Sunday, May 26, 2019

Bridge- building in varied contexts?

It was a privilege to be invited to and a pleasure to participate in a special Iftar meal on Friday evening, hosted by the Canterbury Muslim Community Association as a Thank You to helpers and supporters on the day of the mosques massacres, 15 March and since then. Bishop Paul Martin and I were the only church leaders there and we have communicated to other church leaders that we felt that we represented all churches at the occasion. To be present was to continue to build bridges to the Muslim communities of Christchurch. Their showcasing of their faith and practice, including their prayer ritual just after the setting of the sun, was impressive and a reminder that Islam is always confident in its witness to what it believes.

At our table were a family who live next door to the El Noor mosque in Deans Avenue. They shared with us some of their story of what happened on 15 March. As it happens, the Press ran a feature the following day about their story and it can be read here.

My previous post here may or may not have built bridges to CCAANZ - the new diocese established in these islands, structurally distinct from ACANZP, but your comments in discussion have helped me to better identify issues and to carefully engage in understanding words such as "Confessing" and "Anglican" - thank you.

As it happens, a few days ago, another form of Anglican bridge building was in evidence. Anglicanland geeks will be aware that a while ago the Nigerian Anglican church caused some consternation in ACNA with non-consultation about the ordination of some new bishops for their North American arm, known as CANA. This unilateral action set in motion some intense discussion and decision-making which is reported on here. Some broken bridges have been rebuilt! I mention this here because, whatever we make of ACNA and CANA (and Nigeria's approach to things Anglican), the new polity they have worked out offers an intriguing precedent.

In my words, the CANA dioceses in North America have a choice: instead of the previous situation where, effectively, they belonged to two Anglican provinces, ACNA and Nigeria, they now are asked to choose:
- which of the two provinces they will be a full member of; and thus they will be in a "ministry partnership" with the other province.

On the one hand, this is obviously a relationally and jurisdictionally sound solution to the particular problem which arose.

On the other hand, might it point a way forward for future relationships in Anglicanland as Communion and GAFCON and ACNA etc work out what it means to be both "Anglican" in name and "Anglican" in some manner of formal/informal/official relationship? Nota Bene: this is NOT your opportunity to discuss the merits or otherwise of the Communion/GAFCON etc - plenty of that kind of discussion is well recorded in previous posts!!!!!!!!! But your thoughts on the general matter of whether a diocese might be a member of one province and in another form of relationship with another are invited ...

A little bit of housekeeping: am posting this for Monday 27 May on a Sunday because tomorrow is busy getting ready for and for getting to our annual Clergy Conference. The following Monday, 3 June is Queen's Birthday weekend's public holiday, so it is possible that next Monday's post will be posted on Tuesday 4 June. There, I have confused you :)


Anonymous said...

Like other episcopal churches of the past twenty centuries, *pilgrim church* members of the Communion are normally committed to ecclesial structures that parallel actual human communities. In America, for example, having bishops for Chicago, New Orleans, or Miami etc makes a world of historical and cultural sense.

In contrast, the Beach-Okoh agreement confirms that the *confessional* sort of Anglican jurisdiction does not organize around the unity of the local Body, nor therefore according to catholic order generally. A bishop for some Diocese of the Holy Handgrenade of Antioch that connects chaplaincies across several US states speaks to and for whom exactly?

Personally, I do not object to confessional churches in principle, but I feel less than nothing for purely institutional constructs that are everywhere and so nowhere. They are not necessarily *apostate churches*, if such a thing is even scripturally possible, but neither are they signs of the *presence of the Kingdom* (Jacques Ellul) to any real human community, and if they are not that then what salt-and-light good are they? Perhaps they cast out demons in his name?

Creed, canon, and episcopate all emerged together. If the traditional order of the past two millennia was not inspired by the Holy Spirit, then probably neither was anything else.

When I see Anglicans take kluges like CANA at all seriously, then it is not the merits of the Anglican Communion or GAFCON that I start to think about, but those of Porvoo or Utrecht or Constantinople.


