NPR: Conservatives Push For Rival U.S. Anglican Church

Martyn Minns recalls the moment he knew he had to leave the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It was 2005. He was rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., and he was talking with a young family who told him they could no longer attend a church that accepted gay bishops or diverged from what they called Orthodox Christianity.

“As I looked at them, I realized that I had a decision to make,” he says. “Either I moved with them into a rather uncertain future, or I lost the heart of the congregation. So for me it was a matter of, ‘Do I want the church of the future, or the church of the past?’ ”

Soon after that, Minns’ church bolted from the American Episcopal Church and aligned itself with the conservative archbishop of the Anglican province of Nigeria. Now he and other church leaders representing more than 700 congregations, four dioceses and up to 100,000 churchgoers are meeting in Bedford, Texas. They hope to form a new Anglican province in the U.S. ”” one that would rival the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

One comment on “NPR: Conservatives Push For Rival U.S. Anglican Church

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    I find it fascinating, and ironic, that the story that +Martyn Minns tells about his decision to leave TEC contains a line almost identical in wording, but opposite in meaning, to a famous line of his former bishop, Peter James Lee. That is, +Lee of Virginia has explained that one of the factors that led him to vote to confirm the election of Gene Robinson as bishop in NH back in 2003, was an assumption that the country, and the Episcopal Church, would someday inevitably come around to supporting the pro-gay position as a civil rights issue. He’s spoken of how hs wife once pointedly asked him something like this: [i] “Do you want to be a part of the church of the past, or the church of the future?” [/i]

    And here +Minns says something that on the surface is almost identical, but with the referents to the church of the past and the church of the future switched around. Both men chose to associate themselves with what they see as the church of the future, but of course they hold opposite views as to what that future will look like.

    In the short run and on a more superficial level, +Peter Lee is doubtless right. The Episcopal Church is certainly aligning itself with the direction that American culture as a whole is drifting, and the savvy bishop could tell which way the wind was blowing and where the denomination would end up. No surprise there, Bishop Lee, broad church institutionalist that he is, has always tried to stay in the broad center or mainstream of TEC as a whole.

    But in the long run, and at a deeper and more important level, I think +Minns is the one who has better discerned where the church of the future will really be. TEC is dying and withering away. Anglicanism in the Global South is booming and will certainly continue to flourish for generations to come (if the Lord tarries).

    Put another way, +Peter Lee is concerned to stay in the center of an apostate, dying religious organization and in the mainstream of a morally relativist society that’s in moral free fall. While +Martyn Minns is concerned to stay in the central mainstream of Christianity as a whole, from which TEC has sadly and disastrously departed. And he’s willing to do that, knowing full well how counter-cultural it is. He knows his constituency, just like +Peter Lee knows his.

    I think +Minns made the wiser choice (and the only biblical choice). But it’s fascinating that both men explain and justify their decisions in remarkably similar terms. They both naturally want to back “the church of the future.” Only they’re betting on different horses to win the race.

    David Handy+