New blow for Anglican Communion unity hopes

From Religious Intelligence:

THE ANGLICAN Communion moved closer to a split today when the Anglican Church of Kenya announced plans to consecrate an American priest to look after congregations in the USA.

The move will create a third ”˜missionary’ group of disaffected Anglicans in the US and was made without reference to Lambeth Palace.

But observers are speculating that the decision by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi is part of a wider move to create an alternative Anglican worldwide structure.

So far there are two networks operating in America, the Anglican Mission in America, with their bishop Chuck Murphy, and CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), with their bishop Martyn Minns. The new group, to be known as the North American Anglican Coalition, with their bishop Bill Atwood, would lead to a grouping with the oversight of over 200 congregations.

The latest development follows increasing anger in conservative circles over the liberal direction of the Episcopal Church. The executive council of the Church, which is its governing body between meetings of General Convention, is meeting this week in New Jersey to consider its response to the Primates’ communiqué in Tanzania earlier this year. That gave the Episcopal Church a deadline of September 30 to comply.

However, the latest news from Kenya may only serve to strengthen the US leadership in their stance. Earlier this week the bishop at the centre of the row, Gene Robinson, announced plans to allow his clergy to carry out same-sex blessings. And the Executive Council heard from Nigerian gay rights activist Davis Mac-Illya, who heads up his country’s branch of Changing Attitude deliver an attack on Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola for backing anti-gay legislation there.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

28 comments on “New blow for Anglican Communion unity hopes

  1. LfxN says:

    The anger I can understand. What I can’t understand are the multiple groups now offering safe haven for orthodox anglicans in the US. This new action makes it seem as though the different conservative primates don’t talk to one another. Or am I missing something?

  2. JAC+ says:

    We can be thankful that this is part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces . I find hope in these words.

  3. samh says:

    Of course, the AMiA has four active missionary bishops here… not one as implied in the article. Where’s the love for TJ Johnston, Sandy Greene and Thad Barnum?

  4. APB says:

    Compare this with the evacuation of Dunkirk in WWII. You had RN, commercial, and especially private boats involved. Pretty much anything which could make the trip, and a few which could not. It was coordinated in the sense that there was a common goal, but there was no possibility of a neat flow chart. Getting the British Army out of Dunkirk, to literally any safe port, was all that mattered. Reconstitution and equipment was for later.

    Being somewhat involved with a local church which left, eventually for CANA, it was wonderful to see both Continuing Churches and unaffiliated congregations step up with offers of space and support. While waiting for the dust to settle, AMiA graciously provided oversight by one of their bishops. This gave the rector a safe place which placed him beyond the authority of his previous bishop to inhibit him. It may appear that things are happening in slow motion, leaving plenty of time for meticulous coordination. But at the parish and even diocese level, it is still a very turbulent sea. And perhaps See.


  5. Tar Heel says:

    APB, good analogy. Upon learning of the evacuation, the Wehrmacht commanders probably said something like, “this isn’t helpful.”

  6. LfxN says:

    Fair enough, but Dunkirk wasn’t exactly a “strategy” was it? If this is part of a long term strategy to set up an institution of orthodox Anglicanism in the US more of an effort should be made to avoid the appearance of fracture within conservative ranks. I just don’t see why these 200 parishes could not have been directed towards existing alternative primatial oversight.

  7. samh says:

    Think they may have demanded the Brits stop and “listen” for a while too?

  8. Chris Taylor says:

    The Global South Primates are NOT all on the same page. Some are more impatient than others. The least patient are now setting up their own jurisdictions in the US. Why does the Anglican Church of Kenya and the Church of Nigeria (AC) have to set up competing jurisdictions? Orthodox Anglicans in the US do NOT need yet another valid but irregular bishop and another jurisdiction, they need unity behind the Network. If this story is true, it’s not good news for the Orthodox. Canon Atwood should decline. It’s time to pull things together, not add to the alphabet soup of Anglican jurisdictions in North America. The Network needs to find a more effective strategy for helping orthodox Anglicans stuck in heretical dioceses, and the Global South Primates need to support the Network leadership.

  9. Rev. J says:

    Comment edited by elf. Off topic.

  10. naab00 says:

    #8 Chris, I presume that they have to do this because the Network perceives that the time is not yet right.

    And sadly things have yet to get a lot MORE untidy before they can become tidy again. When the conventional authority has all but disappeared, it’s not realistic to expect everyone to act on one person’s orders. The fantastic thing is that God is sovereign and is working out His purposes. And the GS Primates do have a strategy. We have to trust them that they are putting the building blocks for the future in place, one piece at a time. They cannot disclose the whole strategy or TEC will fight to thwart them. We can take huge comfort from the fact that the likes of Orombi, Nzimbi and Akinola are huge men of God. They are acting purposefully and they are also sending messages to the whole Communion including Rowan.

    With things like this going on, it just makes the timing of Rowan’s sabbatical look even stranger, or cleverer, or more stupid….I’m not sure which!

