Thinking Anglicans

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.

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Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

Is Andrew Brown generally a “sound” commentator when he makes assessments of this kind? I’m not sufficiently familiar with his stuff to know. He sounds very plausible to me, but I’d hate to be thinking this purely because he’s saying what, in a situation that has no ideal resolution, I would prefer to hear.

Daniel Stoddart
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Daniel Stoddart

…but it wasn’t shattered by ++Akinola, now, was it? The American church was warned, repeatedly and politely, about what the repercussions would be if they flouted the recent Lambeth resolutions, Windsor, Dromantine, ad nauseum. They were told what would be required to avoid “walking apart”, and guess what?

The TEC felt called to go ahead and do their own thing. So let’s just make sure that we all keep in mind that the blame for the tear in the fabric lies squarely on TEC’s doorstep. Got it?

Nick Finke
Guest
Nick Finke

Dr Williams behavior in this whole sorry mess has, at time, been hard for me to fathom. On reading Andrew Brown’s excellent piece, however, I am reminded of Matt 10:16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

NP
Guest
NP

Daniel – you make a factual point about the main causes of the recent crises in the AC…

but around here, you will find that everything is ++Akinola’s fault…….

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But the American church is right, and Akinola is wrong. because the American church is working for the change the church needs – and that is far, far more important than any ‘communion’ based on homophobia and prejudice.

I agree with Andrew brown. The communion is finished. Now, lets accept that, and allow new linkages to be made. A church without the cancer of conservatism would be more than welcome!

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I don’t agree there is not a communion. It is a smaller communion, and there is a smaller communion yet to be formed around Akinola and behind the scenes schemers’ camp. I think souls will be pleasantly surprised to see a communion revived and renewing the broad tent principles that epitomise the best of what makes Anglicans anglicans. Remember, Enoch was not disgrace for advocating on behalf of the fallen ones. Abraham was not disgraced for pleading for the lost causes of Sodom or Gomorrah. Jesus was not condemned for advocating for the outcaste, afflicted or gentile. Isaiah 33:20-24 and… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

” Lambeth resolutions, Windsor, Dromantine, ad nauseum. ” – Daniel You mention these as if they have juridical force. They don’t. None of them have entered canonical law in TEC. So TEC cannot be found to be flouting them in the legal sense. Windsor et al accuses TEC of placing a strain on “bonds of affection”. But this latter is so ill-defined, as to be pretty meaningless. “So let’s just make sure that we all keep in mind that the blame for the tear in the fabric lies squarely on TEC’s doorstep.” Far from it. TEC were compliant with their… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

As has already been suggested – No, we certainly do not “get it”. If the torn fabric of the Anglican Communion was its institutional homophobia then we “get it”. If this fabric is woven so that Provinces should be given free range to supporting the further criminalisation of homosexuals and their supporters (Nigeria & Singapore) and to stand aside when we are murdered and tortured – then “we get it”. If this torn cloth can only contain us as long as it is steeped in the poisonous hatred of lesbian and gay people, then “we get it”. Oh, yes then… Read more »

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

Daniel – When there is a tear in the fabric, one can take out a thread and set about to mend it, or, if one wants to use that tear to split the fabric, one can pull at the sides of the fabric and rip it a part. All fabrics get tears, as all relationships do. This tear has been used to wrent the fabric. Blaming TEC for the tear is meaningless. Akinola and the GS are using it to reconfigure the fabric.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Cheryl – but that’s the point – there are at least TWO communions. the idea of the continuing, single, all-embracing communion is dead.

badman
Guest
badman

Daniel Stoddart seems a little confused in his chronology. Lambeth 1.10 didn’t say anything about bishops and didn’t purport to represent a consensus opinion or a binding opinion: one of the hundreds of bishops who publicly repudiated it was Rowan Williams. Gene Robinson was elected, confirmed and consecrated as a bishop in 2003. This was before the Windsor Report, which was published in October 2004. The Primates Meeting at Dromantine did not take place until 2005. Since then, no gay bishop has been consecrated in the US, and no rite of same sex blessing has been authorised. On the other… Read more »

