Comments: more reports on the Nigerian election of Minns

The church of Nigeria is now starting to do what te ECUSA has been doing, its own thing regardless of the Communion as a whole. And why? Fot two reasons firstly because of what the ECUSA has been doing and secondly because the ECUSA has not been dealt with.

Posted by DaveW at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 9:42am BST

It is important to remember that the Episcopal Church in the US has acted perfectly properly throughout this sad episode. It has broken none of its own rules or those of the Anglican Communion. Only 7 out of 110 Bishops of the Episcopal Church are actively opposed to the inclusivity that their Church is pursuing - and they by no means have the backing of all their communicants. The current problem lies with the fact that a minority of Primates led by Archbishop Akinola are seeking to change the Anglican Communion into something it was never intended to be, and using a very minor issue about sexuality to push their agenda. It may be that it is Archbishop Akinola who needs to be "dealt with", not the Episcopal Church - assuming that is the way we Anglicans are going to deal with diversity in the Communion in the future.

Posted by Terence Dear at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 12:47pm BST

Just out of curiosity, Dave, when did ECUSA consecrate a "liberal" bishop for the Province of Nigeria? Sure I get your point, ECUSA hasn't listened properly to other Anglican voices, but then again is Akinola really listening to gay and lesbian voices at all?

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 3:01pm BST

DaveW, I don't think that your comment makes any sense. How would the Nigerians feel if the Americans started insisting on universal monogamy throughout Africa? This a thing that happens there, regardless of how the Communion as a whole feels about the matter. Is there any suggestion that TEC would be within its rights in seeking to "deal" with the Nigerians for condoning polygamy? Should they start electing sympathetic Nigerian parish clergy as missionary bishops from TEC to Nigeria in the way that Minns has been elected by the Nigerians? The Nigerians have already supplied the argument and the process that would make it possible. Would they welcome two way traffic on their newly-laid road?

Posted by kieran crichton at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 3:25pm BST

IOW, ECUSA is at fault no matter what happens, and nobody else is ever to be held responsible for what they do.

Very convenient!

Posted by bls at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 3:55pm BST

I see, TEC is so bad an example that it pushed poor, vulnerable, shaky Nigeria over the edge - into following its bad example. Who funded that shift? You know, Akinola's barbecues and all.

I think I am getting a sorry sort of whiplash from trying to follow this alleged logic. It also frustrates me a bit that any believer who claims to be rooted in nothing but eternal, absolute scriptural truth can so quickly play fast and loose with any facts he or she chooses to spin, edit, or revise - whether those be facts from church and world history, or the facts of our present century hot buttons and dilemmas.

Alas. Let's just give soon to be Bishop Minns a pass as a nothing but godly person, while we continue to rail against all the non-conservative believers in TEC who are nothing but trouble, trouble, trouble. Let us raise blaming to the extremely fine art that it needs to be, if we are ever going to really get this communion split up soon enough.

A better, more factual root of Nigeria's bull-headed approach? The inability of Canterbury to plainly tell the rowdy kids to just settle down while grown ups work out differences and changes in the family? Akinola's fiery personality? African abilities to sign up for totalitarian regimes? (Hardly globally unique?) USA split funding from big rightwing money? Other?

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 3:57pm BST

Strikes me that you want it all your own way, Dave.

Be honest.You don;t want any liberals in the Anglican Communion, do you?

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 4:12pm BST

I am glad to answer a couple of questions
The breaking of provincial rules may be more important to liberals, but the departure from the gospel once delivered is more important to conservatives. As the ECUSA have been seen to depart from the gospel once delivered, Nigeria is about to depart from the tradition of appointments, sad though it is. A house divided against itself cannot stand, the gospel urges unity in the Spirit, Satan looks to divide the church.
The other point I would make in response to the comment
"but then again is Akinola really listening to gay and lesbian voices at all? "
Is have the gay and lesbian voices been listening to the majority of the communion including some celibate homosexually orientated believers?
I would say not, I would say for them having their own way is what they understand by listening

Posted

Posted by DaveW at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 4:55pm BST

I'm just struck how much more charitable +Peter Lee has been in this situation, than I would be! ;-/

[Though it sounds like he was a little more blunt w/ his episcopal peer, +Akinola ("impossible"), than elsewhere: “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” (and he *asked* Minns+ re his plans, as opposed to merely saying---as I would have---"Don't you *dare*!" I note that Minns dissembled anyway...
:-/ )]

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 5:26pm BST

"The inability of Canterbury to plainly tell the rowdy kids to just settle down while grown ups work out differences and changes in the family?"

Didn't Jesus tell his argumentative (adult) disciples to become like children? I get very worried when anyone suggests the opposite as the right way for the church to operate

Paul

Posted by Paul at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 5:29pm BST

Laying aside the question of whether the Church of Nigeria- Anglican has violated its own canons in electing Minns, or the question of whether a bishop of a Church that has declared itself not in communion with TEC, of which the Diocese of Virginia is a constituent, can serve in a parish of that diocese of TEC, I think there is a further question: why would Minns want to continue to function in TEC? That's where his professional integrity comes into question.

Now, to see the parish through this "discernment" process, or through a search, might make sense, but surely doesn't require his personal oversight. If he thought he needed to be there to control the outcome, he would need to be there; but, sadly, I don't think he needs that, since I think he's developed such a like-minded congregation there that the outcome is hardly in doubt. If he thought he could somehow take the congregation, real property and all, into a CANA congregation, perhaps; but that would be better served by putting off election and/or consecration while the (probably quite long) property process works itself out.

Another possibility (and there may be others) is that CN-A and CANA want him and his American constituency, but can't support him materially in the process. It is indeed hard to give up a paying job, even for matters of principle (and I do believe he's principled). So, if he can hang onto the very margin of TEC long enough to take a substantial congregation with him into CANA, whether from Truro itself, or assembled from multiple congregations in Virginia, he is "wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove."

