Thinking Anglicans

Saturday opinion columns

The Times has a review by Geza Vermes of the book Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI.

And Alan Webster writes there about Life with Lenin in one corner and a holy icon in the other.

Peter Stanford writes in the Guardian about C Day-Lewis in Face to Faith.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about Gregorian chant in Where stone comes to life.

Giles Fraser’s Church Times column is titled Community life isn’t all about pubs.


The Last Confession

Last week’s Church Times carried my review of the new play at the Chichester Festival Theatre under the title Post-mortem on the year of three popes.

It has since been announced that The Last Confession will open in London in June at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.


more on the Wycliffe Hall row

Updated Saturday

The Church Times has this report by Bill Bowder: Principal’s changes lead to resignations and wall of silence. It starts out:

WYCLIFFE HALL, Oxford, is the focus of a dispute involving allegations of a culture of bullying and intimidation, and of an ultra-conservative attitude to women.

The governing Council of the theological college, a permanent private hall of the University, is chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones. This week it said that it had embarked on a review of the college’s governance.

The complaints centre on the management style of the Principal, the Revd Dr Richard Turnbull, and his appointment of the Revd Simon Vibert as Vice-Principal. Mr Vibert had made public his belief that women should not teach men.

He co-wrote, with the Revd Dr Mark Burkill and the Revd Dr David Peterson, a Latimer Trust paper that argued that a woman on her own should not teach men about faith or lead a congregation (Ministry Work Group Statement concerning the ministry of women in the Church today). [PDF file]

Since Dr Turnbull was appointed in 2005, six full-time or part-time academic staff have resigned posts. In a letter of resignation to Dr Turnbull in March, the former director of studies, Dr Philip Johnston, accused him of leadership “without significant regard for your staff colleagues”. Dr Johnston wrote that the new Vice-Principal had been appointed despite a “very strong consensus” of staff and students in favour of a different candidate…

The Church of England Newspaper has, via Anglican Mainstream this report: Wycliffe Council backs Principal in process of change. Part of the report:

A LEADING evangelical theological college this week responded to allegations of bullying and deep divisions among staff due to it becoming more doctrinally conservative.

The Council of Wycliffe Hall, which is part of the University of Oxford, admitted the college was going through a period of change which was ‘unsettling’. The statement follows a document circulated to the press which claims the college in ‘in crisis’ after being ‘taken over’ by a ‘highly conservative evangelical faction who are deliberately trying to drive out longstanding and highly respected staff members by their aggressive, homophobic behaviour’.

The anonymous document claims that since the appointment two years ago of the current Principal, the Rev Dr Richard Turnbull,the culture at the college has ‘become increasingly hostile to women priests and openly homophobic’, and that a ‘culture of bullying and intimidation began to develop’.

It adds that unrest grew at the college when Dr Turnbull signed the controversial ‘Covenant for the Church of England’, a document drawn up by conservative evangelicals proposing alternative Episcopal arrangements for their churches in the row over homosexuality. The document claims that several members of the teaching staff have already resigned as they feel alienated and intimidated by the college management, and calls for the Church of England to intervene.

It concludes: “This college is no longer fit to be recognised either as a training institution for the ordinands of the Church of England or as a permanent private hall of Oxford University. It is not a safe place for women or gays … the Church and university must act to do something.”

A further report is in Cherwell24 Crisis at Wycliffe Hall as five staff resign in protest


Archbishop Akinola talks to the press

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) website carries this: Press briefing by Archbishop Peter Akinola on Sunday 13th May at the end of the Abuja Diocesan Synod.

In addition to various comments on Nigerian matters, he also gives his views on legislative developments in the USA and on the Hereford tribunal case in the UK:

Many people look to the USA as a Christian country and its leaders often assume the role of moral leaders for the world who are ready to point the finger at problems around the globe and yet we must not forget that there is another side to their story. The present generation of Americans would do well to remember their own history. While they and their forebears claim their nation to be a gift from God it is in truth a land forcefully taken with no respect for the human rights of the despised and dispossessed Indians – it is also a land where a great deal of its early economic foundation was built on the sweat and blood of de-humanized African slaves.

