A new report has now appeared at the Washington Times Virginia Episcopal bishop slams Nigerian appointment. This includes the following:
“This is not a welcome development,” said Jonathan Jennings, spokesman for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, about Wednesday’s election of Canon Martyn Minns of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax as bishop for the Anglican province of Nigeria.
“It’s neither timely nor constructive,” he said. “It further complicates an already complex situation.”
And the Episcopal News Service published Virginia bishop calls Nigerian election an ‘affront’.
Richmond Times-Dispatch Episcopal official objects to rector also serving as bishop
The first Washington Times story about this was Anglicans select Fairfax rector as bishop on 28 June.
Forward in Faith North America has welcomed the development nevertheless, see FiF NA welcomes the election as bishop of Canon Martyn Minns.
There seems to be confusion and misinformation about what is happening there. Yesterday, I linked to a story in the Washington Times (which for a while was removed from that website but has now been republished with a correction notice) and there was nothing at all in the Washington Post.
According to this letter on the Diocese of Virginia website, Bishop Peter Lee writes to the Diocese of Virginia, several things in that story are not true:
In a story in todayâ€™s Washington Times newspaper (June 29, 2006), reporting on the election by the Nigerian Episcopal Synod of the Rev. Canon Martyn Minns as a bishop of the Church of Nigeria, it is asserted that Truro Church, Fairfax and The Falls Church, Falls Church have informed me that they plan to leave the Diocese.
I have had no such conversation with either church. In fact, I received a call today from the Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, to apologize for the assertion in the story and to assure me that there is no such plan on the part of The Falls Church. I also received today an e-mail from the Rev. Martyn Minns assuring me that no such decision had been made at Truro.
The election of the Rev. Martyn Minns as a Bishop of the Church of Nigeria with oversight of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America is an affront to the traditional, orthodox understanding of Anglican Provincial Autonomy. Archbishop Akinola acknowledges as much in his letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. How that situation resolves itself remains to be seen. However, the request by Archbishop Akinola that Martyn be allowed to continue as rector of an Episcopal congregation while also serving as a Nigerian Bishop seems to me, at this point, to be impossible. I raised this issue with Martyn when he and I spoke yesterday.
Here are links to the websites of the two churches:
The Washington Times has reported that our church has informed our Bishop that we are leaving the Diocese of Virginia and leaving the Episcopal Church. This certainly is not true and misrepresents where we are as a congregation. It is true that we think an extended period of study, prayer, and deliberation about how we are to respond to the serious rift in our denomination is wise and we are hoping to engage in such a time this fall. The thoughtful booklet (â€œCan Two Walk Together, Except They Be Agreed?â€) that our vestry recently prepared and sent to the congregation analyzing our current situation is the most up to date information we have produced. It gives a clear sense of the issues we are facing. There are extra copies available in the church.
On Wednesday, the Church of Nigeriaâ€™s House of Bishops selected me as their missionary bishop for the Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA). I am truly humbled by this honor.
CANA was created by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) as a mission to meet the needs of Anglican Nigerians in the wake of the divisive actions of the Episcopal Church USA at its last triennial General Convention in 2003. In this role of missionary bishop I have been called upon to provide oversight to the pastors of CANA congregations.
What does this mean for Truro? It most certainly does NOT mean that Truro will be left without a rector. Iâ€™m not going anywhere. The vestry has endorsed my continuing as Truroâ€™s rector until the rector search committee completes its job and a new rector has been selected.
By the way, donâ€™t believe everything you read in the newspapers. Thursdayâ€™s headline in the Washington Times was terribly wrong. The Truro congregation has not gone through its discernment process and so no decision has been made about our future plans. We are struggling to find a way to remain faithful Anglicans during these turbulent times in the Episcopal Church.
I look forward to seeing you in worship this weekend and at one of our previously scheduled parish meetings on Sunday: Rectorâ€™s Forum (9:30 a.m. in the Chapel) or the Parish Meeting (12:00 p.m. noon in the Main Sanctuary).
As always, your brother in Christ,
More about the position of The Falls Church here.