27 April 2012

Can we all say, "schism" now?

Update: 27 April 2012

The FCA conference has ended. As is as predictable as lamentable, they have published a communique. I had intended to comment on it when it became available, but it is so evil, I find myself unable to do so. You can find it at this site.
Update 24April 2012:
The keynote address to the gathered "FCA leaders" is now available on line. It might well be titled, "England's Turn" although it is not. The money quote is:
Since 2008, we have acted, perhaps not always as quickly or as clearly as we should, but there has been action. In accordance with the Jerusalem Declaration, the GAFCON primates sponsored the Anglican Church in North America as a new province and ceased to be in communion with The Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada.
Last year, it became clear that provision need to be made for England too. The Anglican Mission in England was formed last June after four years of discussion with senior Anglican leaders in England had failed to find a way in which those genuinely in need of effective orthodox oversight in the Church of England could receive it.
Note the sequence. First the FCA primates judged the North American churches, then the established AMiA, then they withdrew fellowship from the North American Churches and began to establish their own congregations. Now the Church of England has been judged, and a new "AMiE" called into existence.
And then I found this in a Telegraph article by John Bingham.
Speaking at the weekend Archbishop Jensen said it would be wrong to consider the Archbishop of Canterbury as “leader” of the Anglican church, something he said represented an “Anglocentric view of the world”.
I wonder how long it will take for the next two shoes to drop? Ah well, here is the original post.
At this link you can find the "media release" that announces a meeting of the FCA, that is the "Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans." This is the group of (formerly) Anglican churches and their new, "incursion" bodies1.
Claiming to be the true church, these folks lie about the Anglican Communion or at least parts of it in their release. But that is not what is most interesting to me. The FCA primates are meeting in London. Can you imagine the outcry where TEC or for that matter the Anglican Communion to announce a leadership meeting in Nigeria without consulting with Archbishop Okoh? There would be a lot of very angry press at the least. But here we have a group of archbishops supposedly part of the Communion, completely ignoring the prerogatives of the bishop of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
During the meeting, it is likely, they will vest and celebrate in contravention of English canon. Presiding bishop Katherine carefully did not wear her miter when she celebrated at Salisbury Cathedral, but then she acted as though fellowship with Canterbury meant respecting Dr. Williams' jurisdiction. Not the FCA bishops!
When do we admit that the GAFCON / FCA bishops, many of whose churches boycotted the last Lambeth Conference, left the communion some time ago? It is one thing to hope for eventual reconciliation: it is another to play the fool.
TEC reached out to the Reformed Episcopal Church which formed in 1873 in opposition to the Oxford Movement as recently as the 1990's. REC is now part of ACNA, itself part of FCA and GAFCON, so outreach clearly failed. But no one in TEC pretends that the REC remains a part of it! Time for the Communion and Canterbury to make the same decision.
There is potential good that might arise from saying "Schism" now. If the ACC staff announced that the processes that remove a church from the Anglican Communion Conference and formal fellowship with the church of England were being activated2. At least some of these churches or at least their hierarchies, value their relationships with the Anglican Communion. One can see that valuation operating by observing the splinters within the incursion community working frantically to establish (at best tenuous) connections to the communion as they splinter. Were Canterbury to act, the effect on FCA might be profound.


1) "ACNA," the self-styled, "Anglican Church in North America," "AMiA," and "PEAR-USA" maintain links to FCA or member churches. The on-going internal schisms, organizations, and re-organizations of these groups make precise description of how those relationships work difficult. I think it is fair to say that at this writing, none of the claimed relationships to the Anglican Communion are recognized by it. None-the-less, the participants continue to claim they have some sort of membership in the Communion.
2) This is possible now it does not require the Covenant. In fact it is easier now without that flawed document.


Leonard said...

Thanks for this update. I´ve not seen anything in the English newspapers...I keep wondering WHO is present...I´m certain the Global South leadership will not change (Orombi, Okoh, Kenya and Southern Conealone) but, I´m very interested to know who else is a card carrying GAFCONNERS from the Western Hemisphere. It matters. Thank you, again, Leonardo/Central America

John sandeman said...


Off course i could be wrong, but I believe visiting Anglican clergy can minister in the CofE for short visits without a (formal) license. Of course courtesy demands asking permission.
(That is providing the ministry is within what is permitted in the CofE - no women bishops or diaconal administration of holy communion for example)

JimB said...


You may be correct, but that is not what the CoE said last year. The issue with PB Katherine was that she followed CoE procedure which requires visiting bishops to notify Church House. She was turned halfway down (Given the soon to end Williams period that rather figures) in that she was told she could act as a priest but not as a bishop.


Lionel Deimel said...

Why do we have such a hard time saying that, if a church is not in communion with TEC, then it is nonsensical for us to say that we are in communion with it. Better to expel from the Communion those churches who claim membership only so that they can wreak havoc within it. The Anglican Communion has split. Let’s acknowledge the schism and move on.

JimB said...

I think there are two reasons, besetting niceness, and the hope that if we simply do not say, "schism" we can work something out. I suppose we can move on after we say enough, but convincing bishops to do that is tough!


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