However, there is more information on the Truro Church website which has published this letter from Martyn Minns. He writes:
…I am also involved in ongoing discussions with Bishop Lee and his chancellor to find a way forward that responds to the various jurisdictional and pastoral challenges that are presented by my consecration. I remain confident that we will be able to do so…
And the Bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, has sent this letter, which I interpret to mean that he has not met his own deadline for publishing an agreed statement as he had indicated previously. He writes:
Since the election of the Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Church, Fairfax, as a Bishop in the Church of Nigeria, Martyn, the Truro vestry, the Standing Committee and I have had several discussions concerning the challenges this situation posed to the Diocese of Virginia and Truro Church.
Our discussions are continuing. And while I could wish for a more timely resolution to this situation, I am mindful that the Holy Spirit requires much of us, including patience.
As your Bishop, I have sought wise and godly counsel in this matter. In all of this, I have acted with the highest degree of pastoral concern for the congregation of Truro Church while also considering the needs of the entire Diocese.
At this time, I earnestly seek your prayers and support as we continue to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern a way forward that glorifies God and honors our Church.
The Washington Times has Virginia bishops hit impasse.
The website of the lobby group, Episcopal Majority now contains two major articles that taken together explain what the stance of this new group is:
Christopher Wilkins has written Still Remaining Faithful.
Mark Harris has written Necessary but not Sufficient.
The Global South Primates meet at Kigali in September. Michael Poon in Singapore has written an interesting essay about what we all might expect from that event: Daybreak at Kigali – Horizons before the Anglican Global South Primates in September 2006.
Since its original publication here the interview Rowan Williams gave to Nederlands Dagblad has attracted some attention.
The article by Jonathan Wynne-Jones in the Sunday Telegraph Gays must change, says archbishop was reprinted elsewhere, e.g. in Gulf News as Archbishop does a U-turn on gay relationships.
Not everyone is convinced of that interpretation, see for instance, The Canterbury Tail.
One critique of the interview comes from William F. Coats and is reproduced below the fold. Mr Coats’ new group Episcopal Majority has its website here but it does not contain this article.
Fr Jake has more about this at Canterbury Attempts to “Hold the Center”.
William Coats writes:
The recent interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Dutch Newspaper Nederlands Dagblad was as interesting for what was said about the current crisis in the Anglican Communion and what was not said.
On the matter of the pressing conflict within the Anglican Communion - the issue of homosexuality - the Archbishop seemed melancholy and yet apprehensive. His major points were:
1) “that the American Church has pushed the boundaries. It has made a decision that is not the decision of the wider body of Christ.”
The Archbishop shows his confusion here. When the Rev. Gene Robinson was consecrated bishop a number of options were open to the wider church.
One was to receive this as a matter of a decision by a national church, a decision in no way binding on anybody else. After all when the American church changed its divorce canons in 1973 and ordained women in 1979 these were taken as decisions of a national church not incumbent on anybody else. Was there something about homosexuality which had raised the stakes here (The Archbishop rightfully notes that our “age…..is obsessed with sexuality” ). Perhaps but the stakes were not raised by an issue but by people, in this case a number of African bishops, Global South bishops and certain conservative English bishops allied with a number of American right-wingers. They quickly determined that, unlike previous matters, this was a matter of high doctrine for the whole communion and that American had “pushed the boundaries” and threatened unity. I say again, this was their choice.
The Archbishop continually maintains this is a matter of church unity and common decision-making. But it had never been so before. There had been voices before arguing that Anglicanism should be more Roman-like but the archbishop bishop by his rhetoric has virtually foreclosed any autonomous action of a national church without the agreement of the whole. Thus he has redefined Anglicanism on his own - and it is a new configuration that most accommodates itself to the most powerful elements within Anglicanism. It is in fact an arrangement by power for power.
The archbishop argues that “ the divinity of Christ is constituent” of the faith as Anglicans have received and hence not a matter to be discussed. I agree. But he has implicitly raised the issue of homosexuality to that central dogmatic position. For even though he would like it discussed, the most powerful elements within the Communion believes it is not a matter for discussion. Indeed on that basis they act as though unity at the level of dogma has been broached and must be punished. This means that he Archbishop is in the contradictory position of wanting one thing but acting on the basis of another. He cannot have it both ways.
2) “ there are enough Christians of good faith in every denomination - from evangelical to Roman Catholic - to whom [the matter of homosexuality] is not quite so self-evident. Who are not absolutely sure that we have always read the Bible correctly. They are saying: this is an issue we must talk about. But if we are going to have time to discuss this, prayerfully, thoughtfully..”
The archbishop is quite moving in his desire for discussion on the matter of homosexuality. He notes however that not much discussion has so far taken place. This is in many ways the nub of the matter and requires a close reading - a reading the archbishop has heretofore missed.
The moderates on the Windsor Report had hoped for a deal: A Canadien/American moratorium in exchange for a world wide discussion. By the time the Report had come out, however, it was clear no such discussion would take place and that the conservative elements on the Windsor Report had intended the report as a means of forcing capitulation from the Americans (which is why at least one moderate on the Eames Committee has now second thoughts about the report). They and a variety of right-wing/conservative/evangelical elements immediately elevated the “regret” in the report to “repentance” (and here gained help from Canterbury) and consistently maintained that the only way forward was capitulation by the American church and a roll-back on Gay ordinations and consecrations. Windsor was high-jacked The right wing Americans and their new found ( mid 1990’s) African partners had long nursed anger at the American church over a number of matters and now found they had a ready-made strategy by which to attack the American church and gain their long-term goal - the displacement of the American church from the Communion.
Of course the Archbishop alludes to none of this in his remarks.
The fact is a good deal of the Communion - neither the Africans nor the American radicals - has no intention of discussing this matter. For them it is a closed matter, And this part of the Communion has heard nothing from the Archbishop that would encourage them to engage in such a discussion. In fact they continue on their destructive path convinced that he is on their side. Why? Because for them - from first to last - this has been a matter of power. It was the power of Archbishop Akinola and his minions which caused the issue to be framed they way it way, namely as a matter of core doctrine. It was his power that has silenced Canterbury on the high-jacking of Windsor, on the curtailment of any discussion of homosexuality in 2/3 of the Communion, on the implanting of foreign bishops on American soil, on the granting of radical American bishops ecclesiastical privileges beyond that of the good order of the church and legality.
3 “I don’t want to see in the cities of America the American Anglican Church, the Nigerian Anglican Church, the Egyptian Anglican Church and the English Anglican Church in the same street.”
I am sure the Archbishop means this and I am sure he believes he is trying to achieve this end. But to the degree he has miscalculated the political ends of the Africans and the Global South in their international goals he has also underestimated the radicals here in America. At each step they speak to him of unity and he responds with his approval of their new-found organizations, their claims of alternative episcopal oversight and now their preposterous goal of Alternative Primatial Oversight. At each step they up the ante. And at each step as this radical group openly proclaims as their ultimate goal the displacement of the American Church, the Archbishop accedes to their wishes. He hopes to find a “best way”. I am sure he does. I am sure he thinks some compromise would be helpful. But when have our radicals ever compromised?
The “best way” is not to be found in actions that humiliate or threaten this church, cause its canons to be ignored and give endless comfort to those whose preposterous and hysterical theological claims and actions bring harm to this church.
The Rev. William R. Coats
The Episcopal Majority (USA)
Associated Press via Dallas Morning News Dallas Episcopalians consider church split
Fun Facts to Know and Tell About ALPO* by Kim Byham
Looking Again for an Episcopal/Anglican Middle by Marshall Scott
Mickey Mouse’s Dog No Longer a Planet (hat tip SR) Satire is alive and well in suburban Chicago.
The Guardian considers John Betjeman’s poetry in a Face to Faith column by Terry Philpot.
So also does Charles Moore in a Telegraph column.
In The Times Ziauddin Sardar discusses Hezbollah.
Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about Dewi Zephaniah Phillips.
