Conservative N.Va. Priest Installed as Anglican Bishop;
May 5, 2007

Head of Episcopal Split to Lead Nigerian Offshoot

In This Issue:


Anglican Church Intercedes as an Episcopal Rift Widens

The New York Times
May 5, 2007

By NEELA BANERJEE

WASHINGTON, May 4 — The archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, has waded into a gathering dispute over efforts by conservative congregations in this country to break away from the Episcopal Church..................

On Saturday, the archbishop of Nigeria, Peter J. Akinola, is scheduled to preside over a ceremony in Virginia to install a bishop to lead congregations around the country that want to leave the Episcopal Church, in large part because of its liberal stance on homosexuality.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has asked Archbishop Akinola to cancel his visit, a spokesman said.................

Archbishop Akinola is expected to preside over the installation in suburban Virginia of Martyn Minns, former rector of an Episcopal church there, as bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), an offshoot of the Nigerian church.

The convocation was created in part to oversee congregations that no longer want to be in the Episcopal Church but would like to remain in the Anglican Communion.

About 30 congregations and 50 to 55 clergy members are now affiliated with the convocation, said Kelly Oliver, a spokeswoman for the convocation.

Bishop Jefferts Schori and others have argued that Archbishop Akinola’s arrival breaks with a tradition of bishops’ respecting the boundaries of others’ jurisdictions.

In response, Archbishop Akinola said in a letter this week that it was the Episcopal Church that had “prompted the current crisis” by breaking with traditional teachings on homosexuality.

NYT Article


Episcopal archbishop makes U.S. inroads

By Rachel Zoll
The Associated Press

Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Anglican Church of Nigeria plans to lead a ceremony today at a chapel in Woodbridge, Va., where he'll install Martyn Minns, a former Episcopal clergyman, as bishop and U.S. leader of Akinola's Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

Anglican leaders have given the U.S. denomination until Sept. 30 to step back from its support of gays or risk losing its full membership in the 77 million-member Anglican fellowship.
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had "strongly urged" Akinola not to enter the United States to install Minns. She said his visit would violate the Anglican tradition that national church leaders only minister to churches within their own provinces.

Akinola responded Wednesday that "the usual protocol and permissions are no longer applicable" because of what he called the "unbiblical agenda" of the U.S. church.

He said he created CANA "to provide a safe place for those who wish to remain faithful Anglicans but can no longer do so within the Episcopal Church as it is currently being led."

Minns said there was an urgent need now to create a place for theological conservatives, who are a minority in the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church.............

The convocation started in December when two of the most prominent and conservative parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia - Truro Church in Fairfax, which Minns led, and The Falls Church in Falls Church - broke from the U.S. denomination and joined the network.

Several smaller Virginia parishes followed suit. The diocese and the breakaway parishioners are now fighting in court over who owns the properties, which are worth tens of millions of dollars.

AP Article


Archbishop of Canterbury urges Nigerian Primate to cancel plans to install bishop

Episcopal News Service
May 4, 2007

By Matthew Davies

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has written to Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola asking him to cancel his plans to visit the United States and install Bishop Martyn Minns as head of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a conservative missionary effort in the U.S. sponsored by the Anglican Church of Nigeria.........

Williams' letter to Akinola follows a similar request from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who wrote to Akinola April 30 urging him to reconsider plans to install Minns, an action she said "would violate the ancient customs of the church" and would "not help the efforts of reconciliation."
If the service proceeds, it "would display to the world division and disunity that are not part of the mind of Christ," Jefferts Schori said in her letter.

Akinola, in a May 2 response to Jefferts Schori, described CANA as providing "a safe place for those who wish to remain faithful Anglicans but can no longer do so within The Episcopal Church." He criticized Jefferts Schori for appealing to the ancient church "when it is your own Province's deliberate rejection of the biblical and historic teaching of the Church that has prompted our current crisis."..............

According to the communiqué issued at the end of that meeting, Jefferts Schori reminded the Primates that some in the Episcopal Church "have lost trust in the Primates and bishops of certain ... Provinces because they fear that they are all too ready to undermine or subvert the polity of the Episcopal Church."

Minns, who was onsite in Tanzania and was observed conferring regularly with Akinola in sessions apparently devoted to planning and influencing the Primates' Communiqué, told the New York Times that CANA was not interfering with the Episcopal Church.

Minns -- an English-born former Mobil Oil executive and former rector of Truro Parish in Fairfax, Virginia -- was elected and consecrated by the bishops of the Anglican Church of Nigeria to serve as CANA's missionary bishop.

"The reality is that there is a broken relationship between the Episcopal Church and the rest of the communion," he said. "We want to give people a freedom of choice to remain Anglican but not under the Episcopal Church as it is currently led."..................

ENS Article


Conservative N.Va. Priest Installed as Anglican Bishop;

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 6, 2007; A01

A powerful Nigerian Anglican archbishop defied top church leaders yesterday by coming to Northern Virginia and installing as one of his bishops a local minister who recently broke with the U.S. church after accusing it of being too liberal.....................

Archbishop Peter J. Akinola leads a movement that, among other things, believes the Bible is unequivocally opposed to homosexuality and divorced clergy........

The installation, held at a 3,500-seat Christian event center next to the Potomac Mills Mall, was high-profile fuel for the debate in the 70 million-member Anglican Communion over the proper reading of Scripture on homosexuality and other issues. The questions have not only roiled the Episcopal Church but also divided other denominations worldwide over the past decade.

Episcopal Church leaders maintain that Minns and his ideological peers are trying to oversimplify Jesus's teachings in a complex world........................

Minns, longtime rector of the prominent Truro Church in Fairfax City, became a global figure in December when he led 11 Virginia churches to leave the Episcopal Church; all placed themselves under the leadership of Akinola. They included some of the largest Episcopal congregations in the country.

.........Akinola has emerged in the past few years as one of the most prominent conservative Anglican leaders, but even his loyalists sometimes have concerns about him. Many Episcopalians noted last year that he supported a Nigerian bill that would jail gay men and lesbians who gathered or touched in public.

"This isn't the right way, setting this up and then claiming it. It's unilateralist. It creates distrust," said the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a senior fellow at the conservative Anglican Communion Institute in Colorado.

Radner said he sees other conservative groups declining and hears "well-founded rumors" that several U.S. bishops are looking hard at joining Minns.

Among those present for yesterday's ceremony was Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, who leads a group of U.S. parishes that remain in the Episcopal Church but are critical of it.................

Washington Post Article


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