THINKING ANGLICANS

Liverpool and Akure

We linked in the previous article to a statement The Diocese of Liverpool and the Anglican Communion from Paul Bayes, the Bishop of Liverpool. He wrote:

…Over a year ago, as part of this walking together, I asked the Suffragan bishop of Virginia, the Rt Revd Susan Goff, whether she would become one of our honorary assistant bishops (or “assisting bishops” as they call this sort of arrangement in TEC). She kindly accepted this invitation and, again last year, we secured the necessary permissions for her to minister here. As +Susan is an overseas bishop, these permissions do not extend to the conducting of ordinations. I remain delighted that our ministry here will be enriched by what +Susan will bring to us as a teacher, pastor and disciple. She will also be able to hear and to engage with the wide range of views in our Diocese on the way the Gospel is understood in these days.

It seems that this invitation has caused the Diocese of Akure, Nigeria, which has been another of our link dioceses, to issue a statement indicating that they no longer wish to be in a link-relationship with Liverpool. I regret this. I would prefer to walk together with Akure as well as with Virginia, within the one Communion whose life we share.

I have not yet received formal notification directly from the Bishop of Akure, but as and when I do I shall write to him expressing this regret. If our partners choose to close this door, this is a matter of sorrow for us but of course we respect their decision as free partners in a free relationship.

At one time this link was three-way and provided wonderful opportunities for sharing and mutual learning, though my colleagues tell me that five years ago, in 2011, the then Bishop of Akure formally indicated that his Diocese did not feel able to remain in such a three-way relationship…

Ruth Gledhill has now published an article Nigeria diocese severs link with Liverpool over same-sex blessings bishop.

This in turn links to a statement from the Bishop of Akure, Simeon Borokini. In which he says:

…Peace of the Lord be with you and all yours in Jesus name. I received a message from our Primate in Nigeria, who is currently the Chairman of GAFCON today about a partnership that is in the Western news. That there is a three way Diocesan partnership between the Diocese of Liverpool, England, the Diocese of Akure, Nigeria and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in the United States.

Also, that recently, the Diocese of Liverpool made the assisting Bishop of Virginia, Susan Goff, an assisting Bishop in Liverpool. Susan Goff is in favour of blessing same sex unions and this has been a part of the litigation against the orthodox in Virginia.

Therefore, in view of the above and being aware of the fact that Nigeria does not support same sex marriage, we in Akure Diocese cannot have any link with Liverpool Diocese…

There is also a letter from the GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, in which he writes:

…In the beginning, the focus of our concern was North America and we thank God that he has raised up the Anglican Church North America as a new wineskin in that continent. Now our concern is increasingly with the British Isles. A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff, of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an Assisting Bishop of Liverpool. The false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalised in England and this divisive act has meant that the Church of Nigeria’s Akure Diocese has had no alternative but to end its partnership link with Liverpool Diocese.

At our recent Primates Council meeting in Nairobi we reaffirmed our solidarity with the leaders of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and the Anglican Mission in England at this testing time…

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Kelvin Holdsworth
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It should be noted that once again that it is curious that links with the USA are threatened in this way when links with other parts of the world where the marriage of same-sex couples is fully affirmed by the church seem to pass without comment. Take the link between the Diocese of Carlisle and the Diocese of Stavanger in the gloriously gay affirming Church of Norway which exists whilst Carlisle has a link with a diocese of the Southern Cone. Or what about Portsmouth’s links with both West Africa and Stockholm? Or indeed, what about the whole of the… Read more »

Leonard Clark
Guest

Oh my, yes, possible indirect LGBTI ANGLICAN contamination from the diocese of Virginia, TEC, might be harmful to the spiritual well-being of CANA folks in the U.S.A., Nigeria and NOW in the Liverpool and the rest of the UK. Strict and religiously observant, the CANA Anglicans have squandered millions of U.S. dollars in legal fees as they poached (for years) on TEC property! It appears the GAFCON, CANA and NIGERIA extra-holyones will have no part of praying together or walking together…they clearly prefer selective company and troublesome, and costly, international “sit ins.”