Peter Carrell said...

There are dimensions to Porvoo, etc, Bowman, which are strangely absent from Anglicanly focused networks/movements/Communion(s). Thanks for the links.

Father Ron said...

Looking in on that extraordinary website 'anglicans unscripted' I notice that even these A.C. conservatives are discussing the 'heresy' being undertaken by the Nigerian Church in the USA (CANA) of wanting Nigerian ethnic purity to be the basis of their mission in North America. Issues of jurisdiction seem not to be confined to dissident Anglicans in other places (like New Zealand?), but even GAFCON pirate churches like CANA and AMIA are squabbling about who ought to be in charge of whom within their particular sectarian communities.

As someone once said: "Heresy is a horrid thing". These new quasi-Anglican churches around the world are not united in their missional outreach. Hubris seems to be working overtime in different groups. Schism only breeds further schism! God preserve us all from this.

Anonymous said...

"some Diocese of the Holy Handgrenade of Antioch that connects chaplaincies across several US states" - is that so different from the Diocese of Europe?
I've mentioned the titular sees before - "Some two thousand ancient Catholic dioceses and archdioceses whose titles are now given to those bishops who do not occupy residential sees, e.g., auxiliary or coadjutor bishops, vicars apostolic, and officials of the Roman Curia".
The Roman church shows extraordinary flexibility with the traditional order - and our Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia with dual episcopacy and three tikanga structurepushes a few boundaries.
All the talk about the four instruments of unity in Anglicanism was an attempt to bodge up a structure out of materials in the junk yard. But probably that's how church history works - some of the bodge ups fail, others stagger into continuing life. The only thing you can say about future history is - we'll see

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron,
Don't use the word "pirate" here again please.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

Hi Rhys

The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe is not a diocese, has no diocesan bishop, and is present in countries without a church in the Communion-- Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. The constituency of the Convocation-- academics, diplomats, executives, etc-- cannot often be described as immigrants to those countries intending to remain there permanently. The Episcopal Church will never be financially dependent on the Convocation.

Whatever we make of them, I trust that the differences between CECE and CANA are obvious.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Peter, although

the most blessed of the churches called "Anglican" may eventually drift into the Porvoo* dynamic-- two self-aware traditions in regional communions that do mutually recognise orders, but that do not attempt a magisterium that binds all member churches. Instead, as in Porvoo, appointed representatives of the two traditions may engage in a bilateral ecumenical dialogue under the general oversight of prelates from the two sides. In giving formal and irenic expression to different authority principles the Porvoo Communion sublimely fits your OP's theme of bridge-making.

Of course, for there to be a dialogue between churches, there must be magisteria somewhere, but they need not and in Porvoo do not take the same form. The Lutherans follow the consensus of their theologians; the Anglicans follow that of their bishops at Lambeth etc. The point of the dialogue is not to make the two traditions merge or agree-- it is their complementarity that is so enriching-- but to broaden and deepen their ties over time.

Thus far, a happy feature of the Porvoo dynamic has been that it does not globalize every local controversy that catches the roving fury of happy warriors. If a Finnish synod does something silly, it does not result in an upstart church in Spain. Estonian bloggers do not pass judgment on the SEC-CoS relationship. No constituency attempts to make the Archbishop of Canterbury wear a C16 ruff like the Archbishop of Uppsala.

At bottom, this is because Porvoo is not trying to invent and promote Porvoovianism, an identity that subsumes that of its constituent churches. As a regional family of churches, the Porvoo Communion quietly gets the job done with just enough authority but not too much, with respect for subsidiarity and without narcissism.

* For those of + Peter's readers who have forgotten, Porvoo is a medieval cathedral town on the southern coast of Finland. The Porvoo Communion unites Anglican churches of the British Isles and the Continent with Lutheran churches of Scandinavia and the Baltics. The Communion is named for the founding agreement signed in the cathedral.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Bowman, that is helpful. On the other hand according to Wiki The Diocese in Europe (short form for "The Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe") is a diocese of the Church of England. It was originally formed in 1842 as the Diocese of Gibraltar. It is geographically the largest diocese of the Church of England and the largest diocese in the Anglican Communion, covering some one-sixth of the Earth's landmass, including Morocco, Europe (excluding the British Isles), Turkey, Mongolia and the territory of the former Soviet Union.
Still this probably isn't a very productive angle on the discussion

Anonymous said...

Or, Rhys, you have uncovered the only productive angle that the discussion can have.

The present Communion's three purposes have been recognition (orders, churches), discernment (faith, morals), and representation (ecumenical dialogue, interchurch agreements). Recognition is prior to the other two; if one does not know which votes to count, one cannot count votes; if one cannot count votes, then who is one representing?

A century ago, recognition from Canterbury was almost mechanically easy, but since the Congress of St Louis it has become contentious, and that contention now frustrates the other two purposes. Even apart from the late unpleasantness, constituencies in the Communion share our contrasting views on canons, polity, and probably ecclesiology. In global conversation, recognition may be the unavoidable topic of the next few decades. And if that is the case, then the Communion convention for the governance of diaspora churches is salient.

BTW I think that you mean for your 6:33 to say that your 12:34 was comparing CANA to the CoE in Gibraltar, not as I thought to TEC's Convocation. The confusion may be more interesting than the point. I have heard Anglicans hither and yon refer to both arrangements as "the Diocese of Europe," which demonstrates that neither the American evasion ("We do not really have a diocese there.") nor the English one ("We do have a diocese and it is not really there.") is making widespread sense.


Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,

All of this is an ever so sad legacy to leave behind us; as we claim to live in an enlightened age. The word "Anglican" actually comes from the Magna Carta 15/6/1215:"Anglicana ecclesia libera sit"/"The Anglican Church shall be free".

I am Anglican because I am FREE.Free from the condemnation of my sin through Christ; free from slavery to sin;free from trying to do enough good works to please God and free from the worry of tomorrow as this day hath sufficient of it's own.

I am free because the Christ of the Scriptures laid down HIS life for me.I am free because of those who have laid down their lives, that I may hear the good news of the Gospels.

It strikes me that all of us, from the ABC and the Pope down;should truly and sincerely CONFESS as to what harm we have done to HIS CHURCH.

Father Ron said...

Glen, considering the fact that you have here enunciated; that the word 'Anglicana' is a relic from the past acknowledging the freedom of our Church to discover the amplitude of the Gospel's outreach to ALL people; your summation of our current situation - of openness to the LGBTQ community seems counter-intuitive.

It seems that the 'freedom' you crave is to choose which particular group of sinners Christ's redemption has redeemed. Is that Christian?
"God has gone up with a merry noise, Alleluia" - Ascension Day 2019.

Anonymous said...

"It seems that the 'freedom' [Glen] craves is to choose which particular group of sinners Christ's redemption has redeemed."

Surely not. Glen is mourning the loss of a cultural stability anchored in shared rules, much as others mourn the loss of a political discourse anchored in recognised facts. Some hate the rules, just as others hate the facts, but there is no reason to project malice on the mourners of either side.


Anonymous said...

I would add to that Bowman, having been an Evangelical, the issue is about means, not ends for them. LGBT people are not beyond redemption for people like Glen, just that their redemption cannot include continuing in same sex relationships. I obviously no longer agree with that view, but I understand the theological logic of it, if Scripture is read in a certain way. It is certainly not a view that is held with any malice or hatred, or lack of love necessarily.

Widening this beyond Christianity, I am troubled by the tendency in much of today's social and political rhetoric to assume malice and evil on the part of those who have different views on many issues. That assumption is used by people on all sides of the social and political divides, and it is poisoning society. I can't see it leading anywhere good.

Father Ron said...

No malice intended from me, Bowman. Only sadness that the Gospel ethic of love seems to have been truncated by some practitioners - denied by "a strictness that God may never own" (Fr.Faber).

Father Ron said...

A further thought .. We have been freed from the consequences of our sins BUT.. not in order to judge the sins of others.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, Father Ron, the most interesting way that a parish can welcome LGBT Catholics is to encourage one of them to run for POTUS.

Mayor Pete, as the media call him here up yonder, is unusually comfortable talking about the religious root of progressive politics and about his own personal faith in Christ. Although raised a Catholic and active as one at Harvard, he migrated to Anglicanism during his Oxford years, and joined TEC's Cathedral of St James on his return to South Bend, Indiana.

Will he win? It is too soon to make predictions, but one can note his relative lack of vulnerabilities. He clearly enjoys the one-on-one conversations with voters essential to success in the Iowa Caucus (Feb 3) and the New Hampshire Primary (Feb 11). Early national polling shows that he has more supporters than the rest of the herd running-- only the former VPOTUS Joe Biden has more-- so his campaign is assured of adequate funding. Journalists like him, and President Trump is already twittering anxious insults at him, so his name is getting known, and even pronounced correctly (BOOT ih jej)*. He has the rare executive cool that voters expect in presidents, and sorely miss in the incumbent. Ironically, the latter is so grotesque that a church-going gay couple in the White House may feel like a return to relative normalcy.

But to become the Democratic nominee, Pete Buttigieg needs to win over many more African-American voters than he has done thus far. He is never at a loss for words, and those are easily understood, but I have never heard him make a compelling emotional appeal. Affable as he is, he needs to demonstrate that, in the face of massive resistance from a cynical opposition, he can be wily as a serpent but innocent as a dove.

* His father, a Gramsci scholar at Notre Dame, is from Malta.


Anonymous said...

Hello Bowman.

I like Pete Buttigieg. I have been following his campaign and watched some interviews with him. He ticks a few boxes for me, small town mayor in Middle America, military veteran, can work with the opposition and does not demonise them, most of his proposals are bold without being radical. There is a lot to like. That said, and while it's early days, I don't think he can win the nomination this time around. Unless he seriously screws up, it's looking more and more like Biden will take it. I certainly wouldn't bet against him. That's fine too, I don't mind Biden. Perhaps down the line the time will be right for Pete. I hope so.

Anonymous said...

"No malice intended from me, Bowman."

Surely not. And as Shawn says, none from Glen either.

"Only sadness that the Gospel ethic of love seems to have been truncated by some practitioners"

Molly Worthen's book *Apostles of Reason* explains the difference. While some other Christians see faithfulness to God in making leaps of love beyond what reason enjoins, evangelicals see fidelity in actions that resonate with similar moral sentiments but that are also confirmed by a reasoned faith. What looks to others like an authority hang-up or bibliolatry is an insistence that religion be intelligible that ultimately derives from the idea that Christianity is a revealed religion.

"...not in order to judge the sins of others."


(a) LGBTQIA activists seek positive regard.

(b) Evangelicals distinguish between actively evaluating the behaviour of others, and passively declining to recognise it.

(c) LGBTQIA activists deny that there is a difference since either way they get no positive regard.

(d) Evangelicals deny the denial in defense of their own personal autonomy.

(e) LGBTQIA activists object to the desire for personal autonomy.

(f) Evangelicals tune out what sounds like an irrational assault on personhood.

More, if you wish, in a few weeks.


Anonymous said...

Hi Shawn

Even Republicans I know like Pete Buttigieg, and for sound reasons.

If the Democratic nominee for POTUS chooses the Northern strategy for Electoral College victory, then Buttigieg would be the obvious nominee for VPOTUS.

Generally, it would be good to see accomplished mayors in Federal politics and government more often.


Glen said...

I do not follow where this bridge seems to be leading; but it appears to be a "LEFT" turn into the no exit highway, to oblivion. It seems to me that the millions wasted on the "Russiangate affair" could have been better spent on infrastructure of the Nation.How many operations could have been performed on poor people with that money???? Most of these "would be" politicians are funded by donors who are donating to get their person into power to legislate in their interests; not in the interests of the Nation.Hollywood is threatening to only film in States where the "ABORTION LAW" suits their ideology. Pete boy,is no different,even his brother in law speaks against him.It also seems to me that if you have "open borders",you have no Nation.
There may be cheap labour,but to whose advantage;certainly not the average working man.So who is your neighbor;your fellow countryman or some one crashing across your borders? Unfortunately, a large number of Republicans are in fact "RHINOS".

