12/21/2011

So who do ACNA bishops go for jurisdictional connection?

The Province of the Southern Cone has adopted the Anglican Covenant. The announcement was made today on the Anglican Communion News site. The Province made no apology for its boundary crossings over the past ten years. The report states (highlights mine)

"The Province views the covenant as a way forward given the difficult circumstance of watching certain Provinces of the Anglican Communion propose novel ways of Christian living in rejection of Biblical norms.

In response to these novel practices the Southern Cone had held churches in North America under its wing for some time while the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) was formed. However, the Province has not maintained jurisdiction over any local churches there for over a year. As a result, all so called ‘border crossings’ by any provincial members ceased (as of October, 2010) even though the Southern Cone still remains in impaired communion with US and Canadian Provinces. It is hoped that the Covenant can now provide Communion stability" 

So none of the ACNA bishops are now under the jurisdiction of the Province of the Southern Cone. Fine. No apology form the PSC folk about having messed about in other's back yards, but then that wasn't expected.

In ACNA land the Archbishop, himself a deposed bishop in The Episcopal Church was given residence in the PSC... that was in September 2008.  

The Living Church stated, "Immediately after his deposition from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Duncan was welcomed into the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, according to Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables." But those days are over. If Duncan is not in the PSC, where is he?

This becomes an interesting question since the Archbishop of ACNA has been troubled by the bishops of the Anglican Mission in America who have left the Province of Rwanda, the place where their jurisdictional connection was made into the Anglican Communion.  Duncan wrote today

"The resignation of nine Anglican Mission bishops, including the Bishop Chairman, from the House of Bishops of Rwanda, changed relationships with Rwanda, with fellow bishops and with the Anglican Church in North America. The resigned bishops lost their status in our College of Bishops as a result of their resignation from Rwanda. The Anglican Mission also lost its status as a Ministry Partner, since that status had been predicated on AMiA’s relationship with Rwanda. In addition, confusion and hurt has been created in Rwanda and in North America, and there is much serious work ahead of us."

Later in the letter he wrote this: 

" All those at the meeting today agreed “that there were no subjects that were not on the table.” For the Anglican Church in North America, these subjects must include leadership, relationships, and jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican" (emphasis mine)

Now it would appear that Archbishop Duncan et al believe that "jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican" involves being part of a Province of the Anglican Communion as currently constituted.  So the AMiA bishops "belong" to Rwanda. The Bishops of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) "belong" to Nigeria. The Bishops of ACNA "belong"...where?

Did Bishop Duncan become part of another province, other than the Province of the Southern Cone? If so which province?

And, not to put too fine a point on it, but the Province of the Southern Cone continues to have a bishop, deposed in Brazil, as part of its college with an "Anglican diocese of Recife" as part of the wider ranging work of the Province of the Southern Cone.  PSC has not ended its messing about in other Provinces even if it no longer messes about in The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada. 

So things appear even more muddled than before: Now we have Duncan et al apparently dangling out there and not "part" of any Province, AMiA bishops cut off from Rwanda, the Province of the Southern Cone adopting the Anglican Covenant with their fingers crossed hoping that on one will notice the rogue diocese of Recife.

Of course the core problem is that ACNA, CANA, AMiA, ex Recife, all believe these interventions by Provinces in the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are "jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican."

Where the hell did they get that idea?  One hopes not from Lambeth Palace, but if not there where?  Who knows?

But one thing is for sure. Who ever thought that propping up deposed bishops under new flags in jurisdictions already having Episcopal / Anglican oversight was "fully Anglican" was full of it.

If ACNA bishops are not in "jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican" well, the deck of cards begins to collapse. And they are not. Archbishop Duncan admits as much when he writes, "The present reality is brokenness. The vision, however, that governs our fledgling Province remains unchanged..." 

ACNA is not yet a "province" of anything, no matter that the Episcopal Church in the Sudan recognizes it as and "orthodox" partner and the GAFCON / Global South folk considers ACNA a full fledged partner.  This is because not being a recognized province these bishops and people understand that to be "fully Anglican" they need to be under the jurisdiction of an existing Province.

AMiA bishops who have left Rwanda are clearly not under jurisdiction now. ACNA bishops in Fort Worth, Quincy, San Joaquin and Pittsburgh are not with the Southern Cone. If not there where are they?

 

7 comments:

  1. About 30,000 total in the entire province, as I remember.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mark, thank you for this. Although many of us predicted this very outcome it is a sad and heartbreaking business.

    My guess is tha the long plan is to split the communion, have ACNA named the "true" Anglican province in North America with the blessings of GAFCON and The Southern Cone and then we will have dual communions.. This has been in the works for a long time and feelsmvery similar to designs put forth awhile back by the IRD.

    I wonder if England will bow to Africa or if it all dissolves into everchanging alphabet soups of factions?

    I put my trust in God to do as God wills and pray for God's mercy and blessings on all of us. What else can be done at this point?

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  3. Apparently, that the ACNA was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Southern Cone for over a year was a well-kept secret until now. You seem surprised by the revelation, Mark, and this is surely the first I hear of it. Was no one expected to note that the ACNA is now free-floating? Unless there is more that we don't know and another province is holding the ACNA 'fledging province' under its wing.

    Will this fledging fly?

    Sorry. I couldn't resist.

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  4. Phillip Cato22/12/11 7:10 PM

    All this is reminiscent of the deterioration of earlier breakaways. It always comes to naught and the departers are left with bishops, archbishops, primates, alliances and followers that have no real rationale, save their own sure sense of being among the truly righteous. The sad thing is that these folks have no grasp of history, not to say ecclesiology. If you live in an ideological vacuum, oxygen and life will be in short supply.

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  5. Hello Phillip Cato! For readers who don't know Phillip, he is one of the shining lights for any of us who wanted the church to be at its best. Great to hear from you.

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  6. It is interesting that some in the ACNA feel that a jurisdictional connection is important. Most of the earlier schismatic groups didn't seem to care about being connected to anyone beyond themselves. The creation of the ACNA, unlike that of earlier groups, had support from quarters of the Communion and some of that support involved border crossings and the welcoming of Bishops in the US as members of Colleges of Bishops elsewhere and the oversight of AMiA by the Church in Rwanda. These provisions of connections are clearly temporary as the goal has always been to replace the Episcopal
    Church and the Anglican Church of Canada as the Communion member in these two countries. I think that is unlkely to happen and, unless calmer heads prevail, the Communion will become de jure what it already is de facto, two Communions.

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  7. I don't think the stated goal of ACNA is to 'replace' TEC. In the context of your concluding sentence about 'two communions' I think ACNA assumed it would compete with TEC and a) in time outdistance it, b) be able to claim it has wide Communion support, and c) be positioned should TEC choose to exist within its own understanding of Communion worldwide.

    That is (again to use your language) given the 'de facto' existence of two Communions, ACNA appears to seek a continuation of TEC faith and practice as these are now being redefined and adjusted toward a more 'progressive' brand of religion. It is happy however to exit TEC in the name of that aspiration, and let the chips fall where they may.

    Others inside TEC (who believe the same aspiration applies to them) want to remain in TEC but maintain the faith and order of the status quo ante. It is harder to see what the fate of this understanding will be, though it may well turn on the ability of TEC to move forward with this new vision.

    Msgr

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