Here is another part of the interview. See earlier part here.This interview by Melvyn Bragg of the Archbishop of Canterbury was originally screened on 19 June 2005.
The Church Times has this article: Dr Williams invites US bishops to an exchange of views by Pat Ashworth
The Church of England Newspaper has these articles:
New York summit to bridge American divide by George Conger
Not everything is negotiable ,says Archbishop by Ed Beavan
Martyn Minns consecrated a Nigerian Bishop in US
Pat Ashworth reports in today’s Church Times that Anxiety about Zimbabwe diocese grows. An excerpt:
FEARS of a crisis similar to the one in Harare are being voiced about the election of a new Bishop of Manicaland, the largest diocese in Zimbabwe. The Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd Bernard Malango, has called on church members to “desist from rigging elections and doctoring documents”.
Archbishop Malango was in Mutare last weekend for the election of members to the elective assembly, the body that will choose the new bishop. The election was cancelled at the last minute in June, after allegations of vote-rigging were confirmed ( News, 14 July). Documents had been tampered with to remove two names and substitute others who had not been elected to the assembly. The election was presided over by Mr Justice Kailaile, the judge who abandoned the trial of the Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Nolbert Kunonga, last year.
Insiders say that four of the six members on the assembly are interested in becoming Bishop. A source said on Tuesday: “How are they going to be able to do their assignment in a just, righteous, dignified, transparent, and professional manner when they are interested parties? Another problem, like the one in Harare diocese, is likely to occur.”
The earlier report is here.
Updated Friday and again Monday
The Living Church reports that a Letter from Russian Orthodox Church Suggests Overture to the Network.
The letter itself can be read in full here. A related news article from the same website is here: Moscow Patriarchate in solidarity with American Episcopalian bishops who refused to support the woman leader of their Church.
There does seem to be a bit of confusion here. The report by George Conger notes that:
While two of the dioceses that have requested APO, Fort Worth and San Joaquin, do not ordain women to the priesthood, and were motivated to seek APO in part by the election of the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop, the primary reason set out in the consolidated request for intervention by Archbishop Rowan Williams for the seven dioceses was concern with her doctrinal views, not her gender.
And as noted elsewhere, it does seem odd that the author of this letter apparently thinks that Bishops Duncan and Salmon object to the PB-elect based specifically on her gender, but does not include Bishop Jack Iker (whose objections have been equally publicised in the mass media), or Bishop Keith Ackerman (whose position is well known, but whose diocese has not yet taken similar public action).
Some press reports of this:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal Diocese: Russians explore restoring relations
Associated Press Russian church offers to restore ties with conservative dioceses
There is a further Living Church report, Network Welcomes Russian Orthodox Dialogue Proposal.
Last weekend, ITV had a repeat showing of the major interview by Melvyn Bragg of the Archbishop of Canterbury that was originally screened on 19 June 2005.
The full transcript of the section of this interview dealing with homosexuality can be found here. This is reproduced with ITV’s permission.
The Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold has issued via ENS a statement concerning the meeting announced by the ACO last week: Comment from the Presiding Bishop on September meeting. The main part of what he says is this:
I have become aware of a great deal of speculation regarding a meeting that will take place in New York in mid-September. I would like, therefore, to offer a few clarifying words on what has been conceived as an opportunity for those of differing perspectives to come together in a spirit of mutual respect to exchange views.
Shortly after the General Convention, Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, shared with me some conversations he had had with the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the whole notion of “alternative primatial oversight” and the difficulty in making a response. Though application for the same had been made to the Archbishop, it was clear in our conversation that the Archbishop, though symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, has no direct authority over the internal life of the Provinces that make up the Communion. Canon Kearon’s point was that such requests needed to be discussed and a resolution be sought within the Episcopal Church itself. We agreed that the most helpful next step might be to have a candid conversation to include the Presiding Bishop-elect and me together with bishops who have expressed a need for “alternative primatial oversight,” and to have Canon Kearon join with us in the conversations. Bishops Duncan and Iker were then asked to be participants. We also agreed that the group might be expanded by other bishops to be chosen by the participants themselves. Bishops Duncan and Iker invited Bishops Salmon, Stanton and Wimberly to take part. I have asked Bishops Henderson, O’Neill and Sisk. This is the genesis of the meeting now set for mid-September. Bishop Peter Lee was asked to serve as convener and he in turn thought it would be helpful were he joined by a bishop known to have views different from his own. Accordingly, Bishop John Lipscomb was also asked to serve as convener. Whether or not this is the first in a series or in fact a one-time conversation will be decided by the group itself…
Jim Naughton has commented about this at Daily Episcopalian in The Guest List.
I don’t know whether it is significant that none of the bishops who opposed the “manner of life” resolution — passed on the last day of General Convention and meant to insure our ongoing involvement in conversations regarding the future of the Anglican Communion — have been invited. But any meeting which requires a conservative counterweight to the resolutely centerist Peter Lee of Virginia (see the statement) is weighted heavily to one side.
My hunch is that the composition of this group will give momentum to an argument/fear already abroad in liberal circles: that when push comes our elected episcopal leadership may well betray the convictions of the majorities that elected them for the sake of what they perceive to be our institutional viability.
I am not suggesting that a betrayal is in the works, but this matter continues to be handled on both sides of the ocean in a way certain to demoralize the Church’s left/center majority.
I would feel a lot better about this meeting if some lay people, such as Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, were involved.
The Living Church has reported the statement here.
Update In an email published here, Gregory Cameron has written:
…The meeting in September to which you refer has been convened precisely so that bishops who are asking for alternative primatial oversight can meet with their current primate and his successor to determine from within the Episcopal Church the best way forward. While the Archbishop of Canterbury had a role in establishing this meeting, and will be represented at it by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, it is intended to allow the Episcopal Church to reach its own conclusions, and does not represent any independent action by the Archbishop of Canterbury at all…
G K Cameron
Deputy Secretary General
Anglican Communion Office
This was in reply to an email which is reproduced here.
George Conger has a report in the CEN New York summit to bridge American divide.
The candidates were announced earlier.
The Right Reverend Dr Philip Freier has been elected by an overwhelming majority as the new Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne.
Updated again Thursday morning
The United States District Court has dismissed the case brought against the Diocese of Connecticut by the “Connecticut Six”. The full ruling can be read as a PDF file, which is available here.
A press release from the Diocese says:
A federal lawsuit filed against Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Andrew D. Smith was dismissed by a judge in a ruling yesterday, August 21.
The civil suit was filed last September by clergy and lay people from six Episcopal parishes (among 176) in Connecticut, against Bishop Smith and others, including the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church USA. The lawsuit accused them of depriving the six plaintiff parishes of their rights, under the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and sought to have a state law that provided for corporate organization of the Episcopal Church declared unconstitutional.
The plaintiff parishes included lay members from St. Paul’s, Darien; Bishop Seabury, Groton; Christ Church, Watertown; Trinity, Bristol; Christ & the Epiphany, East Haven; and St. John’s, Bristol, and clergy from five of those parishes. All six had been in dispute with the Bishop and Diocese over Episcopal authority and jurisdiction. The conflict started in late 2003 with theological differences. As an accommodation to those differences, Bishop Smith offered Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) in early 2004 but it was not accepted by any of the six parishes. The suit was filed after the actions of the bishop in July 2005, when he intervened at St. John’s in Bristol, inhibiting the priest and installing a priest-in-charge and an administrator.
In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Janet B. Arterton concluded that the bishop acted under canon law, and that the claims by the plaintiffs lacked an essential element justifying a federal suit. Several other claims filed under Connecticut tort law were also dismissed by the federal judge.
Bishop Andrew D. Smith, who is currently out of the state, was reached late yesterday and notified of the court’s decision. In a statement of response he said:
“I am gratified by the decision of Judge Arterton that it is inappropriate to seek federal intervention in a matter of church life and governance. Non-interference by civil authorities in religious matters is a constitutional foundation of our nation and I trust that those members of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut who appealed to the courts will recognize the significance of this ruling and will seek to live in communion with their Bishop and this Church.”
