Sunday, 17 June 2007

more news from the USA

Updated Monday afternoon

Alan Cooperman in the Washington Post has a very interesting review today of the American church situation: More U.S. Episcopalians Look Abroad Amid Rift.

…African and, to a lesser extent, Southeast Asian and Latin American prelates are racing to appoint American bishops and to assume jurisdiction over congregations that are leaving the Episcopal Church, particularly since its consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003.

So far, the heads, or primates, of Anglican provinces overseas have taken under their wings 200 to 250 of the more than 7,000 congregations in the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism. Among their gains are some large and wealthy congregations — including several in Northern Virginia — that bring international prestige and a steady stream of donations…

epiScope has important commentary on the numbers contained in this report: read Jan Nunley here. In summary many of the 200-250 congregations never were congregations of the Episcopal Church.

The Church Times report on last week’s developments is Archbishop of Kenya to consecrate US bishop by Pat Ashworth.

The Washington Times had this report by Julia Duin Anglican Kenyans name U.S. bishop which includes:

…”We are just working as rescuers,” Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said yesterday, referring to conservatives distressed by liberal trends in the Episcopal Church. “We needed someone there [in America] who understands their culture. I am not there for name and fame and to build myself.”

About 10 of the 30 congregations were immigrant groups overseen by a group of Kenyan bishops and never affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The other 20 congregations were mainly Caucasians who left the denomination over disagreements on biblical authority and the denomination’s 2003 consecration of openly homosexual New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson…

And the Peoria Journal Star had a report on the Executive Council action re “unqualified accession” by Mike Miller Quincy church amendments ignored which starts:

The Episcopal Church’s executive council this week warned the Diocese of Quincy and three other dioceses that changes in their constitutions over the past three years are “null and void.”

The problem, Quincy officials said Friday, is the diocesan constitution has not been changed since at least 1993.

The executive council adopted a resolution “reminding” the dioceses, each of which has requested alternative oversight, that they can’t change their constitutions in an attempt to change their relationship with the denomination.

However, for further explanation of why these dioceses were named in the resolution, epiScope has this article, with several useful links to earlier reports concerning each diocese named.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 17 June 2007 at 5:10pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

Worth reminding people that London has had an African bishop for some time. He is called Sandy Millar, and he has the blessing of the Bishop. + Chartres has invented some sort of theological contortion which seemed to satisfy both himself and his staff, but mystified everybody else!

Posted by: Neil on Sunday, 17 June 2007 at 5:47pm BST

"[The ABC] registered his disapproval of Minns's installation last month by announcing that he will not invite the CANA leader to a global meeting of all Anglican bishops next year.

Minns said he was "not surprised." He said a steady erosion of traditional Christian teachings in the United States and Europe, combined with the explosive growth of former missionary churches in developing countries, has flipped the historic pattern of missionary activity.

"And frankly," he said, "the old institutional structures are having trouble coming to grips with those realities.""


Fine---so Minns believes that the ABC is just part of Europe that has had "a steady erosion of traditional Christian teachings", and is only an "old institutional structure". Assuming Minns wouldn't be saying anything w/o ++Akinola's approval (or is it the other way around? Those two are just Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee now), then why invite ANY of the bishops under Big Pete to Lambeth?

Walking apart is, as walking apart DOES. The aforementioned GS "Primus Inter Pares" Wannabees are *doin' it*.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 17 June 2007 at 9:37pm BST

Welcome to the multi-polar, flattened Anglican Communion. History and money are less relevant than in the past.

If one sets aside the particular politics of this situation, you might see that this could be laying the groundwork for a truly global network of Christians working to gather to further the Kingdom. This network is forming and will have an impact. If one group believes its acceptable to innovate theology & doctrine to further the Kingdom, certainly its equally valid to innovate polity and hierarchy.

Posted by: Chris on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 2:48pm BST

Jan Nunley's take on the Post's story is well worth reading.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 3:37pm BST

Thanks Jim, I have added that link to the article now.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 5:26pm BST

Pat Ashworth writes in her Church Times article on the irregular consecration of Canon Atwood as a Kenyan bishop:

"The plan was mooted at a conference of Network churches in Memphis, Tennessee, in January, before the Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania in February."

Interesting. If the plan was made BEFORE the Primates' Meeting, it cannot be IN RESPONSE TO anything that happened AT or AFTER the Primates' Meeting.

Instead, we should see the the Primates' Communique in a new way: as a device to give cover for the previously-agreed decision to form a breakaway province in North America.

At the Primates' Meeting, Archbishop Akinola was acting in concert with three American members of the breakaway group, Minns, Duncan, and Anderson.

Did they deliberately formulate the terms of the Primates' Communique so as to be unacceptable to the Episcopal Church?

Posted by: Charlotte on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 6:28pm BST

Trying not to be seen persecuting dissenting minorities, TEC has so far turned a blind eye to the dishonorable bishops who allowed their following, at diocesan conventions, to tamper with the constitutions and canons of their dioceses, in fact deleting the accession clause by which each of the 110 TEC dioceses is bound to TEC's General Convention. Apparently, the usual suspects among the bishops, had forgotten their ordination vows to "maintain the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church". A TEC bishop is a bishop of the Episcopal Church first and not of the Anglican Communion. Of cource, the intention was, according to the well-attested Chapman Memo, to steal the franchise and to create legal havoc in the courts, while committing acts of grand larceny in relation to TEC-owned property.

Fortunately, the Executive Council, under the strong leadership of the PB Katharine Jefferts Schori, has now taken action, declaring such manipulations of the diocesan constitutions "null and void". I sincerely hope that there will be presentments forthcoming against the dishonorable bishops for being compliant in the schemes to steal TEC's franchise and commit acts of grand larceny.

Posted by: John Henry on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 7:10pm BST

Re. my previous post, there is more pertinent information about the dishonorable conduct about certain Network bishops in the April 9, 2007 Report of the House of Bishops' Task Force on Property Disputes, accessible via Jim Naughton's Episcopal Cafe Website (May 7, 2007).

Posted by: John Henry on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 7:19pm BST

Just in echo of Naughton and Nunley, Cooperman's telling makes it sound as if 200 congregations have left The Episcopal Church for one of these many (many - there's another revealing fact) groups. It's just not true. First the Wash Times comes up with a number less than 200. Second, few parishes have left virtually en masse. Third, fewer still have left and taken property with them. Finally, of these few most have left a remnant faithful to TEC.

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 8:24pm BST

Oh Charlotte - these dastardly you think ++Akinola was there in disguise "consecrating" VGR in 2003 - this must have all been part of their conspiracy against TEC......maybe you can get Oliver Stone to make a film about this!

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 9:13am BST
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