Americans seem to have forgotten the same LORD in whom they say “In God we trust”. Deuteronomy 7 and 8 are relevant biblical passages

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” 8:18a

“Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.” 8: 19

The God who has blessed so abundantly is also a jealous God who requires obedience and holy living. But instead of calling for obedience to the Word of God we now have the situation where those who call for faithfulness in holy matrimony or abstinence outside of it risk being accused of hate speech. The breakdown in marriages in the USA is a scandal. It is causing a massive crisis in their own society and the rest of the world. But instead of admitting the problem and finding creative ways to strengthen traditional families we see a relentless promotion and protection of so called ‘alternative lifestyles.’ Recent legislative bill H.R. 1592 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007) passed in the House on May 3rd 2007, and the H.R 2015 (Employment Non-Discrimination Act.) being discussed are worthy of note. God will not be mocked.

We see a similar crisis in the UK. The decline in marriages and the breakdown in families has become an epidemic. But instead of encouraging holy living and strengthening family life we read of a bishop of the Church of England called before tribunal to explain his refusal to hire a certain youth worker. His offence was ‘discrimination’, we were told because the job seeker in this case was a self-confessed homosexual and who said he had just ended a five-year homosexual relationship. Surely the Church has an obligation to promote holy living not apologise for it!

  • Where is the Christian voice in all these?
  • Why are Church leaders not concerned about this breakdown in society?
  • Why are they ashamed of promoting holy living?
  • Why have they lost their confidence in the Word of God?

We are very much aware of the challenges that face us today in Nigeria. Many of these we addressed in our Synod and continue to do so day by day. Our hope is in the Lord – the maker of heaven and earth – and in His Holy Word.

We call on Christians worldwide to rise to the challenge of protecting our Christian: –

  • Freedom to read the Bible privately and in public
  • Freedom to preach from the Bible, and declare uncompromisingly the total oracles of the Lord
  • Freedom to shield ourselves, and our children, from what we believe our God says is immoral and abominable.
  • Freedom to seek to help those willing to escape Satan’s deceitful traps.
  • Freedom to live holy and acceptable lives in the sight of God

The issue here is not about homophobia. We are concerned about defending the right to existence of Biblical Christianity. It is about allowing the Spirit of God to transform people rather than deceive them that there is nothing wrong in their unholy practices. It is about rejecting a world system that wants to curtail our freedom to live as our Saviour taught us to. It is simply trying our best to live and encourage others to live to be HOLY as our GOD IS HOLY.

May the Lord keep us Holy.

hat tip Jim Naughton who comments here.


interview with Rowan Williams

Stop doing that which is pulling us apart – Archbishop of Canterbury appeals in interview is the headline at Global South Anglican. This is the transcript of an interview with Lucilla Teoh for the Diocese of Singapore’s Diocesan Digest. Here is an extract:

Q – So how do you see then things developing pre-Lambeth 2008 and post-Lambeth? If you can make a wish, what will that be?

A – I’m hoping and praying that we shall have no more actions that polarize the Communion between now and Lambeth 2008. This is the point I have already brought to the Canadian House of Bishops which we are trying to get across to the American House of Bishops. But also trying to say to some other provinces: Don’t step up the level of intervention in this crisis because all of that is just pulling us further and further apart. So I hope we can have a bit of moratorium on this, and in a way, a reflection on what kind of a church we want to be. Now, some parts of the Communion would be happy if we could be just a federation of loosely connected local bodies. I’m not happy with that. We could be more than that. We should be more than that. We should be living out of each other’s life and resources and vision and be more closely connected. Because I think that is what the New Testament assumes the local church should do and not live in isolation. They lived with each other, from each other’s life. So, that’s my vision.

I see the next Lambeth Conference ideally as the place where Bishops can really be re-equipped for their central task of enabling mission and in every sense educating the people of God and equipping them for their outreach. That’s how I can see it.

