Thinking Anglicans

Bishop Chane writes about ACNA

The Bishop of Washington, John Chane has written a letter to his diocese about the proposed formation of a new province in North America.

Read it all here. There is also a PDF version.

Here’s an extract:

…The Archbishop of Canterbury wisely did not invite any of the bishops consecrated to serve in the Nigerian, Ugandan, Rwandan or Kenyan incursions into the United States to last summer’s Lambeth Conference. Nor did he invite bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church, which broke from the Anglican Communion almost 130 years ago. Williams seems unlikely to reverse course now. He knows that the leaders of the proposed province have been working, overtly and covertly, to undermine the Episcopal Church for almost a decade, so what was a front page story to the editors of the New York Times was old news to him. It would be folly for the Archbishop to even consider recognizing a non-geographical province because it would unleash chaos in the Communion, with theological minorities in every jurisdiction seeking to affiliate with likeminded Anglicans in other provinces. Unfortunately, the Archbishop has contributed to the confusion and anxiety the leaders of the proposed province have sought to foster by meeting on numerous occasions with Duncan and his allies. These meetings have bestowed an unwarranted sense of legitimacy on those who seek to deconstruct the Anglican Communion.

What Duncan and Minns propose – that Duncan become the Archbishop of a newly minted non-geographical province with the support of GAFCON primates such as Peter Akinola of Nigeria and Henry Orombi of Uganda – is a rejection of the respectful diversity and generous orthodoxy that defines the Communion. It is a repudiation of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury in our communal life. It flies in the very face of what it truly means to be an Anglican. For Minns to suggest that he is leading a “new reformation” is ludicrous and demeans the historicity and value of the real Reformation as we know it and live it. The movers of the proposed new province embarrass themselves, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion by the self-serving media coverage they have worked so hard to achieve. The news of the proposed province appears at a time when more than 28 million Americans are living on food stamps, one out of every 10 new mortgage holders is facing foreclosure, unemployment is at its highest level in decades, the auto industry is “tanking” and the real danger of deflation or a possible depression looms large on the horizon. In the global south, millions live on $1 a day, and wars, ethnic and religious violence, poverty and the AIDS epidemic continue to wrack the African continent. To learn in this context that Duncan, Minns and their allies think that the most important issue facing the church is the sexuality of the Bishop of New Hampshire suggests a level of self-absorption that is difficult to square with the teachings of Christ. And to learn that the New York Times considers the complaints of these deposed, retired and irregularly consecrated bishops to be front page news suggests a fixation on “culture wars” reporting that deprives readers of a true sense of the challenges facing the church in this country…

22 comments

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    Bravo to Bishop Chane! Proof that one can be Christian, liberal and Anglican and still be forthright and not mealy-mouthed.

  • David R Lyon says:

    Well said…well thought,,,well written , my dear Bishop Chane…

  • Pluralist says:

    Yes this was well written, and why (for all that from CEEC, for example) this new breakaway will swing in the wind.

  • peteford says:

    Just watch the mental and theological gymnastics Duncan & Co. perform refuting this. I’m sure IRD is paying someone, somewhere, to be a “rapid response” person to provide talking points to these people. Bishop Chane has hit it right on the head, which is going to make the Duncan people scream all the louder because when confronted with the truth of their untheological reasons for wanting to form a “people only like us” kind of church, they’re going to throw a tantrum.

  • kieran crichton says:

    I have a suggestion:

    Let +Chane and Rowan do a job swap for three years.

  • Ren Aguila says:

    I can’t wait for another ad hominem attack on the Archbishop of Canterbury, exaggerating the comments Bishop Chane made about the former meeting Duncan and co., precisely to prevent the Communion from falling apart.

    Well, Bishop Chane has a point. What saddened me is that the so-called “liberal media” is not liberal when it comes to religion and especially to the Episcopal Church. Come to think about it, it’s rare to find thoughtful and fair reportage about these sorts of things. Even if the Roman Catholic Church has done a lot of good in the past few years, it is abusive priests they have focused upon. And even if the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem has been working to safeguard Christianity in an increasingly fundamentalist Islamic Middle East, we get stories about brawling monks.

    I honestly think that Chane should take out a full-page ad in the Times–and dare them to print it.

