Skip to comments.AN INTERVIEW WITH THE RT. REV. MARTYN MINNS
Posted on 05/06/2007 8:03:00 AM PDT by Huber
The Rev. Martyn Minns became an Episcopal priest in the late 1970s. As the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, priest-in-charge at Truro Church, his is one of several large, historic Episcopal congregations in Northern Virginia that have split from the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church.
A Brit by birth he has spent most of his adult life in North America. He is a former Mobil Oil executive. His alliance with the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of the fast growing Anglican Province of Nigeria has made him an international power player in the Anglican Communion. This weekend he will be installed by his Primate, Archbishop Akinola in an elaborate service that is expected to draw more than 3,000 Anglicans from across the country.
His supporters view Minns as a faithful, hold-the-line orthodox priest who will not waver on sexuality issues. He is a charismatic figure, more in sync with African Anglican Christians that hold 'the faith once delivered to the saints' than with post-modern liberal Episcopalians for whom he has little use and who have abandoned historic Christianity.
His detractors see him as a divisive figure, anti-gay, fomenting dissent, and perhaps with an agenda that has more to do with him than with the unity of the Anglican Communion.
VirtueOnline obtained an interview with the soon to be Bishop of the Truro-based Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a new, conservative U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion that will replace the Episcopal Church. CANA comprises more than 35 congregations and is growing fast across the country.
VirtueOnline: You have emerged on the Episcopal/Anglican scene almost overnight as a significant player at both the national and international level, causing more than just a little stir in The Episcopal Church and among the Continuing (Anglican) churches in the U.S. Did you anticipate such a reaction when you announced your disengagement from TEC and your new ties to the Province of Nigeria?
MINNS: I have been involved for over 10 years in the 'Episcopal/Anglican scene' on the international level and have been working for renewal and reformation within the Church for almost 40 years ... I don't consider that overnight exactly! I have been blessed by the large number of positive comments and encouragement that I have received to date.
VirtueOnline: You have aligned yourself with one of the most powerful leaders in the Anglican Communion - the Most Rev. Peter Akinola. Was that by design? How long were you in touch with Apb. Peter Akinola before you made your move?
MINNS: I have been working closely with Abp Peter Akinola for the past four years. He has a much longer history with Truro since he was a student at Virginia Seminary in the late 1970's and worshipped here on a number of occasions. I count it a privilege to work with him.
VirtueOnline: Many I speak to view your sudden conversion to African Anglicanism on the eve of your retirement from The Episcopal Church (you are 65) as a little disingenuous. How would you respond to that?
MINNS: I am only 64 (!) and made my first visit to East Africa in 1980 and have built numerous friendships and mission partnerships in different parts of Africa over the years. For example, my work with Five Talents - Micro Enterprise - and TOUCH - a foster program for children - has also built many more connections that I would hardly qualify as disingenuous. We have a common vision for the Gospel and love for Jesus Christ and that is what unites us.
VirtueOnline: The Anglican Province of Nigeria is the fastest growing province in the Anglican Communion. It has 18 million with a promise by Apb. Akinola that he would double the church size (to 36 million) in three years. That's a heck of a statement. Is that doable you think? Is it an impetus for CANA in North America?
MINNS: The Church of Nigeria is a remarkable success story that has taken place during very difficult times for that nation. Abp Akinola built his own diocese in Abuja from scratch. I hope that we can capture some of their evangelistic zeal.
VirtueOnline: A newspaper report says you are now Presiding Bishop. Is that true?
MINNS: Absolutely not - I am a missionary bishop.
VirtueOnline: Will David Bena, former Suffragan Bishop of Albany be consecrated with you by Apb. Akinola?
MINNS: No. Bishop David Bena is already consecrated a bishop and has now transferred to the Church of Nigeria to serve with CANA.
VirtueOnline: How many priests will be consecrated by Apb. Akinola when he comes to town next week?
MINNS: None. Abp Akinola is simply coming to preside at the Installation Ceremony.
VirtueOnline: Will all the Common Cause partners be invited to your installation this week-end? Who will show up? Have the Network bishops been invited? Will any of the Windsor compliant Bishops show up?
MINNS: I have invited our Common Cause partners and all of our Network friends but have no idea who will show up. It is a busy time of year for everyone.
