Thursday, June 07, 2007

Trouble at the AIC


Earlier this week I posted an item on the blog from Bishop Barry Peachey announcing that he had been elected as the new metropolitan archbishop of the Anglican Independent Communion Worldwide.

I have since received communications claiming that this is not true, and that Bishop Peachey has not only been removed as metropolitan chancellor, but also excommunicated.

I wrote to Archbishop Norman Dutton, under whose authority the official notice of deposition and excommunication was purportedly issued, and asked him to confirm those claims and to comment.

He has responded, saying "Peachey is no longer a member of our Communion and I have today received confirmation that he has lost his power base in Latin America. All the churches there have now pledged their support to me."

I also wrote to Bishop Peachey, who replied that the allegations are "wholly false and malicious."

For me, the two responses speak for themselves. There is clearly a power struggle underway here.

In my original post, I did not include the following remarks from the statement sent to me by Bishop Peachey, as I didn't consider it particularly significant. Now, I do. Here it is:

"The Metropolitan Archbishop is pleased to announce that the matter of his successor has now been agreed. He will retire on 30th June 2007, and he will be replaced by the Rt Revd Prof Barry Peachey."

It would seem that the Metropolitan Archbishop is neither pleased, nor has he announced any such thing.

In the end, I do not think it appropriate to proceed further with this. It is not the intention of The Continuum to engage in a blow-by-blow exposition of the problems at the AIC, an entity that by the terms of its own self-definition we do not recognise as being a constituent part of the continuing Anglican movement.

My view, as also expressed by one of my co-hosts, Ed Pacht, is that this story is indicative of the danger of becoming involved with entities that claim to be continuing churches.

By the most generous of definitions, there are only five entities that can by any stretch of the imagination be considered as continuing churches -- and they are all listed in the sidebar on the right. It would behoove anyone who genuinely considers himself to be a Catholic in the Anglican tradition to seek affiliation with one of them.

Again, however, I am indirectly called to task by Ed. I have received communications from people within the AIC which would seem to suggest rather strongly that there are people among them with a genuine commitment to the Gospel, and it would be remiss of me, of us, to treat them with anything less than respect.

I wish them well, and Godspeed.


Anonymous said...

What/who is the AIC exactly and what is its origin and affiliation?

poetreader said...

Caveat: the following is not intended to judge any individual or individuals, but to make observation upon a very familiar situation which would not exist if it did not apply to someone.

Once again we see illustrated one of the worst features of Catholic Christianity, the dreaded 'purple fever'. No part of the Church has been immune to it - no, there has been strife over the proper occupancy of a see as long as there has been Church history. And this should not be.

Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7.

St. Paul does indeed say, "If any man desireth the office of bishop, he desireth a good work," bu he never says that it is necessarily a good thing that any man actually desire the office of bishop. Rather he goes on at length to list qualifications that few, if any, can fulfill, the kind of qualifications, in fact, that will, evidence in any man who claims to have fulfilled them the kind of pride which, in itself, demonstrates one's unfitness to govern the Church of God. I think we could look very closely at the one qualification, "not a brawler".

We have a model in many of the great saints who became bishops entirely against their own will, some of them actually being dragged to the church. We have alsp the example of many strong men whose ambition brought them to the episcopate, and whose tenure revealed them to be far from saintly.

Here there appears to be a conflict of this nature happening. (Much like some of what has afflicted the Continuum and fed the tendency toward divisiveness) I'm convinced that wanting an office, especially the episcopate, enough to fight over it is quite sufficient reason to be barred from that office. It is, bluntly, a mark of antichrist. Whew! I hadn't meant to speal quite that strongly, but I will let it stand, as pride is the principal one of the Deadly sins and here raises up its head.

As we stand up for the Catholic Faith, brethren, we need the grace of God to evidence the virtues he requires of us. Only so can we stand.


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the AIC have a very bad name for themselves anyway, certainly here in the UK, this will seek only to make them more of a laughing stock. They continually give the continuing movement a bad name as well, by their bizarre antics and, it seems, on the whole entirely pointless existance. They have dozens of places of worship listed, but almost no times of Mass, indeed, many of their places of worship, on telephoning have no form of public worship at all!

What is going on here exactly?

poetreader said...

This kind of incident, I'm afraid and hate to say, is more extreme than, but not different in kind from the kind of disputes and divisions that have plagued the Continuing Church from the beginning. Very much as in the parable of the speck and the beam, we have a propensity to thunder condemnations at those in whom we so easily see these abuses, while attempting to justify the extreme irregularity of our own situation and its roots in the same kind of pride. Observing such shenanigans should be moving us to attend to that beam in our own eye, and to put maximum effort into building a unified Continuing Anglicanism.

Meanwhile, it is really rather hard to find a rational basis to include all five of the bodies in our sidebar while insisting that there are no other candidates. Among the dozens of bodies claiming to be Continuing Anglican, there do seem to be a few smaller bodies and independent congregations that may be isolated through causes no more heinous than those sepatating the 'big 5', that have no less stability than we do in pur precarious near anarchy.

Incidents like this one should be powerful motivators to look deeply into our own movement and 'jurisdictions', to recognize and hold fast to the riches we have been given by Our Lord, and to recognize and discard those evidences of self-will that are causeing so much difficulty amidst and all around us.

I am proud to be a 'Continuer', but I am frequently quite embarrassed as well.


Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the AIC news website:

May 2: Metropolitan announces resignation from being "Chancellor of the Archdioces of Great Britian" to "to devote his full attention to the international Communion"

May 15: Metropolitan announces election for replacement

May 23: Metropolitan announces suspension of election due to some alleged irregularities

May 31: Metropolitan announces that his retirement will be delayed (not sure as to when he announced his retirement)

June 4: Announcement that Peachey will be the new Metropolitan and that the old Metropolitan has agreed to retire.


