AKMA–On Orders and Renunciation (with special reference to TEC and Rwanda)

(In case some readers are not aware, A.K.M. Adam [AKMA] is currently serving as a Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow–KSH.)

Obviously Rwandan canons don’t affect the canon law or interpretation of the US Episcopal Church ”” but this interpretation of ”˜orders’ and ”˜transferring’ appears to make more sense. The bishops in question must (on this interpretation ”” I’m not arguing anything about their side of the disagreement) have a canonical relationship with one or another Anglican province, but that’s a separate question from whether their orders as bishops are valid. If on the other hand they have no relationship to another recognised Anglican body, the status of their request to withdraw from the Rwandan Church is canonically intelligible only as a request to be removed from the roll of actual bishops. If my situation were interpreted on this basis, we would say that I wish to move (”˜transfer’) my vows of obedience and allegiance to the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway and the Scottish Episcopal Church ”” not to renounce my orders altogether.

If I understand the interpretation of canon law from the US Episcopal hierarchy, my priesthood is not in question ”” they’re interpreting my ”˜orders’ as sort of ”˜the ordered relationship that binds me to my bishop and the doctrine, disciple, and whatever of this [US Episcopal] Church’. On their account, then, it would be possible for me to maintain my ordained status without having a canonical relationship with a particular Church (and, by extension, so would the US-Rwandan bishops, if in fact the US Episcopal Church recognised their episcopal orders in the first place) ”” though I would not be authorised by any Church to exercise that priesthood. The Rwandan interpretation (again, if I understand it correctly) is that apart from a relationship with a particular Church, the idea of ”˜orders’ is incoherent; the validity of orders depends on a living relationship of authority and accountability with a Church.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

5 comments on “AKMA–On Orders and Renunciation (with special reference to TEC and Rwanda)

  1. MichaelA says:

    PEAR may not have thought of such implications from their letter. I assume that their intent was to relieve AMiA clergy of the uncertainty many must be feeling about their status. So PEAR has stated publicly that they regard each of those clergy as being in PEAR until any particular individual tells them otherwise.

    It would then follow that any AM cleric who is happy to remain in PEAR doesn’t need to do anything; and any AM cleric who wants to go to another entity such as Bishop Murphy’s group should give formal notification to PEAR.

  2. Sarah says:

    RE: “I assume that their intent was to relieve AMiA clergy of the uncertainty many must be feeling about their status.”

    But as nearly as I can tell that assurance and relief had already occurred, more than once, and in writing, publicly. I think this letter was meant to serve notice about much more than the status of *clergy*.

  3. MichaelA says:

    Ahhh, okay.

    I haven’t really been following this, and I see what you mean on closer reading of the letter.

  4. Todd Granger says:

    Sarah, that’s exactly the proper reading of this letter from the PEAR HOB.