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Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Nigeria, Church of the Province of Uganda, Church of the Province of West Africa, Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church.
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Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”

He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”

The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth.  It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”

When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”

“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.

The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”

The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”

“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.

“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”

But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” –  “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.

“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.

“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.

In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”

But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.

“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.

Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”

The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”

“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.

In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”

At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”

“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it.  The tomb is empty.  The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated.  Jesus is alive.  In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life.  This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.

The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”

Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business.  That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”

“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat.   When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast.  Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter.  We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection.  We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people.  We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others.  We have a passion for justice.  We are also people of hope.  Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”

Papal meeting for Anglican conservatives: The Church of England Newspaper, January 6, 2013 p 3. January 4, 2013

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Archbishop Robert Duncan (centre) and Bishop Ray Sutton (right) of the ACNA at the 28 Nov 2012 General Audience with Pope Benedict XVI

The leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, held a private meeting last month at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI.

On 28 Nov 2012, Archbishop Wabukala, Archbishop Robert Duncan and Bishop Ray Sutton of the Anglican Church in North America, along with a retired bishop from the Church of England met with Benedict and officials from the curia in private after the Wednesday General Audience.

Details of the conversation have not been released however, Benedict has long held an interest in the internal workings of the Anglican Communion.  In October 2003, as President of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger sent a letter of encouragement on behalf of Pope John Paul II to those attending the “Plano Conference” of conservative Episcopalians in Dallas, Texas, who had gathered to voice their opposition to the impending consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

Pope Benedict has also focused much of his energies on Africa. A recent issue of the Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica stated the pope has referred to Africa as to the “lung” of the Catholic Church and the church in Africa was “currently the most dynamic continent from the point of view of the expansion of the Church and of Christianity in general, and where vocations are the most numerous in terms of percentage.”

Travel delays prevented Archbishop Wabukala from attending the General Audience with Archbishop Duncan and Bishop Sutton, though the archbishop and other leaders of the global reform movement within the Anglican Communion were present at the afternoon’s private session.

Stanley Ntagali to be installed as Archbishop of Uganda: Anglican Ink, December 14, 2012 December 14, 2012

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Archbishops Henry Orombi (left) and Stanley Ntagali (right)

The Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali will be installed as the 8th Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Uganda and translated to the Diocese of Kampala this Sunday at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Namirembe.

President Yoweri Museveni along with the country’s political, professional and social leaders are expected to attend the 16 Dec 2012 along with the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, the leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Archbishop Robert Duncan of the ACNA, and 7 other archbishops and bishops representing the wider Anglican Communion.

Elected by the 34 members of the Uganda House of Bishops on 22 June 2012, Bishop Ntagali was consecrated on 19 December 2004 and has served as the first Bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese for eight years.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Papal meeting for conservative Anglican leaders: Anglican Ink, December 11, 2012 December 12, 2012

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At the close of the General Audience of 28 Nov 2012, the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Robert Duncan met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, was to have also attended the General Audience, but was delayed. Joined by the chairman of the ACNA’s ecumenical relations commission, Bishop Ray Sutton of the Reformed Episcopal Church, Archbishop Duncan spoke with the pope.  The three later met with Vatican officials.  Details of the conversations have not been released.  Claims of the significance of the meeting or of its symbolism are also premature, one Vatican watcher said, until the substance of the conversation is known.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Congo call to prayer issued by church leaders: Anglican Ink, November 28, 2012 November 28, 2012

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Archbishop Henri Isingoma

Anglican leaders across the globe have joined the call for prayer for the Congo and a peaceful end to its civil war.

The Congo Church Association (CCA), with the support of Archbishop Isingoma Kahwa of the Anglican Church of Congo, issued a call for a week of special prayer for the Congo, asking Christians to pray from Monday, the 26th of November to Sunday the 2nd of December. “We hope individuals, groups and churches will commit to pray afresh for a resolution and definitive end to the conflict, violence and atrocities, and for a new era of peace, as well as for the needs of all those affected.”