Q – This actually gets you to my next question. Do you think therefore a sort of centrally driven or some sort of concerted organized effort through the Primates or Province representatives?

A – I think at the moment we are in a very confused state with the structure of the Anglican Communion. People turn to the Primates because there doesn’t seem to be anything else that works, a forum for people’s interest, that meets regularly, that can assemble at short notice, which can work together. At the same time, I don’t think the Primates’ Meeting ought to be isolated from other bodies. And I have some hope for the integration of the Primates in the Anglican Consultative Council. Perhaps that will give us a better tool. I think we do need in our shared counsel the voices of priests and lay people as well as Primates and bishops. And the challenge is how to find a structure that will help us cohere in that way. We have some good examples. In fact the meeting of the Theological Education group that has been going on in Singapore this weekend brings together bishops, priests, lay people for a common task around the Communion which is not driven I think by a London-based or a New York-based agenda. It’s owned by everybody. It’s quite a good model. I think we need that sense of the whole Communion setting the agenda and getting away from the suspicion, right or wrong, that the agenda’s been fixed from somewhere else.

Q – So I suppose that’s basically how you see it right now in terms of encouraging the provinces to take more initiative?

A – Oh yes. I think, as I said, with the integration with ACC is in principle a good idea. We just need to make it work properly. I think in the next two years, let’s say, up to the Lambeth Conference, there needs to be quite a lot of thinking of how we make our common structure work better for us, to concentrate our energy where they need to be concentrated and to give us a way of dealing with crisis that isn’t just reactive…


Fort Worth reaffirms pursuit of APO

Updated Thursday

The Diocese of Fort Worth has issued this announcement as a PDF:

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Executive Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has adopted a statement of the diocesan Standing Committee calling for the diocese to move forward with its appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO).

The Bishop and Standing Committee of the diocese first appealed for APO at the General Convention in June 2006. That appeal was endorsed by the diocesan Executive Council in September 2006 and by the Diocesan Convention in November 2006. The Bishop and diocese remain firmly convinced of the need for alternative oversight; therefore, the Standing Committee, meeting Monday, May 14, adopted the following statement as an assessment of the current situation and a proposal to actively pursue all viable options. It was adopted by the Executive Council in its regular bimonthly meeting. The mood of the council was both thoughtful and sad, yet it was considered prudent to “explore the possibilities and count the costs.” According to the Constitution of the diocese, the Executive Council “exercises the powers of the Convention between meetings thereof.”

The full text of the statement mentioned above is copied here below the fold.

There are two stories in The Times about this:
Anglican diocese defects over gays and the earlier Anglican diocese defects over gays (scroll down).
The Living Church reported it as Ft. Worth: Options Include Oversight Outside Episcopal Church.
See also what Episcopal Café and Preludium have to say about this.

Update Thursday
Episcopal News Service has a report FORT WORTH: Diocese renews its oversight request, proposes new structures.



"Unholy Row" in Oxford

There’s a story by Stephen Bates in today’s Guardian about trouble at Wycliffe Hall, a Church of England theological college in Oxford: Unholy row at Oxford’s college for clergy amid staff exodus and claims of bullying.

It starts:

One of England’s most respected theological colleges is facing claims that staff feel bullied and intimidated as the institution becomes increasingly conservative.

The discontent at Wycliffe Hall, an evangelical Anglican college which is part of Oxford University, has seen several resignations among its small academic staff and claims that one of its most prominent members, the regular Thought for the Day contributor Elaine Storkey, was threatened with disciplinary action.


Will Brown hand back powers to the Church?

Religious Intelligence carries this report by Christopher Morgan:

Will Brown hand back powers to the Church?

…The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told senior colleagues that he intends to give the church control over its own senior appointments. At the moment the Prime Minister plays a major role in the appointment of diocesan bishops and has the sole right to nominate deans of most English cathedrals. Mr Brown himself hinted at lifting control of the ecclesiastical appointments in a speech to the Fabian Society last year. Until 1976 the church had no formal role in the appointment of bishops at all, although it was consulted as a matter of courtesy. Thirty years ago, however, James Callaghan then Prime Minister established the Crown Appointments Commission, now renamed the Crown Nominations Commission, which draws up a shortlist of two names which it may offer in order of preference. The Prime Minister chooses either of the names or seeks other names from the Commission. Tony Blair used this veto at least once in 1997 to turn down both candidates proposed for the diocese of Liverpool.