I'm not claiming any moral superiority here. I would have real problems myself if I felt I had to leave my Episcopal position over moral issues. At the same time, the question remains: if he feels called to be a bishop in a Church, however Anglican in some sense, that is not in communion with TEC, why would he *want* to continue to be rector of an Episcopal congregation?

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 5:33pm BST

To answer DaveW's question. I am one gay man who listens very very carefully to what all voices have to say about the question, including what celibate homosexual and heterosexual voices are saying. My quesion was about the Archbishop of Nigeria.

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 7:13pm BST

But, Dave, your view is quite clearly that we should change our minds to come into line with conservative opinion.

Thats not going to happen. So, I ask again, is your aim to rid the Anglican Communion of liberal Christians altogether?

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 7:53pm BST

Kieran-
That is the source of part of the anger - English, American and other missionaries did teach their converts that polygamy was contrary to the Bible and demand that second and other wives and their children be put away regardless of the resulting hardships. Those who were discovered to have such after babptism or ordination were cast out.

Posted by Columba Gilliss at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 9:14pm BST

Columba:

So, reports that the practice, while rare, still occurs, sometimes even among bishops in East Africa, are a complete misunderstanding? As far as I am aware, the teachings of the provinces of the Anglican Communion in Africa include that marriage should be between one man and one wife; but I have heard reports, from sources I feel reliable, that some few instances of it continue underground, justified culturally. Thus, the man may only have one wife registered with the state, but have another "cultural wife" kept at home.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 11:08pm BST

Dave, you wrote:

The breaking of provincial rules may be more important to liberals, but the departure from the gospel once delivered is more important to conservatives.

Would you tell me one single word of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John from which we progressives have departed?

Posted by Crescens at Friday, 11 August 2006 at 11:49pm BST

"As the ECUSA have been seen to depart from the gospel once delivered..."

OK - show us all where in the Gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ - in Matthew Mark Luke and John - there is one word about homosexuality.

ONE WORD!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 12:59am BST

I do not perceive much of the realignment campaign leadership as being nearly so totally adult as they so love to style themselves - the only adults around, naturally.

Some adult behaviors/attitudes I would dearly love to see much more of among us all? Well, (1) being able to occupy the frame of a mature agreeing to disagree, intentionally, as a adult center of value that has worth in its own right (for peacemaking, among other things), as well as being an ethical means to ethical ends? (2) Maybe being able to bear a strong conscientious witness from inside one's own theological frames, without first having to presume that all the rest of the world - including unconformed believers - is nothing but sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin? (3) being able to read any number of facts from a common modern best practice frame, instead of always having to redact the facts, redefined, spun, and possessed only by your own preferred truth as the only possible truth? (4) being able to take up residence on other peoples' frames, not mainly as acts of premature incursion or early and total judgement, but rather as open-ended empathy? (5) being able to share with others who will never be carbon copies of yourself/yourselves?

I think the Jesus Freak sense of becoming as a child involves the free generosities, the trust, the playful welcoming of others, as well as the familiar folk abilities many children have for pointing out to us that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, let alone the very best new ones money ever bought.

But let me freely admit for the record that not much I think or feel or do has any ethical substance, let alone common sense, in the views of many others. So it is rather a good thing I do not run the zoo.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 2:14am BST

Just so we keep our minds clear on how we handle "moral" issues in Anglicanism here is something from "The Guardian Archives"

it seems they are on board with the idea of marriage between a man and woman in lifelong union--that "monogamy is God's plan," as delegates to the Anglican Communion's Lambeth Conference put it in 1988. But some of their flock on the African continent (and, it is said, one or two of the bishops themselves) are also into the practice of stretching God's plan to make marriage an arrangement between a man and several women--or polygamy as it is otherwise known. And what sayeth the Anglican Communion to that?
Well, coming together in prayerful union about 15 years ago under the eyes of the archbishop of Canterbury, the "visible symbol of Anglicanism," the assembled clergy decided that a polygamist who joined the church could keep his wives if his community went along with the arrangement, but that he couldn't take on any more--a policy reaffirmed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference.
Recognizing that they couldn't stop the practice--and not wanting to lose converts to the growing African church--the primates of the Anglican Communion bought the argument, posited by Africa's polygamy proponents, that it would be unkind for new converts to Christianity to discard their extra wives; that putting away the extras would cause social deprivation and be regarded as rejection of African culture....

Posted by Rae Fletcher at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 4:27am BST

News about Minns consecration has been reported here: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news/article05

Posted by Emeka Peters at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 6:57am BST

There is some irony here. For some years Akinola was in breach of his own Canons, indeed his own Church Constitution by declaring he was in broken communion with Provinces and diocese that were in communion with the see of Canterbury. Rather late in the day he fixed this and in so doing made other rules which he now stands in breach of, but as others have said his actions are not constrained by law or the recommended constraints of the Windsor Report – such things are evidently for lesser mortals.

We are told that in the “great game” Akinola, the elected President of the Global South, has now lost the support of the majority of those who put him there. There is apparently “no enthusiasm” for the Puritanism he is advocating, even amongst most of those who are his putative allies. His political gaffs, uncompromising tone, personal attacks on Canterbury and support for draconian laws removing human rights from those who seek change in the law on sexuality issues (and seeking to stop any retaliation by a gay friendly Church to set up on his patch!), have all contributed to the present demise.

It is said that if he were now to act in any dramatic, pre-emptive way then he would take few with him and would find considerable opposition within the ranks of his own bishops. If this is true then one is left wondering if anyone has actually told the Primate of Nigeria of his increasing isolation – or has he been left believing otherwise?

