Thinking Anglicans

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.

Update
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.

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Viriato da Silva
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Viriato da Silva

From one of the Washington Times articles: Canon Akin Tunde Popoola, a spokesman for the archbishop, e-mailed The Washington Times yesterday morning to say they had received neither request. “It will however be strange that [the Episcopal Church], which had all along explained why the election, consecration and enthronement of Gene is irreversible,” he wrote, “suddenly feels that of Martyn Minns, elected by the Nigerian House of Bishops, can be tampered with.” end quotation. Canon Tunde, as we know you frequent this blog, allow me to take this opportunity to clarify the matter for you and perhaps your employer: ++… Read more »

James Crocker
Guest
James Crocker

We might add that those ‘zillions of new bishops’ are not being raised up for the hell of it, but because the Church of Nigeria is growing fast enough to more than justify it. If the purpose of the Anglican Communion is mission (which is at least strongly implied by the draft Anglican Covenant) then perhaps we in the North in quickly declining churches should listen to those in the South when they tell us what we are doing wrong. I’m not sure if this is a good comparison, but having TEC try to ‘prophetically’ lead Nigeria and the rest… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

If the WTimes 2nd article is accurate about the many conservative bishops with ‘prior engagements’ and only +Dunkin among that group is going, the inevitable splintering that we saw with those who raised their skirts and fled the contamination of ordained women is starting early.

I do take the WTImes, which is owned by the Moonies, with a grain or so of salt.

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

To the FCNP op-ed, I add today’s Guardian report on the rise of radical Islam in Northern Nigeria. If ++Abuja’s plan was to appease Taliban-esque elements in Nigeria by making Christianity equally hard-line, his gambit looks to have failed.

Akinola as Neville Chamberlain, anyone?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Large numbers does not necessarily mean good results. To paraphrase a quote from an article I read early last year “Humans tend to move as a herd, but come awake as individuals”. What I would be doing is looking at the fruits of the flocks. Are these new flocks building wholesome communities? Are they working to manifest God’s promises of peace and abundance, or demonstrating the fallen states of poverty, war and disease? Is there hospitality and respect within and between communities, or is there widespread aggression and accusations? Are children safe to play on the streets; or do they,… Read more »

Counterlight
Guest
Counterlight

I must admit that all this talk of the Episcopal Church in a tailspin doesn’t match up with the facts on the ground that I see, and have seen for many years; but, as the Bush Administration always insists, facts are stupid things.

Why not an Episcopal mission church in Abuja? and maybe one in London?
The Nigerians are hardly in “monolithic solidarity” (to use an old Stalinist term) behind their Archbishop. At least one of those Nigerians disagrees (Davis MacIyalla), and I suspect that he speaks for others; others who remember what happened to FannyAnn Eddy when she spoke out.

JPM
Guest
JPM

James, it could be that Akinola is cranking out bishops like a Chinese assembly line in order to rig the Lambeth Conference.

Viriato da Silva
Guest
Viriato da Silva

James Crocker writes: “If the purpose of the Anglican Communion is mission (which is at least strongly implied by the draft Anglican Covenant) then perhaps we in the North in quickly declining churches should listen to those in the South when they tell us what we are doing wrong.” By that argument, there was a time when the Nicene camp ought to have jettisoned what later became “orthodox,” and should instead have jumped on the bandwagon and adopted Arianism. After all, the Arians once had the numbers and the explosive growth — and apparently, you view theological correctness as proven… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

One can no more automatically put confidence in the fast growth of the Nigerian Anglican churches than one can automatically withhold confidence from the Diocese of New Hampshire for discerning/electing VGR. Numbers are hardly the key to the matter in either situation. Except when the numbers are conservative Anglican numbers. Then we will speedily hear how the growing numbers of highly conservative straight folks will soon breed queer folks and their friends, right out of existence. Funny. I think that is what straight people of many different conservative beliefs have been predicting for decades now, if not for centuries, about… Read more »

Weiwen Ng
Guest

Akinola should indeed be more concerned with homosexuality than with whatever else is happening in Africa. A leaked memo I posted earlier on my blog detailed how Episcopal Church leaders collaborated with homosexual activists to destroy the institution of marriage: http://weiwentg.blogspot.com/2007/04/episcopal-church-tries-but-fails-to.html

Thomas Skillings
Guest
Thomas Skillings

James, Let’s not assume that the zillions of bishops being ordained in Nigeria are strictly a result of a great missionary strategy any more than the great church growth of the 1950’s in the USA was the result of the “right” theology. Christians and Muslims are increasing in Nigeria, because the time is right in their context for a new thing. If I’m not mistaken, just about all religious communities are growing explosivily in Central Africa. Let’s see how it goes with the Nigerian church in the American context. I believe that there is some evidence that liberal Episcopal Churches… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

James Crocker wrote: “We might add that those ‘zillions of new bishops’ are not being raised up for the hell of it, but because the Church of Nigeria is growing fast enough to more than justify it.”