The Prime Minister’s appointment secretary plays an active role in the whole process and is a non-voting member of the Commission.

Sources close to Mr Brown, who is a member of the Church of Scotland, indicated that he will introduce the change by producing a memorandum of agreement with the Church’s General Synod. One source said: “Brown does not need to introduce any legislation or take up any parliamentary time in this matter. He is simply altering convention.”

The present Crown Nominations Commission would remain but present only one name to Downing Street which the Prime Minister would then pass on to the Queen for her final appointment. In the case of cathedral deans it is said that Mr Brown will invite the bishop of the diocese to consult with his senior colleagues to produce one name which again he will then pass on to the Queen. However the Chancellor’s advisors are not so clear about these intentions. It is expected however that he would leave untouched the appointment of deans of Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in which the Queen still plays an active role. As “royal peculiars” the monarch remains the ultimate authority rather than a bishop…

Read it in full here.


views of the Anglican Communion

Episcopal Café has a major article by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane:

The Primate of the Anglican Church of South Africa delivered a long and thorough address at St. Saviours Church this past Tuesday.

In his address, the Archbishop shares his concerns about the present state of the Anglican Communion, how the Church of South Africa came to be a part of the Communion and talks about the present roles of the “Instruments of Unity” as described by the Windsor Report. He speaks about what future course the Anglican Communion might take, both in terms of the roles of the Instruments of Unity and in terms of the relationships of the various provinces to each other.

Read the full address here.

Three other articles:

In response to the most recent ACI, Inc. article by Ephraim Radner, Vocation Deferred: The Necessary Challenge of Communion, Tobias Haller has written Rearranging the Chairs.

Christopher Seitz has written another article for the Anglican Communion Institute, Inc. this one titled Possibilities for an Anglican Future?


under cover of darkness

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times this week about a church planting in West London: Beating the bounds into the bishop. He writes:

…the Vicar of All Saints’, Fulham, the Revd Joe Hawes, was hopping mad at the leaflet popped through his parishioners’ doors last week. Bearing the C of E logo, it proclaimed “a new church for Fulham”. The back of the glossy flyer had a map showing half of his parish.

It was the first he had heard of this new church. He phoned the Area Dean, who also hadn’t heard that any service was starting. He phoned the Central Fulham Churches forum. It was completely in the dark, too. We are always being told that church-planting requires extensive consultation. This one was parachuted in under the cover of darkness.

As usual, the story is complicated. It seems that Fr Hawes’s neighbouring parish — St Etheldreda’s, a small Anglo-Catholic outfit — has made room for a church plant from the Co-Mission Initiative. This is a nominally Anglican organisation that has proved itself indifferent to parish and diocesan boundaries.

It is the same team that secretly flew over a bishop from the Church of England in South Africa to perform its own ordinations, because it refused to submit its candidates to the diocesan selection procedures (News, 11 November 2005). The imported bishop wasn’t even in communion with the C of E. It’s the same lot that goes in for lay presidency. And will they pay a parish share? It looks unlikely.

“I believe this initiative seriously undermines the Church of England’s ministry in this area,” said Fr Hawes. He is right to be concerned. Despite the fact that he runs a growing church, with more than 600 on the electoral roll, the Co-Mission Initiative wouldn’t regard him as a proper Christian. He is a liberal Catholic, and therefore fair game for poaching…


Saturday media columns

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that Ascension raises more than a cordial for drooping spirits.

Christopher Howse writes from Spain in the Daily Telegraph about A ploughman who was Chaucer’s ideal.

Christina Rees writes in the Guardian about Li Tim-Oi in Face to faith. See also this site.

