Living Church: Kenyan Primate to Consecrate Former Episcopalian as U.S. Bishop

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya, has announced he will consecrate the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood as a suffragan bishop to oversee the U.S.-based congregations of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK).

The Aug. 30 consecration of Canon Atwood as “Suffragan Bishop of All Saints' Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi” is “part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces,” Archbishop Nzimbi said on June 12, to “support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.”

An undisclosed number of Global South primates are expected to participate in Canon Atwood’s consecration in Nairobi and are expected to work with the Kenyan Church in forming a “North American Anglican Coalition.”

The coalition will “provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the gospel,” the statement said.

Read it all.

Update: The Telegraph also has an article. Readers are cautioned not to leap to conclusions, to think for themselves, to sift through the evidence, and to consider multiple sources when a situation like this "breaks"--KSH.

A further Update: the following is in the morning email:



Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ.

God in His mercy has granted us a great salvation in Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit. The foundations of that faith have been celebrated and shared through many centuries and cultures. In particular, we rejoice in the godly Christian heritage of this faith that we have received in the Anglican Communion.

Now, the fabric of the Anglican Communion has been torn by the actions of The Episcopal Church. The damage has been exacerbated by the failure of the House of Bishops there to provide for the care called for in the Windsor Report and to reject the Pastoral Council offered through the Primates in their Communiqué from Dar es Salaam.

Tragically, the Episcopal Church has refused to provide adequate care for the faithful who continue steadfastly in “the faith once delivered to the saints.” Following months of consultation with other provinces, the Anglican Church of Kenya is taking steps to provide for the care of churches under our charge.

As a part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces, the ACK will consecrate The Revd Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi of the ACK to support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.

Our goal is to collaborate with faithful Anglicans (including those in North America who are related with other provinces). A North American Anglican Coalition can provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the Gospel.

Yours sincerely,
The Most Rev. Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest News- Anglican: Primary Source-- Statements & Letters: PrimatesAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of KenyaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Note the words North American Anglican Coalition, i.e., Canada, USA, and Mexico.

What, pray tell, is the relationship with this (new?) coalition and the existing coalition, that is, ACN + the Continuing Churches, led by +Duncan?

June 13, 7:49 am | [comment link]
2. Brian from T19 wrote:

Ack! indeed.

Another mix into the alphabet soup.  The “Continuing Anglicans” have more choices than the current Medicare Plans!

June 13, 8:50 am | [comment link]
3. Fisherman wrote:

The ‘coalition’ is informal at this time and is of a broad base. The wording in this letter seems to indicate a move to formalize the relationship, initially with the mission efforts of Kenya, Rwanda (AMiA) and Nigeria (CANA). There have been discussions among many organizations including, but not limited to, North American groups such as the ACN and FIFNA.

ECUSA and their lawsuits remind me of the story of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Time, oh sweet, sweet time….....all to the glory of our Lord.

June 13, 9:20 am | [comment link]
4. plainsheretic wrote:

I’m just wondering what is the benefit for these primates to make these bishops for the americas? While nigeria has said they will not be taking any money, what of the others? I know one church that sends 10% of it’s income to an african province, which double the provinces income! This is hard to verify because once parishes drop out of TEC, there stats are no longer public. Nor are the figures from most provinces, unlike TEC"s openness.

I hope people will take a serious look at what is happening and what the future will be like. With no real instruments of communion, no accountability, no public reporting of data, it looks more a more supicious to me.

June 13, 9:31 am | [comment link]
5. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Plainsparson, these primates have given up far more funds from TEC than they are getting from orthodox parishes.

June 13, 9:38 am | [comment link]
6. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Fisherman, at least Nero fiddled. Ecusa in his place would have filed a lawsuit.

June 13, 9:42 am | [comment link]
7. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

I know one church that sends 10% of it’s income to an african province, which double the provinces income!

Plainsparson, such a ratio seems unlikely. I do know, however, of an episcoafrican church that, if it were to send its tithe to its adopting diocese, might well double the diocesan income. Instead of creating such an unfair ratio, the church sends its tithe to the African province as a whole rather than its adopting diocese.

June 13, 9:46 am | [comment link]
8. plainsheretic wrote:


Can you show evidence of this? The church I am refering too has an annual budget of 1.4 million. They send 10% of that money to a province in africa. That provinces annual budget before this parish became theirs was $100,000.00. That number was reported in the media. The church is sending 10% or $140,000 per year. There is incentive for this “protection” on both sides. The pastors no longer have the same controls placed on them in terms of audit requirements, etc. The Pastors also have much less direct oversight. If your bishop is 5000 miles away, rather than 120 miles, how can there be oversight? On the other side, a more than doubling of your provincial budget is really something. I’m not suggesting coruption. I believe that those invovled in this are truly seeking to live into the truth as they understand it, but this should be talk about openly and it is not currently.

