Thinking Anglicans

Martyn Minns writes to the CANAites

The following letter has been posted as a PDF file on the CANA website:

Convocation of Anglicans in North America
Polycarp of Smyrna
February 23, 2007

Dear Friends:

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and our one and only Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am writing after a truly historic meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the Primates of the Anglican Communion met to chart a way forward. The stakes were enormous and it was an intense spiritual battle. The setting was idyllic — the meetings were held in the White Sands Hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean — but the struggle was so fierce, we never found time to walk on the beach. Angela and I were there as members of a staff support team for Archbishop Peter Akinola and the other Primates of the Global South.

What were the results?

Many important topics such as the development of an Anglican Communion Covenant, Millennium Development Goals, and Theological Education were discussed. But the ongoing intransigence of The Episcopal Church (TEC) forced the Primates to devote the majority of the meeting to following through on The Windsor Report and especially determining the adequacy of the response from TEC.

One of the most positive outcomes from the meeting was a clear and unambiguous declaration of what we, as Christians and as Anglicans, believe. This was expressed both in terms of core creedal statements through the Covenant and also in a powerful recapitulation of our convictions regarding marriage and human sexuality: “in view of the teaching of Scripture, [the Conference] upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.” Someone commented that this was almost un-Anglican in its clarity!

The Primates also recognized that while mission initiatives such as the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) do create some “difficulties,” they have a valid and important place in the Anglican Communion as TEC decides whether to abandon its innovations and seek to reclaim its place in mainstream Anglicanism. I was especially gratified by the recognition given to the important role that Archbishop Akinola and the Church of Nigeria have played in providing a safe harbor for those who simply want to get on with the work of the Gospel without compromise of our core beliefs.

While rejecting any attempt to draw a moral equivalence between our so-called “interventions” and the “innovations” now embraced by TEC, the Primates concluded that The Episcopal Church had NOT responded adequately to the requests of The Windsor Report and gave them one last chance with a date certain set for September 30, 2007. The Primates were clear that after that there will be serious, though not yet specified, consequences. It is clear that The Episcopal Church must decide if it will uphold the biblical teachings of the Anglican Communion or choose to walk apart.

The Primates urged the suspension of all property litigation since they — and we — do not believe that this is the way that our disputes should be handled. We already have communicated with both diocesan and national church leadership, urging them to follow through on this important request and we pray that there will be a positive response.

The Primates also recognized that many dioceses and congregations within TEC do want to embrace the principles set out in The Windsor Report and proposed a complex and unprecedented restructuring of TEC to accommodate them. At the heart of that proposal is the establishment of “Primatial Vicar” who will provide oversight in conjunction with the Presiding Bishop and a Pastoral Council jointly appointed by member dioceses, the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury. If it sounds terribly complicated . . . it is. “It is an experiment,” said Archbishop Rowan Williams at the final news conference. “Please pray!”

What does it all mean for us?

First of all, it means that we are part of a Communion that is determined to stand on the truth of the Holy Scriptures and is not willing to abandon such a stand despite enormous pressure from The Episcopal Church and its leadership. We are also part of a Communion that is led by gracious leaders who are both patient and wise — who are determined to do all that they can for the unity of the Church but who will not give up biblical truth for the sake of a false unity.

With regard to CANA, we were recognized as having a valid place in the life and work of the Anglican Communion, under the Primate of Nigeria, and our mission and ministry understood as prompted by our desire to serve as faithful Anglicans. As to whether there will be an eventual reconciliation between the various Anglican bodies operating in the USA — that question awaits both the response of TEC and also the effectiveness of the various structural recommendations. In the meantime, we will continue to work to provide a life-boat for all those who wish to embrace biblical truth and the Anglican tradition in North America.

Our task is to continue to grow and reach out to the people around us with the Good News of God’s inclusive and life-transforming love. We are to be reflections of the character of Christ into a world that is so desperately in need of hope. We have been distracted for too long by the endless struggles of TEC. We are no longer a part of TEC and our call is to show the world a new way of living and a new way of loving.

Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement. To God be the Glory!

In Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns,
Missionary Bishop of CANA

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Göran Koch-SwahneCheryl Cloughmatthew huntLaurence J RobertsRichard Lyon Recent comment authors
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William R. Coats
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William R. Coats

It is interesting to note that while the language of reconciliation was used in the communique and the terms of the Schedule were purportedly offered as a kind of compromise, Bishop Minns (as well as virtually all the Rightwing groups) treat the matter as a total vindication of their position. Remind anyone of Munich?

Rick Arllen
Guest
Rick Arllen

Mr. Coats, do you really mean to be so ‘over the top’? The reference to Munich. Really.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Wow! Godwin’s Law on the first post!

Actually, Mad Priest has already photoshopped ++Katharine’s head onto the picture of Chamberlain with his piece of paper guaranteeing “peace in our time.”

But yes, these people are not operating with good will & you can’t do business with them (IMHO).