Two earlier columns from Ekklesia:
Simon Barrow asked last week Is religion the new parliamentary belief divide?
Even earlier Jonathan Bartley asked Is ‘Christian nation’ rhetoric aiding the far right?


Zimbabwe update

The previous TA report on Zimbabwe is here.

Last week’s Church Times contained an article by Bishop Nick Baines entitled The real situation in Zimbabwe:

…Given this dire situation, which the Mugabe regime blames on everyone except itself, why does the Anglican Church appear to be silent? In contrast with the recent Pastoral Letter from the Roman Catholic bishops, which called for an end to bad governance and corrupt leadership, the statement issued after the (Anglican) Episcopal Synod of the Province of Central Africa, held in Harare on 12 April, appears typically bland and timid. That is how it has been caricatured in the world’s media. I think, however, that to say this would be to miss the point…

Read it all.

This week, there is a letter in response to the article (link available next week) which severely criticises this piece. The letter refers to the way the statement was interpreted in the government-controlled Herald in this article dated 20 April Anglican Bishops Rap Sanctions starting thus:

THE Anglican Church Province of Central Africa has added its voice to the growing condemnation of the illegal Western sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and called for their scrapping, urging Britain to honour its obligations to fund land reforms in the country.
In their Pastoral letter issued at the end of their Episcopal Synod in Harare last week, the 14 bishops and one canon, among them the head of the Province of Central Africa, the Most Rev Bernard Amos Malango, acknowledged that the economic situation in Zimbabwe stemmed from illegal sanctions.
“We, the bishops, are concerned and pained at the distressing occurrences that have been taking place in Zimbabwe; the deteriorating economy has rendered the ordinary Zimba-bwean unable to make ends meet.
“This, we note, has been exacerbated by the economic sanctions imposed by the Western countries, these so-called targeted sanctions (presumably) aimed at the leadership of the country have affected the poor Zimbabweans who have borne the brunt of the sanctions . . .
“We, therefore, call upon the Western countries to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, we further call upon the British government to honour its obligation of paying compensation to the white farmers.”
The Anglican Bishop’s pastoral letter exposes the patently political nature of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference that released its own letter ahead of the Easter holidays, accusing President Mugabe and the Government of corrupt governance and human rights abuses…

Another opinion article dated 11 May, from the Zimbabwe Independent and titled Diabolic is the Perfect Description includes this:

…And we have now the shocking scandal of Anglican prelates who are happy to identify themselves with tyranny and brutal repression.
The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, who was reported in the Herald as accusing the British media of “peddling lies” about Zimbabwe during a meeting with Cephas Msipa, has now clarified his position.
At no point did he say the British press had lied about Zimbabwe, he said.
“What I said was that they shouldn’t complain about poor reporting of Zimbabwean affairs if journalists were banned from the country and had to rely on second-hand information,” he told a British-based weekly paper.
A man calling himself a journalist from the Herald approached him, he said, and claimed to have evidence that Church of England groups supported the MDC.
“Of course I denied the assertion and asked him why on earth anyone would wish to recolonise Zimbabwe.”
All rather different from the Herald version isn’t it!
Meanwhile, Anglican bishops have complained that their church’s episcopal letter, condemning sanctions and framed in language which mirrors that of the ruling party, was penned by the Bishops of Harare and Manicaland (Nolbert Kunonga and Elson Jakazi) and two others in Central Africa.
The Bishop of Masvingo, the Rt Revd Godfrey Tawonezvi, says he didn’t even get to see it.
“I did not sign the statement and I know that most bishops did not sign since the statement was written after the bishops had left Zimbabwe,” he said…

Episcopal News Service and others carry the report by Trevor Grundy that Rowan Williams speaks on failed bid to help starving Zimbabweans:

