Coverage of the Bishop Minns Installation Service

Canon Kendall Harmon and Mary of BabyBlueCafe have both done a fine job giving a sense of the service installing Bishop Minns. I thank them for the hard work at a time when simply being in the service would have been, I suspect, highly inviting.

As usual, in few words and always interesting pictures BabyBlueCafe brings her passion for the life of the church to the moment. I think we ought to collectively chip in and get her a better web camera, not more pixels but better lenses. See her web cam reports HERE.

Kendall's reporting, on Titusonenine and also on Stand Firm, suffered from user overload it appears. For a time the server simply didn't respond, and then it did very slowly. Still, the commentary was worth the effort. Nice picture of Kendall on BabyBlueCafe.

Kendall gave a rather interesting wind-up to the pitch of reporting the event itself. He suggests, if I read him correctly, that The Episcopal Church has become bothered about this service because "...what it signals is tangible consequences which TEC leaders in denial simply are unwilling to face." I don't agree, of course, about TEC being in denial, but I do agree the service does indeed signal a "tangible consequence" of the lack of a state of communion between The Episcopal Church and the Church of Nigeria.

On the way to that observation he takes a swipe at my post "Sometimes a Chair is just a chair." I suppose I can be thankful that he didn't criticise my drawing abilities, because on that he would be right. But on the matter of his "newsflash" to me, he is wrong. He says, " (newsflash to Mark Harris: “the Diocese of Virginia and…the Province of The Episcopal Church” does not include Hylton Chapel).

Hylton Chapel is of course not part of any church. It is a building for rent. It looks like a fine space for a service, and I am glad it all went off alright. But the Archbishop of Nigeria and Bishop Minns are in the Diocese of Virginia and the Province of The Episcopal Church wherever they go in those two venues precisely to the extent to which they in communion with The Episcopal Church or the Diocese of Virginia. In that sense, good Kendall, Hylton Chapel and every other venue in the diocese are part of the Diocese of Virginia and the Province of the Episcopal Church if there is communion between the churches. The Church of Nigeria is not in a state of impared communion with TEC, it is not in communion, period. This is indeed the end of the sentence.

That is why this service is important. I agree is in some sense with Kendall that the service is "...the period at the end of a sentence which was written almost entirely by the previous two events." By the way, I have objected to both of those events - the setting up of CANA and the election of Bishop Minns - as well. (He seems to think there was little flack then.) But I think Kendall raises a good question - why the excitement now.

Well, it is one thing for CANA to be there as an idea, another for the Church of Nigeria to ordain Bishop Minns a missionary bishop. Both of those things were done in Nigeria. But when the Archbishop of Nigeria installs Bishop Minns as the missionary bishop of CANA here, two new events occure: (i) Archbishop Akinola moves a chess piece foward - that being a bishop of course, and (ii) Arcbhishop Akinola begins to play out the end game whose goal is to establish an orthodox province in North America in place of The Episcopal Church and ultimately to take its place.

Canon Harmon did a good job trying to listen, type and I would gather from all the joyful noise in the Chapel, joining in, so I will not hold him to the verbatum of the remarks of Archbishop Akinola at the close of the service, but what Kendall wrote is probably quite accurate. It fits pretty much what we know already: Archbishop Akinola says BOTH that as soon as TEC stops, he will stop, and the journey has just begun. That is, he'd stop if TEC would stop, but he knows that won't happen (at least as he needs it to happen), so he is moving on.

Moving on means bringing the Church of Nigeria here, but more importantly bringing what CANA is doing here, along with what ACN and others are doing into relation with the Global South Steering Committee, whose reach includes an alternative to the See of Canterbury as a focus of unity. The Archbishop of Nigeria came here in several capacities, only one of which was in the forefront today - that of being Primate of Nigeria. But there is more going on and things are on the move.

