Sent: November 15, 2005 1:49 PM
Subject:NEWS, VIEWS & PRAYERS re Global South Encounter in Egypt, etc.
As you will all remember, the Anglican Consultative Council met in Nottingham, England, last June in the wake of the February meeting of the Primates in Ireland, and essentially confirmed the suspension from its membership of ECUSA and of our Anglican Church of Canada - after very unsatisfactory presentations by the two churches, relating to their unilateral changes in Anglican teaching and practice - with regard to the consecration of a practising homosexual bishop in New Hampshire, U.S.A., and the authorization of blessings of same-sex unions in the Diocese of New Westminster, Vancouver, B.C.
Since then, there has been a sort of lull in the events relating to the crisis in the Anglican Communion provoked by these actions in Canada and the U.S.A. Now, however, things seem to be moving again. It has occurred to me that although many of you are doubtless well informed on these events, some of you might find it helpful to have some of the relevant info and thinking about it provided.
Appended below (at the very bottom of this e-mail) are the Essentials Press Release on the recent Global South Encounter in Egypt and (just above it) some further info and personal comment on that event by a member of AGO. The latter includes several interesting links to more material that some of you might like to pursue.
As I mentioned in my e-mail of 31 October, there were two points in the post-Encounter Communique that seemed to me to be of particular interest for us here in Canada:
1. In Section 33, there was the statement that "We recognize with regret the growing evidence that the Provinces which have taken action creating the current crisis in the Communion continue moving in a direction that will result in their “walking apart.” "
I think that this underlines for us the probability that our ACC will separate from the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is hard to foresee exactly how and when that will happen - perhaps our General Synod in 2007 will decide that it wants to "walk apart" and will separate itself voluntarily and explicitly, or perhaps it will not do this but will continue moving in its present direction so that the Communion will simply recognize that it has in fact made that decision by default. Perhaps not sending us an invitation to attend the Lambeth Conference in 2008 will be the signal that our membership in the Communion has finally ended. Or perhaps, now that we together with ECUSA have started this disintegration of our Communion, it will continue to crumble and some entirely different worldwide configuration will develop.
It seems to me that, although we will of course continue meanwhile to pray and work for repentance in our ACC, we should not close our eyes to the likelihood that our efforts will not succeed and the ACC will end up "walking apart" from the Anglican Communion. If and when that time comes, we need to have prepared ourselves to make painful decisions about parting company either with the ACC or with traditional apostolic biblical Anglicanism. I have been praying and thinking deeply about this and doing a certain amount of reading also. Our Essentials (AEC) organization has been doing so also and has found that there are certainly two ways of looking at the situation.
As you know, AEC now has two distinct branches:
a) One known as the Essentials Federation, which serves those who feel - for the present anyway - that it may be possible for them to remain within the ACC in the event of a split from the Anglican Communion.
b) The other known as the Network, which serves those who feel - for the present anyway - that it would not be possible for them to continue within a church that has formally departed from biblical teaching and broken with traditional Christianity.
In the next little while, I am planning (D.V.) to bring to your attention some material written from both these points of view and to discuss them with you. Those e-mails will also be marked OPTIONAL so that you can easily ignore them if you wish.
2. In Section 26 of the post-Encounter Communique there was the second of the two points that seemed to me of particular relevance for us: "We are grateful that the Archbishop of Canterbury publicly recognized the Anglican Communion Network in the USA and the Anglican Network in Canada as faithful members of the Anglican Communion."
As mentioned above, the Essentials Network (like the Network in ECUSA) serves those who feel that in the event of a split from the worldwide Anglican Communion they could not continue as members of a schismatic ACC. It is doing its best to keep in touch with the worldwide Communion, and is working out what will need to be done to set up a new faithful Anglican Church in Canada if and when it is needed. The post-Encounter Communique makes it clear that so far they have done their work well. The churches of the Global South recognize it as validly Anglican, though they no longer recognize the ACC. It was invited to the Encounter (as was the ECUSA Network) when neither the ACC nor ECUSA was. In other words, the two Network bishops, Harvey of Canada and Duncan of the U.S.A., were treated as though they were the real primates of the provinces of Canada and the U.S.A. Moreover, as the Communique says, the Archbishop of Canterbury informally recognizes them also, though of course formal recognition can only be given by the Lambeth Conference.