…At a May 1 meeting held at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London, Williams was asked why Anglican church funds were not used to fill trucks with food and send them across Beit Bridge from South Africa to Bulawayo in southern Zimbabwe where people are starving.
Williams surprised those attending the meeting by saying that four years ago he held discussions with Southern Africa Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town about the best approach to help Zimbabwe.
A year ago, Williams again held talks with central and southern African Anglicans — a meeting that did not include Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of Harare, a staunch ally of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Again, he asked what sort of intervention from outside could be useful.
“The message I had from them was any intervention under the name of the Archbishop of Canterbury would instantly be branded in Zimbabwe as the British government by another name,” Williams said.
Williams met with Kunonga in March “to ask him whether he would contemplate not only rediscovering his soul, so to speak, in relation to the Mugabe government, but whether he would contemplate an arrangement which we would willingly broker with the World Food Programme administered through the Anglican church in Zimbabwe. The answer was ‘No’!”…


Akinola's US visit: yet more reports

Updated Friday

The BBC radio programme Sunday had this:

Breakaway Anglican church in Virginia
A British man, Martyn Minns, was installed as bishop of the breakaway Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which is a mission of the Church of Nigeria. The Nigerian Archbishop, Peter Akinola, led the service in Virginia, having ignored pleas not to go from both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, as well as the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori. Critics see it as an unwelcome form of Anglican colonialism. Julia Duin of the Washington Times reports.
Listen (3m 39s)

Michael Conlon at Reuters wrote Anglican church turmoil over gay issues deepens in which Bishop Mark Sisk is interviewed.

Andrew Brown wrote on Comment is Free about The end of communion. His article concludes like this:

…What Dr Akinola did was an act of unequivocal ecclesiastical aggression: it has been a recognised principle among Christians since the fourth century that there is only ever one bishop governing every diocese. So where you have two bishops claiming jurisdiction over the same territory, you have two churches. Dr Akinola’s actions show beyond any shadow of doubt that he does not consider himself to be part of the same church as the liberals. He is, in fact, in schism with them.

The rest of the churches which once constituted the Anglican communion will now have to choose whether they want to belong to any international body at all, and if so, who will head it. Here it seems that Dr Williams may have played a subtle game, because Dr Akinola’s ambition has repelled a great many of his potential supporters. The American, liberal line on homosexuality is not popular around the world; at one stage it seemed that 22 or more of the 38 Anglican primates would demand the Americans be expelled. But the more it became obvious that they would have to choose between being globally led by Dr Akinola or followed round the world by Dr Williams, the more popular the prospect of Dr William’s non-leadership became.

The number of primates supporting Akinola has steadily diminished from 22 to about eight. Even among the American conservatives, it is only a minority who are prepared to join up with him and his new enterprise. Installing Bishop Minns may prove to be the moment when he decisively over-reaches himself. Even if it does not, it is decisive for Dr Williams, too. Nothing that he now does or says can be justified on the basis that it preserves the unity of the Anglican communion. That unity has now been shattered. There is no communion, and no good reason for anyone to pretend otherwise.

Update Friday
The Church Times report by Rachel Harden is titled Akinola installs US bishop, despite appeals.


Panel of Reference reports

ACO reports:

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference met in the offices of the Anglican Communion Secretariat during the week beginning 30 April 2007. In its meeting, it reviewed its work so far and discussed how best to follow up the work that had already been undertaken. It has currently completed outstanding work on all the references made to it by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Panel also reviewed the Report which the Chairman, the Most Revd Dr Peter Carnley AO, had made to the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam in February, and authorised him to release an updated version. The Panel also set dates for future meetings in late 2007 and in 2008.

The Review of the Work of The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference can be found here as a tiny PDF.

Earlier reports on Florida, Fort Worth and New Westminster, together with other material about the POR can be found here.


Akinola replies to Williams

Archbishop Peter Akinola has replied to Rowan Williams’ letter to him concerning his US visit.

The full letter is contained in a press release on the Nigerian provincial website. (The full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter has not been released so far.)

The reply letter is reproduced here below the fold.

Episcopal News Service reports on the weekend at Nigerian Primate proceeds with CANA installation.



