Bishop Ackerman has left the building...long ago.

Well its official now. Bishop Keith Ackerman, retired of Quincy, has been declared to have renounced the ministry of this Church. The ENS story is HERE.

There will be the usual frump that he has of course done no such thing, but rather indicated by letter that he is now a bishop in the Diocese of Bolivia, a sorry mess of a diocese in the Province of the Southern Cone presided over by Bishop Frank Lyons. The thing is taking up residence elsewhere is renouncing the binding to this Church that he took on in ordination. There it is. So, he has volunteered the information that he has left the building.

When Bishop Ackerman retired from the Diocese of Quincy he first affirmed that he was going to continue to work with and for Forward in Faith. He then became assistant to the bishop of Springfield, at least in name. But now interestingly he has headed south to the Province of the Southern Cone, believing I suppose that simply transferring into the Anglican Church in North America would not do, since ACNA is not a Province of the Anglican Communion. Why this should bother him I do not know. Several dioceses have kept dual citizenship - in another province of the Anglican Communion and in ACNA. This can't be a source of much confidence to ACNA people. People hedging their bets do not make full fledged supporters.

Bishop Ackerman's exit has come in stages, but it appeared from the outset that he was on the way out. He has left, pension in hand. If he actually was going to Bolivia that would be one thing, but he in all likelihood has only left for the metaphysical Bolivia but is still to be found in the United States, now mucking about in a jurisdiction not his own with papers from a Province that commissions privateers.

He has left the building, but we have not seen the last of him.


  1. It's interesting that a diocese with only four churches needs two bishops, and neither bishop is Bolivian or even from Latin America.

    I don't think that there are many English and U.S. expats in Bolivia, either.

    As I said, this is all very interesting.

  2. In my scorebook, full points (10) go to a bishop who leaves TEC as a matter of conscience and at some material cost to himself, e.g. a reduced pension. Ackerman and others who bail when it's financially advantageous get five points: Belated integrity is better than no integrity at all.

    I award zero points to sitting bishops who swore to uphold the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church but now miss no opportunity to undermine it by thought, word, and deed. No integrity, no points.

    Robert Dodd

  3. Well, Miguelito, if there is justice, there will be anoter soon....

    (NB: my verification string is "grappe,"which is close enough to justify sharing a bit of grappa that Bp. Ackerman might find his true place.)

  4. I do wish there was a way of saying "You are no longer a bishop in the Episcopal Church" without saying "You are no longer a bishop." Priests can serve in other provinces of the Anglican Communion without prejudice and many do. It just seems a tad provincial (pun intended) to say "If you aren't a bishop here, you aren't a bishop anywhere!"

  5. Dean Munday of Nashotah House has challenged the Presiding Bishop's assertion that there is no provision in the canons for transferring a bishop to another province (http://toalltheworld.blogspot.com/).
    He also states that Bishop Ackerman does, in fact, intend to assist Bishop Lyons in Bolivia at least part of the time.

    Still, assuming the Presiding Bishop's interpretation of the canons is correct, did she send Bishop Ackerman a letter along the lines of "Dear Keith, the canons don't give me the authority to transfer you, but if you like I can accept your "renunciation of ministry" or did she just "accept" his "renunciation"?

  6. Your sarcasm is most becoming Rev. Russel

  7. There is a little voice in the back of my head that says, "Maybe +Katharine is not being appropriately crafty about this business." (I have met +Katharine, though I certainly don't know her well, but it is my impression that she is not at all sneaky, which may be too bad.) Maybe this is the tack she should have taken with Keith Ackerman and his ilk: "Dear Keith, according to your letter you want to go to Bolivia. How mission-minded of you! Attached please find your letters dimissory from TEC to the Diocese of Bolivia. Of course, I am sure you are aware that according to Canon III.18.2, you may not 'perform episcopal acts or officiate by preaching, ministering the Sacraments, or holding any public service in a Diocese other than that in which [you are] canonically resident, without permission or a license to perform occasional public services from the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese....'"

    (Is that likely to stop him? No. But then neither is accepting his evident-to-everyone-but-him renunciation.)

    Surely it must be possible to give Letters Dimissory to a bishop to move to another Province -- +Mark MacDonald resigned from Alaska and was translated to the Anglican Church of Canada (at Canada's request) while still remaining Assisting Bishop in Navajoland -- not that there was anything in the least bit schismatic about that. That was and should be a normal procedure -- lots of bishops have been translated from one Province to another. +Ackerman doesn't deserve a normal procedure, but I'm not sure anything is to be gained by having a peeing match about it. I think my suggestion would be taking the high road, and we really do need more traffic up there.

  8. I would like to see something said by the Presiding Bishop or by someone knowledgeable in response to Dean Munday's challenge (see Paul Powers comment above). Also something in response to the fact that Ackerman claims he did not intend to resign. Does anybody have any further insight/information on this?

  9. nevermind, there is some good stuff over in the comments of father jakes post: http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/2009/10/keith-ackerman-removed-from-ordained.html


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