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"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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"We have common historical and theological roots, since the founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley, was a life-long Anglican priest," [Methodist minister the Rev. Joseph F.] DiPaolo said. "We have also done a few cooperative services together, on Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday, and may collaborate on some other things in the future as well."
"They are a fine group of folks who are committed to serving our area from a classic Anglican liturgical and theological standpoint, and we are delighted to offer them space and a home here in Wayne, as they seek to establish their congregation," DiPaolo continued. "We are also honored to host their bishop and their inaugural synod."
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Sunday, August 19, 2012, was a memorable day in the history of the Anglican Communion Worldwide.
It was when the Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh; the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Most Rev. Robert Duncan, accompanied by three Nigerian Archbishops (Most Rev. Olu Akinyemi, Most Rev. Ikechi Nwosu and Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey), and nine other Bishops, inaugurated a new diocese in North America.
The duly elected and consecrated Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev Amos Akinseye Fagbamiye, was also enthroned at the Anglican Cathedral Church of the Resurrection, Indianapolis.
The new cathedral was filled with the glory of God and people from within and outside the United States of America and Canada who gathered to witness the historic event.
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In September 2011, the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria passed a resolution supporting the formation of the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity (MDT), under the oversight of the Rt. Rev’d Amos Fagbamiye. The MDT is currently comprised of congregations and clergy in both the United States and Canada. Bishop Fagbamiye leads the Anglican Cathedral Church of the Resurrection in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Plans are underway for the inauguration of the MDT on August 19, in Indianapolis with the Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) officiating. Everyone is welcome to attend the celebration....
Read it all and there is more information there.
A Virginia judge has ordered seven congregations that broke from the Episcopal Church to return all property to the local diocese -- from valuable land to sacred chalices -- by April 30.
The Diocese of Virginia had wanted the properties returned by March 30, a week before Easter. But Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows agreed to give the breakaway congregations more time.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues
April 7, 2012 marks CANA’s seventh birthday! As we look forward to completing our seventh year and beginning the eighth year of our vision and mission in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, our Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns has invited me to write this pastoral letter to you. We should be truly thankful for all that Almighty God has done in our common life and for the inspirational opportunities for gospel ministry before us in the coming year.
From humble beginnings our shared mission in CANA continues with over 275 clergy and over 90 churches across more than 30 states and Canadian provinces and a vital and growing chaplaincy program for both military and civilian service. In that same spirit of humility and Spirit-led consecration with which we began, we remain committed to a dynamic Christianity that demonstrates radical inclusion, profound transformation, and inspired service. New congregations are joining the CANA family, individuals are offering their lives for Holy Orders, and we are fully engaged in the provincial life of both the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the ACNA as we seek to replant biblical, missional Anglican Christianity across North America.
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There is one immediately perceivable flaw in the Diocese's argument, and it also casts doubt on the legitimacy of Judge Bellows' characterization of the evidence as "compelling" and "clear." For at the time of his first ruling in this matter in 2008, which told the CANA congregations that they could keep their properties under the terms of Virginia's Division Statute (§ 57-9), it was then "clear" to Judge Bellows that the Diocese did not have any entitlement to the parish properties or bank accounts.
The only thing that changed the Judge's view was the Virginia Supreme Court's quixotical decision, two years later, to read the statute in such a way that it could never apply to that sacred category of religious institutions defined as "hierarchical" by the courts. From that date on, perhaps, it was now "clear" in Virginia that the Diocese would prevail -- or was it? At any rate, the point is that all of the evidence which the Diocese (leaning on Judge Bellows, to be sure) now characterizes as "compelling" did not amount to anything approaching that description in 2008, and could have become so only after June 2010.
But the principal point here is that with this motion, the Diocese has revealed its truly impecunious state, and hence its inability to maintain and operate all of the properties it has won in the judicial jackpot. Moving for an award of prejudgment interest in these unique circumstances -- secular lawsuits between thousands and thousands of Christians on each side, contrary to the tenets of the Christian religion -- is to rub salt into a gaping wound in the body of Christ.
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Read it all noting especially the eleven page pdf at the bottom which quotes the Motion documents in full.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The years-long litigation has been expensive for all involved. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has lost congregations that collectively contributed $10.4 million directly to the diocese in the 20-year period before the dispute erupted.
And the breakaway congregations have spent millions of dollars in legal fees. Warren Thrasher, executive director at Truro, said the 1,200 members of that church alone have spent roughly $2 million on legal bills, raised through a legal defense fund kept separate from the rest of the church’s ministry.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues
Tonight, the Fairfax Circuit Court issued its ruling in favor of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in litigation seeking to recover Episcopal church property. “Our goal throughout this litigation has been to return faithful Episcopalians to their church homes and Episcopal properties to the mission of the Church,” said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia.
The court ruled that the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia have “a contractual and proprietary interest” in each of the properties subject to the litigation. The court ordered that all property subject to its ruling be turned over to the Diocese.
“We hope that this ruling will lead to our congregations returning to worship in their church homes in the near future, while finding a way to support the CANA congregations as they plan their transition,” said Henry D.W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese and chief of staff.
Bishop Johnston added, “While we are grateful for the decision in our favor, we remain mindful of the toll this litigation has taken on all parties involved, and we continue to pray for all affected by the litigation.”
Seven Anglican congregations in Virginia that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia are reviewing today's ruling by the Fairfax County Circuit Court that the property should be turned over to the Episcopal Diocese.
The Circuit Court heard the case last spring after the Virginia Supreme Court remanded it in June 2010. The congregations previously had succeeded in their efforts on the Circuit Court level to defend the property that they bought and paid for.
"Although we are profoundly disappointed by today's decision, we offer our gratitude to Judge Bellows for his review of this case. As we prayerfully consider our legal options, we above all remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith. Regardless of today's ruling, we are confident that God is in control, and that He will continue to guide our path," said Jim Oakes, spokesperson for the seven Anglican congregations.
The Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, a historic property involved in the case, stated, "The core issue for us is not physical property, but theological and moral truth and the intellectual integrity of faith in the modern world. Wherever we worship, we remain Anglicans because we cannot compromise our historic faith. Like our spiritual forebears in the Reformation, 'Here we stand. So help us God. We can do no other.'"
The seven Anglican congregations are members of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a member diocese within the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop John Guernsey of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic has expressed to leaders of the seven congregations, "Our trust is in the Lord who is ever faithful. He is in control and He will enable you to carry forward your mission for the glory of Jesus Christ and the extension of His Kingdom. Know that your brothers and sisters in Christ continue to stand with you and pray for you."
The bishops discussed a recent decision of the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria, making provision for the creation of CANA missionary dioceses in North America. CANA’s Chancellor, Scott Ward, Esq., briefed the bishops on progress towards the formal inauguration of the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity which is to be led by Bishop Amos Fagbamiye.
Bishop Derek Jones reported on the rapid growth of the Chaplains Deanery and the significant ministry of military and civilian chaplains. The ministry of the Deanery for the Chaplaincy is to endorse and support chaplains in the US military, federal and local government, hospital and hospice, and other volunteers serving their communities.
The bishops rejoiced in the recent creation of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic where many clergy and congregations continue in their relationship with CANA. While acknowledging that the concept of ‘dual citizenship’ continues to raise some questions we heard a number of testimonies from those who have embraced this gracious provision and celebrate this opportunity for a direct connection to the Anglican Communion through the Church of Nigeria. We believe that this can only strengthen the ongoing work of ACNA in its determination to demonstrate the transforming love of Jesus Christ throughout North America.
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Litigation over ownership of St. Stephens Church in Heathsville and eight other churches that formerly housed Episcopal congregations entered a new phase when the parties filed their post-trial briefs in August.
The briefs followed a 22-day trial at which 67 witnesses appeared and "thousands of exhibits" were filed, according to the brief for the defendant churches all of which have disassociated themselves from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). According to the schedule set up by the Circuit Court of Fairfax where the case over ownership of the nine churches is being tried, the parties may respond to each other's briefs by Sept. 23 and after that the court may hear oral argument and decide the cases.
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They sat in plastic chairs amid the sawdust and unfinished floorboards, chipped paint and bare plaster. All were in their Sunday best, about 200 people listening to the first prayer said in the new home of St. George’s Anglican Church.
“Drive from this place those demons that have possessed its inhabitants,” boomed the voice of the Rev. Don Armstrong. “Restore this place to its former sanctity and purpose.”
There was a bit of irony to Armstrong’s prayer, a double-meaning to both building and man.
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When Bishop Martyn Minns (who was born in England) flies into Heathrow Airport near London, he flashes his UK passport and the guard greets him with “Welcome home, Mr. Minns!” On his return flight into Newark Airport outside of New York City, he pulls out his US passport and the security officer says, “Welcome home, Mr. Minns!”
CANA congregations and clergy have the privilege of holding dual citizenship in both CANA and the ACNA. While the provinces in the Anglican Communion and GAFCON live in the current period of evolving ecclesiastical structures, these guidelines will help us understand and manage some practical issues related to holding two virtual passports.
Q1. What does “dual citizenship” mean?
The largest province of the Anglican Communion and GAFCON, the Church of Nigeria, sponsors the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) as an indigenous, ecclesiastical structure of districts, congregations, and clergy in North America. As such, CANA also is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) which is an indigenous province-structure. Thus, congregations and clergy in CANA have a dual citizenship and two virtual passports that allow them to be bona fide members of the Church of Nigeria (and thus the Anglican Communion) and the ACNA.
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The Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), says the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), is no longer under the jurisdiction of Nigeria....
“We are not interested in territorial ambition; our main reason for going to America was to provide for those who were no longer finding it possible to worship in the Episcopal church.
“A new structure has been put up in the U.S. which is ACNA.
“CANA now belongs to ACNA even though they still relate to us;but essentially it now belongs to Anglican province of North America,” he said.
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Read it all and follow the links.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues
St. George’s Anglican Church, a former Episcopal Church congregation which disaffiliated from its former denomination, has negotiated with the Diocese of New Jersey to retain its church buildings and tangible property with complete independence from The Episcopal Church (TEC). The congregation is now affiliated with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) under Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) under Archbishop Robert Duncan.
“We are extremely grateful that the congregation of St. George’s Anglican Church is able to retain its property. This is an incredible blessing and witness to others that Christians can resolve these matters amicably. We are also thankful that the church has been able to maintain a cordial relationship with the Diocese of New Jersey. I trust and pray that St. George’s Anglican Church will continue to serve the Lord through mission and ministry for many years to come,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.