Steve Lusk
Guest
Steve Lusk

Curiously, Reform knew what the Bishop of Anure was going to say a full week before he said it.
http://www.anglican.ink/article/reform-objects-virginia-bishops-appointment-liverpool

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

And likewise the Simeon Borokini, when he was at the place, came and looked on the Liverpool Diocese, and passed by on the other side.

Susannah Clark
Guest

A microcosm of deeper seismic faults. All the bodging over the cracks with polite duct tape, cannot change those fault lines in the communion. It doesn’t need diplomatic duct tape, it needs love. And love does not dominate. Love serves. Like it or not, we are one in Christ. I am still in communion with Liverpool, Virginia and Akure, whether they know it or accept it or not. Because we are all inseparable from Jesus Christ. The communion, the unity, the shared consciousness, the eternal co-existence… is only, ever, that shared union and communion of the Holy Trinity, that has… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Susannah, that comment made me rethink my instinctive response of “Screw ’em, I’m not in communion with these hatemongers.” Thanks for that much-needed reminder of the need for grace, most important when its recipients are behaving so badly. You’re right, we are in communion: and you’re also right to say that this unity can’t be used to impose uniformity. Not even a question of “shouldn’t”; it can’t. Provinces are just too far apart in their understandings. Anyone who threatens to walk if their conditions aren’t meet should simply be told to go. Go with regret, but go all the same.… Read more »

Nicholas Henderson
Guest
Nicholas Henderson

Severe links! From the Diocese of Azure’s point of view that’s taking the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut. If this is to be the policy Bishop Borokini will have to cut off pretty well every diocese in the Church of England for having ‘links’ with the Episcopal Church.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ Kelvin Holdsworth, insightful observation. GAFCON appears to be playing a long game with ACNA its favorite to replace TEC/Canada. It’s called telegraphing the punch.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Nicholas Okoh, Primate of ALL Nigeria and Chair of the dissident GAFCON sodality, has now pronounced anathema on the Church of England and TEC, by this, his extravagant claim to Anglican orthodoxy in support of the Nigerian Diocese of Akura’s breaking of fellowship with the C.of E. Diocese of Liverpool. By this breaking of relationship with the Church of England (already broken with TEC). Nigeria and GAFCON are declaring a state of self-initiated schismatic breakaway from the world-wide Anglican Communion. If it were not so like a situation of the Tail Wagging the Dog, this chutzpah could have quite serious… Read more »

Neil Patterson
Guest
Neil Patterson

Just to show little is new, this reminds me of two old stories: In 1914 Percival, the Bishop of Hereford, appointed B.H.Streeter, known as a liberal theologian, to a canonry. Frank Weston, Bishop of Zanzibar, responded by posting a solemn excommunication of Percival on the door of his own cathedral. I recall from a Church Times not long ago the story of someone visiting country churches in the 1950s, finding one (I think it said in Lincolnshire) where the only information on the porch noticeboard was a printed sign declaring ‘We Are Not In Communion With The Church of South… Read more »

Anne Lee
Guest
Anne Lee

Thank you, Susannah, for your very helpful comments. The gospel in a nutshell: grace and love. Of which we all need more. The phrase which struck me most in the Bishop of Liverpool’s piece was, “I have not yet received formal notification directly from the Bishop of Azure”. How sad that Paul Bayes has had to respond to reports of this breaking of a relationship rather than being able to have a real grace and love filled conversation with the Bishop of Azure himself. I try very hard not to listen to what other people are saying about third parties,… Read more »

Pam
Guest
Pam

This is a sad and difficult situation. Every believer has privileges and responsibilities. Doors must be left open for dialogue and friendship. And we must pray for each other.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“Susan Goff is in favour of blessing same sex unions and this has been a part of the litigation against the orthodox in Virginia.”