I think someone needs to have a closer look at these market school claims. What says they are true at all?

NP
Guest
NP

All the negative comment on ++Akinola here – you guys know that he is an Archbishop in good standing with the AC and not the subject of protests from all over the world about his theology or fitness to be a bishop??

You can demonise him amongst yourselves if you like but remember that to the vast majority of Anglicans in the world (including the ABC), he is not a rebel or a heretic….he is pretty mainstream in the AC

Colin Coward
Guest

Mmmmmm NP….

You have a direct line to the mind of the Archbishop of Canterbury? You know for certain that the Archbishop doesn’t think ++Peter Akinola is a rebel or a heretic but pretty mainstream in the AC?

I am not so presumptuous as to claim I know the mind and thoughts of my Archbishop.

I might take a guess that ++Rowan Williams has strong ideas and feelings about Archbishop Peter Akinola, not all of them benign.

badman
Guest
badman

NP, Akinola’s pugnacity and lack of judgment has lost him support amongst those who totally agree with his theology of human sexuality. His band of non-communicants dwindled at Tanzania, he was forced to alter a press release in which he spoke for Global South Bishops without their agreement, he was publicly dressed down by three Global South bishops over the business of issuing a letter over their “signatures” which they had not signed and did not agree with and he was passed over as regional representative at the recent elections onto the Primates Standing Committee. It’s true that he doesn’t… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Colin – the ABC has never been anything but warm about ++Akinola…..he has consistently backed his demands since TWR and also in Tanzania, has he not?

The Church of Nigeria and ++Akinola do not face any Sept 30 deadline like TEC because they are not the cause of the problems in the AC – they are responding to the actions of TEC (which assumed everyone would roll over and let them do whatever they like, but they were mistaken as we can see)

FordElms
Guest
FordElms

“he is not a rebel or a heretic”

I guess it depends on how you define rebel and heretic. The majority of the world’s Christians: those in communion with Rome or Constantinople, the Egyptians, the Ethiopians,the Armenians, the Nestorians, the Mar Thomas, the Old Catholics all would likely feel that, technically, +Akinola being an Evangelical, you are wrong on both counts. Us Anglicans, well, we’re less likely to say such things, but, I think some would say likewise, and many of those who wouldn’t, would certainly think his behaviour unbecoming of a bishop.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

All this about ‘certainty in an uncertain world’ is an unthinking cliche. After all, those who think everything is uncertain are equally unthinking to those (if they exist) who think everything but everything is certain.

According to Peter Lee’s principles, one would not be able to regared anything at all as certain – including his own existence. Better by far is a standard deviation curve from certainty to total uncertainty.

Brian
Guest
Brian

NP, yes or no. Do you support the anti-homosexual legislation that Akinola supports? I very much doubt that Rowan Williams or any truly conscientious Anglican living in the 21st century does. Sorry if you think this question “demonises” anyone.

Robert
Guest
Robert

I wonder who is paying for Akinola and his retinue to attend this little Virginia tea party? I would hope that whoever is funding this escapade is also finding ways to relieve the suffering of ordinary Nigerians. Akinola surely would have had a more positive impact if he stayed home to care for the people of Nigeria instead of pandering to those few who wish to use him to compound strife and division in TEC. It won’t be long before the CANAnites blame Akinola for their problems. They are already criticizing other orthodox Episcopalians for their failure to attend the… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“If I’m not mistaken, just about all religious communities are growing explosivily in Central Africa.” I believe I’ve read that some of the fastest growing types of Christian churches in many parts of Africa, including Nigeria, are the so-called ‘prosperity churches.’ Given the hidious poverty and lack of opportunity in places like Nigeria, this is hardly surprising. It does not, however, suggest to me that their theology is therefore correct. Rather, it very hauntingly highlights the desparation of people with little or no hope. Too bad ++Akinola seems to have no time to devote to real problems at home, but… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Akinola’s accusing Shori of “continuing your own punitive legal actions against a number of CANA clergy and congregations” is barefaced arrogance of a high and aggravated nature. The lawsuits against “departing” US congregations are a diocesan-level issue. By contrast, the Dar es Salaam communique which Akinola signed and largely, one gathers, shaped, includes the statement “we also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations”. How does Akinola square this one with the ongoing CANA/Grace… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Simon — Viriato da Silva does not have a hot link for me to speak directly, so if you will permit me to make a personal comment here — this example sets forth the situation in a way that I have tried to in the past without ever having been so cogent or compelling & I am grateful. BTW — the NYT headline about this mentioned the “anger” in TEC but in their article & other reports I have never seen anger expressed by the PB or Bishop Lee — disagreement & dismay, perhaps, but not anger (but I may… Read more »