VirtueOnline: Where is the Rt. Rev. Bob Duncan (Pittsburgh) Network Moderator in all this? Will he attend your installation?
MINNS: I am pleased to say that Bishop Duncan has indicated that he and his wife Nara will be attending the Installation. They are long time friends of ours and are very supportive of my new call.
VirtueOnline: Is the Network and CANA on good terms?
MINNS: We work very well together. I serve on the Network Cabinet and am in regular contact with Bishop Duncan.
VirtueOnline: You told a local newspaper that it was your intention to unite all 90 Anglican jurisdictions in North America under one umbrella - CANA. Is that doable in the light of unresolved issues like Women's Ordination?
MINNS: I don't believe that I made that comment since I have never heard that the number of Anglican jurisdictions was anywhere close to 90. It is true, however, that I am determined to do my part to work together in a united witness for Christ. I have never suggested that CANA is THE umbrella ... we just want to be part of the solution and to help unite those who share our convictions.
VirtueOnline: According to a recent article in the New York Times about Peter Akinola's visit to Virginia, Mrs. Schori TEC's Presiding Bishop said in a statement that Archbishop Akinola's acceptance of "an invitation to episcopal ministry here without any notice or prior invitation" was not in keeping with "the ancient practice in most of the church" that bishops minister only within their own jurisdictions. How do you respond to that?
MINNS: I find it a little strange that the Presiding Bishop is referring to 'the ancient practice in most of the church' when it is the rejection of key aspects of the historic teaching of the church that has resulted in our current crisis.
VirtueOnline: When the AMiA first appeared on the scene some seven years ago Apb Akinola was very critical of its formation. Now that CANA has been formed and is underway on American soil, has he retracted his attitude towards the AMiA?
Minns: Abp Akinola is firmly committed to the unity of all orthodox Anglicans but we have to recognize that the crisis in the USA has generated a number of different responses and what matters now is that we all work together for the cause of the Gospel.
VirtueOnline: What is the difference in theological and ecclesiastical DNA between CANA and the AMIA?
MINNS: It is important to affirm the similarities - we are both committed to proclaiming the orthodox faith and reaching out beyond ourselves to engage with those who have yet to hear and embrace the Good News. Theologically we are on the same page. Ecclesiastically - CANA and AMiA were started at very different times in the life of the Communion and this is reflected in our make up. We also reflect some of the attributes of our host provinces - Rwanda is a much smaller province with far less structure whereas Nigeria is very much larger and more formal in its canonical processes.
VirtueOnline: Can you and Bishop Chuck Murphy (AMiA) work together?
MINNS: Yes. We are friends and work well together.
VirtueOnline: As a CANA bishop (which has not been recognized by Canterbury) do you expect to be invited to Lambeth 2008?
MINNS: My consecration as a bishop has not been challenged by anyone. I have had a number of personal conversations with the Archbishop of Canterbury and he seems quite able to recognize me. CANA has not sought to be a separate branch of the Communion - we are a properly constituted, canonical part of the Province of Nigeria and, as such, as much a part of the Communion as any other diocese of the Church of Nigeria.
VirtueOnline: If the timeline (Sept 30.) passes without a significant response from TEC re the Windsor Report and consecrating homosexuals to all levels of the church, will your new boss Apb. Peter Akinola still attend Lambeth? Would you still go?
MINNS: I am sure that before any decision is taken Abp Akinola will consult widely with his own House of Bishop and the Global South leadership. I will, of course, be led by their decisions.
VirtueOnline: What are your long term plans and goals for CANA? Are you hoping to establish an orthodox Province in North America?
MINNS: My long term plans are to stay faithful to the Gospel and grow CANA as the Lord directs. In the Kigali communique the Primates of the Global South stated that they believe that "the time has come take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA." I am not aware of any specifics but clearly I would like to be part of the conversation.
VirtueOnline: Thank you Bishop Minns.
VIRGINIA: MINNS' INSTALLATION SPLITS EPISCOPALIANS
By Julia Duin THE WASHINGTON TIMES 5/3/2007
Saturday's installation of Bishop Martyn Minns, the outgoing rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, to preside over the Convocation of Anglicans in North America has sparked mixed reactions among Episcopal conservatives.
CANA is the newest of several theologically traditional groups to break away from the Episcopal Church over the 2003 consecration of openly homosexual New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson and questions of biblical authority.