CANA has several parishes in VA. It would always have been the case that this move would inflame Nigeria. These parishes were sued and lost. The Diocese of VA won. Did anyone expect Nigeria to welcome their companion diocese in the CofE asking for an ‘assisting Bishop’ from Virginia?

Tom Downs
Guest
Tom Downs

CSeitz: Hope springs eternal; we are a people of hope (not political power plays).
Pam: Yes, keep the door open. But don’t let them take the door, the knob, and the rest of the building with them when they leave. As long as they are part of the Anglican Communion they may keep that name, but when they choose to be something else it’s time to get new stationery.

S Cooper
Guest
S Cooper

This won’t make Canterbury give up on GAFCON… This will make the central powers that be scramble to placate GAFCON…. No point hoping for a sudden liberal response…. Even Rowan Williams disappointed

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

The stench of purity and righteousness coming from some parts of Africa is truly revolting.

Chaplain Bunyan
Guest
Chaplain Bunyan

Once again, it is worth noting that the Anglican Communion is an informal fellowship of Churches that has blurred edges and a variety of relationships between local Anglican Churches. Our Anglican Church of Australia remains an autonomous Church, with no reference to the Anglican Communion in its Constitution. It is formally in communion specifically only with the Church of England and although there is provision for ending that bond, in reality there is no possibility of it being broken. My Diocese of Sydney has various links with both the US Episcopal Church and the ACNA. However, at the local level,… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

“These parishes were sued and lost” I seem to remember that those parishes were sued because the disaffected parishioners wanted to leave TEC taking the church where George Washington prayed with them, along with a few other churches as well. It’s OK to leave, but do remember to leave the silverware.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

This is about as effective as 1980 Birmingham City Council putting up signs. we are a nuclear free zone!

Susannah Clark
Guest

Maybe, counter-intuitively, we should love-bomb the Anglican Church in Nigeria – sending them messages of love and affirmation of their communities and service of the poor and needy. Many of these African nations face huge and complex problems, and Christian mission surely struggles to fulfil the words of Isaiah to ‘comfort ye, comfort ye, my people’. Perhaps the leaders of the Nigerian churches need to be sent love and grace, from the Church of England membership, to break down divides, and offer prayers, invite prayer requests, and even practical ways of support. In short, the creation of a counter-narrative to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Susannah, with the best will in the world, it is almost impossible to love those who reject your fellowship. We cannot coerce anyone to love us – against their will. If the Archbishops of the Gafcon Provinces are determined to reject us – on whatever ground they find necessary – there is little that can be done to force them into submission. Nor should we try. There is more to worry about than post- colonial hubris All power to your dear daughter’s elbow. What she is doing is more productive and Gospel-centred than the current spat between Christians of different… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

cseitz: “Did anyone expect Nigeria to welcome their companion diocese in the CofE asking for an ‘assisting Bishop’ from Virginia” Christopher I’m sure you mean well but once again you rather miss the point in your post above. CANA is not part of the Anglican Communion. TEC is. The primates meeting even affirmed that TEC was part of the Anglican Communion and affirmed its desire and intention to walk together. That’s all the diocese of Liverpool is doing. CANA, ACNA and all those other little two bit churches on the other hand, deliberately chose to walk apart, and tried to… Read more »

DBD
Guest

“A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself with the appointment”

Good. Can we be properly affirming now?

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

I hate to say it, but Susannah’s right about what is asked of us in terms of following Jesus as we walk with our Nigerian brothers and sisters.

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

Thank you, Susannah, for your sane and very Christian remarks – as usual! I’d like to add that I suspect the citizens of Nigeria and other countries with very conservative bishops, probably have so much else to think about that the decisions of their bishops have little footing in the reality of their day-to-day lives. I strongly suspect that, as in the US, we are being treated to the temper tantrums of the bishops, not the beliefs and concerns of a majority of the “people in the pews.”