A UK-based support group for the Church in the Congo and other Francophone regions of Africa, the Congo Church Association has released a fact and prayer sheet outlining the needs of Africa’s largest country.

“More than 500,000 people have been displaced in the east, including 60,000 into Uganda and Rwanda, following M23 violence against civilians and fighting with the national army,” the CCA wrote.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 49, September 13, 2012 September 14, 2012

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Kevin and George are back from news blackout break with Anglican News from around the globe. They discuss Rowan’s exit interview, South Carolina, Archbishop Duncan’s interview and Much, Much More. #AU49 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com There might even be some bloopers.

Alan Hawkings named Anglican 1000 vicar: Anglican Ink, June 7, 2012 June 7, 2012

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Archbishop Robert Duncan introducing the Rev. Alan Hawkins (left) to the ACNA Assembly as the Rt. Rev. Todd Hunter (right) looks on

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has named the Rev. Alan Hawkins to serve as the Vicar of the Anglican 1000 movement, Archbishop Robert Duncan told delegates to the church’s 2nd Provincial Assembly.

Archbishop Duncan told delegates on the opening day of the 7-9 June 2012 meeting in Ridgecrest, N.C., that Mr. Hawkins, the rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Greensboro, NC, will supervise the province’s church planting initiative – a work the archbishop characterized as being the “central” program of the province.

In a statement released by the ACNA, Mr. Hawkins said it was “humbling and a privilege” to head up the work of Anglican 1000, the “cornerstone of the Anglican Church in North America and I look forward to being able to encourage and support the planting of new churches in our tradition throughout North America.”

At the 1st Provincial Assembly in 2009, Archbishop Duncan challenged the ACNA to plant 1000 congregations within five years.   Assembly Archbishop Duncan called upon the ACNA to plant 1000 new congregations.  The rector of Christ Church Plano, the Rev. Canon David Roseberry and the Rev. Daniel Adkinson answered the archbishop’s call by helping start a church planning program that has helped spur the ACNA’s rapid growth over the past three years.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

2011 a ‘challenge’ for the ACNA, Archbishop reports: Anglican Ink, June 7, 2012 June 7, 2012

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Archbishop Duncan addressing the ACNA provincial council

The year 2011 could have been the Anglican Church in North America’s annus horribilis, Archbishop Robert Duncan told the bishop and delegates attending its fourth provincial council meeting at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in Western North Carolina on 6 June 2012.

But at year’s end the ACNA was the stronger for its engagement with the chaos surrounding the collapse of the Anglican Mission in America. “The only way to explain what has happened is to speak of God’s hand and God’s favor” the archbishop said in his presidential address.

While heavy fog greeted the bishops and council members at their mountain retreat, grey skies were not evident inside the council chamber. Delegates told Anglican Ink they were upbeat and hopeful for the future of the province-in-waiting of the Anglican Communion – a message shared by Archbishop Duncan in his state of the church address.

The archbishop opened his address by noting that although the past year had been a “challenge,” “greater unity globally has also been achieved.”

The ACNA’s relationship with the Church of Rwanda “has never been closer” he said, and noted the FCA primates council “has also gone far deeper in relationship because of the AMiA crisis and we are far more committed to one another personally than ever before.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Bishop Todd Hunter joins the ACNA: Anglican Ink, May 8, 2012 May 8, 2012

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Bishop Todd Hunter

Bishop Todd Hunter of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has been received by the Anglican Church in North America and will serve as an assistant bishop in the office of the primate, the Most Rev. Robert Duncan.

On 4 May 2012 the California-based bishop held a conference call with Archbishop Duncan, Bishop Chuck Murphy of the AMiA, and Bishop Terrell Glenn of PEAR-USA/ACNA to discuss his future plans.

Bishop Hunter stated that he had a “warm and collegial conversations” with the three bishops and “articulated for each of them my vision of C4SO becoming a servant to all the various Anglican entities within North America. C4SO will happily plant churches in partnership with PEARUSA, TheAm and the ACNA.”

