrating," but I suspect that is much more projection than it is reporting.

    I have been told by an AMiA member that I am going to Hell, and who knows she may be correct -- I deserve to certainly. But I do not celebrate the apparent schism. I do as any systems analyst must, observe the patterns. Seeking holiness is one thing, attempting to impose it quite another.

    Very, very sad.


  2. I've had some Schadenfreude, I admit it. I'm human---still a sinner (Lord have mercy).

    But I think most of us liberals' "field day" was momentary, Mr Conger.

    I think we've already moved on . . . but are always ready to welcome AMiA refugees (back) to TEC. Welcoming ALL: THAT is our gospel imperative. By the world's standards, I guess that DOES seem pretty "rebellious"! ;-/

  3. Indications, before and after the formation of AMiA, that Chuck Murphy can be a difficult person to deal with. As the current situation has evolved, I have been surprised by the evident, undisguised antipathy towards Murphy on the part of many in the "reasserter" community. Ironic that AMiA is, to date, the only schismatic group that has won a clear-cut victory (Pawleys Island) in the property law suits.

  4. I can't say I've felt joy over it, anymore than I'd feel joy at someone getting flooded out after being warned they were building their house on a flood plain. It was expected, and the hubris and willfulness with which the thing came about keeps me from feeling it a tragedy.

  5. I take no pleasure in this news, but I did think that being a mission of the church in Rwanda couldn't be a long-term arrangement. My hope has always been that the ACNA would be able to bring groups together in an alternative Anglican body in North America. I have no concern about there being another Anglican body here and I leave it to others to sort out how Canterbury relates to the ACNA. What I see as undesirable are congregations whose Bishops are a thousand miles away, as was true for one Anglican congregation served by a friend of mine.

  6. Schism of one sort or another always seems to be the destiny of congregations that believe in salvation by doctrinal purity, and who claim an exclusive copyright.

    Besides, the marriage between the American religious right and central Africa was always one of convenience rather than love, on both sides.

    To be frank, I feel more indifferent than happy, or sad, about this turn of affairs.

  7. Honest? I feel pity for AMiA and the bishops of Rwanda. If that's a kind of sadness, well, okay. But, sad? Not really. Pity is much more accurate. Like watching someone leave on a long journey in a boat with a hole in it. That certainly brings me no joy. I think that's just pure projection on Mr. Conger's part.

  8. Posted Wednesday evening by Chip Edgar, rector of the Church of the Apostles, Columbia, SC, on the church's facebook page:

    "More later, a lot more, but here's the long and short of it right now: The resignations of the majority of the AMiA Council of Bishops does not affect us as a church of the Province of Rwanda. That is where our canonical residence has been and it continues to be. They--the former AMiA bishops, not includng +Thad and +Terrell--are now simply bishops with no jurisdiction. Their resignations have no effect on our canonical status (if they intended it to, they are oddly misinformed about Anglican polity). The question, which will still require prayerful deliberation, is what will the future hold.

  9. For examples of Schadenfreude, one need look no further that Christopher Seitz's comments on TA.

    For some time AMiA has seemed to be developing as an evangelical church with bishops and some Anglican roots, the emphasis being on the evangelical, not the Anglican (witness the ordination of Todd Hunter). Further cutting the ties to the AC via Rwanda is simply another move in that direction.

  10. This was certainly not intended to be schadenfreude. ACI has always been clear of the need to stay and remain as a witness. We have also taken lots of hits from ACNA and AMiA supporters for this -- though fortunately time marches on. I was personally involved in the early days of what would become AMiA and many of us drew back (SEAD was headquartered in SC at that time). You may remember that David Moyer and Bill Atwood both sought to disuade the consecrators at Singapore. +Chew pulled back when he became Primate. Ephraim Radner was vocal in arguing against AMiA when he was a Priest in Colorado. The majority of Primates meeting in Kampala argued against moving ahead with the ABC's support and a unified archiepiscopal support.

    We take no joy whatsoever in what has happened in AMiA.

    I also see that +Thad Barnum is now seeking to protect the Rwandan connection and is saying all the parishes of AMiA are still in Rwanda until they leave. So we are still in the midst of this matter.

    C.R. Seitz

    (at TA):
    "Of the priorities of the erstwhile AMiA, joining the Communion is probably the lowest. First they will have to account for money flow. Then they will have to work out whether parishes are in Rwanda or are in +CHM -- that is, is there an 'AMiA' at all and where? Third, there will be fractured relationships -- Kolini and Ruchyana, Barnum and Murphy. What kind of an ecclesial entity is one without any communion link and maybe not wanting one? The whole thing is a mess and one could have seen this without a lot of trouble ten-twelve years ago. Indeed many did. The Primates gathered at Kampala prior to the Oporto meeting argued against the Singapore consecrations, including +Kenya, +S Cone, et al."

  11. Should read: 'without the ABC's support...'.


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.