  11. West Coast Cleric says:

    Chris, re: #8–to make a cake you use: eggs, milk, flour, etc. With time and heat, you have a cake.

  12. Connecticutian says:

    #8, I don’t have any inside info, but my sense is that the recently-announced Common Cause College of Bishops meeting later this year represents the pulling together that you seek. This Kenya initiative took me by surprise, but I’d guess that Bp Duncan and others had some kind of clue. I’m guessing that +Atwood will be invited to the College meeting. We shall see…

  13. Planonian says:

    I’m truly beginning to wonder about the “alphabet soup” of continuing Anglicans in the U.S. CANA, AMiA, ACK (the Kenyans), plus our own AAC/ACN and FIFNA. Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics, charismatics, and various anti-women factions all stirred up together.

    I can imagine there being some sort of peace between them as long as they have TEC as a common scapegoat, but if y’all get your wish for a separate church structure – what then ? They’ll lose practically the only thing which held them together. And anyone who thinks the in-fighting won’t get vicious just isn’t paying attention…

  14. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    perhaps we discover too late the danger of playing around with doctrine and ecclesiology. What we are seeing is the natural conclusion, not just of Gene Robinson’s illegal consecration, but also of the non scriptural and illegal action in ordaining the first Women Pirest’s too.

    Doubtless people will refuse to see the connection but in truth one ‘disregard for scripture, and tradition’ would always lead to another. Untill a thousand different strands of belief emerge.

    How the devil must be delighted that so many chose to mirror their faith on the thinking of scoiety as opposed to that of the apostolic tradition.

  15. Karen B. says:

    Rugbyplayingpriest, the elves will yell if we take the thread off-topic, but just let me say you’re not alone in the conclusion you draw in #14. There was an excellent op-ed in a recent issue of the Living Church on this very topic.

    Quite the fascinating news day. I’ve been in meetings all day, so am just now skimming through some of the news and comments. I’ll probably be back to comment in more depth in a little while, but right now, my stomach is demanding dinner. (it’s 7 pm in my time zone…)

  16. FrankV says:

    The old adage of United we Stand and Divided we Fall could ring true in the present situation of the Anglican alphabet soup. I look at our own local situation here in Colorado Springs to illustrate the point. In our current situation(former Grace Episcopal) of one large CANA congregation(five to eight hundred active members) and up the street a few blocks is a large (300 to 600 active members) AMIA congregation, both doing wonderful works of bringing the Word to their respective parishes. But, think of how much more powerful and effective and efficient it could be if their forces were joined in a common effort.
    This type of unification of necessity must take place at the very top of the hierarchy. Jealousy and pride of territory and minor differences of approach mush be put aside in order to establish a common bond. Perhaps the Roman Catholics had the right idea when they established the College of Cardinals to provide a focal point for unity among the Bishops and Archbishops. One Cardinal (Abp. of Canterbury ?) would do but it would have to be formalized. If you don’t like Cardinal, call him something else but commit it to a formal document with a job description. This could be something just short of a Pope, considering all the historical baggage he bears.
    I am not sure of how many types of Anglican I can be. One orthodox
    Anglican type ruled by the 39 articles, the 1929 or earlier BCP, the Nicene creed, and not least of all the Holy Scriptures would suit me. As a common layman, I am not concerned about how many angels dance on the head of a pin, but I am looking for one ray of light bearing the message of truth.

  17. Robert A. says:

    I think FrankV brings up an interesting point. One of the strongest elements of the Anglican Communion was the BCP (the Book of COMMON Prayer). Many of the Continuing Churches that split over WO appear to have retained the 1928 prayer book. What are the AMiA and CANA parishes using? Have they also reverted to this or to something else? It is becoming increasingly clear to me that those parishes that leave ECUSA for other dioceses would do well to let TEC keep its 1979 books!

  18. john scholasticus says:

    You’ve been challenged about this before but you need to be challenged every time you say it: in what sense was Gene Robinson’s consecration ‘illegal’?

  19. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    It was ‘illegal’ in many senses. But mainly in that it openly disregards the perceived wisdom of Christian Tradition as inspired by holy scripture.

    It clearly went against the rules found in the Prayer book concerning the way of life expected by a Bishop. His life should be fashioned in accordance with scripture (clearly not the case) and he should be a sign of unity and a defender of faith. (hardly)

    2) The formularies of the Anglican Church (and indeed all Christendom) make no legal provision whatsoever for a man, who has left his wife in order to live with a gay lover- to stand ‘in persona Christi’ and become an icon of Christ and shepherd of God’s people.

    It went against what is legally understood by the wider Anglican communion to be the teaching of the Church in matters of human sexuality.

    Quite simply ECUSA HAD:
    Good enough?

  20. john scholasticus says:

    There are many objectionable elements in your statement. One will suffice: ‘a man, who has left his wife in order to live with a gay lover’. This has many times been refuted on this blog, including by Kendall himself. I simply do not see how you have the arrogance and hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian – still less a priest – when you continue to peddle such a blatant lie. I demand a response.