There is also an ENS release: Federal judge dismisses Connecticut lawsuit. This contains a lot more detail and adds the information that:
The six congregations also appealed to the Panel of Reference established by the Archbishop of Canterbury in response to a request of the Primates at Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in February 2005. The Archbishop of Canterbury withdrew the reference to the Panel in May 2006 until the civil case was resolved, citing the decision of the Panel not to consider references where civil cases are in process.
The American Anglican Council has issued a “Connecticut Six press release”: Connecticut Six Clarify Status of Civil Litigation. Now also on the CT Six site.
There are also two local newspaper reports: Lawsuit Against Bishop Dismissed and Federal judge dismisses lawsuit over gay Episcopal priest battle.
The Church of England Newspaper has this report by George Conger Connecticut court case against Bishop thrown out.
Stand Firm has an interview with the Bishop of Fort Worth, Jack Iker
Read it all here.
Rowan Williams gave an interview to the Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad.
Here is the English translation which is titled The Church is not inclusive.
There is also a news article ‘Church is split by gay movement’s impatience’.
The Telegraph has a short news item by Jonathan Petre headlined Archbishop fears gay divide.
Although TA reported promptly on the election of Martyn Minns as a Nigerian bishop, on 28 June, we failed to link to the Truro Church press statement, timestamped 1.00 pm the same day, and Vestry letter (PDF) dated the same day, and subsequently made available on the Truro website. The Vestry letter says in part:
We are writing to you, late at night, as we’ve just completed a special meeting of Truro’s vestry to hear about this development. At the close of this meeting the vestry unanimously agreed to give Martyn their vote of endorsement for him to accept this call.
But Martyn’s not going anywhere. The vestry also decided to give Martyn their unanimous endorsement to continue as rector of Truro until we have our next rector in place. As it so happens, CANA is a small enough organization that the requirements on Martyn will initially be relatively light. He will basically be functioning as a pastor to the CANA pastors. Our signatures below indicated that we completely support Martyn in all of these actions. Furthermore, all of this information, including our desire for Martyn to remain as rector until his successor is in place, has been communicated to Bishop Lee.
Updated twice Monday
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has a report, with pictures, of the episcopal consecrations which took place there today: Consecration: ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP CHARGES CHRISTIANS TO DEFEND THE FAITH.
Click on the pictures there, for larger versions.
Update Here is a Nigerian Sun newspaper report, dated Monday though apparently written prior to the service.
Gay bishop controversy: Church of Nigeria moves to save Nigerians in the US:
…According to Akinola: “The Anglican Church in America has been torn apart by the controversial ordination of an open gay Priest, Gene Robinson as a bishop of new Hampshire in 2003. The years following that unfortunate incident have been traumatic for the entire Anglican Communion. The recent decisions of TEC’s general convention held in June, has put US Anglican Churches on a seeming disintegration and a major re-alignment.
“Already seven dioceses in TEC depressed by the dangerous voyage of the Episcopal church, have requested for an immediate alternative primatial oversight and pastoral care. They include the dioceses of Central florida, Fort Worht (Texas) Pittsburgh, Springfield. (Illinois), san Joaquin (California) South California and Diocese of Dallas. Indications are that many more are itching to leave the Episcopal Church” the primate added.
Akinola who leads about 20 million of the 77 million Anglicans worldwide pointed out that “with the establishment of CANA in April 2005, and the sending of a missionary Bishop to Congo in October 2005, and the commencement of a non – geographic nomadic mission in August 2006, the power of God is working his purpose out.
“CANA was first announced after full consultation with the Nigerian congregations in America, with the enthusiastic endorsement of the Episcopal Synod and standing committee of the Church of Nigeria. The intention is not to challenge or intervene in the Churches of Ecusa and in Anglican Church of Canada, but rather to provide a safe harbour for those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches” he maintained.
Akinola stated that the church of Nigeria had deliberately held back from this action (sending a bishop for CANA) until now, because as according to him, “It hoped that the Episcopal church of USA would heed the cry of the Anglican Communion as expressed in the essential elements of the Windsor report and the dromantine communique, which recommended that the US Church halt the further election of openly gay Bishops. “But the actions of their (ECUSA) last convention held in June 2006 showed that they were far from turning back. Infact, they are even more committed to pursuing their unbiblical revisionist agenda. That is why a Bishop to America has become inevitable you cannot serve God and Mammon,” he asserted…
The NACDAP/ACN has a press release:Network Welcomes Consecration of Bishop Minns.
The American Anglican Council now also has a press release with pictures from Abuja of yesterday’s event: Nigeria Consecrations in Abuja Include Bishop Martyn Minns of U.S. The wording is the same as here, but the pictures are different.
This report from Voice of America Anglican Church of Nigeria Installs Bishop From America
In June, I linked here to the article for the Church Times that I wrote about the latest DTI consultation Getting Equal on outlawing discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation throughout the UK in the provision of goods and services.
Since then, the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales also published their response to the DTI consultation. You can read it here (PDF ) and also the covering letter (another PDF). It is far more restrained in its language than the response from Anglican Mainstream or the even more extreme response of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship.
One specific RC concern is to do with child adoption services. This week, The Tablet has an interesting article which discusses how this issue has been handled by Roman Catholics in the USA: Dilemma of gay adoption by Terry Philpot. (Access to this PDF article is free, but requires registration.)
There is a related news report (only available on the web by subscription) concerning opposition to the anticipated regulations from the Scottish RC bishops on this score. But there is no mention there of the English RC objections which are contained in the document linked above. A Scottish RC press release is here.
The DTI response to the consultation is expected 12 weeks after the closure date of 5 June. That could be next week. This response will then be followed by the publication of draft regulations for parliamentary approval in October.
The XVI International Aids Conference has just concluded in Toronto.
The Diocese of Toronto also has coverage that includes:
Faith communities can eradicate HIV/AIDS stigma
Religious leaders who are HIV-positive share stories
Here in the UK, Ekklesia had Zimbabwean HIV+ woman helps young people Choose Life and there is more at Tearfund.
The NACDAP/Anglican Communion Network has been very active in promoting an alliance with other North American groups, which has been named Common Cause. See the original June 2004 announcement. The partners so far have been eight in number and are listed here.
And now, CANA is to become number 9 in this list. This is noted in the latest report on Roundtable Drafts Articles for a Common Cause Federation:
The Common Cause Roundtable which represents nine orthodox Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America met in Pittsburgh August 16–18, 2006 to continue its unifying work. The Common Cause Roundtable Partners accomplished three major tasks:
- affirmed their Covenant Declaration;
- amended and approved the Theological Statement of the Common Cause Partnership; and,
- recommended the formation of the Common Cause Federation (CCF).
…One of the actions of the Common Cause Partners’ meeting was to include the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) as the ninth roundtable partner.
The partners also affirmed this COVENANT DECLARATION OF THE COMMON CAUSE PARTNERS:
We intend by God’s grace:
- to partner together in a renewed missionary effort in North America and beyond, driven by our passion for Jesus and His Gospel.
- to ensure an orthodox Anglican Province in North America that remains connected to a faithful global Communion.
- to create a unity in the essentials of our Anglican faith that respects our varied styles and expressions.
- to build trusting relationships marked by effective coordination, collaboration, and communication.
Mark Harris discusses all of this here. He notes that:
The careful reader will note the singular “an orthodox Anglican Province” and “a faithful global Communion.”
The ends are clear – one province (not by the way The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada) for all of North America, and related to an unspecified “global Comunion” (not by the way necessarily connected to communion with the see of Canterbury.)
Somewhat curiously for Americans, given ECUSA’s history on these points, the Theological Statement now contains:
6. We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.
7. We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.
Mark Harris explains how these wordings differ from the earlier draft.
Guardian Glynn Cardy writes that Church liturgy needs to use more metaphors in order to help people communicate with God in new ways, in Face to Faith.
Telegraph Christopher Howse on Compo’s gimcrack Gothic chapel.