  • Andrew says:

    Bishop Chane is right, but the NY Times and most other important liberal and conservative newspapers have always given considerable emphasis to events in the Episcopal Church. This is unlikely to change, since the owners and editors of such important American institutions are often disproportionately Episcopalian. TEC matters in this country far more than its official numbers.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    Wish he would propose a version of this as an op-ed for the WPost and NYTimes.

    In the States, of course, this would hardly get attention compared with the news today about the alleged activities of the Gov of Illinois – taking veniality to a whole new level, in a state in which, I think I heard this right, 3 of the last 6 Govs have served or are serving prison time for corruption.

  • Lynn says:

    Bishop Chane makes me proud to call Washington my home church diocese. Yes, yes…all of you who are writing about the financial woes of the National Cathedral…we know. I challenge YOUR bishop to run a Gothic cathedral without a longtime resident parish congregation, and huge non-Episcopalian responsibilities. All the snide remarks come from people who don’t understand a darn thing about the place, or even the non-government life Washington, DC.

    Thanks for keeping the flame, Bishop Chane. (I was confirmed by Bishop Creighton, the Cathedral is a special place for me).

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “It is a repudiation of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury in our communal life. It flies in the very face of what it truly means to be an Anglican. For Minns to suggest that he is leading a “new reformation” is ludicrous and
    demeans the historicity and value of the real Reformation as we know it and live it.”
    – Bp. John Chane, Episcopal diocese of Washington

    Here is the nub of the whole problem of duplicity as it exists in the minds of the re-Asserters – whose repudiation of the integrity of the rest of the Anglican Communion is at odds with their attempts to close the wound that they themselves have opened up.

    To fall on one’s sword, and then call on the Red Cross to save one’s life is pathetic, to say the least. This bears no relation to the parable of Jesus, when he suggested that to lose one’s life is to save it. The object here is far from self-abnegation. Rather, it is an attempt to seize power to enhance one’s own position in the Church of God – hardly an object lesson in kenosis.

    This ‘new reformation movement’, involving 5% of all Anglicans in North America, can hardly be said to be ‘mainstream’. It is just a radical re-grouping of former dissidents, egged on by those in the Church whose reforming zeal has little to do with the gospel imperative of Jesus Christ, but rather a cynical attempt to revive the party of the Pharisees, with whom Jesus himself had to contend – in order to proclaim the Gospel of God’s love for all people.

    Thank-you Bishop Chane for putting the case so clearly. As he asks us, we should all be praying for our Church Leaders to resist the purifying ambitions of the re-Asserters, wherever we find them. We pray that all Churches of the Anglican Communion may concentrate of living our the Good News of Jesus Christ in the world for which he died.

  • cryptogram says:

    I wonder how long it will take for AM to link this story. Hours? Days? Never?

  • Cryptogram’s question gets it non-answer in the thread above ;=)

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Furthermore you have to blame the lay and clerical leadership of TEC?ACC for not prosecuting the sponsering provinces…for faciliatating the theft of Episcopal property.

    Its just not good enough to say that would be like pouring oil on fire.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “He knows that the leaders of the proposed province have been working, overtly and covertly, to undermine the Episcopal Church for almost a decade”

    And I think there needs to be many more such frank statements of this reality.

    “respectful diversity and generous orthodoxy that defines the Communion”

    Which is why they have such a problem. They do not repsect diversity, and they are not generous. Their God is a niggardly God who rewards those who grovel best. All must conform to what they think the Gospel is. This is why their movement will fail, since, having gotten rid of those who are obviously different, they will start to pay attention to smaller and smaller differences among themselves.

    “To learn in this context that Duncan, Minns and their allies think that the most important issue facing the church is the sexuality of the Bishop of New Hampshire suggests a level of self-absorption that is difficult to square with the teachings of Christ.”

    I don’t know +Chane, have never met him, never heard him speak. But, I can almost hear the tone of this sentence. I love it!

  • drdanfee says:

    Bravo and prayerful thanks to Bishop Chane for speaking up, just as the unified California bishops did against Prop 8 in their state. Why in the world we should now be terrified of the realignment conservatives who have said and shown how little they wish to play well with other Anglicans in any global big tent not of their own special holier than thou conformities – well, beyond me.

