Monday, May 07, 2007

Abp. Akinola in Virginia

Is the installation of Bishop Minns really of any significance? Why all the furor when, after all, he has already been ordained in Nigeria? The installation's predominant meaning probably shifts with the audience. To conservative Episcopalians in the US who have not yet come under CANA, it may feel like something of a challenge. While Bp. Minns & co. are moving forward with the Gospel, actually doing something--in their view creating the safe havens within which conservatives may worship and proclaim--what is the ACN doing? Or the AAC? What are the Windsor/Camp Allen/Whatever bishops doing? Who knows: equivocating, or talking and talking and writing and writing, or waiting around for some version of the PV-scheme to materialize, or..... It may seem like the Exodus is actually starting, the Israelites are actually leaving for the promised land, and those conservatives still outside CANA are missing out, sitting around in the sand insisting on bondage.

Minns' installation in effect subverts the claims of other conservative leaders--I have Duncan and Iker in mind especially--to loyalty, or even to relevance. Do they have anything other than submission to CANA on tap? If not, why on earth are they still waiting to kiss Akinbola's ring? And if they do have something else in mind, will they in the end just be producing more Anglican fragmentation in sheer hubris, adding their own pathetic two cents to CANA, and AMiA, and all the other riff-raff and bobtail?

From the center, however, Minn's installation looks rather different. After all, Akinola, Minns & co. seem to have twisted arms in Tanzania to get a rather harshly worded Communique sent out in the Primates' name, a document brazenly threatening the Episcopal Church's place in the AC if TEC's bishops didn't surrender their province's traditional autonomy and polity. Akinola, Minns & co. even managed to get a deadline for submission--9/30--thrown in and the ABC as a spokesman. But with Minns' installation, they in effect walk away from the Communique, subverting what had been the process they worked to put in place. For before TEC's deadline, and before TEC issued a final, authoritative response to the Communique, before the PV-scheme was finally decided upon, and before ABC Williams had a chance to chat up the American bishops, Akinola carried out an audacious border-crossing, just the kind of thing the Communique promised would not happen if TEC submitted to its demands. It looks as if Akinola is not a party in good faith to the Communique--it would be as if PB Schori were to ordain an actively gay bishop or bless a SSU in September.

Were Akinola, Minns & co. ever serious about the Communique? And if they were, why couldn't the installation wait until after 9/30 at the every least? Why did it have to be in open defiance of PB Schori and even ABC Williams? Their actions open the door to a serious and credible charge of cynicism. One might infer Akinola and Minns are not to be trusted in future negotiations. They seem to have used the other primates and especially Schori and Williams, both of whom may have actually believed in Akinola's probity.

Minns' premature installation is just what TEC's bishops need to yield interesting conversation with Williams during his brief visit. Is there any point to talking about the PV-scheme when we all know that whatvever TEC does, Akinola will continue to cross borders? The Communique is dead; what to talk about then? Supposing one of Williams' chief concerns is the unity of the CoE, and that his past capitulation to Akinola had the premise of Akinola's reliability in delivering that unity, can anyone really believe that premise now? In light of Minns' installation is Akinola a reliable party for anything so important? Or does he belong with Duncan and MacPherson as mere might-have-beens? Amazingly, Akinola and Minns may have managed what seemed impossible just a few weeks ago: simultaneously undermining their own claim to Williams' serious consideration and other conservative TEC leaders' claims to serious attention; the conservative cause just took a crushing body blow. Just maybe it is time for Williams to rethink his broader strategy, and our bishops can help him out a little.

15 Comments:

At 10:21 PM, Blogger C.B. said...

Very well put together. The earth has moved. Despite counter accusations, it is the conservatives that are in denial as to which way it shifted, and who and what shifted it for them. Of course many will claim that it shifted in the direction they always wanted. But nevertheless instead of waltzing up to the September 30th deadline with a possible royal flush in their hand, I think they have thrown out there best cards, and are left hoping that the house can't beat a pair of deuces.

 
At 8:37 AM, Blogger C.B. said...

I read an interesting comment on Stand Firm the other day by a conservative priest who indicated that Duncan and ACN are trying to play nice with CANA because CANA has come in and started to gather up many large posh churches that made significant contributions to ACN in the past. If this is rue, then it would appear that Duncan's options are truly limited, indeed.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

C.B.,
Throwing away a royal flush for a pair of deuces--I like that image. Why would they do that? It is as if Minns & co. are not really playing the same game as TEC, contrary to appearances. What if they have long reconciled to going it alone, without Canterbury?

 
At 6:13 PM, Blogger Tobias said...

A.S. I think that last comment hits it on the head. Akinola thinks he is Right; on the side of the angels; etc. He doesn't see Canterbury as of the esse of the church, and not even the bene esse unless it agrees with his positions on things. Akinola is absolutely reconciled with going it alone. What, after all, can Canterbury give him that he doesn't already have?

 
At 9:32 PM, Anonymous obadiahslope said...

Rowan's question still remain: if TEC does want to go along with the PV scheme suggested at DES, then what? The PV scheme was suggested as a means to keep conservatives in TEC. AMiA and CANA were to be possible future conversation partners only; the PV was for coservatives in TEC.
Commentators here may feel no form of alternative oversight or assurance for conservatives is required. It will be up to Rowan williams and the other Primates to observe that TEC does not seriously want to keep these people. Those primates, who may be in the middle of the spectrum will not be happy at the thought that TEC is not for evangelicals, those similar in theology to many provinces.
Yes there are difficulties for conservatives in the current moment, but for progressives to rely on Akinola to rescue them from having a positive strategy might be to put too much faith in the Nigerian Primate.