Charles
Guest
Charles

It is very easy for us, as humans, to cast blame. When I hear things like “TEC is to blame” or “++Akinola is at fault”, my thoughts move to Job’s friends during his crisis. Regardless of where we stand on this issue, are we not called to comfort the afflicted. Is not our communion currently afflicted? Communion is not one relationship but relationships at multiple levels. The PB and Archbishop may not be speaking, but loyal TEC churches and loyal Nigerian Churches still have mission programs they share. I recently saw a church planter from my Diocese who switched to… Read more »

badman
Guest
badman

Lapinbizarre, I’m not sure what you mean by a “sound” commentator. Andrew Brown is a well informed and widely read commentator on the Anglican scene. But he’s not afraid of controversy. For example, his 1999 piece about George Carey, “Is he the worst Archbishop we’ve ever had?” caused a lot of fuss: http://anglicansonline.org/archive/news/articles/1999/990909.html

ettu
Guest
ettu

As a lighthearted aside, I appreciate the humor (OK humour) that has entered into the discussion on FR.Jake stops the world and also on the Episcopal Majority –both of which I recommend if you have not already seen and/or taken the literacy test or observed the photo of Akinola and Minns on the respective websites–seriousness has its limits and a bit of leavening improves matzoh.

Robert
Guest
Robert

The Anglican Communion continues on. ++Akinola and a few other head-strong primates just don’t stay in touch with the good works led and fed by liberals that are going on “under the radar” throughout the Global South.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Peter Akinola, installed an Englishman, Bishop Martyn Minns, as his representative in north America.” Martyn and his wife are English born, but both are naturalized American citizens and have been for some time, I am pretty sure. “It is the latest, and the most brazen attempt by conservatives to seize the legitimacy – and the money and property and pensions [of TEC]” They are in litigation in VA over our property, which they are seeking to steal. Pensions, however, are not up for grabs. The Church Pension Fund is a defined benefit plan, a very generous one, and when you… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Cheryl-
For the uninitiated, the word in our gospels for ‘Spirit’ is neuter. Gender is not something central to discussions of the Spirit, though there are plenty of both feminine and non-feminine connections that may be made; unlike created human beings the Spirit is not gendered. There may well be a conceptual overlap with ‘Shekinah’ but by no stretch of the imagination is there an overlap with ‘Daughter of Zion’ which refers to the people Israel.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“let’s remember the souls who refused to help the Zimbabweans”

I didn’t know about this, Cheryl! Pope Peter has said quite clearly, though, human suffering doesn’t matter. Surely what’s important is that +Nolbert is suitably vigilant about keeping the gays out of the Church.

lapinbizarre
Guest
lapinbizarre

Badman. By “sound” I meant do Andrew Brown’s prognostications tend to be accurate. The split is obviously now in motion, thanks entirely to the arrogance of Akinola and his followers (“Many people say I embarrass them with my humility” is even funnier than Brown’s “Mail” piece on Carey, for which many thanks) and to the right-wing American gravy-train that bankrolls their antics. The only uncertainty is where the fault line will lie and which churches – most, one expects – will keep a foot both camps.

Steven
Guest
Steven

Hmmm. Hugh says that TEC’s actions contra lambeth, etc. don’t matter because they have broken no rule of the TEC. I think this is mixing apples and oranges. What TEC must observe within its own boundaries in accordance with its own cannons and what it should observe as a member of a voluntary communion are two different things. TEC cannot claim to have kept the latter just because it has kept the former. This does not necessarily mean that TEC has breached the bonds of communion–though I believe it has. I am merely pointing out the fact that whether TEC… Read more »

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

badman – Your points are irrefutable. We have never denied that our actions have strained the “bonds of affection.” We know this. We have apologized. We have even entered into a moratorium, we have voluntarily withdrawn from ACC meetings. We are in a dialogue with the ABC regarding what further actions are within our polity that we may take to accommodate reasserters. We are operating under a deadline to respond to further recommendations by the Primates. What is Akinola doing. Is he engaged in the requested listening process? No. Has he stopped his border crossing are requested. No. But we… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