Tom
Guest
Tom

Among those leaving the Episcopal Church seeking an affirmation of ecclesiastical authority and singular interpretive certainty in all matters canonical there must be at least some discomfort with the prospect of an ever splintering conservative Anglican communion. Wasn’t it exactly this prospect that motivated Irenaeus to so convincingly outline what became the initial canonical structure for the one true Christianity? Ironic, no? Maybe it is finally time to pause and consider the very secular law of unintended consequences, if nothing else.

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

NP, as even the Global South website admits (http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php/weblog/comments/martyn_minns_consecrated_a_nigerian_bishop_in_us/) Archbishop Williams has stated that the consecration of Minns was “unhelpful.” Do you have any documentary evidence to show that the ABC has changed his opinion and finds the continued presence of Minns in the US to be “helpful” or in any other way approves of it?

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Evidently the ABC has written ++Akinola asking him not to do this. Hope the text will be posted and for sure if ++Akinola replies as he did to the PB, would be instructive to see that, too.

My state is so very blessed – a visit from the Queen yesterday and today, and a visit from The Archbishop of All He Surveys tomorrow.

Perhaps if the clergy wives are behatted as they were when Martyn was consecrated in Nigeria, we could have a competition between them and HRH!

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

Simon – Anglican Mainstream is reporting that the ABC has asked Akinola not to go to Virginia. It says – “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…” Like to see the conservatives spin that one.

RickT
Guest
RickT

Lambeth tells Akinola he should stay home: http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=1637

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

“You can demonise him amongst yourselves if you like but remember that to the vast majority of Anglicans in the world (including the ABC), he is not a rebel or a heretic….he is pretty mainstream in the AC”

Which is why the ABC asked him not to go to Virginia? http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=1637

I don’t think his tendency to ignore boundaries is at all “mainstream” in the Anglican Communion.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

“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 “

So much for some of the nonsense above.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

As to the mind of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

“Lambeth Palace today confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the African Primate [Archbishop Akinola] asking him to cancel his trip to Virginia to carry out the service [installation of Bishop Minns]. A spokesman for Dr Rowan Williams confirmed a letter had been sent to the Archbishop of Nigeria.”

This report is cited in an article by Nick Knisely at the Episcopal Cafe:

http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/anglican_communion/canterbury_writes_to_nigeria_a.html

but the source appears to be Anglican Mainstream.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Drdanfee’s comment about not being able to count the GLBT numbers in parts of Africa is poignant. I remember at one time in the debate, elements were arguing that GLBT was a disease of affluence, secularism and liberalism. Then Changing Attituded organised that November Nigerian conference. We then saw attempts to deny the conference had occurred. A massive slander campaign against the organisers. Hyperboles to deny the numbers involved. The conference completely exposed the myth that African nations had been blessed by God because of their pure theology and did not have GLBTs in their midst. An attempt to put… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

On the subject of growing numbers being best and declining numbers being worst. Maybe we should all have backed the Nazis whilst their theology was literally murdering their Jewish cousins (By the numbers game, 15 million declining numbers is surely proof that the Nazis had the best theology). Who does God love and respect more? A soul who uses their theology to bully and/or murder other souls – and claiming that God has demonstrated God’s love for them by giving them the power and affluence to do this? Or the soul who continues to do mitzvah’s even whilst being deprived… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

A little further note on this continuing success-by-numbers notion: for me, it is nothing more than the old “might makes right” dressed up in the language of marketing.
As I recall, popular support for Moses’ agenda for liberating Israel from bondage almost always had weak and uncertain support among his constituents.

Bob in SWpa
Guest
Bob in SWpa

Let us not forget the Anglican Church of Nigeria isn’t he only Christian denomination. One of the front runners for this past papal election was a Nigerian Catholic Cardinal Arinze. I find this belief that Akinola is the Christian savior hogwash.