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Of course we should love the people of Nigeria. But why does that mean kowtowing to religious leaders who don’t want us? Bishop Bayes is right to stand his ground—and to be sad to have to do so.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

My point was very simple, Mr Godsall. No one should expect Nigeria to respond any differently to a VA Bishop doing what has been done in a partner diocese, given the legal outcomes in VA. I am not trying to “mean well” but thank you. I am making a simple observation.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

This is why TEC needs to formally abandon the Anglican Communion.

As long as we remain, we are enabling the Global South fear-mongering and extortion. Canterbury has shown that it values numbers (reported numbers, at least) over filial respect, and is corrupted too far to save. Even the white-liberal-guilt of “won’t someone please think of the poor Africans!” is simply to enable and fund exactly this sort of political manipulation.

The Anglican Communion is not just dead, but rotten and it infects us, just as surely as if we were carrying a rotting corpse with us.

James
Guest
James
Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

I’ve asked this elsewhere, but I’m gonna ask again: What the h*ll is a “confessing Anglican”? Didn’t we decide, in the decades after the Reformation, that a “confession” was something we could do without? The same group is fond of that word, “orthodox” and the phrase “‘the’ biblical teaching” or “‘the ‘biblical idea,” but I’ve never seen Anglicanism as particularly interested in such constructs.

Jo
Guest
Jo

@cseitz: I fail to see a connection between preventing schismatics appropriating Episcopalian churches and Nigerian bishops having a strop, beyond that the Bishop likes the schismatics.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

cseitz: “I am making a simple observation.”
Christopher, I don’t think you are making any such thing. You are trying to ‘spin’ the facts. The facts are that CANA parishes are not part of the Anglican Communion, by their own choice, and they tried to steal property that belonged to someone else. That’s the simple observation. Nigeria are very welcome to walk with the Anglican Communion. If they prefer to belong to some other grouping, that’s fine as well. What they are less free to do is pretend they are doing one while actually doing the other.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Look, Mr Godsall, the events in N-VA were tragic and unnecessary. The result was loss-column on all sides. A booming, historic parish was decimated and their conduct through it all was exemplary. The previous PB Frank Griswold held the view that Bishops ought to negotiate these conflicts as they saw fit. Peter Lee was doing that. When a new PB took office the legal team prohibited that long-standing approach. It was but one example of increasingly centralization with all the costs associated with that. CANA congregations are part of the Province of Nigeria. Tragically, the majority of provinces of the… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Uh-oh! Now they might have to “reassess” their relationship with one of their supporters at home.

https://www.gaytimes.co.uk/news/38752/former-president-nigeria-goodluck-jonathan-re-examines-anti-gay-law/

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

The so-called “orthodox” anglicans in the U. S.:

“Mercy, Your Honor! I’m an orphan!”

True Trumpian tactics.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest
Simon Sarmiento
Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Are the majority of Anglican provinces no longer in communion with TEC….who ( besides some African provinces) have formally broken with TEC?

Iain Baxter
Guest
Iain Baxter

I am confused. (Not unusual!)

If Nigeria is still part of the Anglican Communion – and they have voted for and accepted the consequences imposed on TEC, and TEC is a full member of the Anglican Communion – then surely they ARE in communion?

Some bishops may not wish to take communion with others, but unless Nigeria formally leaves the Anglican COMMUNION, then it must be true that, by definition, the Nigerian Church is in communion with the other members of the Communion?

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

The daily office was the main service when last the Provinces gathered at Canterbury because they do not take communion together. The provinces of the Anglican communion are in a broken Eucharistic season. This has been true for some time now.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

cseitz: “Tragically, the majority of provinces of the Anglican Communion are no longer in communion with TEC.” Look, Christopher, we see your spin again. Sadly, that’s all it is. You sound rather like Keifer Sutherland in the wonderful film ‘A few good men’. He was no more convincing in his witness statements either. Whatever authority the Primates have, the vast majority voted in January to walk together in the same communion. As I have said before, if some – including you – prefer to walk apart, then no one is stopping them. The CANA parishes tried to make a legal… Read more »