C4SO – Churches for the Sake of Others – is a church planting initiative run by Bishop Hunter that will now move under the ecclesial oversight of the ACNA.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 38, May 5, 2012 May 6, 2012

Posted by geoconger in AMiA, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Church of Ireland, Texas, The Episcopal Church.
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The Anglican Four have more news for you. Kevin and George bring you Today-in-History, More of The AMiA breakdown, Erastian Texans, picking Canterbury, and the weather for Ireland is spring. Peter breaks down behind-the-scenes GAFCON and AS Haley has breaking news from Christ Church, Savannah. Oh… and there is a surprise Guest this week.

Take no decision on ACNA, archbishops’ synod paper argues: The Church of England Newspaper, January 27, 2012 p 5. February 2, 2012

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has welcomed the release of a general synod paper under the signature of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York that addresses the province-in-formation’s relationship to the Church of England.

In a statement released on 21 January 2012, the primate of the ACNA, Archbishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said the province-in-formation was “encouraged by the desire of the Church of England to continue to embrace the Anglican Church in North America and remain in solidarity with us as we proclaim the Gospel message and truth as revealed in Scripture in the way it has always been understood in Anglican formularies.”

The document released online on 20 January 2012 urges inaction upon the synod in defining its relationship to ACNA, but also serves as a backhanded recognition the new North American province is part of the Anglican world.

Synod paper MISC 1011 entitled “The Church of England and the Anglican Church in North America”, comes in response to a private members motion presented to the February 2010 session of synod which asked the archbishops to clarify the Church of England’s relationship with the ACNA.  The archbishops responded this question was more properly formulated into three distinct questions.

“What is the range of relationship with other Christian churches that is possible for the Church of England?; How does a particular local Church become accepted as part of the Anglican Communion?; and In what circumstances can the orders of another Church be recognised and accepted by the Church of England so that someone ordained in that church can be given archiepiscopal authorisation for ministry here?”

The archbishops responded that the first and third questions were governed by the canon law of the Church of England.  Relations with other churches was governed by the actions of General Synod, the archbishops said, offering examples of the Porvoo Agreements with the Nordic Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Covenant and the Church of England’s links with the provinces of the Anglican Communion.

The reception or licensing of overseas clergy within the Church of England was governed by canon law and the “authorisation by the Archbishop of the Province is considered on a case by case basis and will take a number of relevant considerations into account” before an overseas cleric is licensed to officiate in the Province of York or Canterbury.

In answering the second question, the Archbishops conceded “the concept of membership of the Anglican Communion is not entirely straightforward”, noting the Anglican Communion was not a legal entity governed by statute or bylaws.  The archbishops also acknowledged the political failure of the Anglican Consultative Council to create a mutually recognizable Anglican identity.

However, the archbishops did note the concept of an Anglican bishop might be defined by the standard set of who was invited to attend meetings of the Lambeth Conference.  In 2008 Dr. Williams declined to extend an invitation to Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA on the grounds that his ministry on behalf of the Church of Nigerian in the United States violated the provincial boundaries of the Episcopal Church.

However, Dr. Williams also declined to invite Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire due to his status as an openly gay bishop – and the archbishop also declined to invite Dr. Nolbert Kunonga of Harare in light of his ties to the Mugabe regime.  The Lambeth Conference standard was further weakened as the 2008 meeting differed substantially from its predecessors as it was transformed as a meeting of equals into an extended tutorial session led by the archbishop for the instruction and improvement of the wider communion.

The way forward, the archbishops noted was to maintain relations with the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. as well as maintain an “open-ended engagement with ACNA on the part of the Church of England and the Communion” – deciding not to decide the issue at this time.

Archbishop Duncan said he appreciated the “work of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England, whose report and recommendations to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York form the basis of the document now released for General Synod, and whose content substantially advances the same ends with the Church of England.”

