Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Despite what you may read, Julian Dobbs is a member of the Anglican Communion

My Christchurch colleague, Fr Ron Smith, draws attention to the refusal of Nigerian bishops, including Bishop Julian Dobbs (a dinkum Kiwi and former colleague of mine in the Diocese of Nelson) to take communion at the ACC opening eucharist. In doing so Ron asserts that CANA (i.e. the North American branch of the Nigerian Anglican church in which Bishop Julian ministers) is " NOT a member" of the Anglican Communion.

I think we need to let go of this canard (or CANArd!) once and for all: all Anglicans belonging to CANA churches belong through their episcopal oversight to the Church of Nigeria to the Anglican Communion, in the same way that any Anglicans resident in Nigeria belong to the Anglican Communion.

We may think this is irregular or illegal or immoral or all three, but that does not change the fact that, within the loose bounds of what "membership" of the Anglican Communion means, members of the Nigerian Anglican church are members of the Communion.

Irregularities abound in the Communion: our own three tikanga arrangements in ACANZP are viewed as irregular by some, but our membership is not imperilled.

The possible illegality of the CANA arrangements in America have never been tested in a court of ecclesiastical law ... not least because the Communion has no such court. Remember: we are (it appears) distancing ourselves from any notion of governance, common-and-binding canons across the Communion.

We could certainly charge that it is immoral of Anglicans in one country to refuse to recognise the jurisdiction of the recognised Anglican church of that country, but many immoralities abound in Anglican life which do not imperil membership of the Communion. (Test question: is any immoral living clergyman in our church thereby expelled from the Anglican Communion? No. The person I have in mind has not even been expelled from membership of our church!)

So, there is no case for saying that members of CANA are not members of the Communion because there is no established ground upon which to make the statement stick. Nor is there any Communion court to refer the matter to for jurisdiction. (Preludium manages to bring critical comment to bear on the situation without resorting to the CANArd of CANA's non-membership of the Communion!)

Funnily enough, Fr Ron could make the case for the non-membership of CANA under the Covenant which he so steadfastly opposes!

Welcome +Julian to Communion life in the church which nurtured you!!

27 comments:

Shawn said...

It is telling that those who promote "inclusive" theology are so quick to exclude those they disagree with.

Mr. Mcgranor said...

The West is such a mess that the faithful and Nigeria thought it was a good idea to impliment a new strain. Isn't there another group that also is in contrast with the Episcopals and is not the A.C.N.A.?

Father Ron Smith said...

"Welcome +Julian to Communion life in the church which nurtured you!!"
- Dr. Peter Collier -

Well, I guess Peter, that Bishop Dodds has found a welcome with his Nelson diocesan associates - but does that necessarily mean that he is in Communion with both ACANZP & TEC?

ACANZP is certainly in Communion with TEC, but CANA is not (by its own choice). How do you sort that one out? I'll be interested to know

I must confess that my big surprise was that the ACO should have invited a CANA 'Bishop' to ACC15. (I wonder how Canon General Secretary Kearon justifies that?

Before I sent this message on-line, I realised the significance of the word test: 'ikerpr' couldn't be less appropriate

Shawn said...

The issue is simple. CANA is an orthodox Anglican body in communion with other orthodox Anglican Churches.

TEC is currently in a state of Babylonian captivity to the promoters of a false religion.

Daniel Weir said...

A perhaps nit-picking comment: I am not a member off the Anglican Communion, put a member of one of the member churches of the Communion. The point isa small one, but not unimportant. As for the Bishop, it is clearly for the member church to which he belongs to decide about that and not for me.

liturgy said...

Daniel, to continue your not unimportant point further, this province, at least, does not have members. We are members of the church by baptism. Full stop.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Daniel and Bosco,

I am a member of the universal church of God by baptism.

But I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church: I am not welcome at communion, my orders are not recognised, etc. You know the score.

Nor am I a member of the Presbyterian Church of NZ or anywhere - I couldn't, for instance, vote at a parish AGM. Ditto for the Baptists.

One church allows me participation not only in its communion but also in its politics. That same church enables me to think I am a member of the world body to which it belongs.

Whether I am a member of the AC by being a member of a member church matters little. I am a member of the Anglican Communion.

Tim Chesterton said...