June 13, 9:49 am | [comment link]
9. RalphM wrote:

This move by Kenya is parallel to +++Minns consecration in CANA.  It provides a bishop in the US, familiar with the culture, and available to lead the faithful from close proximity.

As far as “instruments of communion, no accountability, no public reporting of data”:

Instruments of communion mean nothing to TEC, so how can this move be damaging to something that has ceased to exist?

No accountability - Atwood will be accountable to Kenya and to the parishes who support him.

No public reporting of data?  Stats no longer public?  These are typically 503 corporations.  Are you implying that these congregations are too inept to monitor financial activities? 

TEC is like a ship that has rotten keel timbers, but a good paint job.  As long as the seas were calm, the ship looked good.  Now that the ship must put to sea, it is disintegrating and those with an eye to the future are pulling away in the lifeboats.  Will the lifeboats come together to form a new Province?  Too early to tell, but at least those in the lifeboats are not going down with the rotten vessel.

June 13, 9:56 am | [comment link]
10. APB wrote:

If they can just avoid the “Purple Plague” which has afflicted and hampered the Continuing Churches, this is yet another step in creating a reality on the ground.  The CCs tended to invent their new groups from the bottom up, whereas here there is substatial leadership from the top down, as would be expected in a hierarchical church, so perhaps that can be avoided.  Mostly.

Post-9/30, a fully functioning provisional alternative to TEC could be in place with bishops, seminaries, international aid functions,  pensions, and above all substantial international recognition at need.  Needed for many reasons, including the practical matter of mutual support for parishes and diocese struggling with TEC in the courts.

June 13, 10:18 am | [comment link]
11. Mike Watson wrote:

Is there a list of the 25 U.S.-based congregations said to comprise this proposed missionary diocese?  A partial list?  An estimate of their aggregate ASA?

June 13, 10:44 am | [comment link]
12. Patriarch wrote:

Is Canon Bill Atwood the same Bill Atwood who was Rector of Christ Church, Charleston, SC some years ago? Fitz Allison wrote him “a godly admonition” threatening to inhibit him unless he restored the 8 a.m. Eucharist.

June 13, 11:15 am | [comment link]
13. teddy mak wrote:

There are two things happening:
1. Bill Attwood+, so long laboring in the vineyard, is to become a Bishop of the Holy Catholic Church.
2. The formation of a new North American Province under the protection of Primates of the Church who pastor to 40 million other orthodox Anglicans.
The potential of this coming together of the Primates is as exciting as anything I have witnessed in 40 years of battling the revisionists. Pray for their continued pastoral concern for us, and for their success in modeling a new spiritual home for us.

June 13, 11:22 am | [comment link]
14. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

That provinces annual budget before this parish became theirs was $100,000.00.

I must assume that this number accounts for only the provincial-level budget, i.e. the amount they receive at province level from all of its tithing dioceses. For Province-wide income, the only province that I can think of that might be that destitute would be Bangladesh.

June 13, 11:44 am | [comment link]
15. Ruth Ann wrote:

#9 Plainsperson: to your post in #9, I strongly doubt that there is any hanky-panky going on with money.  What most people do NOT understand is that logistically, and time-wise, this IS not to the advantage of the Africans who are helping us.  As a member of one of the Anglican Church of Kenya churches, I know first hand.  Both our bishop and AB Nzimbi have stated that they are only temporary help for us during this time!  Do you know how long it takes to fly from the US to Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, etc.??? It is a very, very long trip, and the older one is, the more difficult it is.
Fortunately in this day and time, communicating electronically helps enormously, but the traveling is still difficult.
And why not send money there?  TEC parishes send to 815, and why would one think that they are any less corrupt than one of the African provinces? 
It is a very imperfect world, and I have more confidence in my Kenyan bishop and archbishop than I ever had in TEC/ECUSA.  We are truly, truly blessed to have their assistance for all of the new Anglican churches in the US:  CANA, AMIA, and now ACK, and also Common Cause.
Good DOES come out of bad/ spite of what is happening as far as losing property, etc., in TEC, aren’t we really gaining a helluva lot more?????

June 13, 12:06 pm | [comment link]
16. Cennydd wrote:

I agree with Ruth Ann.  These associations with African provinces are only meant to be temporary arrangements until a new orthodox Anglican province is established in this country.  I invite all to read the latest virtueonline posting today regarding the proposed establishment of a parallel jurisdiction for the U.S.

June 13, 12:15 pm | [comment link]
17. Marcia wrote:

North American Anglican Coalition is a better name than Common Cause Partners, so I hope that group is what the name refers to.  This is giving a bishop to part of the Eighth Convocation, since ACN bishops are not free to serve them.  Yet?

June 13, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
18. plainsheretic wrote:

I hope the good Archbishops continue down this road. It will help clarify a lot for the rest of the communion. What is stoping them from setting up Bishops in England? Canada? Scotland? New Zealand? Peru?

I suppose the American’s can start sending new missionary bishops to Africa as well. Once the border issue is gone, it really opens up a whole new way of thinking about church.

