(CANA) February Pastoral Letter from Bishop Julian Dobbs

April 7, 2012 marks CANA’s seventh birthday! As we look forward to completing our seventh year and beginning the eighth year of our vision and mission in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, our Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns has invited me to write this pastoral letter to you. We should be truly thankful for all that Almighty God has done in our common life and for the inspirational opportunities for gospel ministry before us in the coming year.

From humble beginnings our shared mission in CANA continues with over 275 clergy and over 90 churches across more than 30 states and Canadian provinces and a vital and growing chaplaincy program for both military and civilian service. In that same spirit of humility and Spirit-led consecration with which we began, we remain committed to a dynamic Christianity that demonstrates radical inclusion, profound transformation, and inspired service. New congregations are joining the CANA family, individuals are offering their lives for Holy Orders, and we are fully engaged in the provincial life of both the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the ACNA as we seek to replant biblical, missional Anglican Christianity across North America.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, CANA, Parish Ministry

7 comments on “(CANA) February Pastoral Letter from Bishop Julian Dobbs

  1. David Wilson says:

    I appreciate Bishop Dobb’s words and know he is a godly man, however, he ought to be encouraging clergy to attend the ACNA Assembly in June rather than the CANA Council. In fact if CANA insists on a separate government outside of ACNA they should have scheduled the Council in June around the Assembly. How many clergy can afford the time and expense to attend both the Council and the Assembly as distinct meetings?

    FWIW, CANA’s insistence on dual citizenship in Nigeria and in ACNA is one step removed from the AMiA debacle. You’re either “all in” or “not in” as far as I am concerned.

  2. Sarah says:

    RE: “is one step removed from the AMiA debacle.”

    I never thought the problems with AMiA were related to their being connected to an Anglican Communion province.

    If I were an Anglican entity trying to get my legs under me, so to speak, I’d want a hierarchical connection with another AC province. I can see why CANA has kept that, though it does make ACNA as a whole less unified than it might be.

  3. Cennydd13 says:

    I agree with David Wilson. You’re either all in or not in. We need ONE united Anglican presence…..not two separate ones.

  4. Sarah says:

    RE: “You’re either all in or not in.”

    So you’d be okay with CANA just being “not in” as the AMiA was? That just produces even more Anglican presences.

    Point is [and I can’t speak for CANA here, I can only speak as an outside observer], not everybody believes that ACNA is stable or functional, any more than everybody believes that AMiA is stable or functional. Why demand what appears [to some] to be suicide commitments from people who simply may not believe entirely or wish to place their faith fully in whatever entity is out there?

    Again — I don’t want any of ’em personally [though I have many friends in each of them] so I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I don’t see any reason to pick on one entity for being cautious and methodical and slow in their decision making and commitments.

  5. David Wilson says:

    If the Primates of Rwanda and Nigeria would have turned over their parishes to ACNA when it was formed in 2009 (like West Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone) even over the protests of CANA and AMiA than perhaps your argument of functionality and stability would be moot.

  6. Sarah says:

    RE: “than perhaps your argument of functionality and stability would be moot. . . . ”

    Well, they’d still have the horrendous C&C, the umpty-ump poorly selected bishops [which inevitably leads to bishop-shopping — sorry, *has led* to bishop-shopping], the majority charismatic theology, the unbelievable theological decisions [exhibit A the filioque, but there are plenty more], the several poor “ecumenical” efforts, the ill-fated [and telling] pursuit of various Continuing jurisdictions, and on and on and on [I could name more, but it doesn’t really matter anyway]. Believe me, none of my estimates of ACNA’s functionality and stability has to do with its not having enough parishes from Rwanda and Nigeria.

    And while I admit that I’m abnormal, plenty of normal people see this and converse with one another about it. So it’s not merely abnormal people who talk about these things [although I’m one of the few insane enough to say anything “out loud” since I have no one to please.]

    It just seems really incredible to fault CANA for having the gall to not give up its link to Nigeria when plenty of normal people look with favor upon its slow and cautious and methodical decisions. The frenzied pace of decision-making is another red flag for some.

  7. MichaelA says:

    I agree with Cennydd that the long-term goal for ACNA should be “one united Anglican presence”. But Sarah wisely warns against the dangers of severing former support structures too quickly.

    The Global South Primates envisage that ACNA will one day become a province (whether by itself or united with orthodox elements in TEC). They are in no rush to call it so, nor is ++Duncan. I expect they are aware that forming a viable province (one which does not descend into an anarchy of argument, back-biting and schism) is harder than it looks. You can’t just draw some lines on a map, type up a constitution, appoint various people to positions and issue decrees, and then think your job is done. The truth is, you have barely started.

    Forming stable diocesan and provincial structures takes much time and great effort. This is the more so when ACNA contains so many groups from diverse backgrounds. You need to get to a stage where dioceses that were originally REC, TEC, CANA or whatever, feel comfortable in looking right across ACNA to choose their new bishops and clergy. That will not happen overnight.

    Remember what happened to the Anglican Continuum in the late 1970s and 1980s. Some of the most destructive infighting, arguing and schism seen by any western church in modern times, leading to a terrible death-spiral. That shows what could happen to ACNA.

    Providentially, ACNA has had some good things going for it. For example:

    • TEC’s foolish policy of driving out dissidents meant that ACNA had a large pool of experienced bishops, clergy and administrators available to choose from.

    • Several dioceses had already existed for many decades and came over to ACNA intact with their incumbent bishops and administrators: four from TEC, four from REC and one from APA. That gave a stable basis to establish the Province and meant that ACNA had a breathing space to develop procedures to choose new bishops and clergy for those provinces when the time came.

    • Most of all, the foreign Primates have had a very positive influence. They have not tried to form their own fiefdoms, and they have given stability and a steadying influence at a crucial period. They provided a longer and higher view which helped to hose down destructive arguments over unimportant issues.

    ACNA needs all the time it can get to learn to function at both diocesan and provincial levels. If some of the groups keep their foreign primatial links for the time being, that is unlikely to hurt.