Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Nigeria Threatens Boycott

The Church of Nigeria, who recently referred to those with whom they disagree as a cancerous lump has now decided that they will be boycotting Lambeth 2008 and host their own party:

...Synod also regrets the inability of the See of Canterbury to prevent further impairment of the unity of the Church. It therefore, believes strongly that the moral justification for the proposed Lambeth Conference of 2008 is questionable in view of the fact that by promoting teachings and practices that are alien and inimical to the historic formularies of the Church, the Bishops of ECUSA, Canada and parts of Britain have abandoned the Biblical faith of our fathers...

...Synod underlines the need for maintaining the age-long tradition of a ten-yearly Conference of Bishops in the Anglican Communion for discussing issues affecting the Church. It therefore calls on the leadership of the Global South and Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) to do everything necessary to put in place a Conference of all Anglican Bishops to hold in 2008 should all efforts to get the apostles of ‘revisionist agenda’ to repent and retrace their steps fail.
Tobias' response to these latest Nigerian pronuncements seems to resonate the most with my own:

...Archbishop Rowan, what part of this do you not understand? Who, exactly, is tearing the fabric of the Communion at this point? Who are the "super-apostles" who puff themselves up, trumpeting their delight in recognition by Time and declaring other parts of the body to be "cancerous lumps" worthy of excision? These pronouncements from Nigeria are more than unhelpful. It is time to recognize the nature of pride, and real "unilateral" action against other members of the church when it is proposed or taken. This is not the spirit of interdependence, but something else entirely.
rh[+] offers us a concise summary of recent events:

1. GenCon06 passes the now infamous resolution B033 so the TEC could stay at the table of conversation with the wider Anglican Communion. It took some unprecedented manuevers and the suspension of our own rules to do it, but we got it done. When we confessed that the end result would please no one, we had no idea just how propohetic those words would become.

2. The ABC (+++Rowan Williams) waits a few days before speaking only to say to us, "I'm not sure what to say." That's all.

3. The ABC then unveils a plan for Anglican Communion full fat version, and Anglican Communion lite. I'll leave it to you to figure out which type of membership (constituent or associate) is which.

4. African bishops meet together and respond saying, "this ain't gonna cut it. And, oh, by the way, the TEC is a cancerous lump." That's all. Peace of Christ, indeed.

5. Abp Akinola, primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, and his minions proclaim that the ABC's plan for a covenant is worthless, that Lambeth is not a morally justifiable gathering, and that he intends to gather his own version of Anglicana. That's all...
Jim Naughton reminds us that this response is quite similar to what was predicted by Bp. Chane in his editorial of last February.

Mark Harris includes within his reflection on this latest development a list of proposals for addressing our internal struggles:

1. It is time for members of this church to cease using “disassociation” as a form of protest. Protest is absolutely essential to the life of this more or less open system of governance. The protest against bad governance is the beginning of reform. It is a scandal, for example, that bishops in particular are given to conflict avoidance, when what is needed is conflict engaged. There protest and dissent are vital. But protest and dissent take place within the community and derive their power from the presence of those who dissent with their adversaries.

2. The honoring of diocesan jurisdictional boundaries needs to be maintained.

3. DEPO, delegated Episcopal pastoral oversight, must be understood as concerning Episcopal oversight; that same principle in no way ought to apply to Primatial oversight. The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church is Primate, Chief Pastor and Presiding Bishop of this Church, and if someone can’t abide the reality of who is in place they can either live in patience until a new Presiding Bishop is elected, attempt to have that person removed by canons of this Church, or they can leave.

4. DEPO ought not be considered a solution to conflict resolution or a means of conflict avoidance, but rather as a temporary means of providing pastoral care.

5. The notion of a tenth province that is not area specific but rather theology specific is abhorrent to the vision of a church in which “all come to me.” In no way ought this be considered a viable alternative for the future life of The Episcopal Church.

6. The Episcopal Church, through the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council, ought to be clear that it intends to turn its fact to the primary tasks of proclaiming the Good News and witnessing to the love of God by working to relieve the burden of all who suffer.
So, it appears that the Americans will not be invited to Lambeth for fear that the Global South bishops won't show up if Bps. Robinson and Jefferts-Schori are present. And the Global South bishops will decide to hold their own event outside of Lambeth. It could end up that the British will be the only ones at Lambeth in 2008. What a sad state of affairs. And the saddest thing is that none of it is a surprise.


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