And so the plan, revealed to us some years ago, finally comes to fruition, only one day after the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement that was interpreted as giving the extremists a nod of approval for launching their plan.
What plan, you ask? Allow me to lift some of the verbiage from a previous post to describe it:
The details were revealed in the Chapman Letter. It is worth taking a moment to review that document. If we consider recent developments, it is clear that this is the plan we are watching unfold. For more thoughts on this plot, take a look at my previous commentary, A Closer Look at the Attempted Coup.
I want to focus on one segment of the Chapman Letter;
...Stage 2 will launch at some yet to be determined moment, probably in 2004. During this phase, we will seek, under the guidance of the Primates, negotiated settlements in matters of property, jurisdiction, pastoral succession and communion, If adequate settlements are not within reach, a faithful disobedience of canon law on a widespread basis may be necessary."...non-geographical oversight available from 'offshore' bishops..." Keep that phrase in mind while we consider another internal memo from these extreme conservatives, contained within the court documents of the case of Calvary Church vs. The Diocese of Pittsburgh. The memo is near the end of this lengthy file, and is entitled "Draft Proposal for Overseas AEO." Here is a summary of the proposed phases;
Some congregations have already proceeded to Stage 2 because of local circumstances. While we cannot offer AEO under an AAC diocesan Bishop at this time, we do have non-geographical oversight available from offshore Bishops, and retired Bishops. We may also be able to offer oversight from special designated priests acting on behalf of our AAC Diocesan Bishops...
Phase One is "Dual Citizenship." A priest stays canonically resident in ECUSA, but also becomes canonically resident in an offshore diocese. The suggestion is made that CAPA (Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa) take an active role in this process.
Phase Two: The priest leaves ECUSA for the offshore diocese. The congregation leaves with the priest. The ECUSA bishop deposes the priest. The offshore bishop does not recognize the deposition. The example given is David Moyer.
Phase Three: The offshore bishop delegates responsibility of spiritual oversight to the Network (a group of conservatives within ECUSA). The U.S. is divided up into "overseas diaspora archdeaconries."
We've already seen phase two put into motion in the diocese of Los Angeles, and other places.
The new glitch in the conservatives' plan was the release of the Windsor Report, which included this recommendation;
We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own:Since the conservatives want to use the Windsor Report for their own purposes, this meant that they would have to carefully word any future communications regarding their plan to use foreign bishops to take over the Episcopal Church. Consequently, the statements from the first group of foreign bishops they hoped to use, CAPA, have to be carefully read to understand what their intention actually is. For instance, consider this one, dated 7 April 2005, from Abp. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, regarding the formation of the Convocation of Anglican Nigerian Churches in America;
* to express regret for the consequences of their actions
* to affirm their desire to remain in the Communion, and
* to effect a moratorium on any further interventions.
We also call upon these archbishops and bishops to seek an accommodation with the bishops of the dioceses whose parishes they have taken into their own care.
We further call upon those diocesan bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) who have refused to countenance the proposals set out by their House of Bishops to reconsider their own stance on this matter. If they refuse to do so, in our view, they will be making a profoundly dismissive statement about their adherence to the polity of their own church.
This Convocation will function as a ministry of the Church of Nigeria in America. Our intention is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada but rather to provide safe harbour for those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches. While it will initially operate under our Constitution and Canons, it will have its own legal and ecclesial structure and local suffragan episcopate. I will be asking the next General Synod of the Church of Nigeria, which will meet in September 2005, to make the necessary constitutional amendments.Sounds like the implementation of the "master plan" to me, with the disclaimer inserted that the intention "is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada." How it can be read to be doing anything other than that escapes my understanding.
During the intervening months, in cooperation with our friends in the Anglican Communion Network, I will be appointing episcopal visitors from among already consecrated bishops to provide pastoral and episcopal oversight for those congregations already in operation and in formation. I am excited by the possibilities before us and look forward to seeing this ministry grow.
Well, now we have Marty Minns elected as Bishop of this attempted end run around the Windsor Report. The absurd thing is that those bishops begging for ALPO (Alternative Primatial Oversight) which are currently Fort Worth, South Carolina, Pittsburgh and San Joaquin, fancy themselves as "Windsor Bishops." How much you want to bet the Primate they ask for is Peter Akinola? And then, of course, they will eventually attempt to move their entire diocese over to CANA, where their bud Marty will be waiting for them.
Thank you, Dr. Williams, for giving the green light for this drag race to destruction to commence. And please don't act surprised; the plan has been quite clear, easily accessible to everyone, for many years now.
For those who are choosing Akinola over Jefferts Schori, all I can say is go with God, and to please do it quickly. We have other things we need to be doing instead of being held in bondage to the power ploys of a handful of disgruntled purple shirts.
UPDATE: Thinking Anglicans offers us a quote from Bp. Griswold regarding Pittsburgh's request for ALPO:
I find the action by the Standing Committee and Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh unsurprising and altogether consistent with their implicit intention of walking apart from the Episcopal Church. The urgency of their appeal indicates an unwillingness to be part of the process of formulating a covenant so clearly set forth in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflection. I would very much hope that they would remain part of the Episcopal Church as we, along with the other provinces of the Communion, explore our Anglican identity - as the Archbishop has invited us to do.Thank you Bp. Griswold, but don't you think we're past the time for words? File a presentment and begin the process to depose Bp. Duncan.
Jim Naughton asks some good questions, especially concerning the fate of the Via Media congregations.