I often wonder whether God actually notices the existence of national churches. After all, in the NT, 'church' refers either to (a) the universal church of Jesus Christ, or (b) the local congregation. No in-between unit (diocese, or national church) seems to be envisioned. And what would Paul and the others think of a movement to establish 'the Church of Pontus' or 'the Church of Macedonia' as independent units with no obligation of loyalty to a larger body? (Note how he always uses the plural for this sort of grouping - 'the churches of Macedonia', not 'the Church of Macedonia').

liturgy said...

We have been over, and over, and over, and round, and round, and round this, Peter. So it’s not time-efficient for me to spend much energy but to note this, as you are in today’s post back on the same round.

There is no “world church” in the NT. Tim’s “universal church” is fully present in his “local congregation”.

You are not ordained an “Anglican” priest. You are ordained a priest in the Church of God. That some/many/most do not recognise that is sad but it’s their issue. ANYONE who is baptised may come to communion and participate in politics in the Anglican Church. Because the church is the church. The bishop is not ordained an Anglican Bishop, but a bishop in the Church of God. And the bishop is not the Anglican bishop of Christchurch, but the Bishop of Christchurch.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,
You are in error regarding the facts. Not every baptised Christian may participate in Anglican politics. In some dioceses (including ours, as far as I know) participation requires registration on the local parish roll.

Further, you raise questions. Are +Victoria and +Barry each 'the Bishop of Christchurch' or are there two bishops in Christchurch who may be usefully distinguished in respect as to what churches they have jurisdiction over?

I am not at sure how the universal church being fully present in the local church remits from us reasonable and Scriptural talk about the universal church. Further, I do not agree that the universal church is fully present in the local church. If so we would not need to go outside the local church for ordination of presbyters/deacons, let alone for bishops.

(I accept the lack of time/energy on your part re engagement here. No need to respond etc. But there is a lively and ongoing issue here ...!)

liturgy said...

Thanks for understanding my juggling, Peter. So let's take one point at a time:

In your assertion that I am in error, please can you quote from our diocesan statutes your claim that "participation in Anglican politics requires registration on the local parish roll".

Yes, as a result of church history, there are regularly more than one bishop in the local church's geographic area. In fact in our own province there can be three or more bishops with oversight over the same local geographical area!

There's no remitting of talking about the universal church - there's just care needed in what that actually means. Roman Catholics think it is them. You use their model, and attempt to apply it to us. I'm not surprised it doesn't fit.

The issue is how to stay in/grow in communion. We can agree on the issue, even when we might disagree about how to phrase it.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,

Short of time so not engaging with all your points, but Section E of the Dio Handbook, as found on the internet on our dio website says,

"3.5 Qualification of Voters:
3.5.1 Every person who shall have been registered on the Parish Roll for at
least two months shall be entitled to speak and vote at parish
meetings.
3.5.2 The Vicar or the Administrator in Local Shared Ministry parishes and
Churchwardens shall keep a Parish Roll consisting of the names of
those persons who are resident, or who regularly attend Divine
Worship, in the parish, who desire to be a member and have made the
following declaration:
“I, AB, declare that I have been baptised and am a member of the
Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.”-
or who shall be known by the Vicar or the Administrator in Local shared
Ministry parishes and Churchwardens and be qualified for enrolment and
have consented to be enrolled"

MichaelA said...

I didn't know Julian Dobbs was a kiwi - learn something every day!

MichaelA said...

"I must confess that my big surprise was that the ACO should have invited a CANA 'Bishop' to ACC15."

I agree, that is interesting.

It may simply be that the invitation to bring along three bishops was extended to the Province of Nigeria (which is after all the largest national church in the Communion) and Nigeria then told AAC who they were bringing. Since all three are bishops in the Church of Nigeria, AAC wouldn't have had any ground to object.

Another possibility is that Canon Kearon actually wanted the opportunity to hold discussions with someone from ACNA, but didn't want to openly invite them. CANA is useful in those circumstances because its bishops are members of both ACNA (which isn't officially a member of the AC) and Anglican Church of Nigeria (which is).

Or perhaps there is an entirely different reason...! :)

liturgy said...

Ah, sorry, Peter, I misunderstood your point to be participating at diocesan level. Where I cannot find anything equivalent…

Just quickly: Yes, it’s no secret that our statutes etc. are a confused and confusing patchwork mess with no consistency. And you have highlighted a perfect example I have noticed previously.