The Times Roderick Strange writes that A discriminating discrimination is one of the seven pillars of wisdom. Also, Darren Oldridge says that It takes two to beat words into ploughshares.
The Anglican Communion Office has issued this statement:
Following consultation with the Presiding Bishop the Archbishop of Canterbury has asked Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia and Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida to convene a small group of bishops from the Episcopal Church (USA) to meet together to discuss some of the difficult issues facing the Church and to explore possible resolutions. Along with Bishop Griswold, those invited include Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop Bob Duncan, and Bishop Jack Iker . The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion will also attend. The first meeting will be taking place in New York in the first half of September.
This statement from Bishop Jack Iker indicates that others will be attending: including Bishops Salmon (South Carolina, retired but now acting bishop until the new election occurs) and Stanton (Dallas):
…In accordance with the Archbishop’s instructions, we are each to bring along another Bishop to share in these deliberations, and we have asked Bishop Ed Salmon of South Carolina and Bishop James Stanton of Dallas to join us. All four of us are member Bishops in the Anglican Communion Network and our dioceses have requested alternative primatial oversight from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
We are grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his efforts to broker a cease fire in our current conflicts and to assist us in finding a way to work through the impasse we have reached. If things go well at this initial meeting, additional dates have been set aside to continue our deliberations in the future. Your prayers are asked for the participants as we seek a way forward for a church in crisis.
Episcopal News Service has issued this news report by Mary Frances Schjonberg Communion representative to confer with some Episcopal Church bishops:
…The meeting has been in the works since the Episcopal Church’s 75th General Convention in June, according to Canon James M Rosenthal, director of communications in the Anglican Communion Office.
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, attended the convention. At the time he commended the Episcopal Church for the “very careful way they have taken seriously the requests of the Windsor Report, and you see this seriousness in the way that business is being conducted on this particular issue at Convention.”
Rosenthal said that Kearon will be “facilitating” the meeting in September.
He added that the Anglican Communion Office is a “very proper and appropriate place to begin” a conversation of this importance.
“The Anglican Communion Office has been responsible for many of the meetings and committees that have been given the portfolio for concerns of church unity in the midst of our diversity,” Rosenthal said. “This meeting could well be an important step in that continuing work…”
Rachel Zoll of Associated Press managed to speak to Bishop Lee:
…Virginia Bishop Peter Lee, who is among the six U.S. invitees, said the participants “have agreed not to talk at length with the press” about the gathering.
“The archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging American bishops to try to work on these questions,” Lee said in a phone interview. “We’re trying to hold together people who have differing views and to respect those differing views.”
The Living Church has a report: Bishop Iker: Bishops’ Summit May Provide Clarity:
“Obviously I have my reservations about how productive a meeting like this can be,” Bishop Iker told The Living Church. “I think it is significant that I have heard nothing from either the Presiding Bishop or Katharine Jefferts Schori since General Convention. To me this indicates that he [Archbishop Williams] is trying to respond to a pastoral situation and they are trying as hard as they can to ignore it.”
Bishop Iker said he was first contacted by Lambeth Palace more than two weeks ago and asked if he would be willing to participate in a meeting designed to “facilitate a solution” to the current controversy and division within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. In addition to bishops Iker, Lee and Lipscomb, invitations to the mid-September meeting in New York have been extended to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, Dallas Bishop James Stanton, the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., acting Bishop of South Carolina, and the Rt. Rev. Don E. Wimberly, Bishop of Texas.
Bishop Wimberly previously called for a consultation in Texas of all bishops who are willing to stand firmly with the recommendations of the Windsor Report. The consultation is scheduled to begin after the meeting in New York City.
“Four of the seven bishops who asked for APO will be there,” Bishop Iker said. “I believe everyone should see the consolidated APO request before the meeting and I would hope we could come away with a clear statement of what APO should look like as well as an assurance that it will be provided.”
The Diocese of Southwest Florida has two related reports:Bishop: Ties to American church, Canterbury to remain and High-level meeting called to discuss resolutions to ‘difficult issues’
There are no new reports relating to the Minns consecration in today’s Church Times but Paul Handley’s interview with Bishop Peter Lee that I mentioned last week, is now on the web: ‘Lawsuits would be unbiblical’ says Bishop Lee.
The Church of England Newspaper also has no further news about the consecration on its website but it does have an interesting story about the Nigerian church by George Conger: Nigeria’s Hezbollah fears. See the original press release here.
But the most interesting report is on the Nigerian provincial website itself: Coming Over to America to Help:
Coming Over to America to Help
A Background to the Nigerian Mission to America.
Thousands of Anglicans in North America have long watched with dismay as their much loved Churches slid from the known teachings of the Bible to that which seems to conform more to the ideas of civil society groups.
Questionable doctrines include teachings that;
- Imply the Creator God is unable to decide whether he wanted to make a person male or female.
- Portray Jesus the Christ as only ‘a way’ out of ‘many paths’ to God instead of THE WAY. John 14:6
- Love of a person means acceptance and love of the person’s sins.
- The Holy Spirit stopped convincing of sin (John 19: 8 ) and became a dispensable adviser.
- The Holy Scriptures lost relevance as the ‘developed industrialized world’ could respond to many human problems.
- Different people could propound any new teaching as long as it makes the listeners feel good. 2Tim 3:3-4
- Heaven and hell are figurative languages used in the bible as it is wrong to frighten people with such old ideas in the modern world.
- Mission and ministry assumed new meanings.
Many Nigerians in the US found it increasingly difficult to identify with the Anglican communities, and thus found themselves worshiping in other denominations.
When a Canadian diocese approved church ceremonies to allow homosexuals exchange marital vows and The Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) followed by consecrating a practicing homosexual as a bishop, the spiritual life of many got threatened, and the Church of Nigeria became concerned.
“For us it is crucial and most urgent that we find ways of providing alternative avenues for the thousands of Nigerian Anglicans who live and work beyond our shores,” said Archbishop Peter Akinola, at the Standing Committee meeting of the Church in Ilesa, March 2004.
What started as an outreach to provide a safe harbour for Nigerians soon became overwhelmed with requests for participation and the Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA) was born. Announcing the formation of the Convocation in April 2005, Archbishop Akinola wrote:
“Our intention is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada but rather to provide safe harbour for those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches”
In September 2005 at the 8th General Synod of the Church of Nigeria, the necessary constitutional changes were made to permit the formal establishment of the Convocation in the USA and by November the necessary legal framework to establish CANA as a recognized Anglican Church structure in the USA was completed. Abraham N. Yisa, Esq., Registrar of the Church of Nigeria was appointed chairman of the board of trustees, Chief Gboyega Delano of Chicago, the secretary and Mrs. Patience Oruh of Maryland, the treasurer for CANA. The Rev. Canon Nathan Kanu was appointed the interim communicator, and some Nigerian bishops were delegated to give Episcopal oversight.
In November, the Church of Nigeria entered into a covenant agreement with the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America. These are two Churches spread over the US that had also separated from ECUSA on doctrinal issues. Though their bishops and some other faithful bishops in the US continued to be very supportive of the Nigerian initiative, the need to have a US- based Bishop for the growing convocation became more apparent over time, as the ECUSA remained unwilling to change course.
In June 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria met to among other things, elect bishops to fill vacant Sees after which the names of four new bishops-elect including that of the first CANA bishop was announced. Also a committee led by the Rt. Rev Benjamin Kwashi, Bishop of Jos and including the Rt. Rev Segun Okubadejo, bishop of Ibadan North and the Rt. Rev Ikechi Nwosu, bishop of Umuahia, was appointed to supervise the CANA mission.
The consecration service for the Rev. Canon Martyn Minns as Bishop in the Church of God for the CANA is on Sunday, 20th August 2006.
(Church of Nigeria News)
Episcopal News Service has published a report about CANA in today’s Diocesan Digest. Scroll down that page to find it. The item is titled VIRGINIA: Bishop, US rector elected as Nigerian bishop ‘in conversation’.
The letter from Bishop Peter Lee is now published on the Virginia diocesan website.
An earlier report from ENS makes interesting reading now. This was published in October 2004, shortly before the publication of the Windsor Report: Canterbury says Akinola’s convocation plan not approved by Williams (emphasis added):
… Akinola said he had spoken with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams about the convocation and that Williams had told him, “I wish that you would do this with the Network” of Anglican Dioceses and Parishes, or NACDAP. So, he said, the convocation will be conducted in what Truro’s rector Martyn Minns described as a “partnership” with NACDAP.
Reached on Wednesday, Archbishop Williams’ press secretary, the Rev. Jonathan Jennings, released a brief statement: “The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, and Archbishop Akinola have discussed difficulties for some Nigerian congregations in the USA arising from the General Convention decision and the consecration of Gene Robinson. Whilst the issue and its presenting difficulties were discussed, and the role of the ‘network’ raised as providing a possible solution within the structures of ECUSA, the possibility of a Nigerian convocation in the United States and of the Nigerian House of Bishops commending, recommending or choosing a bishop was not raised and formed no part of these discussions…
The only newspaper account I can find of the press conference on 5 October 2004 is this: Nigerian bishop forms U.S. denomination.
Inside is an odd place to pitch a tent … is the headline on an article in the G2 section of the Guardian this morning. The story is about John Sentamu and is written by Stephen Bates.
There are some prayers for peace and also some photographs on the York diocesan website. (Click on each picture for a larger version.)
Update The Church Times has a story about this too: Pat Ashworth York’s hermit fasts for peace.
Update The Sunday Times has a substantial interview by Martin Wroe Why I’ve pitched my tent in the cathedral.
On the CANA website, Martyn Minns says the following:
…It’s a little known fact that Nigerians have a significant presence in the US-many are doctors, communications professionals, and successful business people-and a large segment of these Nigerians are Anglican Christians. For a while, the Anglican Church of Nigeria attempted to work with Presiding Bishop Griswold and ECUSA dioceses to meet the pastoral needs of these Anglican Nigerians in the US.
But, ECUSA proved over and over again that it was unwilling to respect the faith of Anglican Nigerians by its divisive actions. One of these actions was that ECUSA unilateraly sacked the former Nigerian chaplain appointed to care for Anglican Nigerians in this country, the Rev. Canon Gordon Okunsanya. So, we can really say that ECUSA itself made the creation of CANA necessary. Necessity is truly the mother of invention.
Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria attempted to meet the needs of Anglican Nigerians in this country himself. But, he soon realized that maintaining a vital mission in the US could not be sustained without the presence of a domestic church structure and a local bishop. Thus, my election as CANA’s missionary bishop.
Archbishop Akinola is also well aware of the pastoral crisis that ECUSA has caused for Anglicans of all races and ethnicities in the US. And so, he is committed to seeing that CANA is welcoming of everyone-whether they’re from Nigeria or not-who believe in the uniqueness of Jesus the Messiah, the authority of the Bible in our lives, and the historic faith of the Anglican tradition…
Also Archbishop Peter Akinola himself says this elsewhere on the site:
Several of our Nigerian clergy in America have been informed they can no longer work in an Episcopal diocese or have had their funding cut. Finally, the unilateral dismissal by the Presiding Bishop of the Chaplain we had jointly appointed to minister to Nigerian congregations illustrates the extent of the brokenness of our relationship and underlines the need to provide alternative structures for episcopal and pastoral care.
Last night, Patrick Mauney who was formerly ECUSA’s director of Anglican and global relations commented here on TA, as follows:
I cannot let pass unchallenged the statement on the CANA website by Canon Minns that TEC “unilaterally sacked the former Nigerian chaplain” who had been appointed to look after Nigerian Anglican expats in the U.S., and that by this action had made the formation of CANA necessary. This is untrue. I know, because until my retirement the end of 2004, I was the Presiding Bishop’s deputy for Anglican relations and responsible for oversight of TEC’s share of the Nigerian Anglican chaplaincy jointly established by Bishop Griswold and Abp Akinola.
The truth is that the chaplain had overspent his budget and further expenses on his part were disallowed until income was sufficient. The chaplain chose to interpret this as a sacking, but he was clearly informed that he was not being terminated and that he could resume his work once sufficient funds were on hand. Abp Akinola was kept fully abreast of this development, but by this time (2004) I think he clearly had intended to cease cooperating in the joint chaplaincy and to establish CANA, although he never informed the Presiding Bishop of these plans.
For the record, tens of thousands of dollars were raised for the joint chaplaincy, with major grants coming from the dioceses of Southern Ohio and Texas. Numerous TEC bishops had indicated their support and facilitated the work of the former chaplain. Abp Akinola, for his part, pledged US$5,000 to the effort, but had not made good on his pledge by the time I departed the end of 2004.
Subsequently Patrick Mauney wrote to me with additional information:
Gordon Okunsanya (the former chaplain, an American priest of Nigerian birth), was resident in the diocese of Atlanta and used a business credit card issued by the diocese. (The chaplaincy was deliberately not a national church-funded “program” but a partnership of the PB’s office, individual dioceses with large African expat populations, and, ostensibly at least, the Primate of Nigeria. Gordon charged his expenses on his diocesan card, then we reimbursed Atlanta, as we (815) were the reception point for the contributions from TEC dioceses.)
I have written to both CANA and to Martyn Minns personally inviting them to reply. So far nothing has been received here. I have also asked for a response from 815 Second Avenue and received this:
ENS contacted the Presiding Bishop’s Office and the accuracy of Canon Mauney’s recollections was confirmed.
Meanwhile, the following earlier reports relating to all this can be found on the web:
ENS Chaplaincy to expatriate Nigerian Anglicans launched in US
Washington Times Nigerian bishop forms U.S. denomination
Voice of America Nigerian Anglicans Consider US Gay Bishop Controversy (with audio interview of Canon Gordon Okunsanya)
The American Anglican Council has issued a press release: A Statement from the President of the American Anglican Council Congratulating Archbishop Akinola on Formation of CANA:
The American Anglican Council offers its congratulations and gratitude to the Church of Nigeria and its Primate, Archbishop Peter Akinola, in the establishment of CANA as Convocation for Anglicans in North America and the consecration of Canon Martyn Minns, as its first Missionary Bishop.
These are difficult times for faithful Anglicans and the AAC is especially thankful for the creative and timely response of many of the Global South primates in recognizing the danger that the Episcopal Church in the United States posed for the Anglican Communion and the offer of safe harbor that was and has been extended to congregations in the United States looking for orthodox episcopal and primatial oversight. Additionally the AAC is deeply appreciative of the clear and prophetic voice of Global South primates who have spoken up, at great cost personally and for their provinces, and called the Anglican Communion to a holy and orthodox faith consonant with the historic teachings of both Christianity and Anglicanism.
We take note of the vision and heart that the Global South has for evangelism, and in expanding the Anglican Church family, and note in particular efforts by the Global South Steering Committee members in reaching out to parts of mainland Asia and seeking closer ties and understanding. It is leadership such as this that combines pastoral concern for those churches in the United States that are under persecution by their own province, for adherence to orthodoxy of the faith, and for vision to reach fields still ripe for the harvest that marks Christian leadership that others can model their lives on.
Some of you may remember that originally CANA stood for Convocation of Anglican Nigerian Churches in America, see as evidence this statement (last April) from the official Nigerian provincial website:
After much prayer and careful discernment with appropriate colleagues and advisors over the last two years, and in full consultation with the Nigerian congregations in America, together with the enthusiastic endorsement of the Episcopal Synod and the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) we announce the formation of the Convocation of Anglican Nigerian Churches in America.
This Convocation will function as a ministry of the Church of Nigeria in America. Our intention is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada but rather to provide safe harbour for those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches. While it will initially operate under our Constitution and Canons, it will have its own legal and ecclesial structure and local suffragan episcopate. I will be asking the next General Synod of the Church of Nigeria, which will meet in September 2005, to make the necessary constitutional amendments.
Then in September 2005, it became Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in Americas (CANA).