This recognition of the Networks by a majority of Anglican Christians in the world comes at a time when the ACC has begun to attack Essentials and especially the Network, as a sort of traitor organization. The bishops who are attacking it see Essentials as trying to undermine the ACC. Nothing could be further from the truth. No one wants to break up the ACC or cause it to be excluded from the Anglican Communion. Even the thought of such things is painful. But members of the Network feel that the thought of being excluded from the Anglican Communion as schismatics (and no longer recognized as reputable Christians by other major denominations such as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches) is even more painful.
The Canadian bishops who object to the Network's working to prepare an alternative ecclesiastical structure, seem to think that it is doing that with the intention of breaking up the ACC. The Network looks at it differently. They are not the ones who have steered the ACC to the brink of separation from the Anglican Communion and they are not the ones who can reverse the direction that the ACC is taking straight towards shipwreck. They don't want the ACC to be wrecked but, since it seems determined to sail off course and they do not want to drown in the wreck themselves, they think it advisable to prepare a lifeboat in case it is needed. You certainly don't want to wait until the ship is actually going down to try to build a lifeboat. When the ship finally sails onto the rocks, you want the lifeboat already built and ready to launch. They don't want the wreck to occur, but they can easily foresee that it almost certainly will occur, so they want to be ready to cope with it when it does.
This leads to another subject of interest - information. I don't suppose that I need to tell you how hard it is to get information about the Anglican crisis if you are not an experienced internet user. You would think that the Diocese and the Anglican Journal would be making a special effort to keep us all aware of what is going on. However, most of the parish priests in the Diocese say nothing about it to their parishioners, and the little info that the Anglican Journal and Crosstalk provide tends to be all from the revisionist point of view. If you relied on those sources of information alone, you might hardly be aware that there is a major crisis occurring, and you would certainly not find any balanced discussion on the subject. The secular press, which currently takes very little interest in anything religious, is more likely to provide info than the Anglican Journal and Crosstalk.
Because of this, last May some traditional Anglicans began to publish a very moderately priced monthly paper called The Anglican Planet, designed to fill the gaps left in the coverage of the Anglican Journal. The Bishops who disagree with traditional Anglicanism have discouraged it and one has banned it from his diocese. In spite of this, it is flourishing. It expected a readership of about 500-800 and has already grown to 5000. In case any of you are interested in getting it, particulars are included below. In this situation, we all need to keep in touch with what is happening and think and pray about it earnestly in order to prepare ourselves for whatever may transpire and to help us determine how the Lord is leading us to respond to events as they occur. TAP is one more source of information and one, moreover, that provides a conservative slant to help balance the overwhelming liberalism of The Anglican Journal and Crosstalk.
Dear Lord, as you know, our Anglican Communion is in great difficulty, and we in the Anglican Church of Canada have been suspended from it and are in danger of finding ourselves excluded from it because of our on-going departure from your word and the apostolic traditions of the whole Christian Church.
Father, we need you to forgive us for the part each one of us has played in letting things come to this pass, and now at last to give us the accurate knowledge and clear understanding of the issues involved that we may not have had earlier.
Beloved Lord, we also need you to give very clear guidance to each one of us, so that we each know the path you wish us to take if and when the road divides decisively. Give us this clear direction, Lord, and the courage to follow it wherever you lead.
In the precious name of your Son, our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
I do hope that this may be of some help to some of you at least.
Blessings to you all.
Anglican Gathering of Ottawa
Particulars re The Anglican Planet monthly newspaper
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Battle rages, God winning
There are several recent developments in the battle for the soul of the Anglican Church of Canada for which we can thank God whilst continuing to pray fervently.