The final sale of St. George’s church property took place on Tuesday, November 23, 2010.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Theology Pastoral Theology
In his Pentecost Letterii the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, while recognizing the serious nature of our divisions, sees them simply as conflicting truth claims held by equally sincere groups within the Communion. He makes no appeal to the revealed truth of Scripture, the historic teaching of the Church or the recognized views of the vast majority of Christians throughout the world and throughout all the ages. Instead he writes, “We have not fully received the Pentecostal gift of mutual understanding for common mission!” and proposes more and more meetings for mutual exploration. This prescription seems doomed to failure.
He did, however, suggest modest sanctions towards those Provinces that have formally violated the Windsor moratoria. These sanctions are that their representatives should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged or serve as full members of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order. In truth, depending upon how one interprets the phrase “formally violated”, this actually affects only a handful of people.
The reaction of TEC leadership, however, has been one of outrage, disbelief and much hand wringing on the Internet! But more insidious they have redoubled their efforts to look for support and spread their revisionist views around the Communion. They are using a variety of means including their considerable financial clout to seduce and divide the orthodox Provinces. Some African bishops have been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars for much needed projects if they will deny their convictions and embrace the TEC viewpoint. Most stand firm but some give way. It is an agonizing time for so many of our sisters and brothers and yet the leadership of the Communion seems unable or unwilling to act in any substantive way.
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Hundreds of orthodox Anglicans were urged on Friday to uphold Scripture as the church in the West continues to abandon Christ's path.
"The Western world has become afraid or is unwilling to acknowledge that there is right and wrong – that there is good and evil," Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria, told members of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. "The West, Nations and Church, are disinheriting their Christian inheritance."
Okoh was bringing greetings to CANA members who gathered in Herndon, Va., this week for their annual council meeting. CANA was established by the Church of Nigeria three years ago for those who were discontent with the liberal direction of The Episcopal Church – the U.S. body of Anglicanism – but who still wanted to remain tied with the global Anglican Communion.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts * Theology Theology: Scripture
Read it all and watch the whole video.
While conservatives see themselves as remaining faithful to Anglican tradition and Scripture, they see The Episcopal Church veering further away from the rest of the worldwide communion.
"The Episcopal Church is heading in a direction that's incompatible with mainstream Anglican convictions and mainstream Christian faith," Minns told reporters Friday.
This month, Episcopal leaders approved two resolutions that open the ordination process to all baptized members, including practicing homosexuals, and call for the development of liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex unions.
Those actions, Minns said, takes them "further down the road of apostasy."
"What comes next is hard to predict but one thing is sure – the leadership of The Episcopal Church has made it very clear that there is no turning back, their ears are closed and their hearts are hardened," the CANA bishop said in his address Friday at the annual council.
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Read it all (24 page pdf).
HERNDON, Va. (April 9, 2009) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America announced that five congregations from five different states have joined the orthodox Anglican organization.
The new CANA members are as follows: Coventry, Alabaster, Ala.; Christ Church, Baltimore, Md.; St. Stephens, Tullahoma, Tenn.; Holy Trinity, North Augusta, S.C., and St. Edmunds, Elm Grove, Wis.
“We are pleased to welcome these new congregations into the CANA fellowship, a body of orthodox Anglican Christians here in the U.S. This is an exciting time to be Anglican given the renewed enthusiasm in this country and around the world. CANA provides an authentic connection to the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is what many Christians are seeking. We pray that each of these new congregations will grow in the fullness of our Lord Jesus Christ and continue to see lives transformed by the Good News of the Gospel,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.
With the addition of these congregations, CANA now includes 75 congregations across the U.S.
On March 26, 2007, the Episcopal congregation that met at 631 N. Tejon St. split when its vestry voted to leave the national body and align with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, or CANA. The CANA parish continued to worship in Grace Church, while the Episcopal group met at First Christian Church downtown.
A lawsuit was filed to decide ownership of the church property, leading to a 4 1/2 week trial, the longest church trial in Colorado history. Last month, a Fourth District Court judge ruled in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and the Episcopal Church, ordering the CANA parish to vacate the Tejon St. church, which it did by April 3.
Over the past several days, Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal parish moved back into Grace Church, while St. George's signed a 6-month lease to worship in a nondescript building in the Mountain Shadows area that formerly housed the Renaissance Academy, a private school.
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Leaving the Episcopal denomination (while remaining in the Anglican Communion) has given Mr. [John] Yates the freedom to plant churches in urban areas amid many Episcopal churches. (One is next door to Christ the King.) His goal is to plant 20 churches in northern Virginia before retiring. Christ the King was the third, and a fourth was recently planted in Arlington. Mr. Kurcina, 33, who is my son-in-law, is preparing to plant a fifth in Fairfax County.
For a growing number of young preachers like Christ the King's Mr. [David] Glade, planting and then leading a new church is an ideal option. As orthodox Anglicans, they didn't feel welcome in the Episcopal church. And they felt a strong calling to lead their own parish. Mr. Glade grew up as an Episcopalian in Jacksonville, Fla. After graduation from Florida State, he came to The Falls Church as an intern and spent four years as a youth leader before attending Trinity Seminary outside Pittsburgh. He returned to The Falls Church eager to lead a theologically conservative Anglican congregation. "In order to do that, you had to go out and do it yourself," he told me.
"Every new church has an awkward phase, figuring out who they are and getting to know each other," Mr. Glade says. That phase is over. Christ the King has also become financially self-sufficient. It aims to be a "healthy church," like its parent. "A healthy church reproduces itself," Mr. Glade says. Christ the King may soon do just that. Its assistant rector wants to plant his own church.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal CANA Common Cause Partnership --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Virginia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
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“We applaud their consistent stand for biblical truth and the importance of reconciliation between all peoples and their Creator.
“We welcome the Primates’ unanimous reaffirmation of the entirety of Lambeth 1:10 as the Church’s teaching on human sexuality although we are disappointed that they were not unanimous in their call to repentance for those who continue to defy this teaching.
“We also welcome a period of gracious restraint as the Primates describe it but are distressed by the reality that The Episcopal Church continues to initiate punitive litigation on a massive scale. To date, there are at least 56 lawsuits initiated by The Episcopal Church, or its dioceses, against individual churches, clergy and vestries across the country.
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Leaders in the Los Angeles diocese quickly suggested that Monday’s ruling might have a “chilling” effect on other congregations considering leaving the national church. But [Martyn] Minns disagrees.
Minns is missionary bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a group of more than 70 congregations and 150 clergy in 21 states. Founded in 2005, CANA was established as a diocese-like home for breakaway U.S. Anglican churches. The group includes 11 Virginia churches that last month prevailed in the largest U.S. property dispute in Episcopal Church history.
“I think [the California decision] might have a negative impact on some congregations, but most are leaving over principle, not property,” said Minns, speaking by phone from Nigeria. “Many congregations have chosen not even to contest [ownership of church] property. We’re doing this because we believe in something,” namely the inerrancy of Scripture and its status as the final, objective authority in all matters, including sexual morality.
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We need a unified body both to heal the divisions among ourselves and to give the broader Anglican Communion a unified and coherent partner with which to be in relationship.
Forming the Anglican Church in North America is a significant step forward on both these fronts. It is an amazing God-given healing of that internal division and an opportunity for forming constructive relationships within the Communion.
Eleven fragments of “mainstream” Anglicanism in the United States and Canada were involved in the adoption of the provisional constitution: the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas (Rwanda), the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (Nigeria), Forward in Faith North America, the Missionary Convocations of Kenya, Southern Cone (including the Bolivia and Recife networks), and Uganda, together with the Reformed Episcopal Church.
These fragments draw together some 700 congregations in North America, with an estimated 100,000 worshippers on average on any given Sunday. This constellation is thus numbered as larger than 13 of the provinces of the Anglican Communion (including Scotland and Wales), and compares to the 750,000 the Episcopal Church in the United States claims to draw every Sunday.
Please note: this was in last week's print edition of the Church Times, which was available on the web for subscribers only. It is now available to all. Please read it attentively.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal CANA Common Cause Partnership --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Anglican Continuum
he Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns issued the following statement in response to the Fairfax County Circuit Court ruling in the church property trial between The Episcopal Church and eleven former congregations, now affiliated with the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) and CANA, today:
“The Court’s decision is a great victory for religious freedom. It makes it clear that we cannot be forced to leave our churches and our foundational Christian beliefs because of the decision by the leadership of The Episcopal Church (TEC) to change the core components of our faith.”
“While on paper this has been a battle about property, the division within our church has been caused by TEC’s decision to walk away from the teaching of the Bible and the unique role of Jesus Christ. They are forging a prodigal path – reinventing Christianity as they go – which takes them away from the values and beliefs of the historical church here in the United States and the worldwide Anglican Communion as a whole.
“Our position has always been that we have a right to continue to hold dear the same things that our parents and most of the leaders of the Anglican Communion have always believed. The Bible is the authoritative word of God and is wholly relevant to all Christians today and for generations to come.
“We hope and pray that TEC will refrain from causing all of our congregations to spend more money on further appeals. The money could be used instead to provide more help to the least, the last, and the left out in our communities.”
Once upon a time, the Anglican Church was a powerful presence in the U.S.A. known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. or more recently as The Episcopal Church. It claimed a large percentage of the population (16% in 1789) and an even larger representation among the leaders of our great nation.
The language of its liturgy shaped much of our culture and its cathedrals and churches were a witness to the community. Today however, it is wracked with internal conflict, shrinking numbers (less than three-tenths of one percent of Americans regularly worship in Episcopal Churches) and is known more for its rejection of biblical authority and its willingness to litigate against its own clergy and congregations than for its passion for Christ. But that isn't the end of the story.
A growing number of Anglican Christians have realized that they cannot continue down this path. On December 3, as the Bishop of CANA (the Convocation of Anglicans in North America) I joined the bishops and representatives of 14 other Anglican dioceses and networks to introduce the provisional constitution of a new Anglican Church in North America.
We are making a new start. This new Church already represents more than 700 congregations across the nation with a diverse leadership that is committed to the centrality of Christ and the trustworthiness of the Bible as we seek to live out our faith in an authentic way.
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After a five-year spiritual and practical journey that has led them further and further away from the Episcopal Church, [the Rev. Ron] Gauss and his parish, Bishop Seabury Church, are now fully severed from the denomination they once proudly claimed as their own.
Gauss, who was suspended from the priesthood last May, was deposed — which means removed from the priesthood — by Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Andrew Smith on Nov. 20.
Smith said Gauss was suspended because he "abandoned the Episcopal Church" by aligning his church with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a mission of the conservative Anglican Church of Nigeria.
"Yes, there's sadness. I never figured it would get to this point," Gauss said. "But it's not the same church I was ordained to, either."