    The more the realignment campaign counts on antigay prejudices as the leading wedge issues, then tagging on all the rest of the fav target groups, the sooner the keen edges of division will dull and wear out. A painful experience of constantly being targeted, no doubt, but just another round of the same old thang.

    A quick web search of the Reformed EC suggests that they split long ago in opposition to the catholics in the big tent, so one would suppose they will still have trouble rubbing shoulders with the likes of Iker, say, at least after the jolliness of sharing cigars in the antiwomen old boys’ club starts to lose its lovely males-only glow.

    Duncan must indeed believe in his heart of hearts that he is the most godly and exemplary among all of them if he thinks he has any chance of keeping these fractious and touchy realignment believers together over any impactful long run. The moment very much of their negatives come back home, no longer expelled by their typical scapegoating of target peoples, they have a truck load of negatives to face. Hence, well nigh constant scapegoating. Take scapegoating away from their ethics and theologies – note plural s – and precious little unweaponized witness remains.

    So I conclude that the IRD realignment campaign has in the end done nearly as much or more damage to big tent conservative believers as it has tried to do to all the other types of global Anglicans. The old realignment bishops retirement villages are going to be very nasty, negative, bitter places to visit in a few years, alas, Lord have mercy. Except perhaps for Akinola whose love for his own humility will still bear witness to its own miraculous durability – like a piece of the venerated true cross in hundreds of places all around old Europe.

  • fibonaccisequins says:

    “In the global south, millions live on $1 a day, and wars, ethnic and religious violence, poverty and the AIDS epidemic continue to wrack the African continent. To learn in this context that Duncan, Minns and their allies think that the most important issue facing the church is the sexuality of the Bishop of New Hampshire suggests a level of self-absorption that is difficult to square with the teachings of Christ.”
    *****
    Thank you, Bishop Chane! It is so refreshing to hear a liberal Bishop stand up for liberal beliefs! To proclaim Jesus of Nazareth’s REAL message. I can’t recall anywhere in the Gospels Jesus commanding us to scourge the “sinners” we don’t like. However, apropos of Bishop Chane’s right-on assessment of the Global South, Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:34-45 comes to mind. Also, didn’t Jesus mock the Pharisee who came into the synagogue and prayed “Thank God, I’m not like those sinners!”
    But it sure is easier and much more fun to sanctimoniously condemn “the Bishop of New Hampshire”, and by extension all GLBT people, than to do the hard work of being part of the solution to the Global South’s problems.
    I’m a sinner, too, and the US and TEC are imperfect, but playing games in the US while people suffer in your own backyard is not “imitatio dei”.

  • Thanks to Bishop Chane for ALWAYS being willing to face TRUTH OPENLY instead of joining up with doubletalking cowards who PRETEND to know what´s what and what´s not what!

  • JCF says:

    “Their God is a niggardly God”

    Careful, Ford: you just might draw forth BabyBlue to call you a Revisionist racist. ;-/

    +Chane Rocks! (Sounds vaguely Promethean? *g*)

  • cryptogram says:

    It took AM 24 hours from my post yesterday, and they did it by quoting extensively from the Daily Telegraph, which did exactly what Ren Aguila had predicted someone would do – spin a single sentence critical of ++Rowan’s meetings with Duncan into a full blown “Ledfty American Bishop attacks Williams for being a Wimp” piece. The truth is not in them.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “Careful, Ford: you just might draw forth BabyBlue to call you a Revisionist racist. ;-/”

    First of all, unless I am mistaken, Babyblue attends one of those Evangelical Virginia parishes, and thus is far more of a revisionist than li’l ole Anglo-Catholic me. If she wants to follow her “different Gospel” of legalism, fine with me, but it would be a bit much for HER to call ME a revisionist, no? Second, the ‘-dly’ changes the meaning, something I know you know, and can only hope Babyblue can too.

  • The Rev'd Laurence Roberts says:

    Bishop Chane speaks the truth with candour and eloquence.

    Their self absortion is staggering. Their priorities fantastic !

  • The Rev'd Laurence Roberts says:

    Seconded !

    ‘I have a suggestion:

    Let +Chane and Rowan do a job swap for three years.

    Posted by: kieran crichton on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 1:27am GMT

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