Despite a general invitation to CANA-affiliated parishes in Virginia plus about 200 invitations to out-of-town church officials, most conservative Episcopal leaders are avoiding the rite.
A phone survey of 10 Episcopal dioceses that belong to the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) -- a confederation that opposes the Robinson consecration -- revealed that only its moderator, Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, plans to attend. Bishop Don Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network of Canada, has also accepted.
But Central Florida Bishop John Howe, also a conservative and Bishop Minns' predecessor as rector of Truro, will not attend because of schedule conflicts. Rio Grande, the New Mexico diocese where Bishop Minns was under consideration for the bishop post in 2004, is sending no one.
Neither is South Carolina, a solidly conservative diocese that just elected as bishop the Rev. Mark Lawrence, who failed to get the necessary approval by two-thirds of all Episcopal bishops and their diocesan standing committees.
Canon Kendall Harmon, spokesman for the diocese, said he has not decided whether to attend on his own.
"I'd go to offer personal support for Martyn," he said. But as a diocesan representative, "it'd be associated with schismatic behavior. It's that kind of climate."
As more conservatives bolt the Episcopal Church, their leaders are disagreeing privately over strategy . Some prefer the ACN's method staying in the Episcopal Church, but others say it's time to leave.
Others say the issue is not Bishop Minns but his sponsor, the outspoken Archbishop Peter Akinola, who founded CANA as a mission of the Church of Nigeria, which he heads.
Archbishop Akinola, who will preside at Saturday's ceremony, heads the world's largest Anglican province, with 18.5 million people. He has openly challenged Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on several matters, such as the Church of England's backing of civil partnerships for homosexual clergy.
"There's a sense that Akinola is a very strong leader. Does he want to take over?" said Bishop John Rodgers, the retired co-founder of the Anglican Mission in America, which was founded in 2000 as a U.S. breakaway group by foreign bishops.
Like many church leaders invited, Bishop Rodgers had prior commitments and will not come. He said CANA is perceived as recruiting ACN churches into its ranks, "although I know," he added, "Martyn just wants a safe place where people can be orthodox."
Not all conservatives are convinced CANA wants to be a team player.
"No one can be sure if they're competing against us or cooperating with us," an ACN source said.
Episcopal Church officials continue to oppose Saturday's rite. Earlier this week, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori sent Archbishop Akinola a request by e-mail and airmail that he not officiate at the gathering.
Canon Akin Tunde Popoola, a spokesman for the archbishop, e-mailed The Washington Times yesterday morning to say they had received neither request.
"It will however be strange that [the Episcopal Church], which had all along explained why the election, consecration and enthronement of Gene is irreversible," he wrote, "suddenly feels that of Martyn Minns, elected by the Nigerian House of Bishops, can be tampered with."
I read this interview with great interest. Rev. Minns, along with his wife and daughter, were present in meetings in our church recently and I was greatly impressed with his dedication to God. Likewise with Bishop Duncan.
We need to continue praying mightily for these overseers.
My understanding is that he is already Bishop - this will just be the formal installation service.
Rt. Rev. Minns married two good friends of mine at Truro a few years ago. I’ve met and talked with him a couple times. He has turned out to have serious intestinal fortitude in the current crises—reflective of his boss V. Rt. Rev. Peter Akinola—both reflective of their Boss, a certain Jewish Carpenter...
CANA has real pizazz, and they are at the forefront of fighting the revisionists. May God bless these leaders, and keep them humble, and fearlessly confident in the Lion of Judah.
We should pray that this will be their prayer:
Teach me, O Master, the courage with which you faced every duty and trial, the spirit with which you made every sacrifice, that heartened by your blessed example, I may never waver in duty, danger or sacrifice, but as a good soldier of the Cross be enabled to better to serve the Country that I love; in the Name of God, who lives and reigns for evermore. Amen.
(from “Protestant Book of Worship for Field Use” US Army, 1967)
My understanding is that he is already Bishop - this will just be the formal installation service.
It is comforting for this Presbyterian-becoming-Anglican, that even David Virtue can get mixed up on Anglican polity procedures and titles...
Take it as a sign that you should stay with the True Church. Re-read Calvin's Institutes before you make any rash moves.
The new testament church was presbyterian. Just taking a dig at those offshoot Catholics who claim they are the true church.
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