People forget the Subgroup of the Windsor Process, presented by Rowan Williams to these assembled primates, which gave TEC 2 out of 3 passed and one neutral. That then became a more negative Communiqué after a lot of business of Akinola going backwards and forwards to his friends at a nearby alternative HQ. Williams is talking to the Presiding Bishop. She was invited. After a long pause, when he says it was never in doubt, he is going to talk to US bishops. He has sent a slow letter to Akinola asking him not to go to the US, arriving… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

One grows weary indeed of all the rightwing definitional and presuppositional campaigning. If this were the world of business, the prior older company TEC could simply sue the upstart CANA for mis-using the copyrighted business materials. That wouldn’t be a pleasant enterprise for anybody concerned, but it would at least offer a full airing in a public legal venue. None of these disagreements violate the communion that is simply mystically given among all believers by God’s gift to us in Jesus of Nazareth. If that could be broken by any sort of sin or heresy, we should already have seen… Read more »

Nick Finke
Guest
Nick Finke

While the Spirit in the NT (pneuma) is neuter gender in Greek, it is certainly feminine gender in the OT Hebrew (ruach). Also, the Hebrew word used for wisdom (hochmah) which we now see in some of the Wisdom literature to refer to the Son, is also feminine. I would say that the general tenor of Cheryl’s comment seems correct even if the underlying grammar may wiggle a bit.

BobinWashPA
Guest
BobinWashPA

Daniel: Forward in Faith and the American Anglican Council all existed prior to +Robinson’s consecraion. This battle has been ongoing in the country for much longer than 4 years. We have had two women rectors and both were horribly (with the nastiness I can’t say I’ve experienced any but in the church) treated by their male counterparts. The one was attacked in from of her teenage daughter at a section meeting. The daughter ran out of the room to get her father to make the male clergy help her mother. Our last rector got hate mail openly signed by a… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Look – it is obvious that TEC wants both to do its own thing and to stay in the AC.

TEC has inherited some money so might think it can buy acquiescence.

Most in the AC (including many people TEC) do not see TEC’s innovations as legitimate i.e. not right (or wrong, if you prefer)…..so, let’s cut the pedantic nonsense….the issues are clear and what is required of TEC before Sept 30 is very clear

Malcolm French+
Guest
Malcolm French+

I once had dealings with a couple where there was a long history of abuse. Most of the husband’s abuse expressed itself emotionally / verbally, though there had been incidents of physical abuse as well. The odd thing was that, when challenged, he always claimed that his abusive actions – in whatever form – were her fault. Now, she probably wasn’t without sin. And perhaps he even had some legitimate causes for anger. But he did not have the right – and certainly not the duty – to engage in emotional and physical abuse. Daniel / NP – do I… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“around here, you will find that everything is ++Akinola’s fault…….” Again,not true. I am quite willing to acknowledge that TEC acted precipitously. You however, seem to think that +Akinola is above reproach. You have even defended his attempts to jail gay people as consistent with the Gospel, at least as +Akinola sees it! You have repeatedly ignored requests to give even one “Scripture” that justifies jailing sinners, and have even accused me of wanting to let all the criminals go merely because I do not believe that Church should usurp the powers of the state! And it isn’t only +Akinola,… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Malcolm: You obviously mean that even though the revisionists continue to blame the orthodox for what is going on this is clearly a sham. The revisionists do not have the right and duty to engage in this kind of abuse! Right on!! Thanks for coming out in favor of the orthodox Malcolm, though the analogy (even when used in our favor) is–like the rest of your comment–a bit ham-fisted. Steven PS-Irony is intended. I want to make this fact clear as I’m not sure (apropos your rather snide comment to Daniel/NP) that you would be able to discern this on… Read more »

Tim Jones
Guest
Tim Jones

Dear Malcolm,

The analogy is a weak one, because it casts TEC as an abused wife, weak and helpless, when the reality is that TEC has immense financial and theological resources. It likens the inappropriate ecclesial activities of Archbishop Akinola to physical abuse, when in reality there is no physical abuse being perpetrated at all. The only strength in the analogy is its shrill emotionalism, which does not further the debate.

Mark
Guest
Mark

I beieve that Akinola and Minns, by their illict ecclesiastical acts have formed their own communion (joining dozens of other ”continuing Anglican churches.” Akinola is now pope of the Nigerian communion. In the USA, we have freedom of religion. I have no problem with the existence of the Nigerian communion as long as they refrain from trying to steal TEC property.