June 13, 4:10 pm | [comment link]
19. chips wrote:

In response to number 19, hopefully the covenant will address the need for common belief and discipline sufficiently to where they will not need to be such upheaval.  The Covenant is coming too late for us Americans - too much bad blood and total domination of the levers of power by reappraisers.  However, it does appear that Christianity not just Anglicanism is at a junture between traditional belief and post-modern belief.  There is a chasm of belief within my wife’s Methodist family which is barely bridgeable.

June 13, 4:39 pm | [comment link]
20. BL wrote:

The God that I know and the Christ I know are weeping over the splits and divisions in this “Communion,” quite regardless of whom each of us considers to be at “fault.”  While our world views are different and our opinions of secular governments certainly vary, there remains but ONE God, ONE Christ, and ONE table to which we all are called, ALL as children of God.

All this talk, posturing, ordaining, consecrating, and dividing does NOTHING but distract the people of God from God Himself.  This distraction of the people of God is therefore a transgression against God Himself.  While there is no transgression in being divided, there IS transgression (read “sin”) in staying divided.  And He is weeping.

June 13, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
21. Karen B. wrote:

Has anyone else commented on the fact that this news was broken during the Executive Council meetings this week, and before the start of next week’s Canadian General Synod?

Verrrrryyy Interesting.  Oh to have been a fly on the wall in Parsippany (at Exec. Council meetings today).  Bet there were some very unhappy campers.

Also related to the subject of timing, it’s interesting that we’re now almost at the 1 year mark since the end of last summer’s General Convention and the reflection ++Rowan issued shortly following that event, and his interview with the Dutch magazine (forget its name).

I just reread part of that interview tonight.  Very very interesting to reread.  Some of +Rowan’s fears are coming to pass (at least in the short term. I still hope and pray fervently for a reunification in the near future of all the breakaway orthodox groups that are springing up).

But, ++Rowan identifies the cause of today’s news in his own words.  The issue of APO and alternate pastoral oversight has not been resolved in the past 3 years.  It was inevitable that this news would come sooner or later given that fact on the ground.

Q. What will happen to the six or more dioceses in America that have asked for alternative primatial oversight?

[Rowan],,I don’t know yet. We are working intensively on what this might mean. I don’t want to make up church law on the back of an envelope, because in fact it’s a very complicated situation.’’

Q. It would constitute a split in the American church.

[Rowan] ,,Indeed, and quite a serious one. And I have great concern for the vast majority of Episcopal Christians in the US who don’t wish to move away from the Communion at all, but who don’t particularly want to join a separatist part of their Church either. I want to give them time to find what the best way is.’’

Q. But these dioceses and the group around them won’t hold out in ECUSA for too long.

[Rowan] ‘’No, and it is perhaps a rather larger group than some have presented it as being. I know too that if Canterbury doesn’t help, there will be other provinces that are very ready to help. And I don’t especially want to see the Anglican Church becoming like the Orthodox Church, where in some American cities you see the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Romanian Orthodox Church. I don’t want to see in the cities of America the American Anglican Church, the Nigerian Anglican Church, the Egyptian Anglican Church and the English Anglican Church in the same street.’’


Yup. ++Rowan saw it coming.  I don’t know to what extent, if any there was a failure of effort on his part.  But certainly the US House of Bishops pretty much shot down everything he attempted, so it may be that anything he did was doomed.

June 13, 5:23 pm | [comment link]
22. BillS wrote:

For those who are concerned about lack of controls on money given to African provinces, please remember Ellen Cooke. She embezzled $2.2 million as Treasurer of ECUSA between 1990 and 1995. At this point in our Church history, I trust the Nigerians and Ugandans with the money more than I trust TEC.

June 13, 6:56 pm | [comment link]
23. Jill C. wrote:

On a slightly different topic—but still concerning Bishop-elect Atwood: he preached at Bishop Jecko’s memorial service this afternoon at Christ Church, Plano.  It was a great message, complete with humorous stories of the two of them (both priests and pilots) and with the theme: stop, look, and listen.  We stop to mourn our brother Steve’s passing and come together to celebrate his life and what he meant to us.  We look beyond his life and we can see the face of Jesus.  We listen to Christ’s words—and Bishop Jecko had chosen all the readings for today’s service: Wisdom 3:1-5, 9; Romans 8:14-19, 34-35, 37-39; and John 14:1-6.  Canon Atwood then offered the opportunity for any and all to commit their lives to Christ anew as we recited the Apostles’ Creed together and after the service to tell him or someone else present about their decision.

To me, the most touching and meaningful part of the sermon was one Bill Atwood told how when he’d last visited with his friend Stephen, that before they left Steve had placed his hand on Bill’s chest and told him how glad he was that Bill was preaching the gospel and leading people to Christ.  (Not exactly his words but the gist of how I remember them.)

June 13, 11:26 pm | [comment link]
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