He added that the ACNA had “demonstrated successfully to the GAFCON primates” that it “remains committed to our growing relationships with Anglican provinces outside of North America. Our biblical orthodoxy and ministries are strengthening our bond to our Anglican brothers and sisters around the globe. We are gratified that we are already in a relationship of full communion with many Anglican Provinces and look forward to expanding that circle.”

Nigerian winter over, ACNA says: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2011 p 6. November 17, 2011

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Bishop Julian Dobbs

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The chill in relations between the Church of Nigeria and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is over following a meeting of the churches’ archbishops in London, senior ACNA leaders tell The Church of England Newspaper.

A breakdown in communications was blamed for the frost in relations between Nigeria and the conservative province-in-waiting in the US, which complained it had not been consulted about the creation of a new Nigerian outreach in America.

Last month the head of CANA, the Church of Nigeria’s missionary jurisdiction in the US, Bishop Martyn Minns announced the formation of the Diocese of the Trinity, to be headed up by CANA suffragan Bishop Amos Fagbamiye.  On 12 Oct 2011 Bishop Minns said Trinity had been formed “in order to strengthen our missionary focus and provide enhanced support for local clergy and congregations, especially for Nigerian Anglicans living in North America.”

While the new diocese received warm public words of welcome, its creation had come as a surprise when it was proposed earlier this year, as it had been initiated by the Church of Nigeria and not by CANA.

However, CANA suffragan Bishop Julian Dobbs denied there was any discord between the ACNA and Nigerian House of Bishops.  CANA had been successful, he argued because its “members reflect a broad and complex spectrum of complimentary ethnic and racial identities and maintain a healthy equilibrium between the historic spiritual streams of Anglicanism: Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical and Charismatic.”

“As a missionary outreach of the Church of Nigeria, CANA maintains our unimpeachable connection with authentic Anglicanism in the Anglican Communion; with our partners in the Anglican Church in North America we are building a future for faithful Christians,” Bishop Dobbs wrote.

“Therefore, we are appalled by the suggestion that we have created a conflict,” he added.

A spokesman for the ACNA was distressed by characterizations of the Diocese of the Trinity as race-based, telling CEN the new diocese was centered-round culture and worship styles.  On 31 Oct 2011 Archbishop Duncan stated there had been a “desire among many Nigerian nationals, some of whom have been part of CANA and some who have been waiting for a development like the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity, to come together as a Nigerian diocese in North America.”

The “provision for affinity dioceses” within the ACNA structure made possible the formation of the Trinity Diocese, he said.

A spokesman for Archbishop Duncan stated that Archbishops Okoh and Duncan met in London during the week of Oct 24-28 adding that relations were amicable and there was no tension between the churches.

Growing pains for ACNA: The Church of England Newspaper, Nov 4, 2011 November 3, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A chill has descended over relations between the Church of Nigeria and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in the wake of the creation of a diocese for Nigerians in America by the Church of Nigeria.

While official statements from Archbishop Robert Duncan of the ACNA and Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA – the Church of Nigeria’s American outreach — have been upbeat, sources at the top of the ACNA tell The Church of England Newspaper the situation surrounding the formation of the Diocese of the Trinity has been a “mess”.

Archbishop Duncan is understood to be meeting in the near future with the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, to seek clarification as to why the Nigerian Church believed it necessary to create a race-based diocese in America.

Questions also remain unanswered as to why Nigeria continues to hold on to its American operations after Kenya, West Africa, Uganda and the Southern Cone turned their churches and clergy over to the ACNA.

On 12 October 2011, Bishop Minns released a letter to the CANA clergy announcing the formation of the Diocese of the Trinity. At the September meeting of the General Synod, the Nigerian Church “decided to permit the establishment of dioceses within CANA, under the leadership of the CANA Missionary Bishop, in order to strengthen our missionary focus and provide enhanced support for local clergy and congregations, especially for Nigerian Anglicans living in North America.”

Bishop Minns stated that suffragan Bishop Amos Fagbamiye had been named the diocesan bishop of Trinity Diocese. These actions were “subject to the enactment of necessary canonical provisions within the Church of Nigeria’s constitution and canons and also the relevant by-laws and protocols of CANA,” he added.