Nick Finke
Guest
Nick Finke

Steven, I think you understood what Hugh said, but I’d like to make it clearer still. It is not just, as Hugh points out, that Lambeth resolutions and Reports of working groups and Communiqués from various meetings have no legal force in TEC, they have no legal force at all anywhere. They are simply expressions of opinions of those attending the meeting or whatever. The mere fact that a lot of people agree with the opinions doesn’t make them binding on anyone. They could be made binding, but there would need to be explicit agreement on that issue, it doesn’t… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Thanks Nick. My grammar has always wobbled a bit. I catch myself by surprise when sometimes it works. In the past, there have been denials that God has feminine traits or that Spirit might have its own independent consciousness with opinions or feelings about how Jesus’ “trusted” acolytes were dispensing the energy. Those souls who are still in such a space have fallen into the trap of relying on the flattering comments from within their own coterie. They have forgotten the bigger picture. History also tells us that if you spend too much time primping in front of the mirror,… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest
Malcolm French+

No analogy is perfect, but I do think my analogy applies. And lest Steven’s witty retort confuse anyone, at no point have I heard any of the “liberals” claiming that they were forced to do anything by the “conservatives.” If what the “liberals” did was wrong, they have certainly not tried to evade that by claiming that the actions of others forced them into it. But the Prince Bishop of Abuja refuses to take responsibility for anything he has done. Despite the clear language of the Windsor Report (which he claims as authoritative on certain issues and as non-authoritative on… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – please do not tell lies – I have not “defended” ++Akinonla re jailing anybody….many times I have said that I do not agree with the proposes legistlation of his government (you do realise, it is not his legislation – even if he supported it – it was being put forward by the government)

Anyway – you have misrepresented me horribly!

Malcolm French – your logic is twisted and weak but, using your inappropriate analogy, it is clear that it is the AC which has been abused by TEC from Spong to VGR.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“you have misrepresented me horribly” NP, I’m sorry. “You have even defended his attempts to jail gay people as consistent with the Gospel, at least as +Akinola sees it!” When you made this statement, one to which many here reacted with shock, I took it as support for +Akinola. It certainly isn’t condemnation. You see, for me, his support of this bill, whether or not he initiated it, is evil. End of story. As a bishop, especially as one of the leaders of the self-proclaimed “Orthodox”, he has a duty to oppose this bill. “You have repeatedly ignored requests to… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“…the reality is that TEC has immense financial and theological resources.”

What? Is TEC accused of whupping people upside the head with its immense theological resources?

Eschatology! Wham!

Systematics! Bam!

As for financial resources, yes, TEC has resources to operate, but operating budget is what it is, paying for programs, staff, and the ongoing costs of institutional life. It’s a pretty lean budget at that.

Evidently someone has the money to send ++Akinola and his entourage flitting all over the globe.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Doesn’t that just go to show that emphasising the so-called gender of the Spirit is a classic example of the dangerous underlying tendency to read the NT on our own terms, in terms of (in the service of) our own contemporary interests, rather than on its own terms, which is the only way we can hope to understand it properly.?

Steven
Guest
Steven

Nick: Once again, you are confusing “legalities” with the more subtle respect, comity and standards that bind people together in a friendly and voluntary association. The AC cannot legally force TEC to do anything. This is not a matter of breaking laws. It is a matter of breaking the tenuous bonds of friendship and mutual respect for each other and a common standard that hold the AC together. You might as well talk about whether your best friend has a legal right to force you to recant some comment or action that has broken your bonds of friendship. In other… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

How neat, how pat is the claim that TEC is the problem. Convenient, too, so far as deflecting our attention from the new conservative push to take over and claim apostolic rights to everything in sight that might matter about following Jesus of Nazareth. Conservatives are tired of rubbing church shoulders with anybody who isn’t them. They say as much in public now as part of the new realignment campaign, and they certainly act as if they alone hold the only invitation to the kingdom feast in their very strict hands. But the liberalities cut through and across many other… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest
Malcolm French+

