Category : CANA

Convocation of Anglicans in North America

Martyn Minns in World Magazine: Principle, not property

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Bishop Robert Duncan: Why I believe this new North American Anglican Province is healing

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Continuum, CANA, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

CANA Press Release: Court Rules in Favor of Religious Freedom

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.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Martyn Minns: A New Start for the Anglican Church in North America

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, CANA, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Episcopal Schism In Groton Leads To Property Dispute

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.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

Police raid Grace Church & St. Stephen's in Colorado Springs

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.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado

In Central New York Ordination spotlights Episcopal church rift

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….

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central New York, TEC Departing Parishes

Anglican TV Interviews Jim Oakes

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Washington Post: Virginia Ruling Bolsters Breakaway Anglican Parishes

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Former Marine now leads a spiritual struggle

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Martyn Minns: A Future for Traditional Values within the Anglican Communion

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

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

A Blog Reader Writes the Bishop of Lichfield to respond to Incorrect Claim(s) by TEC Bishop(s)

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

Kendall Harmon–Lambeth Questions (II)

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury faces calls to stop American clergy being transferred

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of Nigeria, Church of Rwanda, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

The Jerusalem Post talks to David Anderson about GAFCON and the Anglican Communion

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Time Magazine–An Anglican Schism: Headed for US?

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts

RNS: Virginia judge sides with breakaway Episcopal churches

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Mike McManus: The Anglican/Episcopal Battle Sharpens

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Martyn Minns Interviewed on Hardtalk

Watch the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA

Time Magazine: Bishop vs. Bishop in the Anglican Wars

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Washington Times: Tough financial times for 11 Washington D.C. area churches

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts

Quin Hillyer: The Episcopal Showdown in Virginia

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Episcopal diocese Of Ohio sues new Realigned Anglican Parishes

“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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

A Round Up of links on the Virginia Court Ruling

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.

Washington Times:
Va. judge sides with breakaway Episcopal parishes, By Julia Duin

Washington Post:
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)

Christianity Today:
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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

Martyn Minns: Good News Is No News in Nnewi

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of Nigeria

An Easter Message from CANA, 2008

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.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, CANA, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter

Bishop David Bena: 'Shadow' of litigation overcasts both houses

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.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Breakaway Anglican Churches begin to organize amid confusion

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.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

CANA Clarifies Status of Suffragan Bishop

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.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

After split in Michigan, Anglican church finds its way

“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.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts