Skip to comments.Home Stretch [analysis of ECUSA's future]
Posted on 11/12/2005 2:08:33 PM PST by sionnsar
For the last two days, the Anglican Communion Network's Hope and A Future conference has been going on in Pittsburgh. Greg Griffith and Kendall Harmon are both there and providing stellar coverage while, as usual, CaNN has as comprehensive a list of links as you're likely to find. Many fine words have been spoken during this conference and many more will be before it ends today.
For my part, I've read a great many fine words over the last two years and I am less interested in words than in actions; I want to know what the Network intends to do. ECUSA is no longer an option. The Network now has to do something. Conservative Anglicanism's broad-based evangelical support will be completely squandered if the ACN lets itself get talked into another delay after GenCon 2006, a fact which Peter Akinola drove home to the assembly:
An international panel of Anglican archbishops called upon a gathering of their conservative American counterparts Friday to split from the rest of the U.S. Episcopal Church.
Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola said bishops from Duncans group and others attending the conference must be clear about their allegiance.
"Many of you have one leg in ECUSA and one leg in the network. You must let us know exactly where you stand _ are you ECUSA or are you network?" Akinola said, prompting a loud standing ovation.
So what happens now? I see three possibilities.
(1) A formal split - The Network dioceses walk out during GenCon 2006 and officially sever ties with ECUSA. Given the standing ovation Dr. Akinola received, this would seem to be a popular idea. But this would probably result in legal action that may tie the hands of the Network for years and may also necessitate conservative Anglicanism in the United States having to be rebuilt from the ground up.
(2) An informal split - The Network does not legally withdraw from ECUSA but receives the "official" Anglican imprimatur from Canterbury, in effect making Bob Duncan the Anglican primate of the United States. As we have seen, ECUSA liberals are capable of considerable malice, particularly since those celebrated Via Media doomsday scenario minutes say nothing whatsoever about a Network secession:
1. What will be our response the Day After when the bishops start announcing they are in a new Anglican Communion and the Network is recognized as the only legitimate
expressions of the A.C. in North America?
Have ready blank presentments for abandonment of the communion.
Have already drafted request stating that the see is vacant and requesting appointment of interim bishop. Need to coordinate with PB on these appointments.
Have request for special convention ready to give to interim bishop so that vacant spots in diocesan government can be filled (trustees, council, standing committee, commission on ministry, etc.)
Be ready to take legal action on property identify who will serve as litigants, what property needs to be covered.
Have plan for locations and personnel to provide worshipping communities and safe havens for the faithful remnants. Identify retired priests and deacons, lay leadership.
This informal split could also take the form of a what would be, in effect, a parallel province. That is, Bob Duncan would be recognized as an Anglican primate while ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada remain nominally Anglican but essentially suspended from the Anglican world until such time as they repented of 2003.
(3) The unofficial break-up of US and Canadian Anglicanism - Instead of two Anglican churches in North America, there would be hundreds. That is, individual dioceses would be recognized as Anglican depending on whether or not they accepted the provisions of the Windsor Report or whether their bishops supported same-sex marriages or voted to confirm Gene Robinson. Those bishops who fell into line would be recognized as Anglican primates. Those who didn't would be read out of the Anglican world until such time as they did.
What's likely to happen? God only knows. But I think we have come to the tipping point. The Anglican Communion Network cannot hide behind rhetoric any longer.
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