Perhaps the meeting of the Global South Primates in September will clip his wings – perhaps not – we shall soon see.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 7:04am BST

Dear Davis d'Ambly
You wrote
"To answer DaveW's question. I am one gay man who listens very very carefully to what all voices have to say about the question, including what celibate homosexual and heterosexual voices are saying. My question was about the Archbishop of Nigeria."
I am one Christian who believes the promotion of homosexual practice is a significant departure from the gospel once delivered and condemned in the Bible. I don’t think the appointments within a church are significant compared to that. I also think to see everything in terms of sexuality is a barrier to the gospel.
So if people listen hard pray and reject an alternative that is being proposed thats the end of it really and I think +Akinola has had enough of listening to the same new ideas that he doesnt believe, and most of the world's Anglicans agree with him and dont believe them either.

Posted by DaveW at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 10:02am BST

Dear Cynthia Gilliatt and Crescens
You wrote "ONE WORD!"
Legalism for a start, how long have you got?
You wrote...
"Would you tell me one single word of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John from which we progressives have departed?"
The gospel once delivered isnt just the four gospels, its the whole of the NT message as well so this is the first mistake, and here is why.
Paul writes in Galatians 1 that any other gospel is no gospel at all... thats a departure.
On the main issue we seem to have again, sexuality, +Griswold says Paul didn’t understand homosexuality. Paul writes that he received his revelation from the risen Lord and not from man so its irrelevant whether Paul understood it or not. As it happens I see every reason to know that Paul understood it, he was an expert in Jewish law, was a Roman citizen and grew up familiar with Greek culture. Its homosexual practice that the scriptures condemn, the scriptures also.

You asked
"OK - show us all where in the Gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ - in Matthew Mark Luke and John - there is one word about homosexuality."
Depends what you mean by homosexuality. Show me one word about paedophilia is mentioned, if homosexuality and paedophilia are not mentioned why would one countenance such things by they not being mentioned?
I am sorry if this sounds blunt but there is in effect such a huge gap in beliefs, this is just one example of another gospel.

Posted by DaveW at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 10:05am BST

Please keep comments related to the topic of the article: the forthcoming consecration of Martyn Minns.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 12:31pm BST

I have known Martyn for over 25 years and know him to be a dedicated and wondeful Christian man, a gifted pastor, preacher and leader. I cannot think of a better candidate for Bishop. I also have ministered to Nigerians, Sudanese and Kenyan Anglicans. Martyn understands them and speaks the same Christian language. CANA was born of the need to find spiritually uplifting, evangelical Anglicanism on these shores. The Episcopal Church has effectively turned its back upon Evangelical Anglican Christianity. People now travel considerable distances to find such a local church - if they can. In some places we are told we are not welcome, in others we are persecuted. Martyn's election - and consecration next Sunday - will provide a lifeline to African Anglicans in many places in the USA. Inevitably others will find the same support and encouragement as they have been abandoned spiritually, if not persecuted, by their bishops. These have suffered from, and now left, spiritually bankrupt local churches, clergy and bishops.

Many cheers for Archbishop Akinola for sending out a lifeboat anad a real lifeline to give succor and support to good Christain folk who are otherwise abandoned. Many thanks for their boldness and willingness to suffer verbal and real abuse.

Posted by Ian Montgomery at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 1:47pm BST

DaveW,
Why are you so angry and defensive? Jesus sat at table with people who were socially beyond the pale for the *mainstream* of Jerusalem in his day. It was the self-proclaimed *orthodox* guardians of the Covenant who were so deeply offended by this inclusivity business (i.e: being told fairly bluntly that no-one is truly beyond the grace of God) that they found it expedient that Jesus should be Dealt With. We know the consequences that brought, even if the Pharisees and their allies hadn't thought through to the consequences their action might bring. It strikes me that those who are seeking to bring *consequences* on TEC haven't considered the repercussions for themselves of their own actions.

You still haven't addressed a question I posed to you further back. Here it is again.

Now that the Nigerians have put an argument for, and a means in place to consecrate sympathetic American clergy as missionary bishops to their own part of the world, will they welcome two way traffic on this road?

Presuming that the consecration of Rev. Minns goes forward, will TEC be seeking sympathetic Nigerian clergy to consecrate according to the same criteria/means?

Has TEC sought to do this in the past? And yes, real evidence would be of more use than more red-faced assertions.

If so, do you think the Nigerians and their supporters have thought through to this obvious potential consequence of their proposed action?

Remember, when the Pharisees rested on the Sabbath, they thought they'd Dealt With Jesus once and for all.

Posted by kieran crichton at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 1:59pm BST

Its clear that there is a definite split within conservatives in the USA and I would say wider as well.

Posted by Merseymike at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 3:36pm BST

Don't you love the comment in the Nigeria Guardian article:

> in a service to be presided over by the Primate of the, Anglican Communion, Rev Peter J Akinola.<

Maybe they have more prescience than we do. How long before the anti-Canterbury *Primate of the Anglican Communion* is announced formally? They say it will be Alexandria rather than Canterbury.

Posted by Crescens at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 4:11pm BST

Dear kieran crichton,
You aked
"DaveW, Why are you so angry and defensive?"
I am not in the slightest angry or defensive but merely putting across my view which is the historical Christian view and one believed by the vast majority in the church. I hoped my apology for perhaps sounding blunt would show this.

