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Friday, January 26, 2007

A "Jan-Term" Class: Spin 101

Compare and contrast: The letter from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion with these words from the President and CEO of the American Anglican Council.

I expect a 2,000 word essay on my desk at 4 PM on Monday.

Class dismissed.

The Anglican Communion Office has issued this statement:

From the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

In response to a number of queries, and following consultation with The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has issued the following statement:

“The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is, to my knowledge, a “mission” of the Church of Nigeria. It is not a branch of the Anglican Communion as such but an organsation which relates to a single province of the Anglican Communion. CANA has not petitioned the Anglican Consultative Council for any official status within the Communion’s structures, nor has the Archbishop of Canterbury indicated any support for its establishment.”’

The Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon

January 25, 2007
Press Release: AAC President Clarifies Status of CANA
January 25, 2007
For Immediate Release

Who is really Anglican? Would the real Anglicans please stand up!

A Statement by the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, AAC President and CEO

In recent pronouncements, the Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, has stated that the new Anglican organization called CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) is not a part of the Anglican Communion. He says this to undermine the credibility of the northern Virginia district of CANA (the Anglican District of Virginia) in the eyes of Virginians and others. This is in part because he feels that he has a franchise right to Anglicanism in his part of the state, much as a medieval lord might have rights to his domain, his serfs, and the property located therein. Bishop Lee feels that in the Anglican world one piece of land can only have one jurisdiction, or at least one Anglican jurisdiction (since the Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists and Roman Catholics seem to have overlapping jurisdiction on land he claims).

There is, as you might guess, more to the story.

First, in the Anglican world there are often anomalies, such as is the case with Europe, where both the Church of England and the Episcopal Church USA (now called TEC) both claim the same territory, and each has churches and bishops overseeing the same geography if not the same churches. This should inform Bishop Lee’s concerns about his singular claim to the Virginia topography: Bishop, it’s time to share.

Second, Bishop Lee and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, which comprises the middle and northern portions of the state, would claim that they are a part of the Anglican Communion, even as they would deny this about CANA. In fact, Bishop Lee’s connection, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s connection, to the Anglican Communion are not direct, but subsequent to being a part of the Episcopal Church USA/TEC. It is the province of TEC that has global membership, and Bishop Lee and his diocese are members through TEC. The only problem is that TEC’s membership is currently in a stand-down mode and is under critical review. Further sanctions may in fact be levied against TEC, and this would weaken Bishop Lee’s standing in the Anglican Communion as well.

CANA, on the other hand is also a part of the Anglican Communion, but through the Anglican Province of Nigeria instead of The Episcopal Church in the United States. CANA was formed legally within the Constitution and Canons of the Nigerian church, and CANA’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, was consecrated with other Nigerian bishops at a service in the cathedral in Abuja, Nigeria, last summer. Bishop Minns sits in the House of Bishops of Nigeria as a voting member along with the other Nigerian bishops. CANA’s connection to the Anglican Communion is through Nigeria, which is not under any stand-down protocol or critical review within the Anglican Communion. It is, in fact, the largest and fastest growing of all the Anglican provinces.

The irony of Bishop Lee’s remarks is that he gets the exclusive claim wrong. The Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church (of the United States) are both tarnished at present, whereas the Province of Nigeria and her CANA mission in the United States are untarnished and in good standing. Although both the Diocese of Virginia and CANA exist as churches under their representative provinces, the status of the U.S. province is clouded; furthermore, TEC is diminishing numbers, representing just over 2 million individuals on the roles, whereas the Province of Nigeria is rapidly growing and has approximately 20 million in church on Sundays.

It finally becomes quite a study in contrasts; no wonder Bishop Lee is anxious about the future.

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson
President and CEO, American Anglican Council


Deborah Sproule said...

Wow that was a strong mushroom!
One minute I'm looking in the mirror to see the church history behind me when, --- ZAPPO! , I find myself sipping tea with a crazed rabbit faced Anglican and a grinning Epicopal Cat Bishop. Alice where the ++ll are we???. I'm either to big for this rabbit hole or too small for the queens shoes. Wait, is she holding an axe?? Which soup for supper this evening? Rabbit or cat!?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Here's another thought I've had: What about the fact that Mr. Akinola has re written the canons of his church, distancing himself and his province from Canterbury?

If Nigeria says it doesn't recognize Canterbury, but Canterbury recognizes Nigeria, what is the validity of the relationship?

Okay, I'm ready. Hand me another mushroom.

Bill said...

First off, why can't all the kids play nice in God's sand box.

Second is that there is precedent. The Episcopal church in the US back in colonial times didn't have a bishop after the revolution. Without a bishop the church would have been short lived. They sent Seabury to England but he couldn't swear allegiance to the crown so off to Scotland he went. We didn't need Canterbury approval then so why do we need it now. As long as you can trace a connection back to the Apostles you're gold. See Below

(From the Anglican Kalendar)
A crucial date for members of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America is the consecration of the first Bishop of the Anglican Communion in the United States. During the colonial era, there had been no Anglican bishops in the New World; and persons seeking to be ordained as clergy had had to travel to England for the purpose. After the achievement of American independence, it was important for the Church in the United States to have its own bishops, and an assembly of Connecticut clergy chose Samuel Seabury to go to England and there seek to be consecrated as a bishop.
However, the English bishops were forbidden by law to consecrate anyone who would not take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. He accordingly turned to the Episcopal Church of Scotland, which had no connection with the government (having originated around 1690 with the non-Jurors: those Anglicans who, having sworn allegiance to James Stuart, would not during his lifetime swear allegiance to William of Orange, and who were accordingly all but outlawed under the new dynasty), and was accordingly free to consecrate him without political complications.
In Aberdeen, 14 November 1784, Samuel Seabury was consecrated to the Episcopate by the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Ross and Caithness. He thus became part of the unbroken chain of bishops that links the Church today with the Church of the Apostles.