1/21/2014

Honoring Anglican Church in North America clergy and recognizing ACNA

In the past week two Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) clergy have been in the news, having been recognized and or appointed to positions that involved recognition beyond the confines of ACNA itself.

The Rev.Tory Baucum, Rector of Truro Church, ACNA, was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to be a member of the "Six Preachers" at Canterbury Cathedral. His bio states, "Baucum received his MA (1986) and M.Div (1988) from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA, and his doctorate from Asbury in 2005. Prior to teaching at Asbury, Baucum was the rector of All Saints Church, Kansas City, MO, and has served on the clergy staffs of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, AR."

Baucum was licensed in the Diocese of Lexington. In 2005 there was something of a mess having to do with removal of license in Lexington and his being "taken in" to the diocese of Albany. Most of this is now nicely lost in the internet cloud of unknowing. Only a letter from Bishop Sauls remains, concerning clergy whose licenses were being rescinded. This was retained on StandFirm's site (Feb. 9, 2005) and reads in part:

"It is also possible that there will be coverage regarding Tory Baucum, a priest licensed in the Diocese of Lexington, who was transferred to the Diocese of London last year by his former bishop (West Missouri) but without consulting me. Believing this to be contrary to the intention of a Mind of the House Resolution of our House of Bishops forbidding transfers of American priests to foreign jurisdictions who do not actually intend to move to the foreign jurisdiciton (for example, as in David Brannen's case) passed last September (altholugh Tory's transfer was actually during the summer), I have declined to renew his license unless he transfers back to an American jurisdiciton that will cooperate with me in keeping Tory accountable to our church. I believe Tory's transfer, as well as David's, was exactly what the resoultuion was intended to prevent. This action on my part was taken with the full knowledge of Bob Sessum, for whom Tory works at Good Shepherd. It is also the case that Tory was informed by me that I did not intend to renew his license in August of last year, although at his request, I agreed to take the matter under further consideration, and that on December 13 I informed Tory that I remained convinced that his license should not be renewed unless he transferred back to an American jurisdiction. I agreed to give him time to consider what he wished to do and that he could continue to function in the diocese in the meantime. On January 20, I informed Tory that eight weeks seemed an adequate time for him to decide what to do and therefore I would not continue to permit his functioning here beyond February 7. Finally, you should be aware that Tory has offered to transfer to the Diocese of Albany, which I have told him would require further conversation between Bob, the Bishop of Albany, Tory, and me. My reasons is that it has been reported to me that the Bishop of Albany has apparently been unwilling to cooperate in stopping priests of his diocese from functioning in other dioceses contrary to our canons. I do not know if these reports are accurate, but I know that licensing a priest from his diocese would require me to inquire further about that situation."

Baucum's standing in Albany was/is unclear. The matter of his canonical residence and place where he was licensed is unclear. He was a candidate for bishop in Albany in 2006. It does seem that Baucum was in some state of transition during this period. In 2007 he became rector of that part of Truro Church (the majority) who left The Episcopal Church for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and ACNA. At that point he is clearly no longer a priest in The Episcopal Church.

Whether or not he was deposed as a priest in the Episcopal Church is unclear, but it is clear that he is not one now.
 
The Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs, was a priest in the church in New Zealand, and was in 2011 made a bishop in the Church of Nigeria for service with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a subsidiary of the Church of Nigeria. Who knows what happened to his standing in New Zealand?  But he is in Nigeria's hands now.  CANA also is part of the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop Dobbs appointment this past week to be the head of CANA's ministry was announced this way:

"The Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of all Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in consultation with the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, has appointed The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs as Missionary Bishop of CANA.

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, a missionary jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), and consists of congregations that are organized under diocesan structures.

Bishop Dobbs will remain in his current role as Bishop of the CANA East Diocese while taking on the additional responsibilities of providing oversight and leadership to CANA’s overall ministry."

Baucum and Dobbs both have apparently done well for the faith, and in the context of their ministries in ACNA. 

So recognizing their achievements is in order. As individuals they are to be congratulated. 

Baucum, Dobbs and ACNA.

Having said that, let's turn to the ACNA's enduring hope that these sorts of things mean that ACNA is liked out there in Anglican Land. 

In both cases the ACNA community can take considerable pride in "one of their own" being advanced, honored, and placed in new positions that "cross over" into wider contexts than ACNA itself.

Those wider contexts are a complex and may or may not add much to the standing of ACNA in The Anglican Communion.

It is perhaps useful to note that both Baucum and Dobbs are appointed to their new posts. The people of the Cathedral or CANA seem not to have been consulted at all. The honor remains, but the connection to a wider community than CANA / ACNA is hard to establish.


Bishop Dobbs is a member of the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria and its client group in the US, CANA, and a member of ACNA, so his new appointment marks no change in ACNA's being "liked" by a wider Anglican Communion world. 

It simply continues the weird world that links ACNA, CANA and the Church of Nigeria. That link means that bishops deposed from the Episcopal Church join together with bishops appointed for cross jurisdictional ministries where no permission has been given by the Anglican jurisdiction in place, in an effort to replace The Episcopal Church as the, or even an, legitimate Province in the Anglican Communion.  His appointment may be a source of some pride to ACNA and CANA, but it is nothing but a continuation of a mess otherwise.

Dr. Baucum presents a somewhat different situation. His appointment by the Archbishop of Canterbury is certainly a personal honor. But the notion that his appointment signals anything having to do with reconciliation is a bit less clear. And this having anything to do with honoring ACNA is muddy at best.

Dr. Baucum is at the very least a priest working in the United States in a congregation that broke with The Episcopal Church and is part of ACNA that is about the business of claiming to be the legitimate voice of Anglicanism in North America (and TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada not that voice).  He holds no position in a church part of the Anglican Communion. His being one of the six preachers says a lot about his personal abilities and nothing about ACNA.

And yet the soon to retire Archbishop of ACNA takes these appointments to be somehow signs of ACNA's viability and standing in the Communion. 

There is something to that, but that recognition is done at some considerable risk to those doing the honors. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Nigeria may someday regret having appointed clergy who are committed to replace a Province (Church) of the Anglican Communion with a purer, surer, form of Anglicanism.  They should perhaps remember that Baucum and Dobbs have taken a path that is, at least in its current form, irreconcilable with the existing inclusion of the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion.  And the day may soon come when they will be joined hip and thigh with Provinces in the Communion who will break with Canterbury on precisely the same issues that have led to the break with ACoC and TEC. The Archbishop of Canterbury may come to regret contributing to this mess.

And for that matter who knows how long the CANA / ACNA union can last? Or what will happen when the Canterbury preacher named Baucum mounts the pulpit to draw the line on reconciliation with those who are considered no longer orthodox enough?

We will just have to wait and see.

Congratulations to both Baucum and Dobbs. Not so much to ACNA, CANA and the Anglican Church of Nigeria.  Their honor is theirs, hopefully the product of good work well done. ACNA and CANA?  Well some of the honor of these two will rub off, but not much. There is not much honor for those who mess in their neighbors gardens.

 

 
The Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of all Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in consultation with the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, has appointed The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs as Missionary Bishop of CANA.
The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, a missionary jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), and consists of congregations that are organized under diocesan structures.
Bishop Dobbs will remain in his current role as Bishop of the CANA East Diocese while taking on the additional responsibilities of providing oversight and leadership to CANA’s overall ministry.
- See more at: http://anglicanink.com/article/julian-dobbs-appointed-missionary-bishop-cana#sthash.2YdvMAay.dpuf
The Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of all Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in consultation with the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, has appointed The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs as Missionary Bishop of CANA.
The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, a missionary jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), and consists of congregations that are organized under diocesan structures.
Bishop Dobbs will remain in his current role as Bishop of the CANA East Diocese while taking on the additional responsibilities of providing oversight and leadership to CANA’s overall ministry.
- See more at: http://anglicanink.com/article/julian-dobbs-appointed-missionary-bishop-cana#sthash.2YdvMAay.dpuf

7 comments:

  1. "Baucum and Dobbs both have apparently done well for the faith, and in the context of their ministries in ACNA."

