Ruth Gledhill of the (London) Times Speaks to Bishop Keith Ackerman

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I was blessed to have the chance this week to speak to Bishop Keith Ackerman of the Quincy diocese. He says his diocese, on the Anglican-Catholic wing, has been 'reserved' in its response to the crisis and has not been aggressive in its pursuit of a solution. Nevertheless, the diocese has begun setting out plans that could see it leave TEC. 'We are throwing ourselves on Rowan Williams' mercy,' Bishop Keith told me. 'We want to persuade him to stop the haemorrhage that is taking place in The Episcopal Church. The haemorrhage is being grossly understated. There are now 53 denominations of continuing churches in the US. There are numerous parishes that are no longer under US jurisdiction. I'm led to believe there may be as many as 200 of these. One of the things that Lambeth 98 was terribly specific about was that the US needed to come up with a plan for them to re-enter the family. At Lambeth we said we would reach out to those who consider themselves of Anglican tradition. But there has been very, very little effort. More effort has been put into ecumenism with the Lutherans and United Methodists than with the various bodies of Anglican tradition. Frankly, I have much more in common with them than I do with Lutherans or Methodists.

'We need to find a way to bring the family back together again.'

One peculiarity he pointed to was the lack of a legal entity called TEC. 'What there is, is the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA. That is our name. That is how we are incorporated. So we were in effect supposed to be a missionary society. We did not have SPCK, we did not have CMS. We were to be the missionaries, particularly in unsettled parts of the US.'

So priests such as himself are today asking, where is the mission field? What is the real authority of General Convention? 'I would say the average Episcopalian today feels disenfranchised,' says Bishop Keith. (Sir Roy in his book says the parish church and indeed Church can only be saved by re-empowering the laity. To look back to England for a sec, I have always believed that every churchgoer should have a vote for General Synod, the Church's Parliament. Putting deanery synods in the middle of the electoral process disenfranchises the laity, makes them uninterested and, in the final analysis, is killing the Church. It would save to much money, time and so many souls to kill off deanery synods instead. But it will never happen, believe me. When the Church of England is down to its last worshipper, served by 100-plus bishops and a thousand priests, there will still be people dozing in deanery synods up and down the land, wondering what they are doing and why on earth they are there. But I digress.)

Bishop Ackerman is distressed that the faith and practice that he was brought up in and has adhered to faithfully is simply no longer available in vast tracts of episcopaland. He regrets that there is no PEV, or flying bishop, scheme in the US but admits he functions very much like one, visiting parishes throughout the US desperate for a traditional pastoral oversight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts

6 Comments
Posted September 14, 2007 at 12:22 pm

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/5901/



1. John A. wrote:

“the parish church and indeed Church can only be saved by re-empowering the laity”  and we need to get rid of endowments.  The Church should not be a bank.  Instead the money should be spent within a year or two on missions projects.

September 14, 2:59 pm | [comment link]
2. Newbie Anglican wrote:

One of the things that Lambeth 98 was terribly specific about was that the US needed to come up with a plan for them to re-enter the family. At Lambeth we said we would reach out to those who consider themselves of Anglican tradition. But there has been very, very little effort. More effort has been put into ecumenism with the Lutherans and United Methodists than with the various bodies of Anglican tradition.

Darn right.  When has Rowan Williams showed one iota of concern to provide a place for North American Anglicans who will not or can not endure the apostasies of The Episcopal Church?

:crickets chirping:

now Wannabe Anglican again

September 14, 3:02 pm | [comment link]
3. Nikolaus wrote:

Crickets chirping?  Sorry, but I don’t follow.

I have been baptized too!

September 14, 4:38 pm | [comment link]
4. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Sorry about my obsure inference, Nikolaus.  In old movies, to show that a scene is quiet at night, the movie will play sounds of crickets chirping.  I was trying to say the answer to my question is utter quiet since ++Rowan has showed no concern for those in North America who can not endure TEC.

now Wannabe Anglican again

September 14, 4:54 pm | [comment link]
5. Nikolaus wrote:

Thanks Newbie.  Your reference is not obscure at all.  I asked because I’ve heard it alot lately.  Just wanted to understand.

I have been baptized too!

September 14, 5:40 pm | [comment link]
6. teatime wrote:

I don’t think it’s quite fair to say +++Rowan has done nothing. I am sure there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes, as well, that we don’t know about and I can’t imagine that he is thrilled with TEC. He has repeatedly says he does not agree with their activism. Unlike many TEC bishops, he takes his vows to preserve the unity of the Church (and, in his case, the Communion) very seriously and likely considers it his duty to try as hard as he can to preserve unity.

But this is NOT a stupid man and I’m sure he knows time is up. What remains the big question is what tools the Communion actually has to prune.

September 15, 4:19 pm | [comment link]


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