I agree with you Jesus did indeed sit at table with people who were socially, and religiously I might add, ‘beyond the pale’. But of course He died for all to be a reconciliation to God. I havent a clue what you mean by inclusivity, Jesus was about as exclusive with His message as anyone I have ever heard, He didnt accomodate anyone elses ideas, many turned away, the disciples wiped the dust off their feet and Pharisees and Saducees were called vipers etc. If one was bringing life, eternal life, life in abundance and life in all its fullness to all mankind, one wouldn’t want it watered down or compromised.
You asked
"You still haven't addressed a question I posed to you further back. Here it is again.
Now that the Nigerians have put an argument for, and a means in place to consecrate sympathetic American clergy as missionary bishops to their own part of the world, will they welcome two way traffic on this road?"
Unlikely, you seem still to not have grasped why they are doing this, its because the communion has become impaired. Furthermore may I suggest that there will be few if any available for any two way traffic. The Nigerian church dwarfs the ECUSA nd its the ECUSA which is splitting apart not the Nigerian church. Sometimes I wonder whether liberal spin is intentional or removed from reality.

Posted by DaveW at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 5:55pm BST

Ian Montgomery rejoices;
"Many cheers for Archbishop Akinola for sending out a lifeboat anad a real lifeline to give succor and support to good Christain folk who are otherwise abandoned."

Funny, you know, but a trawl of US Christian websites show there are enough lifeboats available for anti-gay Christians to constitute an invasion fleet. The trick is to find Christian denominations which are still treating the subject as a live issue.
There are two contrary arguments being used: one is that the majority of US Episcopalians are on the Akinola/Minns axis; the other is that these faithful constitute a persecuted minority. Which is it please — it sounds increasingly like the argument that democracy is fine as long as it produces the result you want: shades of Chile in the early 70's....

Posted by David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 8:09pm BST

Dave W. would really benefit from reading Theodore W. Jennings, Jr.'s exegetical masterpiece, entitled: The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament (Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press, 2003). Dr. Jennings is a graudate from Duke University, with a doctorate from Emory U. A United Methodist minister, he is professor of NT at Chicago Theological Seminary.

As Dr. Jennings demonstrates from close and careful reading of NT (Greek) texts, Jesus did address the issue of homosexuality and included those whom the scribes and Pharisees excluded.

Posted by John Henry at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 10:05pm BST

And that is related to the consecration of Martyn Minns how?
Please keep on topic.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 12:08am BST

This came to my email this morning.

Date: Sun 13 Aug 07:45:00 EDT 2006
From: "Patrick Getlein"
Subject: A Message from Bishop Lee
To:
A Letter to the Diocese of Virginia from the Bishop
Dear Friends:
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.
Faithfully,
Peter James Lee
Bishop of Virginia
Message sent by:
Patrick N. Getlein
Secretary of the Diocese
110 W Franklin St.
Richmond VA 23220
1-800-DIOCESE x30
www.thediocese.net

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 8:34pm BST

If Akinola has indeed been "in violation of his own canons," that would simply put him on par with TEC bishops who have been in violation of their own canons for some time, no? Bishops who were knowingly ordaining active homosexuals even though our canons on the books have said they should not?

Terence Dear... you are living in an alternate universe if you stand by your statement as "factual" rather than abject subjectivism.

Like it or not, the Global South primates are going to declare at their meeting in September:

1.)TEC has chosen to walk apart, bypassing their chance to follow Windsor toward reconciliation,

and, more to the point of this thread

2.) They will no longer be in communion with any province that remains in communion with TEC.

That is what is coming... That is the reality. You can blame Akinola for being a poor listener (pot meet kettle), but those who believe: homosexual self-actualization + the right to be in the episcopate + the right to have ss relationships blessed = a pressing social justice issue, they are those who have precipitated this disaster upon the church. To blame Minns for bringing this situation to the fore is an absurdity; you are looking past a 2x4 to convict Akinola and Minns of a sin you yourselves have committed... that of circumventing Anglican ecclesiology to get your way.

Where I am in error, teach me. But be careful, I already know all of your best lines, because your best people educated me.

Posted by Christoferos at Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 9:26pm BST

Then that will include much of the Church of England, because there is no intention to declare TEC not in communion with them.

Hence the suggestion of a process which will establish some sort of order.

As I thought, though, this is actually all about Akinola and his bid for power.

Good riddance to him .

Posted by Merseymike at Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 10:51pm BST

I think the almost new CANA bishop Minns is going out on quite a thin limb, if ABN Akinola's standing is as diminished as some posters suggest. For myself, I still cannot quite form a good idea of Akinola, since I mainly know him by his prejudices, his angry and bull-headed temper displayed in the media, and his public preening. Surely there is more to Nigeria than this?

I rather suspect that Bishop Minns is stalling, in hopes that Canterbury will soon unveil a new flight path for the flying primates who will provide safe oversight for believers frightened out of their good wits by queer folks and by women who graduated cum laude from the university. I just don't see what good it will do any of them in the long run - running frantically away from good, caring, intelligent, and rather commonly harmless people whom they have temporarily mistaken for devils incarnate? And to repeat that error on a worldwide scale as an essential core value of the newly realigned Anglicanism?

Wow. This is going to be quite a big shift. Lord have mercy.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 12:42am BST

Merseymike: Perhaps this is a bid for power from Akinola, perhaps not. That, however, is an obfuscation of the fact that TEC has violated the spirit of the Virginia Report at GC 2003 and at VGR's consecration, violated the spirit of Lambeth 1.10 in 2003 (knowingly and intentionally on Frank Griswold's part), precipitated impaired communion prior to GC '06, and with considered aforethought (we had two years), and ignored the recommendations of the Windsor Report with the bureaucratic equivalence of a shrug.

TEC handed Akinola his Gulf of Tonkin in 2003. 2006 just makes him look all the more "prophetic," and adds fuel to the fire. It does not matter that there are TEC sympathizers in the Church of England, in South Africa, in New Zealand, etc. Latitudinarians are furious that TEC is so unrepentantly brazen in their insistance that a homosexual self-actualizer thinking he deserves to be in the episcopate, at the expense of the whole Anglican Communion, is a justice issue.

