Friday, February 29, 2008

AAC weekly update from Bishop Anderson

From Bishop David Anderson of the American Anglican Council via email [boldface mine]:

Beloved in Christ,

In every age, there are a few leaders who become legends in their own time, iconic and larger than life. The people who attain to this level are nearly always unaware of it and not quite understanding of it, thus they are surprised that so many hold them in such high esteem. The Rev. Dr. James I. Packer certainly falls in this category, and so it is with surprise and disbelief that we learn that the controversial and revisionist bishop of New Westminster (Canada), the Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham, has threatened the most orthodox Dr. Packer with suspension of his clerical license for ministry.

In both Canada and the United States, if you love Jesus and take his teachings and commands seriously, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) or the Episcopal Church (TEC) will come after you with harmful intent. Pray for Dr. Packer as he endures harassment once again from Bishop Ingham. Why is Ingham on the warpath again? It might be over the entire Anglican Church of Canada’s largest church, located physically in Ingham’s geographical area, St. John’s Shaughnessy, Vancouver, voting to affiliate with former ACC Bishop Don Harvey, now of the Province of the Southern Cone, and Archbishop Gregory Venables. The vote was 474 to realign, 11 voting no, and 9 abstentions. This action taking the church out of the ACC ensures that the laity, clergy and congregations are able to maintain their orthodox Anglican Christian faith and, within a new jurisdiction, remain a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Things are becoming critical in Canada, and the persecution of the faithful up there will probably grow worse in the future.

News pertaining to the USA, but involving as usual the Archbishop of Canterbury, seems centered on a pastoral care scheme put forward by some orthodox TEC bishops as a way for some TEC dioceses and churches to have orthodox primatial and episcopal oversight, and for them to be able to have another channel of relating to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the global primates other than just through Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. The plan does little to give respite to those orthodox congregations (hopelessly?) trapped in revisionist dioceses with revisionist bishops over them. Why are these congregations hopelessly trapped? Often the challenge of expensive litigation or walking away from deep attachments to their property simply is more than they can muster, so they stay, but in a very endangered capacity.

Although many parishes have walked away, often without their property, and several bishops and dioceses are considering leaving, albeit with their property, there are congregations and orthodox bishops and dioceses for whom this seems to be too much to ask. This scheme put before Dr. Williams is thought to address this, and the ABC seems enthused over the prospect. Unfortunately, it is a formula for disaster. If the world has learned anything, it is that TEC can’t be trusted to keep its word, and in this plan which is being set before Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, the details aren’t even worked out. If there is any hope of it working, everything must be thought through and noted and agreed upon in the document before any signatures are attached. A further difficulty is that without the permission of the local revisionist TEC bishop, no congregation that petitions for help can be assisted. The lambs can only have a watchdog if the wolf gives permission. Bishop Howe of Central Florida commented, “We (Episcopal Visitors) will visit no congregation without the diocesan bishop’s invitation and permission.” Duh! Does that make sense? If the local bishop was at all accommodating of conservatives, the need for protection wouldn’t be there in the first place. Because the need is there, you have to have permission from the person who is the greatest danger to those asking for help. Some of our orthodox bishops wrote this and the Archbishop of Canterbury likes it, and even Jefferts Schori might agree to it. Help me make sense of this. Additionally, can this be legally done without the TEC House of Bishops concurring with the Presiding Bishop in agreeing to such a proposal? We will have to wait and see, but I see this as various stages and degrees of collaboration which offers false hope to a few and puts many at grave risk. I urge the bishops thus involved to reconsider their plans. Bishop John Howe remarks, “If we do this right, it will strengthen the hands of the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury.” Pray tell, why does Bishop Howe wish to strengthen the hand of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori who is suing the pants off most of the orthodox who have left and now has been handed up to $500,000 of TEC trust fund income to advance the litigation further, especially against Bishop Howe’s brother bishops in the Anglican Communion Network?

Meanwhile, as TEC raids trust fund income for $500,000 worth of upcoming litigation, some money is found to spread around poorer parts of Africa on what is called by some "The Charm Offensive." Money from TEC, funneled through Bishop Pierre Whalon, a francophone, is being used to attract African primates and bishops to the American cause. Whalon recently delivered money to buy Archbishop Fidèle Dirokpa and Bishop Henri Isingoma new automobiles.

Meanwhile all over the United States, the Common Cause Partners federation churches are preaching the Gospel, seeing men and women’s lives change by Christ, planting and growing churches, and equipping more and more individuals being called by God to enter the ordained ministry to preach the Truth. God is Good...All The Time.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.
President & CEO of the AAC

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