3.5.2 speaks of being a “member”. Let’s look for where being a “member” is defined; or where it is explained how one becomes a member… ummmm… ummmm… ummmm. Can’t find it. Because we don’t have Anglican membership here.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
Agreed: things are messy.
Accepted: I imagine people could be involved at a diocesan level who were not on a parish roll within the diocese (e.g. the bishop appoints X to an important commission/committee without that person being so 'formally' attached to a parish unit as to be on the roll of that unit).
Acknowledged: at times in our life it appears that anyone can take part (as well as partake!!)

Father Ron Smith said...

re MichaelA's comment, earlier, on 'Bishop' Julian Dobbs of CANA. It was mentioned by someone before that J.D. has retained his New Zealand citizenships while acting as a Nigerian Bishop in North America.

Now that's what I call a 'Flying Bishop' The peripatetic (very pathetic?) nature of his oversight makes him akin to that 'rara avis' creature in the Church of England, whose 'provisional' activity makes him suspect in some parts of the Church catholic.

One wonders whether J.D. also has citizenship right in Nigeria? That must surely be a requisite for a 'Bishop' of that Church. So, does he have; not double, but triple, citizenship status? That would make him almost the 'perfect PEV' - if there is such a terrestrial being.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
I do not insist that the bishops of this country are NZ citizens. But it appears that you do. Which is a somewhat interesting position to take (if I am understanding you correctly).

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, re your last... I imagine that any Bishop translated to another country would be expected to seek citizenship of that country - at least for their tenure.

Perhaps in the case of this CANA Bishop, his Nigerian tenure may be in insecure? In which case, he may not even be allowed to apply for citizenship of Nigeria. Perhaps the Nigerian label may be a cover - for some obscure reason - known only to his sponsoring Province?

Peter Carrell said...

I know of no such expectation. Some bishops would be changing their citizenship a bit (++Roger Herrft, for instance). As for +Julian Dobbs who is a Nigerian bishop resident in the USA: I would think the quandary we are considering is whether he is a regular or irregular Anglican bishop in attendance at ACC, not whether he would be a more authentic bishop if he had Nigerian citizenship.

Tim Chesterton said...

I believe that my bishop, Jane Alexander, is not a Canadian citizen, although she has lived in Canada for many years.

Father Ron Smith said...

Tim, I do realise that yoiur Bishop may not be a Canadian citizen, but she at least resides in the country in which she is a bishop. She is not representing Canada in a foreign country. I think there is the big difference.

Shawn said...

I see no reason why a Bishop must be a citizen of the country they are presiding in. But really that issue is irrelevant. In reality the liberal objection to CANA or any other orthodox body, is that they refuse to submit to TEC's false teachings.

Tim Chesterton said...

So Ron, how do you feel about the two bishops - one presiding over the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe (TEC), the other over the Diocese of Gibralter in Europe (Church of England) who do not reside in the countries in which they are (canonically) bishops (Pierre Whelan is a bishop of TEC, and Geoffrey Rowell is a bishop of the C of E).

Father Ron Smith said...

Tim. You've made a very good point there. Why, indeed, are they bishops of a territory they do not inhabit? There would seem to be some problem of residential jurisdiction - the very same problem occurring with the non-residential pseudo-Nigerian bishops in North America!

This is precisely the problem many of us have with the English P.E.Vs.

It all sounds very irregular. Or, as my wife's French teacher use to say to her class, about French verbs: "regularly irregular" But then, that was only a language problem. This is one of canonical jurisdiction.

Mr. Mcgranor said...

Brethren of the Protestant Faith. General locale and culture--i would think is important to whether a bishop lives in locale or not.

Above further, one suggested the problem of having a Nigerian bishop in North America. One other replied that they do not see the problem... Perhaps some think such globalism is 'with it'. I think the West needs to keep its bishops and resist those whom are a majority--because they are this postmodern West--so well rooted since the Counterculture.

Holy Spirit, dear God. Man resists you... And these Calvinists don't even know the 'pelagian' commentary they are making. Dear Triune of liberty hear my plea. In your name Jesus...

MichaelA said...

Father Ron,

Good to see that you now concede that there is simply no issue about a bishop being canonically resident in one country and present in another.

I was surprised the issue was even brought up - it is nothing new in the history of the Christian church generally. Particularly in the case of missionary bishops.