But TEC is not thinking about Anglican ecclesiology... they just want to insist on being fascistly provincial and getting to have their way, right now, in typical American immediate gratification fashion, quickly vesting that in civil rights to justify it... if the Anglican Communion or the Global South responds in kind by centralizing governing structures into a Covenant, it will have been done at the insistence inherent in TEC's operating style... and I am willing to bet that the bar of the Covenant will be set just a little bit too high for TEC's homosexual social justice advocates to jump... particularly as we will likely no longer have a seat at the table to form a Covenant....

At best we'll have a Communion minus one or two provinces... at worst, and more likely without an act of Jesus that TEC doesn't have the "canonical" or "provincial autonomy" to interfere with, we will have two communions Anglican.

Congratulations TEC! Well done. You've ended the dream of an Anglican Communion held together by bonds of affection.

Posted by Christoferos at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 5:21am BST

Mike: "... that (CAPA's breaking communion?) will include much of the Church of England, because there is no intention to declare TEC not in communion with them."

I dunno. The ABC's Reflection and the "In or out" putative Covenant, together with the CoE HoB's near-unanimous acceptance of Windsor, and the negative language from a normally excruciatingly careful and tactful (and Welsh) ABC, all suggest to me that the possibility of the CoE breaking communion with some large portion of ECUSA is no longer completely unthinkable.

But we shall see.

Posted by Craig Goodrich at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 5:30am BST

"together with the CoE HoB's near-unanimous acceptance of Windsor"

The HoB has not endorsed the entire Windsor Report. Please refer to
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/000997.html
and also
http://anglicansonline.org/news/articles/2005/generalsynodwindsorprimates0220.html

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 8:22am BST

DaveW,
I'm glad we agree that Jesus ate with those who were, as you put it, 'beyond the pale'. Jesus certainly was dismissive the hypocrisy he exposed in those who claimed to “own” the Covenant while vitiating it. When they rested on the Sabbath, the Pharisees truly believed they had Dealt With Jesus once and for all, and no consequences for themselves. How anyone interprets the Atonement is not a matter I have raised here. St Paul’s statement that the faith matters only because of the resurrection should be taken seriously enough to allow the rest to be left to God. Without the resurrection our faith (and the Church) ceases to really matter.

With this in mind, I am mystified and perplexed by this statement: "you seem still to not have grasped why they are doing this…may I suggest that there will be few if any available for any two way traffic. The Nigerian church dwarfs the ECUSA nd its the ECUSA which is splitting apart not the Nigerian church..."

Goliath was a belligerent giant, and he was brought low by a youth with a slingshot. "Might is Right" is not a Christian principle: your "Might is Right" doesn’t wash. Cinemas attract more people than churches of any stripe - does this mean that Hollywood is the One True Faith? If the greatest global numbers of posteriors meeting pews is the measure of Right-ness, then all Anglicans should have accepted the authority of the Pope long ago.

You haven't addressed my question about the consequences of the Nigerians consecrating Minns as a missionary bishop to his own area: you’ve only given your view of the causes. The Pharisees discovered that actions can have unimaginable consequences. If the Nigerians proceed, two-way traffic is a consequence they haven’t publicly imagined. Do you truly believe the *liberals* would “never dare”? Why shouldn't the Nigerians be expected to acquiesce in the precedent they will soon set? Uniformity of opinion is extremely rare in groups of people, particularly churches; you have conceded the likelihood of this in the Nigerian Church. Are these people equally obvious candidates as Rev. Minns for consecration as missionary bishops along the same lines to *besieged liberals* in Nigeria? If this is so, then is two-way traffic on this Nigerian-built road inevitable? Why would this be a desirable outcome for the Nigerian or American Churches, or the Communion?

Posted by kieran crichton at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 10:23am BST

Two Anglican Communions is by far the best outcome, Christoferos.

It would be far better, from my perspective, to be part of a church without the malevolent homophobia of Akinola and other fundamentalists.

Gay and lesbian equality is a justice issue and is far more important than the supposed 'unity'of a sick and corrupt communion which is well past its sell by date - and won't be missed by me when it finally collapses. I shall have the champagne on ice!

Thing is, Christoferos, I don't have any bonds of affection whith conservative theology and its homophobic followers. They follow and belong to an entirely different religion, one I do not affiliate myself to.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 12:22pm BST

Dear kieran crichton,
Sorry being pedantic but I was merely quoting ‘beyond the pale’ which someone else used, but why do we agree that Jesus ate with those people? I think the NT tells us that
As to ‘might is right’ that is your term and not one I used or was trying to convey. The context I was using was the communion as a whole, the ECUSA being a minority whose leadership theology the majority of the communion believes is too significant a departure from the Christian faith.

But you ask whether two-way traffic on this Nigerian-built road is inevitable, but I would say again that its highly unlikely as there will be little if any traffic going the other way.

Posted by DaveW at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 2:45pm BST

I would assume that all involved heard yesterdays Epistle reading in their respective churches. I wonder if they even thought it applies to them. What to me are the two most relevant verses are appended below:

"4:31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice,

4:32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you."

Odd that these kind of passages are hardly ever quoted by either side. Condemning gay people or trying to fudge some difficult passages are obviously bigger issues. Odder still that those for whom Scripture is the supreme authority would ignore such passages in favour of the 7 or 8 that bolster their prejudices. Scripture is authoritative except when it tells me to love someone I don't like, I guess.

Of course, some will quote v,28:
"4:28 Thieves must give up stealing..."
as though that solves the issue, but I am not talking about what the Church says to gay people, but about what we say to each other, and just because some of us are gay doesn't give us the right to ignore our responsibilities to each other.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 2:55pm BST

Fact is, probably. We already have a nascent global underground railroad of sorts, thanks partly to mobility within the communion. Hidden LGBTQ Folks. Latent liberal-progressive thinkers. Young scientists. People of many sorts who grow up in countries where some closed secular or religious traditionalism believes that it already knows, and enforces thank you very much, all that is allowable.

