(CEN) Growing pains for ACNA as tensions with CANA/Nigeria Appear to Increase

A chill has descended over relations between the Church of Nigeria and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in the wake of the creation of a diocese for Nigerians in America by the Church of Nigeria.

While official statements from Archbishop Robert Duncan of the ACNA and Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA ”“ the Church of Nigeria’s American outreach ”” have been upbeat, sources at the top of the ACNA tell The Church of England Newspaper the situation surrounding the formation of the Diocese of the Trinity has been a “mess”….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

19 comments on “(CEN) Growing pains for ACNA as tensions with CANA/Nigeria Appear to Increase

  1. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    As I have said elsewhere, I don’t know much about the issues, but certainly as far as structures for Nigerian worship, +Okoh said pretty much the same thing when he visited England recently. The Nigerians want their own services, clergy and worship – they find us inhibited, cold and unexpressive in our worship and with the best will in the world, our services just do not do it for them, and they probably have a point; so as far as that issue is concerned I am not sure I would draw any conclusions.

    The only question I do wonder is with all the grand pronouncements, structures, and dishing out of titles/positions etc, how much real attention has been paid to the worship needs of the citizens of the sponsoring Provinces? Is that the message here? If so, it would perhaps be good to listen with some humility. But that is just a guess on my part in case there may some bridge-building to be done.

    Prayers for them all.

  2. evan miller says:

    This is very unhelpful. First we had AMIA (now the Anglican Mission) insisting on remaining a permanent part of the Church of Rwanda, and now this Nigerianinnovation. This is no way to build a coherent Anglican province in North America. ALL of the various jurisdictions, REC, CANA, AMIA, etc., need to let cease to exist and be simply Dioceses within the ACNA. This Balkanization will leave us right back where the continuum found itself, fractured into various statistically insignificant fiefdoms with a plethora of Archbishops. This is THE WRONG way to go. Certainly there is room for Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals, High Church and Low, but we should all be part of ONE church, The Anglican Church in North America.

  3. evan miller says:

    Apologies for the typos. When I get worked up I fail to proofread before hitting the send key!

  4. Cennydd13 says:

    I completely agree, Evan. We can’t afford this divisiveness, and we have to stop it.

  5. David Keller says:

    I find it interesting that we have stories on successive days about clashes between AMiA and Rwanda, and ACNA and Nigeria from the same source. It appears the AMiA story yesterday was incorrect. Wouldn’t it be a simple matter to call Chuck Murphy and verify the AMiA story and call Bob Duncan or Martin Minns on this one? The only source on this story is someone who claimed to be associated with ACNA but declined to reveal his name. Really? For all we know the caller could have been Stacy Sauls.

  6. cseitz says:

    SF has an important document from D.C AMiA.

  7. David Wilson says:

    This and the AM news is distressing. I agree with Evan and cd13. I can understand the REC wanting to keep its traditions and jurisdictions for now and for the foreseeable future –they have 130 years to transition out of. But CANA and AMiA –their independent spirit which they equate as missional is merely a cover of sinful defiance and the egos of a few men at the top. who need to grow up and repent. It is scandalous and a poor witness.

  8. Frances Scott says:

    Why do people find this so alarming? For many years there were German, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, etc., language churches within the Lutheran Church in America, separated primarily by the language and culture that informed their liturgical practices. There were also Polish, Lithuanean, Hungarian, etc., Catholic Churches; the Latin liturgy was the same for them all, but the language and culture of the people remained separate until all the second & third generation immigrants entered the great ugly American mainstream. Must the Anglican church be so “English” in all its manifestation that it cannot retain the unity of the bond of peace if it is not?

  9. Cennydd13 says:

    The message needs to go out to AMiA: This attempt at fracturing must end. Nationality and cultural aspirations within the Church must be subordinated to the unity which we claim in the ACNA if we are to survive and grow as Anglicans.

    Worship in your own way within your parishes if that’s what you want, and I think there would be no problems, but to set yourselves apart from the rest of us can only cause friction amongst us, and that’s something that we neither need nor want.

  10. New Reformation Advocate says:

    I can sympathize with all the comments above, but perhaps I’m nost inclined to go with Pageantmaster (#1) here. I would call the formation of a Nigerian diocese for Nigerians disquieting, but personally I don’t see it as distressing.