As the December review of 2005 explained:
A carefully worded statement by the Primate of Nigeria announced the formation of Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in America. (CANA)
In a pastoral letter announcing the convocation, the Primate said the ministry of Church of Nigeria in the US will provide a safe harbour for worshippers who feel estranged because of the revisionist agenda of some North American Churches.
In the same month of April, the Primate published a letter to members of the Church intimating them about the recent developments of the Anglican Communion particularly the outcome of the Primates’ February meeting in Northern Ireland. He talked about the intransigence of the North American Churches on the issue of homosexuality. He dismissed it as unfounded the alleged influence of external forces on some Primates in their decision to suspend the North American Churches.
The Church of Nigeria announced a covenant with the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America, signaling the implementation of the amended constitution. Chapter 1 Section 3 of the constitution states that “The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) hereinafter called “The Church of Nigeria” or “This Church” shall be in full communion with all Anglican Churches Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as the Lord has commanded in His holy word and as the same are received as taught in the Book of Common Prayer and the ordinal of 1662 and in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.” With a name change, they now become part of CANA, The Convocation for Anglicans in North America.
And, in case you forgot, the Primates at Dromantine said in February 2005 (emphasis added):
15. In order to protect the integrity and legitimate needs of groups in serious theological dispute with their diocesan bishop, or dioceses in dispute with their Provinces, we recommend that the Archbishop of Canterbury appoint, as a matter of urgency, a panel of reference to supervise the adequacy of pastoral provisions made by any churches for such members in line with the recommendation in the Primates’ Statement of October 2003. Equally, during this period we commit ourselves neither to encourage nor to initiate cross-boundary interventions.
Earlier, the Windsor Report had recommended:
155. We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own:
- to express regret for the consequences of their actions
- to affirm their desire to remain in the Communion, and
- to effect a moratorium on any further interventions.
We also call upon these archbishops and bishops to seek an accommodation with the bishops of the dioceses whose parishes they have taken into their own care.
The Houston Chronicle has published a news report: Episcopalians will gather, chart course on gay issues.
Bishop Wimberly to Host Consultation in September
The Rt. Rev. Don Wimberly, Bishop of Texas, will host a consultation for bishops who are compliant with the requests of the Windsor Report at Camp Allen, September 19-22, 2006. Bishop Wimberly stated that he does not believe General Convention’s response to the Windsor Report was sufficient.The consultation provides an opportunity for interested bishops to discuss the relationship of the Episcopal Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Primates within the Anglican Communion.
“Our baptismal promises call us to reconciliation and unity,” Bishop Wimberly said.“This consultation may help us arrive at a common response to the current circumstances of the Episcopal Church—one that will insure an unimpaired relationships with the rest of the Anglican Communion.”
Statement from the Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly
Since this summer’s General Convention, I have sought a way in which I might help lead our diocese and, with other bishops, the Episcopal Church through the circumstances facing our Church today.
My intention is to stay within the Episcopal Church and remain a part of the Anglican Communion even though I don’t believe General Convention’s response to the Windsor Report was sufficient.
We are called to witness to the Church and the Communion that we may be unified beyond differences into a Church that is about the work of the Gospel of Christ.
In the Diocese of Texas, we are One Church of 158 congregations.This is more than a catchy slogan; it is my deeply held theology. We must be obedient to Christ’s charge to be one even as Jesus and the Father are one.
We must take a step forward. For that reason, I have invited a number of bishops (representing a diversity of opinions) who are firmly committed to the Windsor Report to gather for a consultation September 19-22 at Camp Allen.
The purpose of the meeting is to arrive at a common response to the current circumstances of the Episcopal Church—one that will insure an unimpaired relationships between bishops who uphold the requests of the Windsor Report, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other Primates of the Anglican Communion.
The Rt. Rev. N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, and the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester will also attend with the blessing of the Archbishop of Canterbury to aid in the discussions.
Jesus himself gathers us, calls us, and sends us forth to share the Good News of salvation.Being One Church is a holy calling not dreamed up by any bishop or vision committee but called forth by our very baptismal vows. Please pray for me and for the other bishops who love this Church, that we may be called to unity in the truth of Christ.
Earlier, I reported that not all Episcopalians in the dioceses which had requested “alternative primatial oversight” or had otherwise sought to “disassociate” their diocese from the actions of the General Convention 206, were happy with all those actions.
The latest example comes from Dallas where fifteen clergy have signed a statement of their “intent to remain members of The Episcopal Church”.
Their statement can be found here.
The diocesan statements to which this is a reaction can be found here. This is the diocese which has asked for “direct” primatial oversight from the Archbishop of Canterbury:
“To this end, we call upon the bishop to appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a direct primatial relationship with him for the purpose of mission, pastoral support, and accountability.
The Diocese of Melbourne has announced its candidates for archbishop. The election is next weekend.
The candidates are
The Convocation for Anglicans in North America which is “an Anglican missionary effort in the US sponsored by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)” now has a website. There’s a video which features the Primate of Nigeria and others.
The Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA) meets the needs of Anglicans who have been disenfranchised by the divisive actions of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA). CANA offers congregations and clergy an authentic connection to the Anglican Communion. CANA welcomes all who want to share in the apostolic faith and life of orthodox Christianity in the Anglican tradition.
Two of the questions asked on both forms are these:
Please explain why you are seeking to register with CANA (500 words or less). Include any reservations you may have about the uniqueness of Jesus the Messiah, about the authority of the Bible in our lives, about the fact that CANA is a mission of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), about working with people of diverse backgrounds, and about episcopal pastoral care and authority.
Please explain why you think your affiliation with CANA will or will not result in a dispute with your current bishop (100 words or less).
There is also a press release, on the Nigerian provincial website, about the consecration on the 20th.
(Hat tip to Mark Harris who has commented on the claims made by CANA.)
Update Bishop Peter Lee issued a letter on the weekend, which was referenced at the bottom of this earlier article. As it still has not appeared on the Virginia diocesan website, I reproduce it in full below the fold. Now also available here.
Update The Living Church has also reported on this letter: Bishop Lee, Bishop-Elect Minns Seek Solution.
Date: Sun 13 Aug 07:45:00 EDT 2006
From: “Patrick Getlein”
Subject: A Message from Bishop Lee
A Letter to the Diocese of Virginia from the Bishop
As most of you know, the Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Church, Fairfax, was elected by the Nigerian House of Bishops to be a bishop of the Church of Nigeria serving in the United States. Many of you also know that Truro Church had launched a search for a successor rector to Martyn prior to that election, though he has not yet announced any firm date of resignation. While this situation presents many complex issues of governance and polity, the situation is made more complicated by the desire of the Truro Vestry to have Martyn continue as rector until his successor has been identified.
Martyn and I met yesterday, Saturday, Aug. 12 in Fredericksburg. Also present was Russ Palmore, diocesan chancellor, and Tom Yates, Truro parishioner. While we have not yet reached an understanding of how this matter will be resolved, it was agreed that a joint statement would be prepared and released before the end of August that would respond to the various jurisdictional and pastoral challenges that are presented by this development.
I ask your prayers in the coming days and weeks that Martyn, the Truro Vestry, the diocesan Standing Committee and I might receive God’s grace at this time to discern a way forward that glorifies God and honors our Church.
Peter James Lee
Bishop of Virginia
Message sent by:
Patrick N. Getlein
Secretary of the Diocese
110 W Franklin St.
Richmond VA 23220
Updated Sunday and Tuesday
For initial reports see here.
Jonathan Petre had this report in the Telegraph on 7 August: Bishops fly to US for summit of Anglican hard-liners.
The Church Times carried a short news report
(subscription only for another week) which includes the following:
…Dr Wright said on Tuesday that the group consisted of those who wanted to hold to as broad a base of Episcopalianism under the Windsor and Communion rubrics as they could, and who needed to be taught some Anglican and biblical theological pathways by which they could do so. “They need to be encouraged to extend their left arms as far as they can in one direction and their right arms in another to prevent what could otherwise be multiple fracturing and break-up,” he said. “The Bishop of Winchester and I want to see ECUSA refreshed, renewed, and full of vigour.”…
The Episcopal News Service has issued a report headlined Windsor-compliant bishops meeting has Archbishop’s ‘blessing’.