I’ve read enough of your posts, NP, to realize that you’ve got “twisted and weak” down to an art form. At what point, sir, have the “liberals” ever claimed that their actions were forces on them by the actions of the “conservatives?” Never. Let the Prince Bishop of Abuja take accountability for his behaviour. Let him say “I am not prepared to wait while the Anglican Communion sorts itself out. I am going to overthrow the Episcopla Church because I believe it is what God is calling me to do.” Let him repent of that cowardly excuse “the Episcopal Church… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher Schell, I feel obliged to mark the comparatively rare instances when we agree. Though I use ‘she’ at times to refer to the Spirit, largely to force myself to remember that, classically, God is neither one nor the other, neither both nor neither, I DO indeed agree with you on this point. “TEC is no longer a full member of the communion–de facto if not yet de jure” But Steve, this is the sticking point. The Church has a long established way of addressing doctrinal issues. Neither side has been willing to work within that framework. The church has… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

“It is a matter of breaking the tenuous bonds of friendship and mutual respect for each other and a common standard that hold the AC together.” – Steven To me it is a gross injustice and an insult that TEC should be singled out in the way that the Primates do, as if the bonds of affection with (male)Primates are the only bonds of importance in the Communion. What about bonds of affection with the marginalised in our societies, LGBT people such as Davis MacIyalla? Or with those of us in other provinces who support TEC’s actions, and feel stronger… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Malcolm As someone who knows first hand what it is like to be as a child on the receiving end of a father’s fist. I totally agree that abusive people will make you responsible for their actions. The clever ones (like my father) learn to hurt you so that they don’t leave bruises and to intimidate you into silence so that the police don’t take away their victims. Like my father, their violence is never confined to one child. As adults, we later found out that cousins were also molested too. Was I guilty of overemphasising Spirit’s femininity? Yes. Spirit… Read more »

Nick Finke
Guest
Nick Finke

One point of my earlier remarks was that the only person who can declare that TEC is no longer a member of the AC is the Archbishop of Canterbury. Declarations by others, be they Primates or whatever, may have moral significance, but they are irrelevant for deciding whether a particular Church has Communion membership. Until Cantuar tells us that we are no longer in communion with him, we remain members of the Communion. Others may be offended by our statements or actions, but their actions/opionions cannot separate us from the Communion. This is not a mere “legality.” There have to… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford,
“Though I use ‘she’ at times to refer to the Spirit, largely to force myself to remember that, classically, God is neither one nor the other, neither both nor neither”

That’s true when you think theologically. But because in every day language God is “he”, and too many appear to imagine “him” as a stern old man in the sky, it is quite important to use “she” on occasion.

It’s interesting that “he” never raises any comments here, whereas one single reference to the Spirit as “she” brings about a fair bit of protest.

Malcolm French+
Guest
Malcolm French+

Cheryl, I don’t think I ever questioned your views on the feminine aspects of God. Indeed, a few weeks ago began the Sunday sermon with a reflection on Jesus rather startling imagery of God as a mother hen.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I agree Malcolm, I do not recall your challenging the feminine God imagery either.

I found a new website via an article by accident today. I am mild compared to some adventurous souls. Snicker.

http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/MikeSAdams/2007/04/30/my_conversion_to_the_lutheran_feminist_faith

http://www.herchurch.org/

I love Jesus’ imagery as a mother hen in Matthew 23:37-39

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – thank you for your post. Yes, I find ++Akinola too harsh in his support of the proposed laws but I am afraid I cannot equate him with VGR as he is not preaching direct contradiction of some very clear teaching. His supporters (not me) may claim that the law is in fact softer than scriptural prescriptions (sorry, if this offends you.) I think he is wrong to support the laws but I do not see him being heretical so much as harsh and unwise in this. Malcolm – you are so wrapped up in your inappropriate analogy that… Read more »

Malcolm French
Guest
Malcolm French

I’m sorry, NP. I didn’t realize that you were the new moderator who decides what is or is not the issue. I made an observation about something that struck me – specifically the refusal of the “conservatives” (or at least one particular “conservative”) to take responsibility for his own decisions. I’m allowed to do that. You and the Prince Bishop of Abuja have not yet silenced me. Of course, you fail to acknowledge that there might even be an issue about who gets to decide what, and by what means, in the Anglican Communion. You may think that the usurpation… Read more »