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Colorado Springs police detectives raided Grace Church & St. Stephen's on Wednesday morning to seize paper financial records and computers as part of a theft investigation launched more than a year ago.
More than 20 officers cordoned off the blocklong church complex at 601 N. Tejon St., evicting its controversial pastor, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, who wandered the sidewalk in clerical garb, a copy of the warrant in his right hand.
The raid focused on records tied to allegations from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado that Armstrong embezzled $400,000 from Grace Church & St. Stephen's Parish, the congregation he headed before he and his followers broke away in early 2007 to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.
Colorado Springs police Lt. David Whitlock said officers were searching for evidence of theft and fraud. Police also searched Armstrong's Colorado Springs home Wednesday.
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Jeffrey Altman will be ordained an Anglican priest today in a ceremony that reflects Central New York's role in the nationwide growth of a separate Anglican church in the United States.
Altman will lead Sunday services at Westside Anglican Fellowship, a Geddes congregation of about 25 people who began worshipping together after their former congregation, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Syracuse, split from the local Episcopal Diocese. They meet at Syracuse Vineyard Church.
It is one of dozens of breakaway congregations that have started Anglican communities in the five years since the U.S. Episcopal Church consecrated an openly gay bishop....
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Five years after the consecration of an openly gay bishop, conservatives who have left the Episcopal Church have organized into a cohesive movement, creating a de facto, if small, separate Anglican church in the United States.
This month, the Diocese of Pittsburgh became the second diocese, after San Joaquin, Calif., late last year, to decide to leave the 2.2 million-member national Episcopal church. The dioceses of Quincy, Ill., and Fort Worth will vote next month. Those moves followed 15 Virginia parishes -- including the large and well-known Truro Church and The Falls Church -- that over the past two years have left their diocese because they view it as too liberal.
The conservatives have been bolstered by the breakaway churches' legal victories in Virginia. Yesterday, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled Truro Church could retain ownership of land sought by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Virginia Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture
Over a salad lunch on an outdoor patio, Assistant Bishop David Bena is so positive and chipper it's hard to connect him with the words of a letter to the editor on the table.
"Well, that's interesting," Bena says cheerfully. "I've never been called a guerrilla warrior."
This is life on the front lines of an emotional rift cleaving the Anglican Communion, the 77-million-member Christian federation that encompasses the U.S. Episcopal Church.
Five years ago, Bena was serving as assistant bishop in Albany when Episcopalians took what he considered a misguided step: electing the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Bena was one of three people to stand up and protest at the consecration ceremony where Robinson, who has received death threats, wore a bulletproof vest.
Read it all.
At this juncture in our nation's history, it is vitally important that we separate the values that are worth fighting for from those that are simply matters of cultural preference. There are values that are universal and non-negotiable. I find them in the Bible and they have shaped my life.
It is in the Bible where you will discover the truth that every human life is of inestimable worth. You will find that God created marriage - one man and one woman for life. This is not some social arrangement that we can redesign at will; it is part of God's design for humanity.
However, for about the past forty years I belonged to a church that no longer advocates these values. In fact, it is attempting to deliberately replace our core values with some of the latest cultural whims.
That church is The Episcopal Church. It still has remnants of its rapidly fading prestige, but its current leadership seems to have lost its way and it has caused a major rift in the Anglican Communion.
The division within the Communion has been widespread and unbelievably painful. About half of the 38 provinces are in broken or impaired relationships. Dozens of dioceses are in disarray and hundreds of churches and millions of people have been negatively impacted by this fracture in our common life.
Read it all
I was reading with interest your Lambeth weblog (to which I had been directed by the weblog of Kendall Harmon, canon theologian of the diocese of South Carolina), and found that on Day 18, where some marvelous and encouraging steps toward consensus and agreement had been made regarding the proposed moratoria, that in your indaba group also:
"we are told that in the lawsuits in America between parishes and their dioceses it is the dioceses who are the defendants and the conservative parishes who are the accusers".
I am sorry to tell you that you have apparently been lied to.
I would direct your attention to this summary document:
which discusses (albeit in a press release on behalf of the eleven parishes being sued by the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church) the facts of the case(s) and the determination of the court on two occasions. Perhaps the most pertinent bit of information from that is its first sentence:
"The 11 churches sued by The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia celebrated today’s Fairfax County Circuit Court ruling that confirms the constitutionality of Virginia Division Statute (Virginia Code § 57-9). The 11 churches named in the lawsuit are members of the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV)."
On the website on which that background document is found, you will also find links (in the right-hand margin) to many of the associated court documents. Major newspapers in the adjoining regions, including the Washington Post (Washington, DC), the Washington Times (Washington, DC), and the Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA) have carried numerous articles as well as editorials concerning the cases, which are widely accessible via the internet. I am sure that you will be able to locate these with no trouble but if you would like I could certainly find some of them and send links to them along to you. It is likely that additional articles will appear in those and other newspapers, as the case will likely be appealed by TEC (and, unfortunately, the diocese). Some of the sadder details of the story can be discovered by reading a few of the introductory documents, including the fact that TEC intervened in and demanded an end to the process of amicable negotiation being followed by the diocese with the parishes, shortly after the investiture of K. Jefferts-Schori.
It is unfortunate that various officeholders in TEC persist in spreading untruths about the basic facts involved in these cases.
I am sorry that they attempted to deceive you, and hope that this will be of help to you in assessing their dependability in various of their other claims and statements.
Please do feel free to contact me regarding this.
Thanks to blog reader LINC for passing this long. It is really very sad to see this kind of misinformation being spread by the same TEC leaders who themselves complain of misinformation! Let me say it again--be a Berean (do you know the reference). Make sure to check the documentation carefully yourself--KSH.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes Lambeth 2008 * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues
In his second Presidential address this week, Archbishop Rowan Williams pleaded for Lambeth participants to
at least ask the question : ‘Having heard the other person, the other group, as fully and fairly as I can, what generous initiative can I take to break through into a new and transformed relation of communion in Christ?’
So: which of the nonparticipant leaders has taken the most "generous initiative" to help the communion, Martyn Minns who has stayed away as requested and been very quiet and self restrained, or Gene Robinson who has come to Lambeth to be on the outskirts of the conference, and where he has received more media attention than almost all Lambeth bishops who are at the actual event itself? KSH.
I will consider posting comments on this article submitted first by email to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will be told this week to stop conservative clergy leaving their national churches and becoming bishops in other countries.
Dr Rowan Williams is to be lobbied by liberals who are dominating the ten-yearly Lambeth Conference, because more than 200 traditionalist bishops have boycotted the gathering as a result of divisions on gay clergy and women bishops.
He will be told that the process of conservative American clergy opting out of their national body and becoming bishops in African and South American churches goes against tradition and must be stopped.
Dr Williams will also be urged to prevent orthodox Anglicans, who believe the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong, from setting up a new province in North America to rival the Episcopal Church of the USA, which triggered the current crisis by electing the first openly gay bishop in the worldwide Communion.
Read it all. So, let us get this straight. None of these transfers to other Provinces in the Anglican Communion would be occurring if the Episcopal Church had not done in 2003 what the Anglican Communion in many different ways asked the Episcopal Church not to do. And, of course, what they did was against tradition.
Also, during the 2003 debate, any outside urging or attempted persusasion, or, even more strongly, intervention by Anglican authorities was seen to be an inappropriate transgression of provincial "autonomy."
Now, however, that something is happening that the Episcopal Church leadership does not like, what is said leadership doing? Appealing to tradition, and asking for outside influence and intervention from Anglican Communion authorities. Got it? Pot, please meet kettle--KSH.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Church of Rwanda Church of Uganda CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Conflicts TEC Departing Parishes Lambeth 2008 Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
GAFCON has been viewed in numerous media reports as an anti-homosexual movement. Is that the case?
In the media there is usually a desire to boil everything down to a couple of attention-grabbing sound bites. And sex and money are the two things that grab people's attention the fastest. Certainly there is a factor of human sexuality among the issues that are before the Anglican Communion. But they are not primary. They are secondary at best. The primary issues have to do with other questions: Who is Jesus Christ? What did he really do? Was his death really necessary? Did he really rise from the dead? And what authority does he have over men and women today?
And then there is the issue of Holy Scripture. One American bishop has been widely quoted as saying, "The Church wrote the Bible and the Church can rewrite the Bible." That point of view would represent a number of TEC bishops, although most might be wise enough not to say it so clearly.
On the other hand we have the New Testament scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is God-breathed." There's a world of difference between those two statements. A big part of the Anglican Communion has chosen to line up with the Episcopal Church, believing that Jesus is optional and that the Bible can be reformulated to suit the culture. That said, it should surprise no one that difficulties arise in determining what is a proper sexual standard.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts Global South Churches & Primates GAFCON 2008 Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
For now, GAFcon seems to be trying to provoke a split rather than announcing one itself. On Monday, Rowan Williams responded to the Jerusalem declaration by saying he thought "the tenets of orthodoxy" spelled out in the document will be acceptable and shared by the vast majority of Anglicans. He did, however, note that GAFcon's proposals for reorganizing its churches and "intervention" in existing dioceses were problematic. It now likely that the U.S., which brought the conservative-liberal tension to a boil with its consecration of openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003, could end up being the setting for a GAFcon provocation. Certainly, after this past weekend, the temperature of the U.S. battle will only increase along with the international stakes.
Read it all.
A Civil War-era law that lets Virginia churches keep their property when leaving a denomination where a "division" has occurred is constitutional, a county judge ruled Friday, June 27, siding with 11 former Episcopal parishes.
Fairfax County Judge Randy I. Bellows' ruling on the 1867 law stops short of awarding the property to the parishes, but it hands them a major legal win.
"It's a resounding victory and very broad," said Steffen Johnson, lead counsel for several of the congregations. "There are just a few loose ends to tie up."
The ruling could encourage the dozens of Episcopal parishes in similar court battles across the U.S., and shake the confidence of mainline Protestant denominations that fear losing churches and people to breakaway groups.
Read it all.
When I interviewed Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns of the Convocation of Anglicans of North America (CANA) this week, he was already in Jerusalem a week before the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCon) which will gather 300 conservative bishops representing 35 million Anglicans, more than half of those in the world.
Most are from the "Global South," such as Africa, Asia, South America, Australia. However, many are "missionaries" from those countries to the U.S., such as Minns, who has attracted 55 conservative congregations, most of which have fled the increasingly liberal Episcopal Church. Another 250 have left for such groups as the Anglican Mission in America.
