The Anglican archbishop of Nigeria, a fierce critic of the Episcopal Church for its acceptance of homosexuality, is arriving next week to install a bishop to lead congregations around the country that want to break from it...You may want to take a look at what Mark Harris has had to say about this event here and here.
...The Nigerian archbishop, Peter J. Akinola, will preside over a ceremony in Virginia on May 5 installing Martyn Minns, former rector of an Episcopal church there, as the bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, an offshoot of the Nigerian church...
You may also want to keep in mind that Abp. Akinola is one of the most embarrassing figures in Anglicanism at the moment, due to his support for the Nigerian solution to the "gay problem"; incarceration. Even the U.S. Department of State, which is certainly by no estimation a bastion of liberality, has spoken out against this draconian law that tramples on basic human rights.
The NYT piece continues with a quote from Bp. Minns of CANA:
...Bishop Minns said the convocation that he is to lead was not interfering with the Episcopal Church...Oh no? Let's recall the words of Bishop Lee of Virginia at the time Abp. Akinola decided to plant this particular beachhead on American soil without so much as a "How do you do" to the leadership of TEC:
...The Church of Nigeria, like The Episcopal Church, is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion with clearly defined boundaries. Bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion hold that provincial boundaries are not crossed by bishops without expressed invitation. Bishop Akinola’s effort to establish CANA within the boundaries of The Episcopal Church has occurred without any invitation or authorization whatsoever and violates centuries of established Anglican heritage. As the Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear, CANA is not a branch of the Anglican Communion and does not have his encouragement.If Nigeria had not been waiting in the wings, wooing these congregations away from the diocese of Virginia, this sad debacle might have been avoided. That is speculation, of course. Now we will never know.
When the membership of these congregations voted to sever their ties with the Episcopal Church and affiliate with CANA, they left remaining Episcopal congregations in those places without vestries, without clergy and without their churches, whether the remaining congregations numbered one or 100 souls. The spiritual abandonment of their Episcopal brothers and sisters of the past, the present and the future, is perhaps the greatest offense for which there is no redress under our tradition...
That's but one example of the kind of "interference" being caused by pilfering foreign Primates like Abp. Akinola. One might also mention the case of Don Armstrong, who was able to jump to Nigeria the day before the details of his presentment charges were revealed. This jump was made possible because of the existence of CANA.
In the NYT article, Bp. Minns continues:
..."The reality is that there is a broken relationship between the Episcopal Church and the rest of the communion,” Bishop Minns said.No, that is not the reality, and it is quite disheartening to find a bishop making such false statements. There are a handful of Primates (eight out of thirty-eight, I believe), who have announced some form of impaired communion with TEC. Most of these Primates claim that they speak for their people, but that claim is questionable. There has been no change in our relationship with the rest of the Anglican Communion, and none is anticipated in the near future.
The NYT reporter did at least let our friend Mark Harris get a few words in:
...“The archbishop of Nigeria may think the Episcopal Church has acted wrongly, but that is quite different from using that as an excuse to cross boundaries and do things that violate longstanding practice,” said the Rev. Mark Harris, a member of the Executive Council, which governs the Episcopal Church between the conventions it holds every three years...Our Presiding Bishop has responded to this planned violation of the boundaries of TEC:
I have only just become aware of the possible visit by the Primate of Nigeria. Unfortunately, my office has not been directly informed of his pending visit, but we will now pursue extending to him a personal invitation to see him while he is in the United States. I regret that he has apparently accepted an invitation to provide episcopal ministry here without any notice or prior invitation. That is not the ancient practice followed in most of the church catholic, which since the fourth century has expected that bishops minister only within their own churches, except by explicit invitation from another bishop with jurisdiction. This action would only serve to heighten current tensions, and would be regrettable if it does indeed occur.EpiScope provides us with the Canons from the first Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 AD which refers to the "ancient practice" mentioned by our Presiding Bishop.