Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Audience for Today's Installation

Here is Jim Naughton's take on today's festivities in Virginia:

...The third potential audience for today’s installation is Akinola's various rivals for influence on the Anglican right in this country. For reasons that aren't obvious to outsiders, the Nigerian initiative (the Convocation of Anglicans in North America) and the Rwandan initiative in the United States, (the Anglican Mission in America) have not joined forces. Several leaders of the AMiA have expressed discomfort about Akinola's visit to Virginia today. Leaders of the Anglican Communion Network (Episcopal bishops who wants their organization to be declared the true Anglican presence in the United States and the 14 other countries in which the Episcopal Church is active) are also keeping their distance. Only Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh is making the trip, and he doesn’t seem entirely enthusiastic about doing so. As leader of the Network, Duncan is an unenviable position. If he joins forces with Akinola, he not only loses control of his movement, but opens himself to presentment in the Episcopal Church. If he doesn’t follow the archbishop’s lead, he loses a patron and will find his role diminished within Communion politics.

While all of this plays out, Episcopalians will get up tomorrow morning and go to church, most without giving today's events a second thought--or perhaps even a first. What may be most remarkable about today’s installation, is that it creates few additional difficulties for the Episcopal Church—its ostensible target—and many for the various parties who have been Archbishop Akinola’s allies and enablers all along.

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