Akinola's US visit: Sunday

Neela Banerjee New York Times U.S. Bishop, Making It Official, Throws in Lot With African Churchman

…The hope among leaders of the new diocese, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, is that it will eventually be recognized by the communion as its rightful representative in the United States, replacing an Episcopal Church they say has strayed from traditional Anglican teachings.

“I see it as a building block for that,” Bishops Minns said in a news conference preceding his installation ceremony. He said the convocation would work with other groups of disaffected congregations to create a successor to the Episcopal Church…

Michelle Boorstein Washington Post Conservative N.Va. Priest Installed as Anglican Bishop

…Even some conservatives who theologically agree with Minns still disapprove of the way his group was created — without seeking consensus among U.S. conservatives or other Anglican leaders.
“This isn’t the right way, setting this up and then claiming it. It’s unilateralist. It creates distrust,” said the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a senior fellow at the conservative Anglican Communion Institute in Colorado.
Akinola initially said he created the group to serve Nigerians in the United States who were turned off by the U.S. church, but the group quickly shifted last year toward serving all conservatives and possibly being in position to became another branch of the communion — if communion leaders approve such a dramatic change.
And still, the number of U.S. congregations that have left for other branches is only a few dozen, according to the Episcopal Church. There are more than 7,400 Episcopal congregations.
Today, Minns said, one-third of his 34 congregations are ethnically Nigerian. One-third are in Virginia, the rest elsewhere in the United States.
Radner said he sees other conservative groups declining and hears “well-founded rumors” that several U.S. bishops are looking hard at joining Minns.
Among those present for yesterday’s ceremony was Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, who leads a group of U.S. parishes that remain in the Episcopal Church but are critical of it…

Associated Press Nigerian Anglican Installs U.S. Bishop

Julia Duin Washington Times Fairfax rector designated head of Anglican offshoot

…The congregation then gave a standing ovation to Archbishop Akinola for establishing CANA as the American offshoot of his 18.5 million-member Anglican Church of Nigeria, the largest province within the 77 million-member Anglican Communion.
No mention was made during the service of a private letter Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sent to the Nigerian archbishop asking him not to preside at a ceremony that elicited heated protests last week from the U.S. Episcopal Church. By the time the letter was sent, Archbishop Akinola already had arrived in the United States.
Clad in brilliant white, red and gold vestments, the archbishop has built an international reputation for his outspokenness and opposition to homosexuality. He kept a low profile all weekend, first failing to show at a scheduled appearance Friday at Church of the Apostles, another CANA congregation in Fairfax.
He also did not appear at a press conference yesterday and did not preach, celebrate Communion or deliver the kind of informal remarks typically given by visiting prelates during an installation…

Nick Mackenzie Religious Intelligence Archbishop rejects call to stay away

Lillian Kafka Richmond Times-Dispatch Bishop installed to lead breakaway Episcopalians


bank holiday weekend reading

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times about the new exhibition at the British Library in The peoples of the Book need to find a new ‘convivencia’.

Christopher Howse writes about a new book Heresies and How to Avoid Them in the Daily Telegraph: Heresy and the good press that now goes with it.

In the Guardian Bishop Paul Richardson writes about links between religion and good health, in Face to Faith.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Paul v. Jesus — a bid to take over?

Also in the Church Times this week Peter Doll writes about the history of the Episcopal Church in the USA, When a founding myth becomes a weapon.

In the Tablet Peter Kavanagh interviews the Canadian philosopher and Templeton Prize winner Charles Taylor in Called to question.


Akinola's US visit: Saturday

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post report the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to ask Archbishop Akinola not to go to Virginia:

Michelle Boorstein Archbishop Angry About Minister Becoming Bishop

Neela Bannerjee Anglican Church Intercedes as an Episcopal Rift Widens

According to Anglican Mainstream here both David Banting and Gerry O’Brien are attending this event, and further, both the bishops of Rochester and Southwell & Nottingham have sent messages of greeting.

Jim Naughton has written some commentary about who are the intended audiences for Archbishop Peter Akinola’s visit to Virginia today at Daily Episcopalian: Who’s watching?

Dave Walker has a picture of The Contents of Archbishop Peter Akinola’s Waste Paper Basket.