The gathering of GAFCon bishops is almost revolutionary, because only weeks later, the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside over Lambeth, a conference for the world's Anglican bishops. The Global South bishops decided not to attend Lambeth, but to hold their own gathering instead.
Does this mean there will be split in the Anglican Communion?
Minns thought not: "We are in a process of realignment. When children grow up, you have to re-do your relationship, and begin to relate as equals. They are no longer kids and want to share in the leadership of the family. Institutional change is difficult."
Read it all.
Watch the whole thing.
The first bishop married his gay partner in New Hampshire this weekend. The second bishop will be settling into a new house with his wife in a New Jersey suburb, chosen so that he can shuttle more easily between conservative churches opposed to the first one's theology and lifestyle.
Bishop V. Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Church USA and Bishop Martyn Minns of the Anglican Church of Nigeria are the twin bookends of the current struggle within the worldwide Anglican Communion. Fallen bookends, one might add, insofar as they are the only two Anglican bishops so far to be dis-invited from the Communion's once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this July by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.
The tall, British-born Minns, 65, got the boot because he led a batch of U.S. Episcopal congregations, including the one where he was church rector, out of Episcopalianism and into the authority of the Anglican archdiocese of Nigeria — primarily out of dismay that Episcopalianism had elected the openly-gay Robinson to be the bishop of New Hampshire. And Robinson, 61, a chatty, gray-haired Kentuckian who once said he looked forward to being a "June bride," was blackballed from Lambeth, (which will convene in Canterbury), because Williams felt that the Episcopal church in the U.S. had made him a bishop in the teeth of advice by the Anglican leadership not to engage in such a divisive move.
So where does that leave the two antagonists this summer? In each case, the present is about family and the near future about religious politicking. Robinson got hitched Saturday to his partner of 20 years, Mark Andrew, at St. Paul's Episcopal church in Concord, N.H. in a civil union presided over by a justice of the peace, according to the Concord Monitor. In a recent essay he says he regretted the June bride remark, noting that he should have made a more sober statement about the longing of gays and lesbians to celebrate their own "faithful, monogamous, lifelong-intentioned, holy vows," the kind of sentiment he also expressed in his recent book In the Eye of the Storm: Pulled to the Center by God.
Minns, meanwhile, is spending his weekend in Morristown, N.J, where he moved last month.
Read it all.
The big question is how much money both sides are spending on this debacle. Today, the Rev. John Yates, rector of the Falls Church, the largest of the 11 congregations at 2,500 members, will ask congregants for a "one-time special sacrificial gift" - his words - to make up for a $300,000 shortfall in contributions.
The church recently slashed its $6 million budget by 5.4 percent.
Judge Bellows' decision to allow some 250 years worth of records to be reviewed for the case "puts a burden on us we had hoped to avoid," he wrote. "The costs of defending our church are great."
The ADV folks say they have raised and spent $2.1 million; $1.3 million of which has come from the Falls Church, $1 million from Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, $400,000 from Church of the Apostles in Fairfax and the rest from the remaining eight churches.
Neal Brown, the rector of St. Margaret's Anglican Church in Woodbridge - formerly St. Margaret's Episcopal - said his congregation of 170 souls eked out $40,000 from their operating budget for legal fees.
"Things are so bad, we can't make any color copies on our copy machine," he told me.
Read it all.
Boiled down to their essence, the Episcopal Church arguments against this are twofold -- and nonsense twice over. First, the Episcopal Church will raise a federal First Amendment (free exercise of religion) issue, saying in effect that the state has no say over the internal laws of an organized Church. Because the organized Church (in other words, the institutional structure, the bureaucracy of the Diocese of Virginia and the U.S. Episcopal Church) has bylaws that claim corporate ownership of all individual churches' parish property, the state supposedly must uphold those bylaws despite any claims, evidence, or history to the contrary. Second, they will argue that "hierarchical" churches (e.g., Episcopal, Catholic), unlike "congregational" churches (e.g. United Church of Christ), are indivisible without the assent of the whole body (in this case, the diocese) -- much the same way that Lincoln argued that the Union was indivisible.
Of course, their arguments fail the smell test, because a civic polity and a religious one are two entirely different things. At issue in the lawsuit are civic property rights, which are always governed by the state, not the spiritual matters that are exclusively (and rightly) the province of churches alone.
Throughout this whole fight, the CANA churches have offered to negotiate a financial settlement, and they have kept their rhetoric low-key and respectful. After last Friday's ruling, Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the new Anglican District of Virginia (the group of breakaway churches), struck just the right tone in his statement. "Let us choose healing over litigation," he said, "and peaceful co-existence over lawsuits, and let us devote all our resources to serving Christ and helping others around the world."
If only the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia would be so reasonable. The congregations of the CANA parishes built, care for, and worship in their churches. The Episcopal Diocese ought to adhere to the scriptural admonition against coveting those properties the diocese had no part in creating or maintaining. To do otherwise -- to continue attempts to confiscate those properties -- is to accomplish the exact opposite of social justice.
Read it all.
"We're all Christians in this," said the Rev. Roger Ames, the rector of St. Luke's, who is a suffragan bishop in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. "Surely there's a better way to serve the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings than to do this type of damage to one another."
Several dioceses have filed lawsuits seeking to get back land and buildings from parishes that have left the U.S. Episcopal Church to join other Anglican groups.
Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns of the Herndon, Va.-based Convocation of Anglicans said that by choosing costly litigation over negotiations, the Cleveland lawsuit is part of "a national effort on the part of the Episcopal Church to basically crush any dissenting voice."
Read it all.
Given that there are new articles and press releases, etc. being released frequently, and the potential significance of the story, we thought it would be helpful to provide a roundup of all the Virginia court ruling links in one place. We'll keep updating this periodically:
Primary Source documents: Court Ruling and Press Releases or Letters
The Court Ruling: [Stand Firm has a PDF here]
The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) Press Release:
The Diocese of Virginia Press Release:
The CANA Press Release:
The Presiding Bishop's Statement:
A letter from the Rev. John Yates, rector of the Falls Church
A letter from Virginia Bishop Peter James Lee
Articles / Analysis / Commentary: (in the order we came across them)
The main T19 comment thread is here
Stand Firm -- long comment thread is here.
Va. judge sides with breakaway Episcopal parishes, By Julia Duin
Judge's Initial Decision Favors Breakaway Churches, By Michelle Boorstein
[note BabyBlue has an important bit of background on this article here (Patrick Getlein used to be the Communications Director for the Diocese of VA)]
Ruth Gledhill (The London Times)
Big Win for Va.'s Breakaway Anglican Parishes in Property Fight, by Sheryl Henderson Blunt
Episcopal News Service:
Virginia judge issues preliminary ruling on application of state statute, by Mary Frances Schjonberg
"The Lead" (one of the primary reappraising TEC blogs)
Thinking Anglicans (a reappraising blog from the UK) which provides a roundup of links and some commentary
The Living Church: Favoring Parishes, Virginia Judge Cites ‘Division of First Magnitude’
Reuters: US judge rules for Episcopal Church secessionists, By Michael Conlon
The Institute on Religion and Democracy
Brad Drell (Louisiana attorney and Anglican Blogger at Drell's Descants)
David Trimble (an attorney in KY, and Anglican blogger at Still on Patrol)
Hills of the North (a Georgia attorney)
Bishop David Anderson of the AAC (via Anglican Mainstream)
Note: BabyBlue's blog is, of course, one of the best places to keep up with the news as it happens, since BabyBlue is directly connected to the story, being a member of Truro, one of the ADV congregations.
Feel free to add other links in the comments. We'll update this as we are able.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Latest News - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Bishops CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes
A funny thing happened in Nnewi, Nigeria, last week. (Nnewi is a bustling city in southeast Nigeria.) Archbishop Peter Akinola presided over a remarkable meeting of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), but nobody from the world media noticed. It wasn’t that it was a closed or secret meeting – it’s hard to keep a gathering of a thousand church leaders quiet, and preparations had been public for months. So why didn’t any of them care? For one thing, he didn’t talk about anything that would make a good headline; instead he focused on a call to personal and corporate holiness. He told all those present that they were too attached to the ways of the world and they needed to change. He reminded them that they have been called to “live in the world but not of the world.” Nobody blinked when he challenged his listeners to look inward and deal with their own sin instead of looking at everyone else. But it didn’t make news.
He talked about the Global Anglican Future Conference (affectionately known as GAFCON) that he is leading in Jerusalem later this year. He carefully explained the long history behind the decision to gather with other provinces of the Anglican Communion that refuse to spend any more time agonizing about sex but instead want to get on with the work of the Gospel and celebrate transformed lives. He announced that everyone going from Nigeria has already been paid for – and here’s another funny thing – paid for by generous Godly people in Nigeria! They have raised all the money from inside their own country!
During the meeting they also took time to dedicate a brand new marble-lined church that seats more than a thousand people, debt free thanks to a local benefactor who wanted to do something beautiful for God. Everyone was pleased but no one seemed surprised.
Read it all.
For those first disciples it seemed as if their world had come to an end in the days leading up to that first Easter Sunday. The darkness of despair and the betrayal by the civil and religious authorities had extinguished their dreams. They had pinned their hopes on that wandering Rabbi who had emerged out of the wilderness. He had encouraged them to look forward to a new and brighter world where God’s reign would be made visible for all to see. But now it seemed to be all over. To add insult to injury when they buried the broken body of their beloved friend they did so in a borrowed tomb and blocked entrance with a rock. They could not even honor him in his death.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. The stone was rolled away and their nightmare came to an end. Jesus was gloriously raised from the dead. He didn’t simply survive it he overcame it. But it was not simply his life that was forever changed. All those who put their trust in Him have been given the same promise that death will no longer have the last word for us. Instead we will overcome it. Like him we will be given a new body and live forever in the closer presence of the One who loves us even more than life itself. But even that isn’t the end of the story. We have also been given the promise that the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is now at work transforming the lives of his followers.
Read it all.
The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia recently completed its Annual Council amid raging controversy over the biblical teachings of the church and vicious litigation. A lot of people are getting hurt in this strife. So I read with interest the press releases and statements in the newspapers and blogs regarding what took place at the DOV Council.
Given what was said and what has been written about a group of churches known as the Anglican District of Virginia, I must spend a moment correcting the record. I must defend the members of ADV, as any shepherd would defend his flock against attack.
Overwhelming majorities of the ADV congregations exercised their American rights of freedom of religion, freedom of affiliation, and freedom of choice when they voted 14 months ago to separate from The Episcopal Church. Their referendum was based on the unfortunate reality that The Episcopal Church is on a prodigal course away from its Christian and Anglican roots.