    I've been reading your blog long enough to remember that you always say things like this, Mark . . . and I never know what to make of it.

    Maybe you're just more charitable than I am (probably anyone is more charitable than I am, Kyrie eleison, so that's a strong possibility).

    At the same time, I feel a burden-on-my-heart to ask "done well for WHICH faith?" Is "Anglicanism, minus Teh Gayz" still The Faith Once Delivered? [Yes, I realize they say the same about us.]

    At the very least:

    "So recognizing their achievements is in order. As individuals they are to be congratulated."

    Thanks, I'll pass.

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  2. It would be an interesting question how we would respond to Julian Dobbs as a bishop should he ever return to NZ. I suspect we would have a difference of opinion across our church.

    According to our order I cannot see that Julian has done anything which blots his clerical copybook. TEC does things about licensing, some alluded to in your post re Tory Baucum/Lexington, which are a bit of a mystery to me in comparison to our NZ experience.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear JCF: Im not sure I am more charitable, but not being gay and not being part of the righteous remnant I take my lead from at least attempting to listen to gay people and the "faith once delivered" crowd. Having listened I am convinced I should work to stand with the gay community and against the arguments of the FOD, for quite different reasons. The "arc of justice" bends towards inclusion. The razor of reason cuts against the arguments for exclusion of gay people as a class from full life in the community of faith.

    My sense is that Baucum and Dobbs have been about some ministries that deserve praise. Baucum writes well, and has tried to work towards some reconciliation with the Diocese of Virginia. Dobbs has plunged into a cross cultural world and expressed care and concern there. Yes, they both are bound by the limits of their ecclesial world, but then so am I.

    The end, I suppose, is this: These are famous men (in the small world of Episcopal / Anglican land) and praise of them in their several generations, warts and all is OK. But that is very different from making praise of them praise of their immediate religious neighborhood. Baucum and Dobbs would be worthy of our notice what ever neighborhood they came from, but the neighbors don't get to take the credit.

    Meanwhile, I rely upon you and others to keep me in line. Thank you for reading and responding. U make my day!

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  4. You are too kind. (Please take that literally.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. The further complicating factor is that the appointment of Baucum would seem to have been made due to his work at reconciliation with TEC's Bishop in VA. But the fact is that that reconciliation famously came to an end. Did Lambeth not know that? Did Baucum not tell them that he drew a line with +VA after he invited Crossan into the Diocese? Is everyone just dreaming up a reconciliation track that does not exist in reality anywhere on the ground?

    Lambeth looks a bit out of touch for awarding Baucum for something he is no longer doing.

    SCM

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  6. Canon Harris, You´re generosity of spirit always helps me keep a certain ¨toned down¨perspective when touching on my deeply felt hurts and resentments regarding those who demean others at Church. You offer balance and it keeps me rightsized when, in truth, I want to SCREAM ¨bloody murderers¨ in the direction of Nigeria, Uganda and accessories. Thank you, Leonardo/Len

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  7. Contrary to Dr. Peter Carrell's supposition, (above comment); I cannot see ACANZP accepting Julian Dobbs as a bona fide Bishop in the Anglican Communion of Churches.

    It seems that Mr. Dobbs, a former clergy-person in ACANZP, was first invited to North America specifically to enter into a relationships with CANA, which, though a surrogate child of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, is also opposed to the inclusion of TEC within the Anglican Communion.

    As TEC and the A.C. of C. are the legitimate Anglican Churches in communion with the A.C. - with which ACANZP is affi8liated - while CANA is not; I very much doubt that Mr. Dobbs credentials as an 'Anglican' Bishop would be accepted by ACANZP.

    (I note that he was an 'Observer' at the last ACC Meeting in N.Z. and not a participant)

    ReplyDelete

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