The Mad Priest got it right:

CANA believe that the Anglican Communion should have an uber-primate.
Convention dictates that the ABC is the uber-primate.
CANA does not accept the the present ABC, The Grand Tufti, as uber-primate because he is wishy-washy.
CANA views Big Pete as their uber-primate.
If Big Pete attends any sacerdotal CANA ceremony then he is acknowledging and accepting their view that he is their uber-primate.
Once you have two uber-primates you have schism.

In a Washington Times article Canon Harmon was quoted,
"I'd go to offer personal support for Martyn," he said. But as a diocesan representative, "it'd be associated with schismatic behavior. It's that kind of climate"

I'm glad Kendall went. I'm glad others went, for reasons of friendship with the Bishop, membership in CANA, interest in the event, or whatever. Still, it is schismatic behavior and these are difficult times.

As the Mad Priest says, "Once you have two uber-primates you have schism." Actually, one is too many. Of all the ideas floated about in the past several years the notion of "Alternative Primatial Oversight" is among the worse. The notion of mutiplying the effect by having alternative uber-Primates is dumbfounding.

Maybe NO Primates is a way forward.


  1. Big Pete better watch it - unless, of course, he really IS trying to get to this point in his lifetime:


  2. Mark, there is no doubt about it. Anything higher than a bishop is unorthodox. Which is probably why we're in such a mess.

  3. I was shocked that Kendall actually wrote "(newsflash to Mark Harris: “the Diocese of Virginia and…the Province of The Episcopal Church” does not include Hylton Chapel)."

    That is such a smug and snotty comment. He usually does much better with his public persona on the blog of trying to pretend that he respects those he disagrees with.

    That's a very unproductive way to communicate.

    You were very gracious in your response, Mark.


  4. "I'm glad Kendall went. I'm glad others went, for reasons of friendship with the Bishop, membership in CANA, interest in the event, or whatever. Still, it is schismatic behavior and these are difficult times"

    Mark: "Was the consecration of Vicki Gene Robinson in October 2003 schismatic behavior and these were difficult times?" If not, why not?

  5. Well, David, all times are difficult times in their way; but no, the consecration of BISHOP Robinson was not schismatic behavior. It was a local consecration of a local bishop to serve in his own jurisdiction. Schism is the reaction of others.

  6. I'm still trying to understand what the fuss is about. Martyn Minns was already consecrated bishop in Nigeria, by commission of the bishops of Nigeria, not the Primate. I don't see that he is now any more or less a bishop now than he was before. It seems to me that the protest is happening long after the real action has occurred.

  7. There is no such thing as a "local consecration of a local bishop to serve in his own jurisdiction." I suggest you read our liturgy again. The bishop is consecrated "bishop in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church" -- not just bishop in his diocese. S/He is told, "With your fellow bishops you will share in the leadership of the Church throughout the world." S/He is asked, "Will you share with your fellow bishops in the government of the whole Church?" The bishop of New Hampshire is also bishop in Fort Worth and bishop in Nigeria -- and under normal circumstances, would be recognized as such by the Anglican churches in those locales. By dedicating someone into that position that these groups cannot possibly accept, this action was very provocative and schismatic. Perhaps this was not the intention. Nevertheless, this was the case.

  8. "RB said...
    I'm still trying to understand what the fuss is about."

    Mr. Akinola was acting in our diocese, in our province, to seat a bishop to operate in direct opposition to his and our precedent, and our ministry. I should think the obvious answer.

    Beyound that, let me see, if Bp Katherine decided to consecrate a missionary bishop for Nigeria and seat her in a public place in Lagos, I am sure Mr. Akinola would not mind, right?


  9. rb- I find it a little more than irksome that you refuse to look at the real facts of Akinola's visit.

    The NYT reported “I see it as a building block for that,” Bishops Minns said in a news conference preceding his installation ceremony. He said the convocation would work with other groups of disaffected congregations to create a successor to the Episcopal Church…"

    This was not just an installation but an inauguration made public and reported for all the world to see.

    The intent for it to be a schismatic event is not even hidden it is explicit. I'm sorry that your eyes will not allow you to see what the whole world knows. This is not like the consecration of VGR at all.


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.