Contrary to what the DOV has been saying publicly, many of the individuals who chose not to vote with the majority are still active members of ADV churches.
Read it all.
Bishop Roger Ames is no longer a cleric in the Ohio Diocese of the Episcopal Church USA.
But he is a leader in the global Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church USA.
Then there's the church that Ames pastors — St. Luke's in Fairlawn. Its incorporation papers list its name as St. Luke's Anglican Church and Ames as pastor. Diocesan records, however, show that it is St. Luke's Episcopal Church and that the pastorate is vacant.
The status of both Ames and the church is an indication of the level of confusion in the denomination and of what might very well be the beginning of a new Anglican province in North America.
Both Ames and Bishop Martyn Minns, the missionary bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), say an effort is under way to unify the theologically conservative parishes that have broken away from the Episcopal Church.
''We're trying to hold onto the traditional teachings of the church and stop the fragmentation that is going on across the country by bringing people together,'' Minns said. ''We definitely have some real divisions (in the Episcopal Church) and we are trying to develop tight connections with the international church and the churches in this country.''
Read it all.
On February 12, it was announced that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church had accepted four bishop’s renunciation of ordained ministry and included in the list of bishops was the Rt. Rev’d David Bena, Suffragan Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).
CANA Bishop Martyn Minns responded by saying, “This announcement is misleading because Bishop Bena has most definitely not renounced his ordained ministry nor has he been ‘deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations’ as stated in the news release. Bishop Bena is a faithful bishop in good standing within the Anglican Communion and continues to fully exercise his ordained ministry.”
“The background to this action is that on February 1, 2007, Bishop Bena was transferred from the Diocese of Albany to the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to serve in CANA. On March 6, he wrote to the Presiding Bishop to advise her of this action and to resign from the Episcopal Church House of Bishops. In his letter he stated that, ‘In transferring from one Province of the Anglican Communion to another, I do declare that I am neither renouncing my Orders as a bishop, nor am I abandoning the Communion of the Church.’
“In a letter dated March 13, 2007, the Presiding Bishop wrote back thanking him for his letter ‘informing me that you have been enrolled in the Anglican Province of Nigeria. I have informed the Secretary of the House of Bishops and the Recorder of Ordinations that by this action you are no longer a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church nor are you enrolled as person in any order of the Episcopal Church.’ She also wrote that it was her prayer, ‘that God may bless us both in a ministry of reconciliation.’
“One year later to now describe his action as a ‘renunciation of ordained ministry’ is confusing at best and at odds with the Presiding Bishop’s earlier response. Bishop Bena’s resignation from the Episcopal Church came after a season of discernment during which he came to the conclusion that the Episcopal Church no longer embraced the Gospel that he had been called to proclaim nor taught the ‘faith once and for all delivered to the saints.’ His desire was to continue his ordained ministry but within another branch of the Anglican Communion and this he continues to do so with great effectiveness within CANA.”
"A lot of people felt that we were the splinter group. We feel that the Episcopal church left us," said Finola Hewitt, a member of the new Christ the King Anglican Church.
While watching the congregation at Christ the King, one could hardly suspect the roiling tensions, defections and splintering factions within the Episcopal church.
Like a lightning-struck tree, the international Anglican church, which the Episcopals are part of, is splitting into irreconcilable branches.
"We're not looking much toward the Western church for leadership," Dalton said. "We're looking to the third world."
The small Christ the King church, along with about a dozen others in Michigan, is part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which defected from the Episcopal church to join with the church of Nigeria more than three years ago.
Read it all.
A part of my daily e-mail traffic comes from people who have read my various pieces, in which I show the mess into which North American Anglicanism has got itself through (a) the initial infidelity of The Episcopal Church [for details of this see my Episcopal Innovations, 1960-2004, from ]http://www.anglicanmarketplace.com] and then (b) the indiscriminate creation of small groups bearing the name “Anglican” from 1977 through to 2008 [see further my Anglican Identity from the same site]. They ask simply: what are we to do? And some of them expect that there is a simple answer which applies in all the 48 contiguous states, not to mention Alaska and Hawaii.
It seems to me that the extra-mural Anglican situation outside TEC has got so complex—not least through the intervention of at least five overseas Anglican provinces in recent years—that it is not possible to offer any simple answer, except the one that avoids the problem and is simply: “Pack your bags, leave this Anglican house, go to another with a different name [Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox etc.] and forget about the Anglican mess as far as you are able, for to clean it up will take a generation.”
If people have patience to consider principles and not be caught up in “winds of change” and “instant solutions” and “imitating others,” then I put to them—in brief—something like the following (adapted of course to local and personal reality). I presume here that the starting point is a parish in TEC where there is a dissatisfied group of Episcopalians who wish to be faithful to Biblical religion....
Read it all.
In examining the origins of the conservative movement in the Episcopal Church, Hassett challenges some widespread opinions held by members of the liberal community. The oft-repeated charge that the support of Global South bishops for American conservatives at the 1998 Lambeth Conference and subsequently was “bought,” she dismisses as reflecting an inadequate grasp of where most of the Southern bishops stood. That there are problems with the disparities of wealth between North and South and how wealth is shared between the two cannot, she believes, explain why the crisis has developed as it has done. More controversial, especially in America, will be the conclusion she draws from her experience of worshipping and talking with the St. Timothy’s, regarding the genuineness of the professions of concern for moral teaching that come from groups like AMIA. “Although homosexuality is often singled out for particularly vehement opposition,” she writes, “my time at St. Timothy’s showed me that evangelical Episcopalians’ responses to homosexuals are framed in the same language of sin and the need for transformation through a relationship with Jesus Christ that they apply to their own lives.” (42)
Conservatives, however, should not become complacent. Hassett has her own view of the myth that has grown up around Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom, which has led some to see the shift in the locus of power to the Global South as the inevitable triumph of Christian orthodoxy. (249-52) Her Ugandan experiences demonstrate that the sense of a monolithic Southern Church that one can sometimes derive from the statements of certain primates is far from accurate. She notes, for example, the greater degree of tolerance for homosexuality (though not a denial of its sinful nature) displayed by the Bakolole fellowships that emerged from the East African Revival; the understanding of homosexuality as an imported “colonial” practice that has made it a matter of nationalist well as religious significance; and the continued reservations expressed by Ugandan bishops and priests about the wisdom of constituting AMIA.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda CANA Common Cause Partnership Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori testified by way of a televised deposition that lasted some 54 minutes. She was courteous yet clear in her conviction that CANA congregations had no right to leave the Church and take the property. When pressed to offer some negotiated settlement on property she was clear that The Episcopal Church would not negotiate with a church from another country coming into a diocese and competing with that established diocese. Asked to explain, she stated this violated current and ancient practice. Polity in all parts of the Anglican world has been for a bishop in one area to get permission from the bishop in another before going there to perform any type of ministerial function. She saw the establishment of parallel parishes and their vocal criticism of The Episcopal Church as confusing to the public and harmful to the church.
Presiding Bishop Katharine was reminded that she had signed the statement of the Primates at the Dar es Salaam meeting. It required The Episcopal Church to repent and pledge to renounce the practice of consecrating homosexual bishops and blessing same-gender “unions” or marriages. She responded that she signed to indicate that the statement represented what transpired. She indicated that she had no authority to bind the bishops or The Episcopal Church to such a statement.
Finally, when asked how she could support legal action against CANA churches when the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury had urged the church to settle disputes over church property within the church rather than through the courts, she responded, “I have a duty to protect the assets and the integrity of The Episcopal Church.”
Read it all.
The rector, vestry and most members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Winchester, Tenn., began worship in a new location today as Christ the King Anglican Church.
Charging that the Episcopal Church today is pursuing a "false" gospel, the Rev. William Midgett, his staff, the lay leadership and a number of parishioners left the 149-year-old church last Sunday.
"For us, it came down to choosing between two gospels," the former rector said. "We recognized there was one (gospel) the church has held onto for 2,000 years, and what's being promoted now looks very different from that."
Read it all.
HERNDON, Va. (January 7, 2008) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) has welcomed ten new congregations into its membership. The Rt. Rev. Francis R. Lyons, the Bishop of Bolivia, commended these U.S. Anglican congregations and their clergy to the oversight of CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with these churches that have been blessed by the leadership in Bolivia and will continue to be blessed by the Holy Spirit. CANA is eager to welcome them on their Christ-centered and faithful mission to serve God and to honor the worldwide Anglican Communion,” said Bishop Minns.
Originally under the ecclesiastical leadership of the Church of Bolivia, the ten U.S. congregations were given CANA oversight “with a profound desire to promote unity in Jesus Christ which issues from his reconciling work on the Cross and an abiding trust in the power of God’s Word written, and with a genuine commitment to support the emerging ecclesiastical structure of faithful Anglicans in North America,” said the Rt. Rev. Francis R. Lyons of Bolivia in a letter to Bishop Minns.
The newest CANA congregations are St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Fairlawn, OH, Church of the Holy Spirit (Anglican), Akron, OH, Anglican Church of the Good Samaritan (Fairhill), Cleveland, OH, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Bay Village, OH, St. Anne in the Fields, Madison, OH, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Milan, OH, Christ the King Anglican Church, Columbiana, OH, Christ Our King Anglican Church, Lexington, MI, St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church, Indianapolis, IN, and The Shepherd Church, Evansville, IN.
Those who peruse the big Anglican blogs know that “Communion Conservatives” (those who advocate contending for the faith by staying in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion) and “Federal Conservatives” (those who are convinced one or both of those bodies are too far gone to the point they think it best orthodox at least prepare to leave) are rather close to each other’s throats at the moment.
To be honest, I have my opinion as to which side is most at blame, but that’s not my concern right now. This post may even seem a bit vague because I don’t want to engage in figure pointing. For my concern is that anger between the two sides is getting to and past the point that it will make it difficult for these two sides of orthodox Anglicans to work together in the future.
That distresses me. If it turns out the Federal Conservatives are right and the Communion Conservative eventually find staying in TEC and the like to be untenable, I want the Comm-Cons to feel they have a refuge in Common Cause and/or whatever church bodies the Fed-Cons form. Likewise, if a miracle happens and the Anglican Communion or even the Episcopal Church sufficiently reforms, I want Fed-Cons to feel they can return. I hope the current divisions between the two are temporary. And even if Comm-Cons and Fed-Cons remain on different tracks, I want them to be able still to work together on those things they can.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal CANA Common Cause Partnership Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Windsor Report / Process * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Anglican Continuum
Read it carefully and read it all.