As it is not yet Now available on the web, a copy also appears here, below the fold. This refers to statements issued in Texas, which also do not yet does now appear on the diocesan web site. An earlier statement by Bishop Wimberly appears here.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Windsor-compliant bishops meeting has Archbishop’s ‘blessing’
Texas bishop wants response beyond General Convention actions
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
[ENS] Texas Bishop Don A. Wimberly’s invitation to a “consultation for bishops” in September said it will include two bishops from the Church of England who, with the “blessing” of the Archbishop of Canterbury, are looking for “a group firmly committed to the Windsor Report who can forge a visible link with the See of Canterbury on terms acceptable to the Communion and in keeping with its ethos and mission.”
The subject of the meeting will be “Constituent Bishops: Solidifying Communion after Windsor,” according to the letter.
“It remains my intention to stay within the Episcopal Church and a part of the Anglican Communion even though I don’t believe General Convention’s response of to the Windsor Report was sufficient,” Wimberly wrote in an August 11 statement due to be posted on the Diocese of Texas website (http://www.epicenter.org).
That statement said that the purpose of the meeting, set for September 19-22 at Camp Allen Conference and Retreat Center northwest of Houston, is “to arrive at a common response to the current circumstances of the Episcopal Church — one that will insure an unimpaired relation between bishops who uphold the requests of the Windsor Report and the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other Primates of the Anglican Communion.”
Wimberly said in an August 11 press release that the meeting’s intentions are rooted in the Baptismal Covenant’s call to reconciliation and unity.
“Being One Church is a holy calling not dreamed up by any bishop or vision committee but called forth by our very baptismal vows,” Wimberly said. “Please pray for me and for the other bishops who love this Church, that we may be called to unity in the truth of Christ.”
The Church of England bishops who will attend the meeting-the Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, and the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester-“having had thorough discussions with [Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams], are coming with his blessing to discuss with us the nature of our future relation to the See of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion,” Wimberly wrote in his letter of invitation.
While Wimberly’s statement says that the invited Episcopal Church bishops represent a “diversity of opinion,” his invitation said that those bishops attending must agree to four points that he wrote are “all assumed as a starting point by Bishops Wright and Scott-Joynt.” They are:
1. “Agreement that Lambeth 1:10 now constitutes the teaching of the Anglican Communion.”
2. “Commitment to the Windsor Report as marking the way ahead for the Communion, and acceptance of its recommendations in respect to blessing same sex unions and the ordination of persons engaged in sexual relations outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony.”
3. “Acceptance of the Communique from Dromantine issued by the Meeting of Primates in response to the Windsor Report.”
4. “Agreement that the response of ECUSA’s General Convention to the Windsor Report does not go far enough, and the intent to find a way to be related to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Communion in a way that is not impaired.”
Wimberly wrote that the four points are “a starting point for discussions of the way ahead for bishops and dioceses who intend to remain within ECUSA, who wish to remain fully a part of the Anglican Communion, and yet do not believe the response to the Windsor Report on the part of our recent General Convention adequately safeguards full Communion membership.”
Wimberly developed the list of original invitees with the help of West Texas Bishop Gary Lillibridge, Dallas Bishop James Stanton and Rio Grande Bishop Jeffrey Steenson. He urged recipients of the letter to notify him about any diocesan bishop “who can accept the four points” and if he or she has not already been invited, an invitation will be sent.
He would not release the list of original invitees or a current list of those who have accepted his invitation.
“Lambeth 1:10” refers to a resolution passed in 1998 by the Lambeth Conference, the decennial meeting of all the bishops in the Anglican Communion. The resolution said, in part, that while the bishops recognized that “many persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation” are members of the Church, they rejected homosexual practice as “incompatible with Scripture” and “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions . . .” The full text is available at http://www.lambethconference.org/resolutions/1998/1998-1-10.cfm.
There is not complete agreement within the Anglican Communion about when a Lambeth Conference resolution becomes “the teaching of the Anglican Communion,” especially because the Lambeth Conference does not have specific authority to require compliance with its resolutions. The Communique from the meeting of the Primates in the Dromantine Retreat and Conference Centre, Newry, in Northern Ireland in February 2005 stated, in part, that Lambeth 1:10 “should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion.”
“I need to underscore the fact that these four points are not ones for debate at this meeting,” Wimberly wrote in his letter. “They are assumed as a starting point for seeking means to solidify Communion after Windsor. It is my hope that you will be able to accept this invitation and enter with fellow bishops into a consultation that can produce a way forward that both prevents some in our Church from ‘walking apart,’ and others from seeking irregular means of preserving their Anglican identity.”
Wimberly stressed that Wright and Scott-Joynt can provide “necessary information about the circumstances in which we now find ourselves, but it is we the bishops who are committed to the four points above who must jointly find a way forward.”
The bishops who attend will have to discuss the following five points, according to Wimberly’s letter.
1. “Solidifying Communion links to Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates.”
2. “Development of a leadership council for links with Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates.”
3. “Commitment to common action.”
4. “Thresholds for an Anglican Covenant.”
5. “Care of Clergy and Parishes not represented by ‘Windsor Bishops’.”
“Windsor Bishops” is a title adopted by bishops who say they support full compliance with the report of the 2004 Lambeth Commission on Communion, known as the Windsor Report.
The Camp Allen meeting will not be open to the media. A statement will be issued at the end of the meeting.
— The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.
Sam Wells wrote in last week’s Church Times on Why our culture won’t heed the Church on sex.
Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times this week that Scripture tells us that we hold the Earth in trust for future generations.
David Self writes in today’s Guardian about the Christian right and its support for Israel in Face to Faith.
Last Sunday’s Observer had this article by Robert Pape What we still don’t understand about Hizbollah.
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, is to embark on an act of ‘public witness’ to encourage people throughout the country to join him in a week long campaign of prayer and fasting for peace in the Middle East.
Listen to his interview on the ‘Today’ radio programme, speaking about his initiative, via this (Real Audio) link.
Associated Press Bush’s comments “counterproductive”
Yorkshire Post Archbishop criticises Bush’s war words and Blair
From the press release:
“In the Middle East there are thousands of people sleeping in churches, bunkers, underground car parks and shelters in an attempt to escape from the bombs and rockets that are falling on both sides of the border” said the Archbishop.
“This act is a rallying call to people of all faiths and none, to encourage them to feel that there is something that can be done. The UN has a role, diplomacy has a role and our Government has a role to play in bringing this conflict to an end. But we as people also have a role to play in showing our common humanity with all those who are suffering.
“We have an opportunity to stand up and be counted with those in Israel, Lebanon and Palestine and all over the world who seek after Peace. This is what this week will be about, people coming together for one purpose alone – to pray for peace in our troubled world and to pray especially for the Middle East.
“I will be inviting people from all over the country to pause for a prayer and light a candle for peace. I will lead every day, on the hour, every hour for seven days. Just like those sleeping on the floors of bunkers, car parks and churches, I will also spend the week camped out sleeping in the Minster.
“Many thousands of people have been denied access to food and water as a result of the fighting. Why not join me in a spirit of fasting during the week by being prepared to forego a meal and donate the money to charities, like Save the Children fund, who are working in the conflict zone? At a future date we must all give generously to the reconstruction of Northern Israel, Lebanon and Palestine.”
Updated Saturday and Sunday (twice)
Today’s Church Times has a further report on the Nigerian election of Martyn Minns as a bishop for CANA, by Doug LeBlanc Nigerians set to lay hands on Minns:
This week, Bishop Lee, who has Canon Minns in his jurisdiction for roughly another week, again voiced his doubts that the Canon will be able to serve as Rector of Truro and as a foreign bishop. “I think the conflicts are too great to make that do-able,” the Bishop said. The consecration date “adds a new element of complexity in the drama of ecclesiology in the United States”.