Dennis Roberts
Guest
Dennis Roberts

cseitz: “The daily office was the main service when last the Provinces gathered at Canterbury because they do not take communion together. The provinces of the Anglican communion are in a broken Eucharistic season. This has been true for some time now.” By their own choice, and because of their own un-Christian bigotry. And funded and encouraged by rightwing American dollars (remember the rich rightwingers who kept showing up with cash to pay for the split?) Look, we were all around when the Chapman memo was made public. We all remember when the coordinated and well-funded plan (Scaife, Bradley, Olin,… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

A great honour for Liverpool to be thus abused, for doing the truth.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

I certainly agree that “the events in N-VA were tragic and unnecessary” and that was true not only in northern Virginia. Those behind the Chapman memo sold a bill of goods to a lot of congregations that they could leave TEC and take their property with them. As most of the lawsuits have turned out, that was simply not true. There was another way that would have made the huge expenditure of time and money of both sides unnecessary. This was exemplified by a parish in Florida where I used to worship regularly when visiting relatives there. I thought it… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

FINALLY! Some others are getting tired of the outright dishonesty from the allegedly-orthodox!

God be praised, and Dennis Roberts and Andrew Godsall, thank you!

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Mr. Roberts “four guys in America who need to keep stirring the pot to get right-wing funds.” Gosh, it would be nice to have funding of any kind! Ephraim Radner lives and works in Toronto. I live and work in France and Toronto. Philip Turner is retired. Mark McCall as well. You can see my professional cv at Wiki. I have no idea who wrote the letter. ACI was famously opposed to ACNA when it started and you will search in vain for any statement we wrote in support of Gafcon. We helped start Communion Partners and have supported it… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

“The daily office was the main service…..” I do not understand how “Christians” can use our Lord’s table as a protest pulpit. Is his body not given for us, Does he not invite us (all of us) to take and eat (“o taste and see….”), does he not offer his blood which was shed for us and for many for the forgiveness of sins…..? How can any “Christian” turn that into a political statement. Is the sacrament not an outward and visible sign of a inward and spiritual grace? Shame on those who would call themselves Christians, but are quick… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

cseitz, I’d love to see you address Canon Kelvin’s post, way back at the top of this thread: why is this just about breaking communion w/ CofE dioceses that have relations w/ Those Naughty Yanks, when other parts of the wider communion are just as (if not more) LGBT-affirming? Do Episcopalians in the U.S. of A. just make a splashier target for pulpit-pounding than those Nice Norwegians and Sweet Swedes?

Kate
Guest
Kate

For months people have been calling for a church which permits diversity. Akure has just acted on such diversity saying that they don’t wish their links with Liverpool any longer to exceed the links they have with other dioceses. If one supports diversity within the church,it is a perfectly reasonable step – even if we feel it is misguided and sad. As Sara says, the politicisation of the matter by GAFCON is hard to accept, but again is it really different than the political comments posted here by both sides? If we had a platform, wouldn’t most of us use… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

JCF: Didn’t know CANA had any parishes they were supporting in Norway or Sweden…

“I wish the congregations in Northern Virginia had been as wise.” +Peter Lee was on very good terms with Falls Church and Truro. Negotiations were proceeding well, just as they had done in other dioceses like CFL and Dallas, where parishes left with financial arrangements acceptable to both sides.

But that came to an end once +KJ-S took office.

But one can be more hopeful that +Curry does not have that same spirit. It has been a hard lesson to learn and very costly.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

“+Peter Lee was on very good terms with Falls Church and Truro. Negotiations were proceeding well, just as they had done in other dioceses.” I didn’t remember things being quite that rosy. I ran across a February 16, 2007 article from the Washington Post, which included this statement: “Things came to a head in recent weeks when 11 Virginia congregations voted to leave the U.S. church and join the Church of Nigeria — and to keep their valuable properties. Lee moved swiftly to remove credentials of the conservative priests, declare their churches abandoned property and file lawsuits asking courts to… Read more »