The Church of the Epiphany, near Dulles International Airport, in Washington DC is the home of the CANA offices. Some 1,000 people gathered there last Sunday for a three-hour service for the consecration of two Nigerians and two Anglo-Americans as bishops of CANA. The Convocation of Anglicans in North America has 60 congregations in 20 states in the USA, with a total average Sunday attendance of approx 8,600, larger than 70 per cent of TEC dioceses. A senior leader said CANA expected to grow to 200 congregations in the next year. All the glories of Anglican worship were there: a splendid liturgy, the great hymns of the church, enthusiastic African praise songs accompanied by drums and the celebrant on tambourine led by a dominant Nigerian soprano, and robust biblical exposition. It was impossible to tell if this was a Nigerian service in which Anglo-Americans took part, or an Anglo-American service in which Nigerians took part. CANA and other Anglican entities on North America are working hard to express true partnership across cultures. It is hard to see what else other than the crisis we are in could have brought about such a deep desire from Westerners for Global South help.
Archbishop Edmund Akanya of Kaduna insisted in his sermon that the antidote to prevailing heresy is the faithful teaching of the whole Bible. ‘We will continue to face the growth of heresies. Teach the Word, it is your duty to protect and preserve what God has given to our hands. The divisions in the Anglican Communion are not about sexuality. It is the beginning of a new kind of religion which not only reinterprets traditional doctrines but jettisons many altogether.’ To this task the new bishops, Roger Ames, David Anderson, Amos Fagbamiye and Nathan Kanu were consecrated.
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When you have an opportunity to stand back from what is going on, you are better able to see all the players in action, and it is a little easier to measure their play against a common set of reference points. Quite honestly, it seems to me that denial of the realities is standard at both ends of the spectrum. The voices of those who ally themselves with the "establishment" and the National Church seem as determined to read the situation through their own set of colored lenses as those at the other end of spectrum to put their own spin on the realities. While those who want everyone to kiss and make up are more sentimental than realistic.
If Kevin Martin is correct, and I think he has been fairer in his analysis of what is going on than most, then for those who continue as part of the Episcopal Church a crunch point is fast approaching when declining numbers and funds will no longer be capable of upholding the infrastructure that presently exists. You might have been able to say until now that its only a relatively small number of parishes that are causing all this upset and, by and large, other than them everything is fine and dandy, but it is no longer just parishes heading for the exit. When dioceses start doing the same then you have to change your tune.
But then, those who are conservative, orthodox, or whatever other label you want to give them, have their own blinkers on when it comes to looking at the realities. It might be a wonderful sense of relief for those leaving to get out from under the antagonistic leadership of the Episcopal Church, but it is incredibly hard and grueling work to create a whole new infrastructure in which to be church. Having been at the front end of a number of new ventures in my time, I know from personal experience the grinding agony of having limited financial resources, relatively little land or property, and how incapacitating it can be to do pioneer work after you have got over the euphoria of getting the new ministry (or whatever) up and started. It requires guts and a special mix of gifts to be a pioneer.
Read the whole piece.
But how that passion will relate to women's rights within the church remains to be seen.
Although Minns told those assembled that “there is no person outside the reach of God’s love,” he also informed them that, “At this time the Church of Nigeria, to which we owe canonical obedience, has no provision for the ordination of women, although there has been acceptance of women in the order of deacons.”
The Episcopal Church has allowed for the ordination of women since its 1976 General Convention but Minns said that CANA, which currently numbers about 60 congregations with over 100 clergy in 20 states with a total average Sunday attendance of approximately 8,600 – larger than 70 percent of the dioceses in the Episcopal Church – is currently split on the issue.
The four new bishops consecrated on Sunday were all male.
“I am fully aware that this is a topic of concern for many clergy and congregations throughout CANA and one that produces intense reactions,” Minns said Thursday.
Read the whole article.
Bishop Duncan gave me an interview during his visit. He said: "It is hard to imagine how the Communion can be kept together. The American church remains committed to its progressive direction." He compared it to US foreign policy. "The American Episcopal Church, rather like American foreign policy, is determined the world will go precisely the way it wishes. It seems a split is almost unavoidable at this point."
A great many people observing the situation, he said, are speaking in terms of the "Anglican experiment" being over. "That is a great sadness. The question for the rest of us is whether we can again be both Reformed and Catholic. The jury is out. Will it simply disintegrate or will it break into two parts? It is a long-term historical question. The 21st century will give an answer to it but we are only at the beginning of that century."
From my personal perspective, I have to say, things look a little different....
Read the whole blog entry.
"The old order in the Episcopal Church is falling apart," said CANA Bishop Martyn Minns, the former rector of Truro Church in Fairfax. "We're all finding a new way to live into our Anglican heritage."
Churches belonging to CANA are under the umbrella of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, and Bishop Minns was made a member of the Nigerian House of Bishops in August 2006. He was snubbed last spring by being one of a handful of prelates not invited by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to the decennial Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops.
Archbishop Akinola has since said that none of his bishops will attend Lambeth in July if the CANA bishops are not invited. He objected to the presence of several dozen American bishops who helped consecrate openly homosexual New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003.
"It's not so much about me and my invitation," Bishop Minns told reporters Thursday, "it's about how the Anglican Communion functions together."
Read it all and there is much more information on the CANA website.
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An umbrella group for about a dozen former Episcopal congregations in Northern Virginia has grown larger as the national church continues to “alienate” its members, a top official with the splinter group said Thursday.
The Convocation of Anglicans in North America, or CANA, has expanded to 60 congregations and more than 100 clergy in 20 states, Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns said during a speech at the Church of the Epiphany in Herndon. CANA, which is affiliated with a conservative archbishop in Nigeria, plans to consecrate four new bishops at the church Sunday.
“We have grown at a remarkable rate,” Minns said. “We have done so in the face of relentless opposition and some of the largest lawsuits ever mounted by the Episcopal Church against its own clergy and congregations.”
A spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia declined to comment Thursday.
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Read it carefully and read it all.
Now, almost one year after having left The Episcopal Church (TEC), we look back at our experience and some frequently asked questions regarding our departure.
You really need to take the time to read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Virginia Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
I don’t need to remind you that there is a war on for the very soul of the Church. But your courage, if I may say this, humbly, and your steadfastness in the face of a new and speciously sophisticated manifestation of evil has won you many admirers all over the world.
And now I want to suggest to you – it’s time to GO FOR IT. To put up your sails for the wind of the Spirit is blowing. Look after each other, look after Tory and Elizabeth, that family; and Tory and Elizabeth, look after them.
The wind is blowing, and the Lord’s promise is as real today as ever it was. As far as you can, put the unpleasant things behind you. The Lord is doing a NEW THING do you not see it? There are thousands out there waiting to hear that God loves them. There is a task to be done before the Lord returns. There are millions of people to be touched with that sense of joy and peace and purpose and grace and forgiveness and love which you carry as the messengers for God. But it starts, it continues and it ends with Peter’s cry from the heart ‘Lord, you know everything’ ‘You know that I love you’. And Jesus’ kind reply ‘Feed my sheep’.
Let’s have a moment of quiet if we may and I would love to encourage any of you and each of you in your own way with the Lord to re-dedicate yourselves. Don’t get distracted now, time is short. Re-dedicate yourselves if you’d like to and I’m going to end with a little prayer in which you could do that. Re-dedicate yourselves to the service of God, to the welfare of the Church for whom Jesus is coming back and the glory of God’s name in this place.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Uganda CANA * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Preaching / Homiletics
From here; this more fully fleshes out the material in the second link in the post about Nigeria below.
(Herndon, VA) -- The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) met in Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria, on the 12th day of September 2007. They received a report from the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria in the USA. Acknowledging the significant growth of CANA that is taking place in the USA, the House of Bishops considered a request for additional bishops to further the work of CANA and the extension of God’s Kingdom.
After the meeting, the Primate, the Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, announced the election of four suffragan bishops and appointed them to serve in the USA. The bishops-elect are the Rev’d Canon Roger Ames (Akron, OH), the Rev’d Canon David Anderson (Atlanta, GA), the Ven. Amos Fagbamiye (Indianapolis, IN), and the Rev’d Canon Nathan Kanu (Oklahoma City, OK). The consecrations will take place in the USA before the end of 2007, at a date and place yet to be determined. These four bishops-elect will join Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns and Suffragan Bishop David Bena in providing an indigenous ecclesiastical structure for faithful Anglicans in this country.
CANA currently consists of approximately 60 congregations and 80 clergy in 20 states. About a quarter of the congregations are primarily expatriate Nigerians. CANA was established in 2005 to provide a means by which Anglicans living in the USA, who were alienated by the actions and decisions of The Episcopal Church, could continue to live out their faith without compromising their core convictions. CANA is part of the Common Cause partnership that includes representatives of more than 250 Anglican congregations that are connected to the rest of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide fellowship of some 70 million, through various pastoral and missionary initiatives.
Update: A Living Church article regarding this matter is here.
An Episcopal priest at odds with church leaders over many of their views, including on homosexuality, is breaking from the ranks by retiring Sept. 30 to start a new congregation, Christ Church Anglican.
The Rev. Gilbert Wilkes, rector of Christ and the Epiphany Episcopal Church in East Haven, said Saturday his new congregation will meet for the first time Oct. 14 with services at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. at a middle school in East Haven. His church will be part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America - or CANA - founded to offer disaffected Episcopalians a theologically friendly church structure.
"I hate to see him leave the Episcopal Church - he's been an exemplary priest and pastor," said Diocesan Bishop Andrew E. Smith. "We've always had a great relationship."
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Bishops Bill Atwood, John Guernsey, and Bill Murdoch are personal friends of many years and we are looking forward to working with them in the coming months as part of the Common Cause Partnership. These new initiatives are a dramatic demonstration that we are not alone as we seek to bear witness to the transforming love of Jesus Christ that is rooted in the 'faith once and for all delivered to the saints.'
These missionary and pastoral initiatives by our friends in the Global South also make clear that they will not abandon us to those who seek to silence our voices by pernicious lawsuits and canonical threats. It is my hope that one result of these creative partnerships will be a renewed emphasis on mission and reaching the unchurched with the Gospel.
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In response to this story, we have the following from Greg Griffith:
- Archbishop Akinola was in Virginia last week, when the statement was released. He and Minns spent much time together. It is entirely possible that +Akinola was using Minns' computer to compose his statement. It is more likely that +Akinola was dictating the statement to Minns. It is far more likely that +Akinola was giving shape and form to the statement, while relying on Minns for the exact wording... in other words, exactly what a trusted confidant and Assistant Secretary of the Global South Steering Committee is for. Surely Jim Naughton, as a diocesan communications director who has no doubt ghost-written more than a few of John Chane's statements, understands how that works.