Akinola's US visit: further reports

Anglican Mainstream has reproduced a report in the Church of England Newspaper which says, among other things:

The CEN Daily Edition for May 3 reports that around 30 members of the Church of England General Synod have signed a message of support for the new head of a breakaway Anglican denomination who is due to be installed this weekend.The Synod group, which is made up of members from over 20 different dioceses, include lay member GerryO’Brien from the Diocese of Rochester, who will be attending the service of installation in Virginia for the Rev Martyn Minns on Saturday…

…Lambeth Palace today confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the African Primate asking him to cancel his trip to Virginia to carry out the service. A spokesman for Dr Rowan Williams confirmed a letter had been sent to the Archbishop of Nigeria… But Mr O’Brien said he would be giving the greeting to Mr Minns to show solidarity with orthodox Anglicans inNorth America.

He said: “We’re wanting to stand together with orthodox Anglicans who find themselves under intense pressure. We wish it hadn’t come to this but we want them to know that they haven’t been abandoned.”

Episcopal News Service has a report on this also: Archbishop of Canterbury urges Nigerian Primate to cancel plans to install bishop by Matthew Davies:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has written to Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola asking him to cancel his plans to visit the United States and install Bishop Martyn Minns as head of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a conservative missionary effort in the U.S. sponsored by the Anglican Church of Nigeria…

…Anglican Communion communications director Canon James M. Rosenthal confirmed that Williams’ letter had been sent to Akinola. “Many people have noted that such an action would exacerbate a situation that is already tense,” Rosenthal said, “especially as we look forward to the September 30 deadline outlined by the Primates at their meeting in Tanzania and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s planned visit to the House of Bishops…”

Episcopal Café reports on a press conference held on Thursday by Bishop Martyn Minns.

And there is an official press release from the Anglican Communion Network: Bishop Duncan to Attend Minns’ Installation.


Akinola's US visit: more reports

Updated again Friday morning

Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia issued this letter yesterday:

…In the run up to this weekend you no doubt will read news accounts of the impending visit of the Archbishop of Nigeria the Most Rev. Peter Akinola to preside at a service of installation of the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns. This weekend’s ceremony will provide false comfort to those who seek certainty in an uncertain world. But in truth, it will serve only to inflame the differences we have been struggling with. When there is so much that brings us together as brothers and sisters in Christ, in a Church that has always celebrated and respected a wide variety of opinions, it is painful to see our shared ministry and faith overshadowed by our differences…

…The disagreements within The Episcopal Church are ours to resolve. As reaffirmed at the recent House of Bishops meeting, the Episcopal Church is a self-governing, autonomous and undivided church that cannot accept intervention in the governance of our Church by foreign prelates.

The Church of Nigeria, like The Episcopal Church, is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion with clearly defined boundaries. Bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion hold that provincial boundaries are not crossed by bishops without expressed invitation. Bishop Akinola’s effort to establish the Church of Nigeria within the boundaries of The Episcopal Church through something called the Convocation of Anglicans of North America (CANA) has occurred without any invitation or authorization whatsoever and violates centuries of established Anglican heritage. As the Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear, CANA is not a branch of the Anglican Communion and does not have his encouragement. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori also has expressed her concerns over the visit by Bishop Akinola without invitation, a violation of a centuries old practice and decorum…

Julia Duin of the Washington Times has two reports:
Episcopal bishop hits Anglican installation and Minns’ installation splits Episcopalians.

The Falls Church News Press has Nigerian Bishop Akinola Steps Into Virginia for Installation (scroll down, and there is a second item below that) and also commentary: Anything But Straight: Nigeria’s Frequent Flyer.

Rachel Zoll of Associated Press has Nigerian Anglican Helps U.S. Group.
Reuters Michael Conlon Episcopal Church faces divisions over gay issues.
Episcopal News Service Nigerian Primate responds to letter from Presiding Bishop.
Los Angeles Times Rebecca Trounson Anglican Church leaders engage in a war of words.