 
At 11:22 PM, Blogger C.B. said...

The ABC and the non-GS Primates must decide to what lengths they will go to meet the needs of 10% of the congregants of TEC who are conservative extremists.

The rest of the Windsor Bishops we may find are very happy to be under KJS's PV Scheme, provided there are additional checks and balances put in place to ensure adequate representation at the Gen Conv. and other assurances of non interference with their orthodoxy.

 
At 12:09 AM, Anonymous obadiahslope said...

If TEC will put up a halfway decent PV scheme they will win the day, I believe. Such a scheme will have to be a great deal stronger now than a few years ago to appeal to the primates.

 
At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that the PV scheme was discussed in August 2006 with one group and again in Novemer with another. +Duncan will not be satisfied with any scheme that leaves the PV accountable to and ultimately under the "discipline" of TEC. The whole purpose of the GS Steering Committee memo was this point. Another issue, what to do with congregations vs dioceses? I think many of the "Windsor compliant" can live with the PB's original plan, under TEC. That leaves +Schofield anywhere he wants --Venables, CANA whatever , he has no substantive prperty issues, but for the rest of the hard right, with substantive property issues, in a pickel. On a sidelight, +Duncan lost again in court Mon. His petition to strike failed. It would appear that TEC will want to share in whatever it can get on new discovery (unredacted copies of The Westfield Response) etc. EPfizH

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Well, it may be that the way has been opened for TEC to put up a PV-scheme on PB Schori and the HoB's terms, and that the Primates will have been moved to agree to such.

I do not think--however--that a TEC-friendly PV-scheme will please TEC conservatives. It will probably function only to placate the majority of the Primates and pry them away from Akinola's GS faction.

Th elong term result will be, perhaps, that CANA will never amount to much more than a fragment and consevative dioceses will undergo a slow bleed of their members away to other denominations--further weakening their standing in TEC's representative bodies. Finally, a relatively benign PV-scheme (close to the DEPO of old?) will become institutionalized, perhpas across provinces.

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Prior Aelred said...

anglican scotist --

I was intending to post to comment about the comments, but your post of 10:15 AM covered everything I intended to say & more -- very perceptive analysis all around (IMHO)

I do think it keeps things in perspective if we all keep in mind that ++Abuja has never accepted the WR (nor have I, but but quite different reasons & my opposition has no effect on the Church)

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger C.B. said...

The simple truth is that any church can be challenged and stretched, but there are limits to which it can actually accommodate.

For me, this has been a process of seeking limits. Those who can not and will not be subject to TEC discipline under any circumstances, simply do not belong in TEC. They have attempted to establish that they still belong in the AC. But there are likewise limits to which the AC can accommodate extra-provincial entities without doing complete violence to itself.

Duncan's gambit has been to switch out TEC for another local structure. But to get the AC to go along, he has had to convince the Primates that there is a large group calling for the switch, and convince the conservatives within TEC that there is no alternative but the switch out. I think he is going to fail on both counts.

By contrast, given Akinola's rashness (and destructiveness)I think he has another agenda going. And October 1st we will see exactly what it is.

For those who worked up a sweat over this and find themselves without a home. Perhaps in time they will find either another church, or will return finding that they have a home in TEC once they are not constantly being agitated and or differences magnified.

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger johnieb said...

Thanks once again, AC, for a most illuminating analysis, with "riff-raff and other bobtail" as a treat: delicious.

And the like to the commentators thus far: most helpful and encouraging; thanks be to God.

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger Marshall said...

I certainly think the PV scheme as proposed by the previous and current Presiding Bishops can work - DEPO at the diocesan level - but accountability to the Presiding Bishop and General Convention was rejected (and most definitively by Iker of Fort Worth, the first to fail to find satisfaction in the Archbishop's Panel of Reference). Participation by the (non-departing) "Windsor-compliant" bishops might certainly help. Some sense of oversight at the (intra-Episcopal Church) provincial level might place a little more distance between the dissenters and direct oversight by the Presiding Bishop (as if, for example, the issue could be addressed first within Province Seven of the Episcopal Church, which includes several "Windsor-compliant" bishops who have not requested alternative oversight - Western Kansas, for example.)

I do find myself wondering at the moment whether the statement from the Canadian House of Bishops that, "while we disagree on unions of GLBT persons, we can't in good conscience ban any cleric from praying with a couple, nor ban the couple from requesting prayers, other than the specific nuptial blessing," also contributed to decisions to act now, rather than wait until October? With so many published expectations that the Anglican Church of Canada will come to some more formal terms with GLBT unions, it might have.

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger Marshall Montgomery said...

An enlightening analysis. Thank you very much. I've been jotting my own random reflections on the implications of conflict on our practice of communion at Communion in Conflict. Check it out--I'd be interested to get your take and that of your readers.

 
At 2:22 PM, Blogger Frair John said...

obadiahslope-

There seems to be a major issue with the fact that TEC wants the dicident Diocies and parishes to remain a part of the bodies that gave them birth.
Since all diocies are the creation of TEC's GC then it must stay under the authority of the GC.

If the is unacceptable to (some) of the Primates then so be it.

 

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