Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Die Is Cast, at least for a few...

As those who have been tracking such things are aware, on Saturday, May 5 Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Installed The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns as a Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Numerous articles have been written and blog entries have been made (on PRELUDIUM, Episcopal Cafe, etc..), and no doubt the buzz will continue for some time to come.

My particular favorite quote of all of this is from Archbishop Akinola himself: "'The Church of Nigeria itself has almost nothing to offer,' he said, although the church is the largest in the global communion. 'We are doing this on behalf of the Communion. If we had not done this many of you would be lost to other churches, maybe to nothing at all.'" That would be well and good if not for the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the aforementioned Anglican Communion "on behalf" of which this act was done, specifically told Archbishop Akinola not to do this. The word "lost," especially in regards to other churches sounds like a very fundamentalist, narrow, and decidedly un-Anglican version of Christianity. Heck, if people can find life in Christ in the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, or other Christian church, more power to them! The point is life in Christ, not which color your jersey is!

Archbishop Akinola, in presuming to speak and act for the Anglican Communion, is setting himself up as an alternative to Archbishop Rowan Williams as head of the Communion. What, now are we going to have the Abuja Conference rather than the Lambeth Conference? In any case, it appears that the die is cast and that some disaffected members of The Episcopal Church will now move to the new "missionary diocese" and attempt to take their church buildings, documents, and names with them. Let the games begin (wait, they already have...)! Now I'm waiting for someone from the Episcopal Church to found a missionary diocese in Nigeria...

Seriously, folks, I need to remind myself constantly that all of this affects but a tiny percentage of churches, most of which are quietly, without fanfare, doing what God has called them to do, as our Presiding Bishop pointed out recently. I still plan to visit the homebound this week, preach on Sunday, and administer communion, regardless of convulsions of the wider church. Christ is STILL risen!

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