The CANA leader noted that while “church structures are important and can be useful … what is most important is that we continue with the work of witness and discipleship and reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. Mission must always drive and shape our structures, not the other way around.”

On 15 April 2011 Bishop Fagbamiye met with 40 clergy and lay leaders to discuss the formation of a missionary diocese. The purpose of the diocese was to “build a Christ-centred, multicultural, multiracial, Bible-based church that believes in the apostolic teaching, and is sensitive to human needs.”

The organisational meeting recommended the new diocese “be under the supervision and derive authority from Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion but will be affiliated with CANA and ACNA.”

On 31 October 2011 Archbishop Duncan gave a statement to CEN stating there was a “desire among many Nigerian nationals, some of whom have been part of CANA and some who have been waiting for a development like the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity, to come together as a Nigerian diocese in North America. Created by the recent General Synod at Lagos, the plan is that the Missionary Diocese is to be part of CANA and to also apply for recognition as a diocese in the Anglican Church in North America.

“As the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America make provision for affinity dioceses, the creation of the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity can readily be accommodated within the Anglican Church structure,” the Archbishop said.

However, affinity dioceses within ACNA have so far been constructed along doctrinal lines – with non-geographic dioceses for Anglo-Catholics. Until the formation of the Trinity Diocese the only race-based church unit was the Niobrara Sioux mission to American Indians.

A spokesman for CANA said it was a mistake to presume that Trinity Diocese was composed solely of Nigerians. “One of [Bishop] Fagbamiye’s own archdeacons is white: the Ven John Beasley. I think he also has some non-Nigerian clergy on staff at his church in Indianapolis,” said Harry Zeiders of CANA.

One ACNA leader who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak on its behalf said the creation of the Trinity Diocese had come as an unwelcome surprise. It was a retrograde step, in his opinion, for the Church of Nigeria to be creating new structures in North America on its own initiative after it had already committed itself to support the ministry of ACNA, he said.

It evidenced a lack of “trust” in ACNA, he said.

Pittsburgh property loss for Duncan: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 21, 2011 p 6. October 25, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Pittsburgh reports the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected his diocese’s appeal to set aside a lower court ruling that gave control of property titled in the diocese’s name to the faction backed by the national Church.

In a statement posted on his website, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, Robert Duncan stated “we accept that the courts have not found in our favour and will, of course, comply with all court orders.”

The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh was “committed to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Episcopal Church diocese. In light of this judgment by the courts, we will redouble that commitment to reaching a final resolution of all issues between the Episcopal Church diocese and the Anglican diocese through negotiation,” he said on 18 October.

Unlike the other property cases currently in litigation in the US, the underlying dispute in Pittsburgh centred round the interpretation of contracts. Following the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, a liberal congregation in Pittsburgh brought suit against Bishop Duncan alleging he was planning on leading the diocese out of the Episcopal Church in protest.

In October 2005 the suit was settled when the parties signed an agreement that stipulated the diocese would keep all its assets intact, and would not allow individual parishes to depart from the diocese without paying adequate compensation for their properties.

Acting upon a complaint filed by the disaffected parish, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori authorized a Church tribunal to investigate Bishop Duncan for abandoning the Episcopal Church – although he had not taken any overt action to leave at that time.

In a controversial vote Bishop Duncan was then deposed by the House of Bishops in September 2008. At its diocesan convention the following month, Pittsburgh voted to quit the Episcopal Church.

In response Bishop Jefferts Schori recognized the minority loyalist faction as the new diocese and brought suit to enforce the terms of the 2005 settlement, which they claimed had been breached when Bishop Duncan’s diocese voted to leave.

After review the trial court held that the terms of the 2005 stipulation had been breached and ordered the diocese’s endowment funds and title to those properties held by the diocese to be turned over to the minority faction. Subsequent appeals to reverse the judge’s interpretation of the stipulation were unsuccessful, and the Supreme Court order ends further litigation on this issue.