Surely if Nigeria dares to try to evangelize the wayward USA liberals, they will return the favor? UK Changing Attitude is already working with Nigerian Changing Attitude. South Africa already constitutes another African way to put it all together, without the Nigerian love of police work.

If the new Windsor Bishops are a second broad center pulling against Minns, CANA, and so forth - will the Lambeth 1.10 call for listening once again be a useful, but ultimately insincere, smoke screen for still moving things to the right? Or will the new Windsor Bishops actually find ways to jump start the listening process that never actually took place in so many conservative USA parishes? Will Minns and CANA join in listening? Or are they mainly called to preach what they already know, deep down, is false witness against unconformed people?

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 3:11pm BST

"violated the spirit of the Virginia Report at GC 2003" .... and I thought this report was "dead in the water" .... it was rejected by the ACC wasn't it?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 6:58pm BST

I wonder. How different is this canonically speaking, from the time a group of people gathered together in the US to ordain - against the rule of the church canons - the first women as deacons and then later as priests? In other words, why all the uproar when Akinola, the Anglican province of Nigeria and Minns are choosing to act in the belief that what they are doing is just and for the sake of the gospel? How is this so terribly different and why such uproar?

Posted by Robert Holman+ at Monday, 14 August 2006 at 10:27pm BST

I am assuming that this is Robert Holman, priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany and a member of the Standing Committee of that diocese that produced this statement: http://albany.anglican.org/equipping/newsitems/Briefs/brief-060707.htm

I have no enthusiasm for the Windsor Report, but I respect those who have. One of the features of many of those who loudly promulgate this document is their selectivity, particularly when it comes to the moratorium on crossing Provincial boundaries.

Even if it is not that particular priest then I draw his attention to a line from the above statement which says:
“The Windsor Report required compliance with both the spirit and letter of its content.”

I would suggest that the ordination of Mr Minns as a bishop of the Church of Nigeria to serve in America is very much what was in the minds of the authors of the Windsor Report and therefore could in no way be seen as compliant to either the spirit or letter of its content.

For myself, I am not particularly exercised by this ordination rather I wonder how any sensible person can read the Windsor Report where we find the chairman saying that it is NOT a judgment, rather the beginning of a process and come up with the view expressed in the Albany Statement, but there you are …..

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 12:17am BST

DaveW,
You said "The Nigerian church dwarfs the ECUSA" = "Might is Right". The Communion as a whole is not acting against TEC; rather, the Nigerians are being prevailed upon to act without due regard to the consequences. Just like the Pharisees thought they might nail Jesus with impunity. With the benefit of hindsight, do we not tend to regard the Pharisees and their allies as having acted precipitately?
Once again, I am asking about whether the consequences of this action really justify it, not why you think it should be done - repetition doesn't make your views any more persuasive. So now that you've said that you don't think two-way traffic is inevitable, and that the liberals would "never dare", why shouldn't the Nigerians be expected to acquiesce in the precedent they will soon set, should the liberals ever dare? Uniformity of opinion is extremely rare in groups of people, particularly churches; you have conceded the likelihood of this in the Nigerian Church. Among these people is there an equally obvious candidate like Rev. Minns for consecration as a missionary bishop to *besieged liberals* in Nigeria? If this is so, then two-way traffic on this Nigerian-built road IS inevitable, should these *beseiged liberals* ever feel that it's time to act. Why would this be a desirable outcome for the Nigerian or American Churches, or the Communion?

Posted by kieran crichton at Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 7:44am BST

Merseymike wrote,
!It would be far better, from my perspective, to be part of a church without the malevolent homophobia of Akinola and other fundamentalists.
Gay and lesbian equality is a justice issue and is far more important than the supposed 'unity' of a sick and corrupt communion which is well past its sell by date - and won't be missed by me when it finally collapses. I shall have the champagne on ice!"
This is more about schism in the Anglican communion over such issues than gay and lesbian lobbying.
Sadly in response to such language I have to point out that the Anglican Communion believes God loves all who are homosexually orientated and indeed there are plenty of celibate homosexually orientated Christians in the church, what the church cant have is gay and lesbian lobbyists promoting pratice that is sinful, unholy and against God's purposes for His church.

Posted by DaveW at Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 7:47am BST

DaveW
The topic is the Nigerian election of Minns. Please keep to the topic.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 11:15am BST

Sorry Simon I did say Merseymike's comments were off topic in my last post. My apologies

Posted by DaveW at Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 3:28pm BST

Responding to Martin,

My point, that you so readily recognize, was that people who disregard canons in a previous situation have little canonical ground to stand on when trying to oppose the consecration of Minns. One cannot claim justice in the first instance then cry foul in the second without being the hypocrite and the selective canonical fundamentalist.

Once the boundary line around our playing field has been ignored it is hard to claim it is still there for others.

You imply that I hypocritically support Minns exercising apostolic jurisdiction in the US which is your incorrect assumption. (True, I have no problem with his being consecrated a bishop in the Church of Nigeria.)

I remain submitted to the canons of this church as well as the expressed will of the higher "councils" of our Church in the Windsor Report and the Dromantine communique. And I wait for higher authorities to work out our present impasse (read - impose discipline on the errant ECUSA and follow it to its conclusion, whatever that may be).

After all, as you at least peripherally acknowledge, disregard for authority (scriptural, apostolic or even canonical) is the real sin of the Episcopal Church. Unfortunately, clinging to the last and least (canonical) is a fool's game when the previous have been so blatently disregarded - as evidenced by the Windsor report and the pickle we find ourselves in.