  21. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Sorry I am utterly confused by your last comment.
    I call myself Christian due to the fact that I am full of the love of Christ and do my best to follow the teachings of the Church

    I am indeed a hopeless sinner and hypocrit- but so long as I can aknowledge what IS sinful and work on it- I feel content to work as a priest. The day I pretend my sins are virtues- despite them contradicting the clear teaching of scripture- I shall probably bring a lot of pain on the Church. As, in my humble opinion, Gene Robinson has done.

    You object to me stating that Gene Robinson is a divorcee living a non celibate relationship with his now gay lover. Please tell me what is untruthful about this statment.

    Where is my arrogance? I do not claim to be a better man – I merely request that my Bishop makes some effort to live according to the teachings and practice of the Universal Church.

    You asked why I felt his ordination was ‘illegal’. I responded. It appears I hit a raw nerve. Please give clear indication where my points 1-6 are in error and I will immediately apologise.

    If not I am sorry to offend you- but being Christian is not always about being mealy mouthed, middle classed and spineless. I follow one who had no difficulty in calling the schismatic leaders of his Church. ‘A brood of Vipers’. What do you make of that?

  22. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Having considered my original comment I should probably note that Robinson did not leave his wife TO live with his now lover. He left his wife AND NOW lives with his lover.

    How much difference does this make though? When we consider the promises he made on his wedding day and those , I mentioned, which he made on the days of his ordination and consecration?

  23. john scholasticus says:

    Well, my friend, I think it makes a huge difference. And even now, that ‘probably’ is weasly and evasive. You seem to be straining every sinew to imply that GR already had this lover. Lies are lies. Be man enough to admit them and repent. And having done so, at least admit the possibility that perhaps not all liberal Christians are the ignorant and self-serving charlatans that you consistently misrepresent them as being.

  24. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Sorry in regard to the effect of the consecration on the world wide communion please explain the ‘huge’ difference you claim it makes?

    Secondly why is leaving a wife and ‘then’ breaking church polity by embarking on an active homosexual relationship any less damaging than leaving her ‘for’ someone else? Do please tell me because the logic of your ethical theology is leaving me confused. Its ike stating that someone who shot and stabbed in two seperate attacks is ‘hugely’ different to someone who shot and stabbed in one attack.
    The issue is the behaviour rather than the order and/or reason surely?

    Both situations are gravely concerning when you consider them in light of conduct expected of a bishop in God’s Church. Proved by the very fact it has caused such damage we are now close to schism. Robinson may be personable and lovely- that is not the issue. Had he forsaken his vocation to fight for the right of gay clergy I would admire him. Instead, with the help of other equally tunnel visioned and ultimately destructive people, he thumbed his nose at two thousand years of Christian teaching. THAT is what made it illegal.

    Finally please tell me where I consistently say that ”all liberal Christians are ignorant and self serving”. Having accused me of being less than decent with the truth you then do precisely the same to me!

    Some liberal Christians are wonderful people and their view on faith is as valid as mine. But were they to break marriage vows and later embark on a relationship that broke what is acceptable to the mind of the current Church Universal- whilst also refusing to accept such action was sin…well I would feel they had put themselves in a position where they should be willing to accept criticism.

  25. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    oh and I still await for you to indicate how my points 1-6 in #20 are innacurate.

  26. john scholasticus says:

    #25, 26

    He didn’t leave her. She left him. She divorced him. Please get the most elementary facts straight. Until you do, there is no reason whatever to take your theological views seriously. I thought for a moment you had shown a vestige of conscience. My mistake. No wonder Anglicanism is in the parlous position it is in.

  27. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    That last post is verging on being personally insulting and childish.

    We still come back to the point that the details of how he came to be estranged from his wife are hardly relevant here. As it happens I did not know that she left him. But it harldy matters…what matters is that he seems happy to place his own agendas over and above the welfare of the Church and the integrity of scripture. A move which HAS led the ABC to refer to his consecration as bizarre.

    Ultimately the problem is that he upholds his present relationship as being both healthy and compatible with the office of Bishop. Something which has fractured the communion immeasurably.

    Now please answer my questions- or I will just have to deduce that in the absence of sound argument or integrity you are reverting to insult and a refusal to look at the points I was making.

    For a third time how are my points 1 -6 irrelevant? I begin to think you have no answer.

  28. john scholasticus says:

    The AC communion at large wasn’t making a ‘legal’ case. The case was ecclesiological and theological. No one denies (except you) that the TEC decision (actually in the first instance the diocese decision) was ‘legal’ according to the constitution and canons of ECUSA. There is an elementary category confusion here.

    I sill think you deserve severe censure (which I am glad to have delivered) for the factually untrue statements you made concerning the circumstances of the break-up of Gene Robinson’ marriage. There’s been far too much of this. Christians shouldn’t tell lies.

    All that said, I have been to church today and I am sorry to have lost my temper with you and I apologise.