As for James comment, James, the Roman Catholic Church is growing leaps and bounds in African too, but in Europe it is becoming almost insignificant why? The same applies to the US. Nobody is immune to this number slide. Eventually even the Africans will be like the industrial/1st world.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“dressed up in the language of marketing.” Absolutely! I consider the marketting industry to be evil. It is the fuel that drives the hideous consumption on the part of the “Me First” world. For me, the use of marketting ploys (I cringe when I see Alpha advertised on a billboard or a bus stop), and the adoption of a market based mentality by some churches shows how far they have sold out to the world. Adopting not only the world’s strategies, but even the world’s mindset certainly equates with compromising with the world, no? We have Truth to tell, not… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Ford Elms said: “Adopting not only the world’s strategies, but even the world’s mindset certainly equates with compromising with the world, no? We have Truth to tell, not a product to sell.” Amen! There have been several articles in Business Week, the Wall Street Journal and The Economist about mega churches hiring full time staff members w/ MBA’s & management consulting experience to plan their growth strategies, marketing approaches and the “services” they should provide (e.g. gyms, movie theaters, vacation packages). I have an MBA and I am a consultant (not to churches!) and this flies in the face of… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Ford Elms said: “Adopting not only the world’s strategies, but even the world’s mindset certainly equates with compromising with the world, no? We have Truth to tell, not a product to sell.” Adopting the world’s mindset is probably the charge most reasserters would level against liberals. Denying that we can know the Truth of God (even what He has revealed to us), relentless focus on the rights of the individual above the mission of the Church and relief of basic morality as taught by the apostles through a rejection of their authority in Scripture are all symptoms of a postmodern… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Adopting the world’s mindset is probably the charge most reasserters would level against liberals.” Which is my point. “They” would charge “us” with this while being blind to the way “they” do it themselves. But it is perfectly OK to buy into particular worldly economic/marketting/political models, no sin there when said models support one’s own world view or are the basis of one’s own wealth, but buy into particular social models WRT sexuality, and all Hell breaks loose. And of course, don’t even mention that some Christians have bought into a left wing socioeconomic model. They’re just Commies, and any… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Ford, You’re over reaching. Some “evangelicals” operate in that manner. For these folks “evangelical” does far more than describe their theology. It is more culture than faith. You and I agree this is wrong. A very telling aspect of that is the fact these evangelicals feel so at home in the GOP. Not that the Dems should be the natural home for Christians, but that a world view based on Christ should not be so easily reconciled to a political agenda. Frankly, it should be difficult for any Christian to claim “I am a Dem/Rep” since significant elements of both… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Chris,
You’re absolutely right. Yet another example of me falling into the persecution trap myth! It’s hard not to see “them” as just a vocal minority.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

In view of Chris/Ford’s discussion, our sympathies should be with open evangelicals who are having their faith stolen from under their noses.

NP
Guest
NP

Mynster – who are the thieves – TEC trying to steal the church but impose its own god, the almighty “Inclusivity”?

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

You’re quite right, NP: it had never occurred to me before that there can only ever be one correct reading of Scripture, and it’s the one espoused by Spring Harvest. Or is it the one espoused by Word Alive? Anyhow, it’s the right one, whichever one it is. I shall now burn all those heretical books and lexica written by value-free pagan/syncretist scholars who have bluffed their way into Holy Orders in the Methodist, URC, Anglican and RC Churches and only read the divinely appointed material of IVP. Oh, and I’ll bin those troublesome bibles with their critical apparatus while… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

OH – you don’t need to do that, Mynster. We are all for thinking and top quality scholarship – see the work of Dr JI Packer or Prof Don Carson amongst many others. The Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge is…bretheren! We are all for proper, rigourous study. What we do not fall for is the line that to suit one particular group, we must now read clear “do not” statements and take them to mean the opposite to what they say, while at the same time being very strongly in favour of other statements which prohibit other sins (eg… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi David Rowett-
Given that Scripture is extremely diverse and written by diverse authors, there cannot possibly be more than one *internally consistent* ‘reading’ of scripture in its entirety. It would be a miracle if there were even one. Yet you are speaking as though it were common knowledge that there are several.

Pluralist
Guest

Hang on a minute. Change to all that? What yet trying to do, Mynsterpreost – half empty the church?

I know you have these remainders on your shelves, but fancy emptying them of the rest. Like you, I look at both sides of the argument, but I know where I am. And I read beyond, and talk to others in your outfit who pretty much agree with me, and some on some things and not others, and some who don’t but still talk.

How it should be, I suggest, and no one is stealing anything from anyone else.

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Christopher: I didn’t think I’d used the words ‘internally consistent’. ‘One correct reading of Scripture’ was the phrase I used (somewhat ironically). As has already been pointed out, Origen had a number of different ways of reading Scripture, but the inerrancist approach seems to be so dominant in CnsEv circles that it has been raised to the status of foundational truth.

The inevitable fall-out concerning what that inerrant truth may be (read the old IVP New Bible Commentary to see what I mean) is – to some degree- what we see working out between Wallace Benn and Pete Broadbent.