As to your comments about Akinola's diminished leadership with "it is said" comments, I dare say it is wishful thinking. He sends out workers into the harvest who are killed for their Christian faith. Yet they still follow his leadership AND the Church is growing mightily in Nigeria. This fact alone commands tremendous respect among his peers - even if they don't like his plain speaking.

You might pause for a moment to ask why the Church is growing so quickly under his leadership. Remember, Jesus warns us to judge a tree by its fruit (or lack there of.)

Posted by Robert Holman+ at Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 8:03pm BST

Robert Holman makes a good point. The church of Nigeria is growing, it has unity in its beliefs, the ECUSA is splitting in two.
As to the fruits ..puttng aside what we perceive as right or wrong, Jesus refers to a house divided with reference to Satan.... so perhaps the church has always been under the influence of Satan on these matters or perhaps Satan has just recently got into the church in a big way.

Posted by DaveW at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 10:02am BST

Clearly neither TEC , the Anglican Churches nor christianity itself have
a fixed 'authority (scriptural, apostolic or even canonical.'

If such a fixed, clear authority existed, we would not be having this
rumpus, and there would not be different understandings of
christianity, and all the different denominations, around the world. In
fact, Robert Holman does not accept the authority of his Church as
expressed, through the resolutions of its duly constitued General
Convention. He wishes to make a minority statement, to disent from the
teachings and decisons of GC. Its sin is not to be in agreement with
himself. ECUSA does seem to follow its canons and procedures
conscientiously. Now it is being upbraided for not following some
other rules, someplace else. Yet the Anglican Communion has no canons
and no authority except inter-personal and moral authority. I notice how
the latter arises from the authenticity of the former. That's why
duplicity, blackmail and bullying cannot result in morally authoratative
acts or words. Gay folks know a lot about this-- from experience. I
believe in living and letting live-- I believe TEC's GC favours
something along these lines too. But the whole point of CANA I believe
is to exclude lgbt people and our families, friends and supporters from
church.


Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 6:42pm BST

For myself, I don't mind parrallel provinces, missions, chaplaincies.
ECUSA is so orderly and thoughtful, I think the majority are'nt too
keen. For myself, I don't mind a free-for-all. But the logistics of it
will make communication, relationships and any kind of dialogue, or
joint work, much more difficult to initiate and sustain.
And yet, I would maintain that the only authority worth having is that
of shared relationships, thinking and endeavours on the ground, with
shared reflection. This kind of living, precarious authority, is hardly
likey to be very propositional, and surely needs emodiment in people,
places, relationships and 'projects'.

(This kind of personal & inter-personal authority , or shared
'authorship' of life together, is quite distinct to the phoney authority
of 'higher councils', however fancy their names 'Windsor', or hifalutin
their claims-- to 'apostolic jurisdiction' may be. The more
unearthable, old fashioned 'Roman sounding', and generally obscurantist
language I hear,the more I suspect myself to be in the presence of, --if
not scoundrels, then certainly those who wish to pull the wool over my
eyes ! ).

btw
if a few more canons breached don't matter one way or the other ----
hows about if the See of New Hampshire set up a pro-lgbtw Mission to,
say, Nigeria and environs ? It would be for all those faithful
Anglicans there, who feel excluded by the policies and actions of the C
of N (Anglican Communion).

Or a Convocation--or better, CORNUCOPIA for the Global Ordination of
Women --this would enfold within its care, all those denied the ministry
of women in Anglican provinces where it is denied

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 6:45pm BST

"Robert Holman does not accept the authority of his Church as expressed, through the resolutions of its duly constitued General Convention..." -

But only by higher authority.

We are a church of councils (BCP p531 - "Now you are called to work as a pastor, priest...and to take your share in the councils of the Church.") and councils err, Article XXI of the Historical Articles --- hence the need for doctrine and the advent of the Windsor Report.

Those of us willing to submit to the discipline of the Windsor Report (even if we think it wrong) will remain a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

Innovating ECUSA will rapidly find itself a tiny Christian sect free to do whatever it likes. What did C.S. Lewis write was God's judgment, when God says, "Have it your way, Your will be done."

Posted by Robert Holman+ at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 10:31pm BST

I am a little confused by Robert Holman’s argument on the 1974/5 irregular ordination of women in America. I did not know that any of the bishops involved in that event had commented on Mr Minns’ ordination, though if they had it would be good (at least) to know they are still alive after 32 years.
My view here is that generally Christians should not justify a breach of faith or sanction illegality on the grounds that others did it first, nor should we easily accuse others of hypocrisy who were not party to the actions then.
Though I must admit that in my years on the rugby field my team sometimes moved forward to our goal with infringements of the rules relating to the boundary lines, but I cannot remember ever being shy at objecting loudly when our opponents did the same!
Hypocrisy is not a word I like to use, but I do see many inconsistent views expressed – and in this case I felt there was a certain inconsistency in the construction of Robert’s scenario. Mr Minns is not being ordained a bishop to work in Nigeria, the intention here is to breach the constraints of the very Windsor Report that his Standing Committee's statement holds in such esteem.
My view is that to remain consistent the loudest “uproar” should justifiably emanate from him and those who supported the views elegantly summarised in the Albany statement.
The new constitution the Nigerian Church has swept away any submission to the “higher councils of our Church” he waits upon and with its new autonomy and “straight speaking” leader offers us all fresh challenges to consider.

I share Robert's view that those who talk of Peter Akinola’s diminished leadership are deluded, as I hope my comment implied. As to knowing by fruits, in this I am a firm believer and I watch with interest to see what the future holds.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 10:47pm BST

All this talk of 'submission to Windsor' strikes me as a smokescreen for the fact that you are only interested in what is 'hammered on your own anvil' !

Otherwise you would be 'submitting' to 'the Windosr discipline' of meeting and listening to lgbt people.

And the Windsor discipline of not crossing provincial boundaries, to set up rival jurisdictions; and fifth column entryism.