Additionally, the paper edition carries a lengthy exclusive interview with Bishop Peter Lee,
until next week available only to subscribers, which includes the revelation that on 27 June, Minns came to see him about his impending retirement:
… I asked him if he was going to be elected a bishop in the Church of Nigeria. He looked very surprised, and answered something to the effect that anything might happen.
“Later that morning, he called my office from his car. He told me that Peter Akinola [Archbishop of Nigeria] had just phoned his car to tell him that he had been elected a bishop in Nigeria.”
Later that day, Archbishop Akinola had phoned Bishop Lee to ask whether Canon Minns could remain Rector of Truro while serving as a Nigerian bishop. “I used the word ‘impossible’…”
George Conger in the Church of England Newspaper reports in Minns to be made a Nigerian bishop that:
Conservative leaders in the US have declined to endorse Canon Minns’ election and have quietly backed the statement released last month by Lambeth Palace, which held the June 28 election “was not a welcome development. It is neither timely nor constructive as it further complicates an already complex situation.”
Doug LeBlanc has also written an article for the Living Church about this, Minns’ Consecration Set Before Discernment.
(thanks EP) From the Nigerian Guardian: Nigerian Anglicans To Ordain Bishop For U.S Diocese:
To shield its members from ungodly doctrines and practices, such as interaction with gay priests, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has created a separate diocese in the United States for them. It has also appointed a bishop for the faithful The diocese known as Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) will be presided over by Rev, Cannon Martyn Minns.
In a statement yesterday, the Diocesan Communicator Lady Nancy Oghenekaro explained that the action was part of moves to provide “safe spiritual harbour” and meet the needs of Anglican Nigerians in the wake of the divisive actions of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.
Cannon Minns 63, a British-born clergyman and based in the Rector of Truro Church, Virginia, will be consecrated at the National Christian Centre (Ecumenical Centre) Abuja on Saturday August 19, 2006 along with three other bishops -elect in a service to be presided over by the Primate of the, Anglican Communion, Rev Peter J Akinola.
This report by Julia Duin in the Washington Times appeared on 7 August: Consecration set for this month:
Originally set up for expatriate Nigerians, CANA also will shelter displaced church conservatives in ongoing Episcopal battles over issues of Scripture and sexuality. In July, Nigerian bishops released a statement calling the U.S. Episcopal Church a “cancerous lump” that should be “excised” from the worldwide Anglican Communion.
But the Nigerians’ decision to consecrate an American got a cool reception from conservative U.S. bishops. Only Quincy, Ill., Bishop Keith Ackerman applauded the move. Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, president of the Anglican Communion Network, the largest conservative Episcopal group, has refused comment.
“Bishop-elect Minns is a very gifted pastor, teacher and leader,” his communications director, Peter Frank, said recently, while adding that he was not speaking for the bishop. “The Church of Nigeria … has given leadership when no one else was willing to do it.”
From the Tide: Church of Nigeria to consecrate new bishops.
A further letter from Bishop Lee to the diocese of Virginia, issued this weekend, can be found below, in the comments (from Cynthia Gilliatt).
Updated 20 August and 4 September with a complete list
Verbatim transcripts of the proceedings of last month’s proceedings of General Synod are starting to appear on the Church of England website. So far the following are available.
The complete pdf files of the February 2006 Report of Proceedings are also now available here.
Los Angeles Times Stephen Clark Anglican/Episcopal Rift Prompts Restructuring Talk has a Q and A format.
New York Times Tina Kelley writes about the forthcoming Newark diocesan election in For Diocese, Picking Bishop Means Facing Diocesan Rift.
Religion News Service via Fort Worth Star Telegram Daniel Kelly A call for unity which is an interview with Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has a column in today’s Observer newspaper:
The voices of the innocent must be heard above the din of war.
Here is a selection of recent items related to current debates:
Teresa Mathes Don’t Call Them Conservatives
Paul Zahl interviewed in the Church of Ireland Gazette
Doug LeBlanc in Christianity Today Falling Apart
Fulcrum has just published the second of a series of articles by Oliver O’Donovan. It is entitled The Care of the Churches. No doubt this will generate some discussion on Fulcrum, and perhaps even here. Entangled States chose this pull-quote:
When the Windsor Report posed, as the alternative to its own approach, that ‘we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart’, it clearly did not mean this as a choiceworthy alternative, one that the church of Jesus Christ could opt for with integrity. It was to be viewed as a horizon of total failure. Unhappily, it seems to have underestimated the capacity of Anglicans to think the unthinkable. The immediate effect of the hardening of the anti-revisionist position was to make the breach more likely; indeed, some voices, however little representative, did not hesitate to suggest that this was something to be welcomed. On the revisionist side the idea of an amicable separation of the ways had long been mooted - just another example of liberal other-worldliness, unfortunately, since the only separation ever to be looked for was bound to be far from amicable. To the anti-revisionists looking in this direction it was to be a solemn exercise of church discipline. A curious combination of ecclesiological influences, Calvinist and patristic, had already encouraged a number of bishops to raise their voices and announce the several combinations of churches and bishops with whom they were and were not in communion. The resulting untidiness in the Anglican world communion began to make some think that a shoot-out would be the desirable curtain-fall.
But this severely underestimated its difficulties. Such an occurrence would, for one thing, destroy the Anglican identity.
The previous article in the series, The Failure of the Liberal Paradigm provoked comments on various blogs, and also an article in last week’s Church Times by Giles Fraser, What true liberalism really wants. Other comments on it which I found interesting can be found here, and here, and also here.
The Guardian has John Penny who writes about forgiveness in Face to Faith.
In The Times the Credo column is written by Mohammad Elmi and is titled We need imams who can speak to young Muslims in their own words. Also, Alan Webster writes about The revolutionary idea that God backs the poor.
Christopher Howse explains in the Telegraph about the decision of the RC bishops of England and Wales to move Ascension, Epiphany, and Corpus Christi to the nearest Sunday (thus outdoing the CofE which already allows Epiphany to be moved, as an option): Staying in bed on January 6.
First, the Church of Nigeria has announced a date for the consecration of Martyn Minns, see CANA Bishop, 3 others to be consecrated August 20.
Second, the Living Church reports Bishop of Texas to Host Meeting of Windsor-Affirming Bishops. The meeting will be joined by two English bishops, of Winchester and Durham. Bishop Wimberly said the Archbishop of Canterbury
“has been aware of these plans from the beginning. Both bishops, having had thorough discussions with him, are coming with his blessing to discuss with us the nature of our future relation to the See of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion.”
“Windsor-Affirming” appears to be defined thus:
Third, in the Church Times Doug LeBlanc reports on the San Joaquin case: US bishops seek to oust FiF colleague.
Bishop Duncan’s speech to the Anglican Communion Network Council made reference to the fact that seven out of the ten “Network dioceses” have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in one form or another, for an alternative form of oversight.
Central Florida, Fort Worth (Texas), Pittsburgh, Springfield (Illinois), San Joaquin (California) and South Carolina have announced they are seeking “alternative primatial oversight.” The Diocese of Dallas recently announced it had asked the Archbishop of Canterbury for “direct primatial oversight.”
The other three “Network dioceses” which have not so far taken similar action are Albany (New York), Quincy (Illinois) and Rio Grande (New Mexico and part of Texas).
However, not all Episcopalians in those dioceses are happy about these actions. Episcopal News Service reports that Via Media USA calls realignment efforts ‘stumbling-block’ to Episcopalians. And that Via Media USA groups connect people, focus on mission.
The Living Church has interviewed Robert Duncan Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network. You can read the interview in full here.
ENS has also reported that:
The 80 delegates to the Anglican Communion Network’s (ACN) Annual Council meeting in Pittsburgh agreed to support the process of developing an outline of “basic and unifying theological commitments” to which all members would be expected to adhere.
The document is referred to in an August 2 ACN news release as a “Covenant Declaration of the Common Cause Partners.” On July 13, the Network posted on its website a “theological statement” and a “mission covenant statement.”