10/29/2012

Noted by their refusal...an Anglican Bishop and clergy rep from Nigeria and one from CANA

David Virtue, on Virtueonline has reported that two Nigerian bishops and one clearly irrigular bishop, Julian Dobbs, have refused to receive communion at the ACC meeting in New Zealand.  He reports, 

"The Most Rev. Ikechi Nwosu, Archbishop of Aba in the Church of Nigeria, the largest Province in the Anglican Communion, the Ven. Dr. Abraham Okorie, Diocese of Nsukka and US-based CANA Bishop Julian Dobbs said they could not take communion because relationships are fractured over serious Gospel issues such as: the uniqueness and Lordship of Jesus Christ, the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman, and the historic understanding that the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation." 

Bishop Nwosu and Dr. Okorie are both members of the Anglican Consultative Council. That they decided not to receive communion is not unexpected, given past experience, but continues the strange notion that refraining from Communion ought to be used as a political / theological statement. In particular the opening Eucharist of the ACC makes the refusal a "prime time" protest event. Oh well.

Meanwhile Bishop Julian Dobbs has surfaced again.  He is a bishop chosen by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and serves, I believe, on a commission or committee of the ACC as an "advisor."  He is at the ACC meeting, but is not a member. So although his not taking communion is a show of solidarity with the two Nigerian members, it is not much else.  Except of course to remind us that the Anglican Communion Office has deemed it proper to invite as a participant from its networks a person whose office is the result of recent deliberate continuation of incursion into the life of a member church by another church.  

Once the camel gets its nose under the tent flap we are just talking about the details. Pretty soon the camel will be in the tent and there will be no end of it.

Meanwhile, the ENS reports that
 
"Anglican Communion General Secretary Kenneth Kearon said an Oct. 29 (local time) press briefing that while no province is officially staying away from the ACC15 meeting, there are some people missing.


Anglican Communion News Service reported that out of 87 delegates, 10 are not yet present. They include three members from Uganda and one each from Congo, Ireland, North India, Pakistan, Philippines, Tanzania and from among those invited by the Anglican Communion Standing Committee to ensure diversity of membership on the council. Some of those seven are still in transit while others have declined because of personal or administrative reasons, or because of visa issues.

“There’s no province staying away,” Kearon said.

The Church of the Province of Uganda is not represented at the meeting, but only because it forgot to choose its members, he said. The province was due to have chosen its three members this past summer at the same meeting during which the Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali was elected the 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda."

The briefing puts a good face forward, although reporting that "some people are missing" leads one to wonder. Uganda I suspect did not come on purpose. The others are subject to the problems of life in this troubled world.

Maybe it is just as well Uganda did not come. Had they come they too could have refused communion and joined those whose sense of what "together" is about is limited to making statements one way or another by their presence or absence at the Lord's Table. 
 

4 comments:

Jesse Zink said...

My sense of the ACC meeting is that some of its events (like the opening Eucharist) are public. Therefore, a person like Julian Dobbs could just have shown up. (Granted, it's a long way just to be in Auckland.) These pan-Anglican events attract all kinds of hangers-on.

I had never heard his name before reading this post so this is pure speculation but I do know that the ACO wanted to make a big deal of Anglican networks at this ACC. There was a Networks Fair before ACO officially began and time in the schedule for ACC reps to meet with Network reps. The Networks were strongly encouraged to send representatives. So my guess is that if this Dobbs is there in any kind of "official" capacity it is as a member of one of the Communion's Networks. These are semi-official, with the emphasis on semi, and I don't believe there are fixed rules on membership. (That's why they're called networks.) So maybe he came through that, which is not exactly a direction invitation by the ACO. I'm on the e-mailing list for a network and I got an invitation.

Not sure this is making sense but I think I need a little more from you before I can buy the idea that "the Anglican Communion Office has deemed it proper to invite as a participant from its networks a person whose office is the result of recent deliberate continuation of incursion into the life of a member church by another church."

Also, if you look at the picture of the TEC delegation in today's ENS article, you'll see a lot of empty seats behind them. Doesn't look like the ACC is the hottest ticket in Auckland.

-Jesse Zink

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

I'm pretty confused about the whole "refusing to take communion" thing. If memory (and my Sacramental Theology courses) serves me right, the only scriptural reason for not taking communion is the state of one's OWN heart, mind, and spirit, not the (assumed) state of the celebrant or your fellow worshippers. Doesn't the sacrament of the Eucharist transcend the personal worthiness of the specific people participating. I think that is even in the 39 articles...

WSJM said...

(Tom, you're quite right!)

I'm a little confused about the claim that "relationships are fractured over serious Gospel issues such as: the uniqueness and Lordship of Jesus Christ, the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman, and the historic understanding that the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation." Okay, I'll grant that our understanding of Christian marriage is an issue for some. But who is denying the uniqueness and Lordship of Jesus Christ, or that the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation? (Which is NOT the same as saying that all things contained in the Bible are necessary for salvation!) I don't doubt that there may be individual persons who may deny these things, but no Church in the Anglican Communion denies them. Au contraire....

Mr. Mcgranor said...

You see postmodern West--the fantasy that you imagine? We once had more active reactionaries. Now you are relying on those in Africa that did not have the cultural upheaval of Counterculture... At least not to our extent.