- Any notion - asserted both by [Father]Jake and [Jjim] Naughton - that Martyn Minns "pulled one over" on Archbishop Akinola is absurd. There is simply no way the Anglican Church of Nigeria released a statement that was not approved by +Akinola.
- The idea - also asserted both by [Father]Jake and [Jim] Naughton - that Peter Akinola doesn't possess the intellectual acumen or the command of the English language to compose "Agonizing Journey," is equally absurd, and tinged with more than a touch of racism. The archbishop is a highly educated man (master's degree from Virginia Theological Seminary) and is quite articulate.
The important point about the article is that the author has raced to a conclusion without evidence. If I have a word document on my computer written by Bishop Salmon with changes in it (if the Word software indicates so), the changes were made on my computer but by whom they were made is still not known. Indeed, on a number of occasions Bishop Salmon has called me and made changes to the document with me on the phone. He was speaking, and I was typing. Yes, you guessed it, this has happened on a number of occasions. I can think of several where both Bishop Salmon and Bishop Skilton made multiple changes to the final text, which of course they both then signed. Every change came through my computer, but was made by them because they were concerned about every word. This is called care and collaboration, and it happens all over the church all the time--KSH.
Update: Ekklesia [U.K., not to be confused with the U.S. version] has a piece on this which goes even farther over the top.
Further Update: Don't miss the press release from The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola, Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria, below in the comments (#41)
On Friday The 13th, Bishop Peter James Lee sent the following letter out to twenty one clergy whose congregations, following the Diocese of Virginia Protocol, voted to separate from the Episcopal Church, and whom he inhibited following his sudden cancellation of his own Property Committee as well as the stand-still agreement - all designed to negotiate amicably.
Notice that Bishop Lee introduces a new phrase, a new organization, in his Friday the 13th Letter. It's called The Communion of The Episcopal Church (as opposed to the Anglican Communion). Since the inception of the Episcopal Church, when churches won recognition from the Archbishop of Canterbury himself and then went to form dioceses, the word "communion" has meant the Anglican Communion.
Church of the Apostles, Fairfax, was able to call a New Zealand priest to be their rector because he was an Anglican priest. Bishop Lee is "in communion" with the Anglican bishops in New Zealand and so the clerical orders are recognized. That is what "communion" means. It means that all these clergy and bishops have orders that are valid to celebrate the Eucharist....
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In May, Bishop Martyn Minns became head of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a conservative group with ties to Nigeria. Minns, 64, led 11 Virginia congregations to break ties with the Episcopal Church last year. For 16 years, he has been rector of the historic Truro Church, where George Washington's father once served on the vestry. Now, Minns prepares for a battle with the denomination he left behind.
Why did you decide to leave the Episcopal Church?
I really do believe that the Episcopal Church kind of left me. They have moved to adopt positions and attitudes that are at odds with where the rest of the Anglican Communion is and where I am. And so in that sense, I've not really changed that much. But they have.
Why not stay put and practice your beliefs in your own church?
That's obviously something I tried to do. But the problem I had is that most of the congregation here felt they could no longer continue in that mode, and in fact, we lost over 100 families. They voted with their feet.
What are the consequences of your decision?
We're actually now facing potentially the largest lawsuit the Episcopal Church has ever initiated against congregations. They are trying to evict us and indeed to take all of our property and all of our resources away from us. ... Our replacement cost is estimated at about $30-million, and we're just one of the churches.
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The invitation list for the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops is not complete, according to Canon James Rosenthal, communications director for the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).
Invitations were sent May 22. The initial invitation list was compiled based on past precedent and the recommendations of the Windsor Report, according to Canon Rosenthal and other aides to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams who spoke with The Living Church.
Bishops who have not received invitations included those whose consecrations are valid but whose jurisdictions are anomalous, bishops not engaged in stipendiary episcopal ministry, and a handful of bishops whose manner of life or public actions are cause for concern. Invitation also were not extended to retired but semi-active bishops known as “assisting bishops” in The Episcopal Church or “honorary assistant bishops” in the Church of England.
Some previous Lambeth Conferences included bishops holding administrative positions within their national churches, but no such invitations have yet been extended for 2008. Episcopal bishops in this group include the Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, the Presiding Bishop’s deputy for ecumenical and interfaith relations; the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews, director of the Office of Pastoral Development at The Episcopal Church Center; and the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. All three are actively engaged in stipendiary church ministry and are active members of the House of Bishops, but are not directly engaged in “episcopal ministry,” the ACC said.
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“Welcome to the Party!” came the greeting from The Rev. Michael Pipkin as he appeared seemingly from nowhere out of the crowd. “It’s good to see you here. Thanks for coming.” The ‘party’ is the regular Sunday gathering of the members of The Falls Church – Episcopal, a remnant of former members of the several-hundred-member break-away church now affiliated with CANA, who have placed themselves under the authority of Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria. This smaller group is made up of the approximately 10% from the original church who voted to remain in the Episcopal Church plus newcomers and occasional visitors who come for a Sunday or two to give visible support to the gathered church. They are meeting in the loft at the Falls Church Presbyterian, generously supported by that congregation and their pastor, The Rev. Dr. Thomas Schmid, who says, “We are so happy to have them here with us.”
The service was a celebration of the Eucharist with special prayers for Pentecost, the day remembered for the occasion of the followers of Jesus being empowered by the Holy Spirit 50 days after Jesus’ Resurrection. In his sermon, The Rev. Pipkin explained how like so many, this holy day was taken from a Jewish festival commanded by God through Moses – in this case, the Festival of Weeks. The Jewish tradition is one where, at the beginning of the harvest, the ‘first fruits’ are given as a thank offering, waved by the high priest before God. In other words, The Rev. Pipkin said, the offering of thanks is made ‘not knowing what the rest of the growing season will be like.’ He suggested that making such an offering in our day would be akin to paying taxes on January 1st of the year in advance of securing our income for that year – a practice that would probably be fraught with anxiety and fear. But, he reminded the congregation as he had been told in his youth, “anxiety and fear are not of God.” Instead, he suggested, just like in the Pentecost story in the Gospel reading from John appointed for this day, Jesus approaches us saying “Peace be with you…in all our anxiety about what will happen next, of not knowing what the next steps will be, God tells us to not fear.”
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The ordination of openly gay ministers and the blessing of same-sex unions are merely the "trip-wire issues" for Trinity and the five other Connecticut churches at odds with Bishop Smith and the Episcopal Church, Helmandollar said Wednesday.
"The defining issue for us is the absolute revisionist view of Scripture within the Episcopal Church, the idea that man wrote the Bible, so man can change it, " Helmandollar said. "You'll hear such things from the Episcopal Church. We firmly believe we do not have the authority to do that. We firmly believe it is the word of God and it's not to be changed."
Trinity and the other five churches sued Smith in federal court two years ago, claiming he violated their civil and property rights when they asked to be placed under the authority of a bishop from another state. The lawsuit said the priests were wrongly charged with being "out of communion" with the bishop, putting their positions in jeopardy, and that they were denied due process.
The lawsuit was dismissed last year by a federal judge and the parishes are appealing.
The six parishes also brought ecclesiastical charges against Smith, accusing him of "apostasy" for voting to approve the election of New Hampshire's openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, in 2003. Those charges were dismissed by a review committee on April 11.
Smith could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Karin Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Episcopal Diocese in Connecticut, said Smith was not prepared to speak publicly about Trinity's defection until he has had an opportunity to talk at length with Helmandollar.
The pressing issue for both the diocese and Trinity, now that the split is formal, is whether the diocese will force church members to worship elsewhere.
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Trinity Episcopal Church has declared itself a member of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.
The Rev. Donald Helmandollar, Trinity's rector, confirmed Tuesday that as of Sunday the parish had joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a self-described mission of the Nigerian church, serving Episcopalians who hold traditional beliefs. It is based in Fairfax, Va.
The action means the parish is no longer a member of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. but is still Anglican, Helmandollar said.
"We have remained with the Anglican Communion. ... The Episcopal Church has demonstrated, continues to demonstrate, that they are walking apart from the communion," he said.
Helmandollar said the congregation voted to make the move because its members see the Episcopal Church abandoning "the orthodox tenets" of Christian belief.
The 2003 approval of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who is gay, has forced the issue for Trinity's members and other conservatives, he said.
Helmandollar said he sent a letter Tuesday to Bishop Andrew D. Smith, head of the Diocese of Connecticut, informing him of the move. Smith said he had not yet received it and did not want to comment until he had.
The way Helmandollar sees it, Trinity, founded in 1752, is not leaving the Episcopal Church as much as the church has left its scriptural foundations.
"Most of the rest of the Anglican Communion of 77 million folks ... the vast majority are staying the course" on sexuality and other beliefs, he said. "They're not changing."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Latest News CANA Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Colorado TEC Conflicts: Connecticut TEC Conflicts: Florida TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes
In his book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman explains how our world has shrunk. Thanks to instant information and rapid transportation, hierarchical structures have been flattened.
One global organization that should be ideally positioned for this transformation is the Christian Church. The genius of its founder was that it was designed to be "flat;" small groups with a common vision, a common language of faith, and international networks that crossed national boundaries. As often happens, initial flexibility was soon lost and replaced by more predictable and controllable structures and the early vision forgotten while waiting for another fresh wave of inspiration and creativity.
We are witnessing such a new wave. A prime example is the Anglican Communion - an international community of more than 75 million in 164 countries, ordered into 38 separate provinces.
In the good old days mandates, money and missionaries flowed from the traditional power base of London and, more recently, New York to their grateful recipients in the developing world. But that is all changing now and we have, as noted Penn State religion and history professor Philip Jenkins describes it, 'A New Christendom' where much of the energy, leadership and vision now come from the Global South. The old ways of doing church are being shaken and we are rediscovering what it means to be part of a truly global community.
One example is the birth of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, or CANA. It was first conceived as a way to provide a safe harbor for Nigerian Anglicans who no longer felt welcome in The Episcopal Church because of its deliberate distancing from traditional mainstream Christianity but now includes a growing number of other Anglican congregations from across America.
This realignment isn't simply about issues of human sexuality but on the other much more basic questions such as the role and authority of the Scriptures and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. It is part of an emerging movement of formerly Episcopal churches and new congregations, which are breaking out of their hierarchical straightjackets and connecting directly with other parts of the Anglican Communion. What unites them is a vision for global Christianity; a commitment to a common language of faith and abiding friendships that connect across challenging cultural divides.
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A majority of voting members at Grace Church and St. Stephens Parish in Colorado Springs have declared their willingness to break away from the Episcopal Church to join a conservative Anglican network more in line with their beliefs, according to spokesman Alan Crippen.