All this rapid growth we are told of, and splitting of cells,they warn us of, makes me begin to wonder if the innovation of 'Evangelicalism' is not a form of carcinoma in the body of the church. All my life I have seen this form of self-centredness causing disenssion in churches, as they sought to lay down the law. No interest in live & let live.

For example, even in the Society of Friends, this theological innovation has undermined the Society; and led in the USA to the establishing of rival Quaker 'jurisdictions ('Yearly Meetings')by those seeking doctrinal purity, and unable to tolerate diversity. This is a striking parrallel to what is being attempted by disidents in ECUSA. From the US, Quaker missionaries have transported their fundamentalim to many parts of Africa.

As a gay man, I have been a disident within Church and society all my life, but never have I tried to impose my will on others, or destroy the Church from within. I have defended, and do defend freedom of religious belief and practice, and have never sought to exclude anyone from the church. But I have both seen the exclsuion of lgbt people, and experienced it first hand.

btw
Why have there been no gay terrorists / freedom fighters ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 11:51pm BST

Laurence,
I love that you used the phrase "innovation of 'Evangelicalism' ". I have been saying this for some time. Gay bishops and ordained women are indeed an innovation, but those who call themselves "orthodox" and "reasserters" are merely reasserting ideas that were innovative at the Reformation. To begin with, they don't venerate icons, many of them have a memorialist understanding of the Eucharist, and a darn good many of them would have a stroke at the thought of invoking the Saints, much less the Mother of God. They wouldn't even use that title for her. Their placing of authority in Scripture and not Holy Tradition is likewise heterodox, so where's this supposed "orthodoxy"?

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 6:52pm BST

HI Ford, yes good points. Evangelicalism or should that be Evangelicalisms? are so much a recent innovation and people tend to forget that. I think those who aren't Evangelical or who are post-evangelical or recovering -- or both, like myself, I realise, can easily still take it on its own terms. Yet, it's hard to square its stances with the Bible -- but we're told it's Biblical. And we we forget its a new take on things because it says it's the real deal !

It is very much part of my history and past self identity , but also current self identity in as much as past identity lives on in the present in some way. Some how I got in touch with some of this in my last comment here, and felt hurt and ANGRY!

I no longer feel there is one truth waiting to be discovered, but that we each have a 'self' or something, waiting to be found, or actualised, so live & let live has to be my stance --- 'Discover & let discover'! I don't think has anything to do with 'cafeteria spirituality' -- a demeaning term beloved of deans and bishops! But we are all pick-n-mix now, if you like. Maybe the important thing is for us all to seek to take responsibility for the choices we make - like catholic, protestant, RC, liberal, evangelical, Sea of Faith, or some combination! -- and so on.

Even those who say the Bible or the Church or whatever is my final authority, have still picked / chosen. They have made this choice and installed this authority which they are also free to un-install. This is what we so often avoid facing up to.

But this is a cop out these days :

"The Bible tells me so..."
or the bishop (which Bish ?!), the pope, the church, the Windsor Report.

If we could get beyond all that we could start to share more with each other of our spirituality, enner life, experiences, stories and be greatly encouraged, supported and en-joyed rather than enjoined.

So thanks, Ford, you re not to blame for my ramblings!

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 18 August 2006 at 8:48am BST

As someone who attended Truro Church for over 10 years, I have to object to the stereotyping that so many people hurl on the parish and its Rector. Homosexuality isn't the issue at hand. The issue is the methodology by which we ensure that we are not "following too much the devices and desires of our own hearts." Most people I knew objected to the process by which the Homosexual Agenda was adopted by ECUSA. When the Commission on Theology, and all of the Instruments of Unity said "no" - many of us who were conflicted over both arguments relied on a long-established process to discern a clear path on the topic. When not one academic or pastoral organisation would endorse the Robinson or Marriage proposals, it becomes difficult to be sure we are not "following to much the devices and desires of our own hearts." When we expressed discomfort at what felt to be caving in to popular secular pressure, nobody answered our questions, but rather jumped to label us "homophobes." Lacking a reasonable argument to counter the findings of the above-mentioned bodies, we were left to conclude this was the wrong direction for the Church.

So when the left labels the people of Truro as homophobic or devisive, it's a flashing strobe light that they has never attended Truro, much less spoken to any of us. The parish has a very large and generous AIDS Ministry, and Martyn Minns has NEVER ONCE preached anything less than love and inclusion of all people, regardless of who they are. But he also preaches that we all have to make changes in our lives, and that being a Christian means making choices - choices that may not be fun, or entertaining. And THAT is the crux of the Gospel as they preach it at Truro. It's not about homosexuality, or abortion, or any other flashpoint issues. It's always about discernment and obedience.

Posted by mwcob at Friday, 25 August 2006 at 1:01am BST

Is that what you think this is about? Homosexuals choose to have fun and choosing fun is the moral wrong here?

It's not fun to come out to your family and tell them exactly who you are. That's a difficult choice, not an easy choice.

It's not easy to care for a partner lovingly and at through their terminal illness only to catch the same terminal disease yourself. Yet I have known gay partners who have done exactly this. People who exemplify Christ through their willingness to sacrifice themselves for another. That is *not* an easy choice.

It's not fun for others who do not share your condition to try to tell you how *you* should live your life. Discernment is not Martyn Minns standing up in a pulpit and telling pther people how they need to choose. Discernment is learning to make moral choice for oneself. One makes moral choices not by reading the answer in a book, but by engaging God and listening to God.

The moral wrong here is that Martyn Minns presumes to perform this act of discernment for gays.

The fact that you are so blithely able to condemn all gays as libertines makes me think that you don't understand this issue at all.

Posted by ruidh at Friday, 25 August 2006 at 1:47pm BST
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