On February 12, it was announced that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church had accepted four bishop’s renunciation of ordained ministry and included in the list of bishops was the Rt. Rev’d David Bena, Suffragan Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).
CANA Bishop Martyn Minns responded by saying, “This announcement is misleading because Bishop Bena has most definitely not renounced his ordained ministry nor has he been ”˜deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations’ as stated in the news release. Bishop Bena is a faithful bishop in good standing within the Anglican Communion and continues to fully exercise his ordained ministry.”
“The background to this action is that on February 1, 2007, Bishop Bena was transferred from the Diocese of Albany to the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to serve in CANA. On March 6, he wrote to the Presiding Bishop to advise her of this action and to resign from the Episcopal Church House of Bishops. In his letter he stated that, ”˜In transferring from one Province of the Anglican Communion to another, I do declare that I am neither renouncing my Orders as a bishop, nor am I abandoning the Communion of the Church.’
“In a letter dated March 13, 2007, the Presiding Bishop wrote back thanking him for his letter ”˜informing me that you have been enrolled in the Anglican Province of Nigeria. I have informed the Secretary of the House of Bishops and the Recorder of Ordinations that by this action you are no longer a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church nor are you enrolled as person in any order of the Episcopal Church.’ She also wrote that it was her prayer, ”˜that God may bless us both in a ministry of reconciliation.’
“One year later to now describe his action as a ”˜renunciation of ordained ministry’ is confusing at best and at odds with the Presiding Bishop’s earlier response. Bishop Bena’s resignation from the Episcopal Church came after a season of discernment during which he came to the conclusion that the Episcopal Church no longer embraced the Gospel that he had been called to proclaim nor taught the ”˜faith once and for all delivered to the saints.’ His desire was to continue his ordained ministry but within another branch of the Anglican Communion and this he continues to do so with great effectiveness within CANA.”