Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Schism?

Note: Since posting this on Tuesday night, additional information is coming in. Updates are added at the bottom of this post.

Jonathan Petre, of London's Daily Telegraph newspaper, reports that a split in the Anglican Communion is at hand. His story begins:

A powerful coalition of conservative Anglican leaders is preparing to create a parallel Church for conservatives in America in defiance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, provoking the biggest split in Anglican history, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

According to sources, at least six primates are planning the consecration of a prominent American cleric as a bishop to minister to Americans who have rejected their liberal bishops over the issue of homosexuality.

Surprisingly, he reports: "Insiders said the scheme was not being led by the maverick Global South leader, the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, who has already set up a similar 'missionary' Church in America headed by Bishop Martyn Minns."

I hope this whole story is inaccurate. Right now, our church's Executive Council is meeting and will frame a response to the primates' communiqué from Tanzania. Most of us hope to maintain dialogue with the other provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Let's see now ... we already have AMiA, CANA, FIF/NA, the "Network," the AAC, and a bunch of other groups claiming the mantel of True Orthodoxy. Several of them are headed by men who tried and failed to be elected bishops of the Episcopal Church. I wonder which group may now be ready to race to the head of the pack proclaiming that they are, in fact, the reallytrulyhonest-to-God "orthodox" ones. This is getting more ridiculous by the week, as the schismatics seek to out-purify one another.

Meanwhile, we real Anglicans go on about the work of the Gospel, seeking transformation in our personal lives and doing our small part to bring about the Kingdom of God in our midst.

Update (06.13.07): Thinking Anglicans is providing more information about this story, which has been confirmed. This time, it's the Archbishop of Kenya who wants to play in the American sandbox and former Episcopalian Bill Atwood (of the Ekklesia Society) who is to be consecrated a bishop. Look to Thinking Anglicans for excellent coverage as more details emerge.

Update 2 (6.13.07): Religious Intelligence has a story on this, calling it a new blow for Anglican Communion unity hopes.
Father Jake is on the story, too. He gives it something of a yawn in Kenya Follows Nigerian Model, saying:
So now Rwanda, Nigeria and Kenya are being allowed to pillage parishes in North America. None of the entities will be recognized by Canterbury, of course, but I'm not sure that matters to them anymore. Any means, including invasions, to justify their ends; the expansion of their personal kingdoms, which more and more appear to have nothing to do with Anglicanism.

It appears once again that the Telegraph attempted to make much ado about nothing. Just another Primatial Pirate on the horizon, who has decided this is the time to unfurl his Jolly Roger. He condemns himself by his unethical behavior.
Amen, Jake!

Update 3: [Hat-tip to Ann.] Archbishop Akinola has now chimed-in, too in this statement on the Church of Nigeria's website, which begins: "I have received news of the proposed consecration of Canon Bill Atwood . . . ." Didn't the Kenyan statement say their had been "wide consultation"? Could Kenya have acted without +Peter Abuja's consent and support? One wonders, when +Abuja notes that CANA is "already established in North America." Hmmm ...

I suppose none of these African primates really took seriously the September 30 ultimatum they gave our Church. Oh well ...

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