Two weeks ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC) spoke and then answered questions during the third Anglican Global South Encounter in Egypt. Bishop Don Harvey of the Anglican Network in Canada and Bishop Bob Duncan of the American Network participated; the "official" Canadian and US (and Brazilian) Anglican churches were not invited.
The conference communiqué is excellent and inspiring reading at: http://www.anglicanessentials.ca/readarticle.php?article_id=98
The ABC's comments are also quite encouraging at: http://www.anglicanessentials.ca/readarticle.php?article_id=101
During the Q&A session the ABC was asked (as reported in the above item and as I heard directly from someone who was present): "When are you going to recognize the Networks in the US and in Canada as part of the Anglican Communion?" to which he responded by looking at his watch and saying, "Oh, I'd say at about 5 to twelve - there is no doubt in my mind that these Networks are full members of the Anglican Communion".
He went on to say that formal recognition as Provinces was not his to give but would have to be determined at the next Lambeth Conference of all Anglican bishops in 2008. He also said that a committee had recently been struck to consider who should be invited there, "with input from the Provinces". Pray that this input will appropriately reflect the influence of the 2/3 of the Communion that is conservative in interpretation and in commitment to Scripture.
The event in Egypt happened only a few days after Michael Ingham, false bishop of New Westminster in Vancouver and his Diocesan council banned participation in the Network - the direct opposite of the affirmation subsequently expressed by the ABC. (http://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/Default.aspx?tabid=1&mode=Story&StoryId=237&)
The Network parishes in BC are not, however, dismayed by Ingham's stance: less than two weeks later, conservative Bishop Terry Buckle was elected Metropolitan Archbishop of BC & Yukon, thus Ingham's superior. Although his direct powers are limited, ++Buckle is now the immediate point of appeal for any action that Ingham might take against conservative parishes and in particular their assets, possibly his main point of interest.
Ingham's "banning" move was matched by other liberal bishops. The Bishop of the Diocese of BC (i.e. Vancouver Island - a much smaller jurisdiction within the "ecclesiastical province of BC & Yukon" which ++Buckle now heads) allegedly stated recently that clergy associating with the Network would be fired. Bishop Jim Njegovan of the Diocese of Brandon, Manitoba, made it clear that neither Anglican Essentials literature nor The Anglican Planet, Canada's alternative to the officially-sponsored Anglican Journal newspaper would be tolerated in his diocese. (http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/10/24/anglican_051024.html)
It is reported that there was a move at the Canadian House of Bishops two weeks ago to make these sanctions national - however, after the minority intervention of three God-fearing Bishops, no motions regarding Essentials were passed, praise God.
"On the ground" around the country I hear that there is a great deal less focus in conservative parishes on the same-sex issue or even on the theological apostasy of so many Canadian Anglican leaders. This is not a question of relenting nor of accommodating, but rather a feeling that the debate is over, positions are clear and it's time to concentrate on the work of the Gospel. This is certainly my observation in several Ottawa churches with strong Alpha programs, Biblical preaching, house groups, and other evangelistic and discipleship programs under-girded by a culture of prayer. Yet there is no doubt that if and when the time comes that the Diocese of Ottawa stops vacillating and finally "walks apart" from the Anglican Communion (with our national primate, New Westminster, Niagara, Toronto and others) those that are faithful to Scripture will choose to remain in the Communion and in the church universal.
I was encouraged by the message Sunday at St. John's (Shaughnessy) Anglican Church in Vancouver - in many ways the nexus of the Anglican controversy in Canada - where the youth director preached on 2 Tim. 2:22 and recounted how in the past two years he has cancelled most of the youth activities: young people are already too busy and distracted by too many choices. Instead he now has 50 high school students participating in 9 weekly Bible study groups as their principal thrust for this age group. This reminded me of a summer I spent as a teenager in 1970, with a few friends and a bible college student who led us in a series of Saturday afternoons studying the Bible outdoors in High Park, Toronto. That was then - and is now - really exciting stuff!
© 2005 Norman Henderson, Ottawa, Canada. All rights reserved. Permission granted for not-for-profit redistribution in its entirety including copyright notice.