Anonymous said...

Hi Glen.

"Most of these "would be" politicians are funded by donors who are donating to get their person into power to legislate in their interests; not in the interests of the Nation"

That can be said of all doners and politicians, especially in the US. I would note that most of the 2019 Democratic contenders have rejected donations from special interest pacs and big business.

"How many operations could have been performed on poor people with that money????"

How many could have been performed with Trump's tax cuts?

"It also seems to me that if you have "open borders",you have no Nation."

Democrats have repeatedly offered to fund measures that would have significantly increased border security, but Trump keeps blowing up any efforts for a bipartisan solution. I have come to the conclusion that he does not want to solve the problem because it provides him with a useful wedge issue for the 2020 election. His wall is not a serious solution to the issue.

As far as working class folks are concerned the real issue is H1B visas, and arguably legal immigration, and Trump has done nothing on those fronts, and is in fact promoting his son in law's proposal which would keep the status quo. The Republicans do a lot of virtue signalling on immigration, but when it comes to the crunch they do whatever Wall Street wants them to do.

"who is your neighbor;your fellow countryman or some one crashing across your borders?"


Anonymous said...

Hi Glen

Have you left the most blessed isles down under to garden and vote here up yonder?

If so, what are you planting?

If not, why do you have such strong feelings about American politics?


Glen said...

Hi Bowman,

I am still in the antipodeans but maintain a keen interest in the world around me. The freedoms we enjoy and the right to a meaningful vote has come at the cost of much bloodshed. The present leadership of France and other European Nations do not appear to appreciate the cost of freeing them of Nazism.

Empires have come and gone; Nations have risen and fallen and Civilizations have ruled supreme,only to be remembered as archaeological history.1 Sam.8: tells the story of human ruler ship.Not,even the Church of Christ and His Doctrine have been immune from the dalliances of human control.Was it not Juvenal who said:"Show me a crown and I will show you a brow itching to wear it"?

Robin G. Jordan said...


US Episcopal dioceses partnered with dioceses overseas before the formation of the ACNA so I do not see an issue with ACNA dioceses partnering with other provinces and the extraterritorial missionary dioceses of Nigeria and other provinces outside of North America partnering with the ACNA. Indeed I welcome the establishment in North America of more extraterritorial missionary dioceses of provinces outside of North America, particular extraterritorial missionary dioceses of provinces that accept the historical Anglican formularies and embody the central Anglican theological tradition. Like the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church the Anglican Church in North America is on a path that leads away from authentic historic Anglicanism. North America has a raft of Anglo-Catholic Continuing Anglican jurisdictions and the ACNA is heading down the same path. I am not sure that the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) is happy with this developed. I may be wrong but that province is more Reformed in its outlook than some African provinces. Archbishop Okoh in The Way, the Truth, and the Life: A Pilgrimage to a Global Anglican Future identifies Anglo-Catholicism as eroding the doctrinal foundation of historic Anglicanism along with liberalism. The Nigerians may not be keen on the direction in which the ACNA is heading. What North America needs is a a missionary province that is biblically faithful and authentically Anglican and committed to the spread of the gospel. The ACNA does not meet that description.

It is also the twenty-first century and looser, flatter networks of churches based upon theological affinity may be the best approach to reaching North America's unchurched population than the old-fashioned territorial-based, hierarchical diocese. The traditional diocese has not proven effective in reaching this population.

I live in the westernmost region of Kentucky. In my region there are three overlapping Continuing Anglican jurisdictions, two overlapping ACNA dioceses, and an Episcopal diocese. The idea of one national church that encompasses the territory of one country is a thing of the past. How do you deal with this kind of situation. You network with the churches with whom you have the most affinity and partner with the churches with whom you have less affinity but can work together in areas of common interest.