The loss of its funds and some of its buildings will not change the mission of the diocese, Archbishop Duncan wrote. Pittsburgh Anglicans sought to transform “our world with Jesus Christ. We do this chiefly by planting congregations.”

He noted that at since the diocese withdrew from the Episcopal Church, each year “congregations are being added to our diocese both locally and across the country, for which we give thanks to God. We pray God’s continued favour on our mission, his grace towards those who remain within the Episcopal Church, and his help for our beloved Communion as we move into the challenges and opportunities of this new millennium,” the Archbishop wrote.

US church fractures over vote: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 4, 2003 September 4, 2003

Posted by geoconger in 74th General Convention, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America fractured last week when its House of Bishops affirmed the election of a practising homosexual as Bishop of New Hampshire. Whether called “schism” or “impaired communion”, the American Church also formally altered its relationship to the wider Anglican Communion when its House of Bishops affirmed the election of a non-celibate homosexual as Bishop of New Hampshire.

Immediately following the vote of 63 to 45 in favour of the affirmation of Gene Robinson as Bishop, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and 22 other bishops rose and stood before the House announcing their disassociation with the vote.

Bishop Duncan stated: “You cannot imagine my grief, or the grief of many, many people. … Those who rejoice at this moment will, I pray, at least understand what has been stolen from us: unity with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church ecumenically; unity with our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion across the globe; unity with the faith once delivered to the Saints.”

Bishop Duncan stated that he and his colleagues were appealing to the Primates of the Anglican Communion to intervene in the affairs of the American Church and rescue it from apostasy and heresy.

Following Bishop Duncan’s statement, Bishop Griswold dismissed the House. Bishop Duncan that evening told The Church of England Newspaper that the Robinson vote rendered all actions of the Minneapolis Convention were “null and void” as “the ancient rule of the Church” was that one error of doctrine made by a Synod rendered all its actions void.

When asked whether he was concerned about the reaction of the rest of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Griswold dismissed concerns of schism or ruptured communion. He conceded he valued his relationship with the other Primates, but his relationship was with Canterbury, and then only through Canterbury to the other Primates. Calls for a Primates’ Meeting to discuss this issue could not be called by anyone but the Archbishop of Canterbury, he observed.

During the Bishop Griswold’s news conference Lambeth Palace announced a special meeting of the Primates to be held on October 15-16 “in London to discuss recent developments in ECUSA.”

Archbishop Williams’s letter asked for calm in the wake of the Convention, stating: “I hope also we will take quite seriously the intervening period to reflect carefully on our life together as a Communion and to consider how we might best bring our faith, experience and wisdom to bear constructively on these discussions.”

The calm that followed the next day in the House of Bishops was not one fostered by spiritual reflection but by physical absence. At 11am as the House of Bishops was gaveled into session, 47 chairs were empty. Approximately one-third of the bishops were absent. Of the 23 bishops who stood to voice their opposition to the election the previous evening, 20 had left the House. The reaction from the wider Anglican Communion and the Church’s ecumenical partners was quick. Questioned by The Church of England Newspaper whether the election of Robinson would damage Anglican relations with the Roman Catholic Church, Griswold stated that “there would be some ramifications” but he declined to speculate what they might be.

Archbishop Stephen Blaire, Chairman of the US Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs, stated on August 11 the election of Robinson would “have serious implications in the search for Christian unity and for the work of our bilateral Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States.”

“These decisions” noted Mgr Blair, “reflect a departure from the common understanding of the meaning and purpose of human sexuality, and the morality of homosexual activity as found in Sacred Scripture and the Christian tradition. As such they have serious implications in the search for Christian unity and for the work of our bilateral Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States.

The day after the election, the American Anglican Council, the coalition of evangelical and traditionalist organisations in the Episcopal Church announced a meeting to be held in Texas in early October to coordinate strategies among dioceses and parishes. A number of conservative dioceses have scheduled special conventions in September and October to discuss the actions taken at Convention and to debate what steps to take in response.