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

William Coats observation would seem to point to a breaking of faith between the primatial participants and we their intended recipients. Rejecting the ‘universal jurisdiction’ and ‘Magisterium’ of the bishops or Rome generally and Joseph Ratzinger particularly, I most certainly will not allow these senior anglican bishops to define for me, or bind me on matters of faith and morals. Minns seems to be under the misapprehension that they have define ‘the Christian and Anglican’ position. –in your dreams ! I thought Minns and Akinola were protestants ? Well, my take on protestantism is that we all get to read… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘…But yes, these people are not operating with good will & you can’t do business with them (IMHO).’ Posted by: Prior Aelred on Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 3:19pm GMT Yes, that’s it exactly. Without genuine goodwill–not the false-self counterfeit manufactured to deceive— there is no basis for any kind of moral, spiritual or relational human life. “Have nothing to do with a knave !” is wise counsel in any field. I think a knave is one acting without goodwill, in any sphere. I have learned this the hard way ! Of course, it’s Munich all over again. Mr Allen… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

_We are no longer a part of TEC and our call is to show the world a new way of living and a new way of loving._ So that is Martyn Minns’ interpretation and says CANA is recognised. Was it? What it means is they carry on. The official version, surely, is that this Primatial Vicar transfers oversight from Nigeria to a Communion body of five, that includes two appointees from the Presiding Bishop and one from Canterbury. So this is not quite the same thing. Plus having taken the property, Martyn Minns wants no one to take it back.… Read more »

matthew hunt
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matthew hunt

I just want to say that there are occasions when references to the dynamics of what happened re Nazi Germany are actually relevent. Watching how the puritans and others are behaving, how the situation develops, there are various aspects of it which are fairly comparable to some of the principles at play in those times. We shouid be careful in applying those comparisons, but there is no good reason to disqualify them out of hand, just because doing so may have been overdone in other contexts. I’m very far from being an expert, but I really have not seen in… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

..’First of all, it means that we are part of a Communion that is determined to stand on the truth of the Holy Scriptures and is not willing to abandon such a stand despite *enormous pressure from The Episcopal Church and its leadership*. We are also part of a Communion that is led by gracious leaders who are both patient and wise — who are determined to do all that they can for the unity of the Church but who will not give up biblical truth for the sake of a false unity…’ Bp Minns He was only too prepared… Read more »

pseudopiskie
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pseudopiskie

Have these people excised Jesus from their Bibles?

ruidh
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ruidh

It seems to me that ending property litigation needs to be contingent on participating in the Pastoral Scheme. Since CANA is very unlikely to want to participate, I don’t believe that the lawsuits will end.

William R. Coats
Guest
William R. Coats

Mr. Arllen asks if I mean to be “over the top.” Well Abp Akinola has now called for the C of E not only to cease same-sex blessings but to stop ordinations of all gays and lesbians. Now exactly why would he “up the ante” if he did not feel he could; if, that is, he did not see the Schedule as a form of triumph over the Episcopal church as all the Right wing bloggers also have claimed) enabling him to demand more. Now I ask why does not the logic of the position of Abp Akinola and Bp… Read more »

Charles
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Charles

Two images of truth. In his letter to CANA, Martyn write: “The setting was idyllic . . .but the struggle was so fierce, we never found time to walk on the beach. Angela and I were there as members of a staff support team for Archbishop Peter Akinola and the other Primates of the Global South.” At the start of the conference, the Guardian reported: “Sunning herself by the hotel swimming pool, Angela Minns, wife of Martyn Minns, the British-born conservative evangelical vicar of a parish in Virginia, who has just been made a bishop of the Nigerian church .… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Behind all the network and related realignment claims of biblical purity is a consistent plan and effort by the realignment folks, especially in USA, to steal the family silver which TEC holds in trust in perpetuity for all generations. Can’t get clearer than that. What is one set of believers to do when a second set simply announces that because it reads its bible a certain way, it has discovered that it has the power to enter your house and try to lay claim to your possessions? The Communique and Schedule is only helping to spin this, by disguising it… Read more »

Richard Lyon
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Richard Lyon

I don’t find it over the top at all.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Didn’t anybody else react to this?

“The stakes were enormous and it was an intense spiritual battle”

… an intense spiritual battle…

matthew hunt
Guest
matthew hunt

well, what’s to react to Goran? They think (or purport to think) that they are fighting against demons and suchlike. What can you say to that apart from, “That’s nice dear, would you like a bit of shortcake with your tea?”

Laurence J Roberts
Guest
Laurence J Roberts

Now I ask why does not the logic of the position of Abp Akinola and Bp Duncan demand that all gays and lesbians presently ordained be rooted out?

Posted by: William R. Coats on Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 4:56pm GMT

I have rooted myself out –so they can save their breath for their porrige !

matthew hunt
Guest
matthew hunt

With a bit more reflection though, it does seem to be an effective tool to sanitize what you are doing to other human beings. If you rhetorically relocate the focus of your efforts against an abstract concept such as supposed opposing spiritual powers, then the casualties that fall under the dominion of those ‘principalities’ are either, a) deserving of death because they are in cahoots with the evil one, b) collateral damage, c) sacrifices to appease the wrathful god, d) suckers whose pain furthers my fame, or e) just don’t matter. Sadly, I suspect there are some prominent people on… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I wonder if there is a legal loophole that if you use a church premises uncontested for more than a certain period it ipso facto becomes yours? If that is the case, a stalling game would be very appropriate. It reminds me of a very well known actor who dumped his wife three months before ten years of being married, which meant he didn’t have to pay her alimony. Now, of course, he would never have dumped his wife just to prevent paying alimony, would he? But there are an awful lot of people who think it looks that way.… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Well, in a sense they are fighting Demons – their own.

But “That’s nice dear, would you like a bit of shortcake with your tea?” probably i s the right answer, for those of us who are not the ABC ;=)