The vote, tallied Saturday, showed 93 percent of 370 voting members approved of the plan to leave the Episcopal Church, Crippen said. It capped an ongoing period of uncertainty that began March 26 when parish rector, The Rev. Don Armstrong, and a majority of the church’s governing board, declared they were each individually leaving the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Colorado.
Because the schismatic act was so unusual, the breakaway parish leaders said they would set up a vote to determine what parishioners wanted to do.
Armstrong has been under an ongoing investigation by the diocese of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in parish funds. He denies the charge and says is an act of revenge by the diocese and Bishop Rob O’Neill because of his conservative beliefs.
In a second ballot question, 78 percent of the voters declared they wanted the breakaway leadership of Grace Church to continue fighting to hold on to the church property at 601 N. Tejon St. The 135-year-old property, which occupies a city block, is now embroiled in a legal dispute with the Episcopal Church in El Paso County District Court.
Crippen said he believed the "no" votes on both ballot questions came from Grace Church members loyal to the diocese and to Bishop Rob O’Neill, even though the Episcopal loyalists had said all along that they would refuse to legitimize Armstrong’s cause by participating in the vote.
Crippen said the will of the voting majority was indisputable, "and showed clearly a very strong mandate to affirm the vestry decision of March 26 (to leave the Episcopal Church)."
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(Colorado Springs, Colorado) Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish voted to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) in a congregational election that concluded today. Of the 370 votes cast, an overwhelming 342, or 93%, voted for the mother church of Anglicanism in Colorado Springs and one of the oldest Episcopal Churches in Colorado to leave the Episcopal Church over its departure from traditional Christian beliefs and practice.
Last March the vestry, or governing board of the Parish, had voted to join CANA in a provisional affiliation that was ratified by the congregation today. The Parish’s new affiliation with CANA, an American missionary diocese of the Church of Nigeria and the largest Anglican Church in the world, allows Grace Church and St. Stephen’s the freedom to continue its Gospel ministry unmolested by theological innovators and revisionists in the Episcopal Church.
Jon Wroblewski, senior warden of the parish’s vestry said, “The congregation’s decision to join CANA is the most important decision in Grace Church and St. Stephen’s 135 year history. We have decided to remain true to the faith of our ancestors and the founders of this parish even as the Episcopal Church departs from the faith and the Anglican Communion.”
Founded in 1872, Grace Church and St. Stephen’s was the first Anglican Church in Colorado Springs and helped to establish all the other Episcopal Churches in the city including: The Chapel of our Savior, St. Michael’s, and Holy Spirit (now defunct), St. Francis (now defunct), and St. Andrew’s in Manitou Springs. Grace Church and St. Stephen’s pre-dates the existence of the Diocese of Colorado (1887).
According to the parish’s rector, Fr. Donald Armstrong, “The plight of the Episcopal Church truly grieves me. What was once a great church of Gospel proclamation and social influence has now become an irrelevant and insignificant denomination characterized by theological drift and demographic decay. The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado is dying and has lost 60% of its market share of Colorado’s population during the last 60 years. The decision for Grace Church and St. Stephen’s was a simple choice between death with the Episcopal Church or spiritual life and vitality with CANA.”
The significance of Pentecost Sunday is not lost on the leadership of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s and neither is the month of May, 2007. Armstrong said, “Tomorrow is the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian church -- the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit empowering his people to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Similarly, this month marks the 400th year since the founding of Anglicanism in America with the Jamestown settlers in Virginia. On these two anniversaries we are celebrating our heritage as Christians and Anglicans in a re-birth, renewal, realignment, and recommitment to Gospel proclamation in Colorado.”
The flag of the Episcopal Church will no longer be carried in worship services of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s. Instead, a new flag and banner will be carried – The Anglican Communion’s Compass Rose flag symbolizing the parish’s continuing constituent membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion and the CANA Banner as the standard for proclaiming the transforming Gospel to all peoples in North America and beyond.
The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) is facing the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia in the Fairfax Country Circuit Court. The first hearing was on Monday, May 21 and involves a property dispute among 11 churches and the Diocese of Virginia.
The case is rooted in the decision of the Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to separate from the historic Christian faith. ADV churches chose to hold steadfast to historic faith and to Scripture. Virginia Bishop Peter Lee appointed a Reconciliation Commission whose charge was to find a means of reconciliation of the break caused by The Episcopal Church.
“I would say that we preceded – we being both Truro Church and all the churches that voted to sever our ties with the Episcopal church – did everything we did as much out in the open as we knew how to do it and worked with the Diocese of Virginia over a period of about three years or more acknowledging that there were deep divisions, acknowledging that those divisions might force some of us to have to sever our ties with the Episcopal Church in order to survive as viable congregations,” said ADV Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors Jim Oakes in an exclusive interview.
“We had to sever our ties with the Episcopal Church for our own survival as a worshiping congregation,” said Oakes
Read it all.
Seventh Week of Easter
May 23, 2007
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you for the amazing outpouring of love and encouragement that so many of you gave by your presence at the Service of Investiture on Saturday, May 5. It was a glorious celebration and I know that the Lord was honored and thousands of people were blessed through it. It is, as the primate reminded us, a first step in this amazing adventure called CANA. We are producing a DVD with highlights of the service and will be making it available to you but until then there are a number of websites with short video clips of the service.
As a wonderful sequel to the service Bishop David Bena and Richard Crocker met this past weekend with twenty prospective candidates for ordination. All of them were eager to step forward and present themselves for service in Christ’s church. The future for CANA is very bright.
Earlier this week there was a lengthy news release from the Anglican Communion Office concerning invitations to the Lambeth conference scheduled for Canterbury in July 2008. As you well know this conference has been the subject of considerable speculation for several months. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the host and usually invites all Anglican bishops and their wives to this once every ten years event. In his statement he acknowledged that because of the current tensions in the Communion “there are a small number of bishops to whom invitations are not at this stage being extended whilst Dr Williams takes further advice.” His stated reason being “I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognises and honours the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this. Such trust is a great deal harder to sustain if there are some involved who are generally seen as fundamentally compromising the efforts towards a credible and cohesive resolution.”
At a subsequent press briefing by Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office, he suggested that there would be three separate categories of bishops for whom invitations were being presently withheld: Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, CANA and AMiA bishops and also the Right Rev’d Nolbert Kunonga, Anglican Bishop of Harare. This news produced a flurry of media headlines mostly having to do with the exclusion of the Bishop of New Hampshire. It should be noted that this methodology of a carefully nuanced statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury together with supposed specifics from a spokesman gives maximum flexibility for future developments.
In response to various media inquiries I issued a brief statement as follows: “I have read the statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury's office regarding next year’s Lambeth Conference. While the immediate attention is focused on the invitation list, it should be remembered that this crisis in the Anglican Communion is not about a few individual bishops but about a worldwide Communion that is torn at its deepest level. This point was made repeatedly at the Primates' meeting in Dar es Salaam. Depending on the response of The Episcopal Church to the Primates’ communiqué by September 30, the situation may become even more complex. One thing is clear, a great deal can and will happen before next July.”
I was encouraged by an almost immediate response from Archbishop Akinola, “In response to requests for comments on the Lambeth Conference invitations, Archbishop Peter Akinola reaffirms that the Church of Nigeria is committed to the CAPA commissioned report "The Road to Lambeth"
Since only the first set of invitations has been sent, it is premature to conclude who will be present or absent at the conference. However, the withholding of [an] invitation to a Nigerian bishop, elected and consecrated by other Nigerian bishops, will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.” Archbishop Akinola is clear that CANA is as much a constituent part of the Communion as any diocese and so this unprecedented action to exclude one part of the church will be firmly resisted.
What does all this mean? First of all it is clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury faces an impossible task – he is confronted by two irreconcilable truth claims. This has been the presenting problem from the beginning – that is the key issue with which the Windsor report wrestles. What Archbishop Rowan has chosen to do now, however, is to ignore the underlying issue and elevate process over principle.
Second, all of the various efforts at discipline resulting from several meetings and communiqués have been ignored. The Lambeth Conference has been reduced to a meeting where bishops and their spouses simply gather for group bible study, prayer and shared reflection. These are significant activities but hardly justify the enormous expense of such an extended and world-wide gathering. They also presume a shared understanding of what the Bible is, who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Without any such agreement how can there be a coherent gospel to present to a hurting world?
Third, the Windsor Report and the Dar es Salaam Communiqué clearly recognized that the various pastoral provisions for orthodox Anglicans within the U.S. - especially CANA - are in response to the defiant and unrepentant actions of the Episcopal Church since 2003. There is no moral equivalence between immoral living and a creative pastoral provision. To ignore this reality and to pretend that by simply excluding one or two individuals we can have business as usual is decidedly shortsighted.
Finally, we need to remember that all this confusion is simply one more phase of a global conflict for the soul of the Anglican Communion. I have no doubt that there will be many more media moments and decision points in the coming months. It is a profoundly important battle that has eternal significance. We would do well to reread Ephesians chapter 6 and remember that in the heat of the battle our call is to pray and stand firm!
One final observation: Nowhere in the announcement was any mention made of the unprecedented court battle that commenced in January and continues for eleven CANA congregations in Northern Virginia. This action, initiated by the Diocese of Virginia and the Presiding Bishop of TEC, continues in direct defiance of the Primates’ recommendations in Dar es Salaam; it is shameful behavior by those who declare themselves to be Christian leaders committed to reconciliation.
We are hopeful that the lawsuits will eventually be settled in our favor but this may take a very long time. It is a costly process that diverts needed energy and funds from vital ministry initiatives. One thing is clear, because of all the publicity we have almost unlimited opportunities to witness to the transforming love of God. We can all take heart in remembering that CANA was the place where Jesus transformed a disaster into a celebration – I believe that it still is, the miracle continues, and we will see a similar transformation in the coming days.
Pray for CANA. Pray for the church. Pray for our beloved Communion.
The Rt. Rev'd Martyn Minns
(Fairfax, Virginia) — A statement was issued by the Anglican Communion Office on May 22 regarding the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Communion bishops in July 2008. The Rt. Rev'd Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), has made the following response:
“I have read the statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury's office regarding next year’s Lambeth Conference. While the immediate attention is focused on the invitation list, it should be remembered that this crisis in the Anglican Communion is not about a few individual bishops but about a worldwide Communion that is torn at its deepest level. This point was made repeatedly at the Primates' meeting in Dar es Salaam. Depending on the response of The Episcopal Church to the Primates’ communiqué by September 30, the situation may become even more complex. One thing is clear, a great deal can and will happen before next July.”
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