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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Bishop Swing: Power Play Will Fail

As my former Senior Warden, a staunch Republican, theologically conservative, socially progressive gentleman (whom I adore) said about this letter in Episcopal Life from the retired bishop of California, William E. Swing, "This absolutely and clearly captures the moment."

Power Play Will Fail
Bishop William E. Swing, retired
Episcopal Diocese of California
Episcopal Life, July 2007

There was the picture in the newspaper (Sunday, May 6): Archbishop Peter Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns. Neither was born, schooled, ordained to the priesthood in the United States nor consecrated bishop according to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. But here they were, determined to overthrow the Episcopal Church, USA, and to replace it with themselves and a small number of American colleagues.

Their aim is not to reform the Episcopal Church or to set up a permanent parallel authority. They intend to become the sole authorized Anglican presence in American. The other side of that coin is that they intend for the Episcopal Church to be cut off from the Anglican Communion and set aside.

It’s quite a bold American strategy for an Englishman and a Nigerian. In a brief time, they want to undo what it has taken many generations of Americans to build.

This is way beyond theology or scriptural interpretations. This is a naked power play that is reminiscent of colonial aspiration in other centuries. Instead of England colonizing Nigeria, we are looking at a picture of a Nigerian and an Englishman trying to colonize the United States, with their unique brand of Anglicanism from an evangelical point of view.

These two people who have not been part of a longstanding American experience smile triumphantly as they embark on a plot to take away our birthright, our heritage, our Anglican connection, our ministries to the poor, our official prayer book tradition, our schools, churches, agencies and our resources.

These two bishops and their colleagues are enjoying the first spoils that arise from our family struggle over human sexuality. But what they don’t realize is that they have touched and trampled on the taproot of our faithfulness to the mission of Jesus Christ in the United States that goes 400 years into the earth of this country. The Episcopal Church will withstand this assault from across the ocean. And our mission will endure, God being our helper.


Susan Russell said...


Jake said...

This a quite good.

Its not online yet, it seems.

Hope you don't mind if I reprint it at Jake's place, with a link back to you, of course.

themethatisme said...

Well said that chap!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Because it's a Letter to the Editor, I think it might not show up online. Which is why I spent the time typing it up. He's hit the bullseye on this one.

Nicholodeon said...

My first visit, followed from a link at another blog. I love the name Lenny Brisco for a pet!!! You must post a photo at some point. I added you to my 'favourites'.

Now, to the question being discussed re Power Play. As a non Anglican I enjoy the luxury of 'clinical objectivity' so-called.

What the Lord Bishop outlines in his letter makes sense to me. But he implies there is something untoward about a power play on the part of African prelates and others vis a vis the EC.

Is not this what all colonization is about? When my forebears colonized Africa they gave no thought to African taproots and so on. And what I read in Church History confirms our Faith is all about power plays, even to this day.

I note that Her Grace The Primate and her armies have sharpened their spears and are aiming at opposing armies of dissidents, equally poised for battle.

Not that my own Russian Orthodox Church has not been without her troubles...when Peter I ordered 'corrections' to spellings of liturgical texts, the Old Believers broke away.

Sometimes all I can do is pray the words of the hymn, "Thy Kingdom come, O God."

Thank you for stimulating my aging, oft-misfiring synaxes.

Muthah+ said...

Thanks for this post and the one to Tony at HoB/D. It is time we see this America bashing for what it is--a grab for other folks marbles.

David Wilson+ said...

Bishop Swing should check his facts before writing provocative letters to Episcopal Life

"Englishman" Martyn Minns is a naturalized US citizen. He has lived in the US since 1967, graduated from Virginia Seminary and was ordained in the Diocese of Connecticut. He has been the assistant and/or rector of four parishes --all in the United States. I do think he returned to England for his mother's funeral.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Martyn is the most "unnatural naturalized citizen I've ever met. Everything about him screams "England is home."

And, what of our brother Peter?

The Ranter said...

The guy who wrote this needs to check his facts, Quackinola went to VTS, where he befriended some clergy I know.