    Yes, it’s true that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no rich or poor, no African or American, but it’s understandable if some Nigerians would feel most at home maintaining their own separate identity, [i]at least for a while[/i]. And I think that last phrase is perhaps the key thing, recognizing that this new Diocese of the Trinity just might be intended (as far as we know) as merely an interim measure.

    For example, I spent two years under Ugandan oversight (via +John Guernsey) in the now defunct Diocese of the Holy Spirit, which was ALWAYS intended to be a temporary, non-geographical diocese (to be dispersed into regional dioceses later). At this point, I think we’d be wise to refrain from rushing to judgment, until more of the facts and intentions are clear.

    Perhaps we are all a bit inclined to see this move by Nigeria and CANA in light of the disturbing revelations now coming out about AMiA’s changing relationship with Rwanda. (And here, the very significant and carefully worded call for open discussion of these matters by three AMiA clergy, the DC document that Dr. Seitz already mentioned briefly above, shows that, at the very least, Geroge Conger+ had reasonable cause to interpret things as he did).

    It’s tempting to see the two cases as similar, but personally, I suspect that there may be quite different dynamics at work in these two instances. I find the AMiA case much more disturbing myself. But that may only relfect my bias and the fact that I chose the ACNA over AMiA partly because I’ve always disliked +Chuck Murphy’s rather authoritarian leadership style. But even in the AMiA case, I think we’d be wise to suspend judgment until more of the facts come to light.

    Yes, there are obvious dangers of fragmentation here, and I’m sure none of us want to see orthodox Anglicanism in North America repeat the follies of the Continuing Church movement that was torn apart by centrifugal forces. But I’m confident that there are strong centripetal forces at work in our midst as well, and I hope and pray that in the end, they prove stronger than the centrifugal ones over time. The forming of regional dioceses in ACNA out of the myriad former non-geographical groups is a promising sign of that growing drive for unity.

    David Handy+

  11. Robert Dedmon says:

    As a Quincy Episcopalian, I can only say, once again, schism
    breeds more schism, until at last we are all alone.

  12. Cennydd13 says:

    Robert, if TEC hadn’t gone off the deep end and done what they did, starting in 1973, none of this mess would’ve happened. Schism would not have been necessary.

  13. Katherine says:

    I can see Nigerian immigrants wanting a church which reflects their culture. As Frances S Scott pointed out above, generations of European immigrants had their cultural church homes for many years. I suppose it’s a question whether all of the various churchmanships need their own dioceses, or whether they could all have the same bishops. The case of the REC is somewhat different. Some traditionalist parishes have joined that jurisdiction because they wanted to be part of the larger Anglican movement but they also wanted to be certain of being able to continue the all-male priesthood. If they simply merged into ACNA without distinction, when would they be called to accept the ministrations of an ordained woman, or to be responsible to a female bishop?

  14. Cennydd13 says:

    Well, Katherine, they wouldn’t have to be concerned about being responsible to a female bishop in the ACNA, because there are none and there won’t be any. “Ordained women?” Certainly there are women in the diaconate, and there are women priests……for now. There is no guarantee that women priests will continue to be ordained, however, as there are only four dioceses which ordain them out of perhaps thirty or so which don’t.

  15. Katherine says:

    #14, is there a constitutional or canonical prohibition of female bishops in the “regular” ACNA dioceses like Pittsburgh or the Virginia diocese? Is there a constitutional prohibition in the ACNA constitution, if we’ve got one? I’m not trying to be provocative. I really don’t know.

  16. Emerson Champion says:

    #15 Katherine, the [url=http://www.anglicanchurch.net/media/acna_constitution_and_canons_june_2009.pdf]ACNA Constitution and Canons[/url] state in Title III, Canon 8, section 3, item 7 — “[To be a suitable candidate for the episcopate, a person must:] Be a male Presbyter at least 35 years old.” (Pages 18 & 19 in the attached link.) Note that on my computer, item 7 is actually item 2 at the top of page 19; I think the word processor program restarted the list numbers at the page break.

  17. Cennydd13 says:

    In short, there are no women bishops in the Anglican Church in North America, and there will [b]BE[/b] none.

  18. Katherine says:

    Thank you, Emerson Champion. The canons, then, permit female priests but not female bishops. I note that canons are easier to change than constitutions. Probably those (like me) who find this an important issue will continue to be wary, given what happened in ECUSA. How many female presbyters there are, and whether their numbers increase, will be important factors going forward.

  19. Cennydd13 says:

    14. I also meant to say that that number is most likely not going to grow.