Anonymous said...

Of course, I don't have any information other than that what's publically available.

I will say that the AIC has the appearance of an "ordination factory".

UPDATE: (from lurking around their website)

Q. Do independent clergy all run their own regular churches?
No. Very much like the Church of England there is a total mixture. Some do have regularly worshiping communities, and act as Chaplains to a wide variety of organisations. Some are 'worker priests' who work and live out their ministry in their normal daily workplaces, whilst taking occasional Services as required. Others travel widely around the country 'on-call' to minister wherever there is need. Some live in monastic communities. Yet others work mainly for their church organisations providing central services, advice and pastoral care to other clergy. Many combine more than one of these types of role. Many have private chapels where they can accommodate a small number for prayer.

ISTM that the AIC is set up as a sacramental services provider (baptism, marriage). I wouldn't attempt to call them a "Church" at all. They are, as they say, a communion of independent Anglicans.

They seem to be quite satisfied with that fact that many of their bishops and priests don't have flock to shepherd.


Anonymous said...

BTW, I have to agree with Ed. The speck and plank and all that.

Here's how the AIC works:

Many thousands of the faithful people and their bishops and clergy are flocking to join the Anglican Independent Communion Worldwide. They have come to recognise that the AIC is the future of world Anglicanism, free from political control suffered by the Lambeth Communion, free from the social engineering operated by degenerate amoral governments, and unafraid to teach the difference between right and wrong. Our bishops are not appointed by the government or approved by party politicians who may not even be Christians. Our clergy are not kept under state control by being paid by state governed funds. We work for, teach and preach the love of God, under the control of no-one except Jesus Christ.

If you are an existing church which seeks to join us, we do not ask you to change the name of your church. That is not important to us. We only ask that you say that your church is now a part of the Anglican Independent Communion Worldwide, and adheres to the basic traditions of post-reformation Anglicanism. We do not believe in interfering in local churches. It is your local church, not ours. We are here to help and support you in your work to spread the true Gospel, and to stand up against those who would teach the heresies of Liberalism.

The rules are simple. You teach the true Gospel. You do not ordain women to Holy Orders. You do not ordain practising homosexuals to Holy Orders, or appoint them to any position of authority, because St. Paul taught us that we must not do so. You do not teach Pluralism. You do not teach Syncretism. Your job is to hate the sin, and love the sinner, so that the sinner may be bought to Salvation in our Lord.

We will put information and resources on the main website with links to your church's website. As you have already seen from the quality of the site that you are now reading, our Website Manager is an expert who is doing a fantastic job in spreading the Word for us.

You will now been seen as part of the fastest growing faithful group of Christians in the world. Being a part of the Anglican Independent Communion will give the people who have not known you before confidence in you, and in your work in the Holy Spirit. It will also give the civil authorities in your countries confidence in you, and we can provide you with any letters and licences from the Communion that your government needs to encourage them to do what you want to help your churches.

Thirdly, we will be able to offer you education programmes for your people who want to study to be clergy or lay ministers. You will have access to our own Director of Education here in Britain, who will be able to provide you with courses that we lead to qualifications that will be accepted anywhere in the world. Additionally there are plans to establish a Theological College in West Africa to serve the African Provinces.

Most importantly, you will know that there are many thousands of faithful AIC members across the world who pray to God for you every day.

I will agree that their website is better than most other continuing churches.

Perhaps that, ultimately, a loose confederation of independent Anglican parishes and individuals is the best that ever can be hoped for under current circumstances.

Albion Land said...

I will remind readers that it is not my intention to engage in a blow-by-flow exposition of the problems in the AIC. I repeat that now.

I received two comments this morning from people endeavoring to press their particular partisan case in the power struggle at the AIC. While I understand their motivation, and perhaps even sympathise with them, I will not publish these comments, or any others like them.

One thing I will say, however, is that there appear to be two camps involved -- one endeavoring to spread the Gospel of Christ and the other endeavoring to spread the disease of human power.

To those in the first camp, again, I wish you Godspeed. And I urge you to regularise yourselves by joining a jurisdiction that has a well-defined and functioning ecclesial structure, one where authority is recognised and respected. One priest with whom I have been in correspondence has already resigned from the AIC and is taking just such steps.

Anonymous said...

I was extremely disappointed to encounter this post in your blog whilst conducting a Google search for "Anglican Independent Communion".

I am one of those lucky enough to know Barry Peachey personally, and I have known him for a very long time.

Before Barry was forced to retire from the AIC owing to the abuse of power undertaken by certain other senior members of the clergy in order to further their own megalomanic ends, he was most certainly one of the "people among [the AIC] with a genuine commitment to the Gospel"; that commitment to the Gospel remains.

It is my decidedly unhumble opinion that you would be well advised to follow your own advice in that "it would be remiss of me, of us, to treat them with anything less than respect".

Those of us who have been around the internet for some time learned very early on that not everything you read on the internet is true.

I can however ensure you with absolute confidence that anything coming from Barry's mouth, pen or keyboard in relation to this matter will be the absolute truth.

Albion Land said...

Fr Jerome,

I have received your comment, which I am prepared to publish in edited form. Please email me to discuss this.

poetreader said...

Mr. Isling,

You'll have to pardon me if the tone and manner of your comment serve to increase my skepticism regarding this whole matter, but the combination of combativeness with a demand that I accept the reliability of a witness I've never met, of whom I have no independent evidence of any kind, surely lessens my desire to listen.

You wrote: I can however ensure you with absolute confidence that anything coming from Barry's mouth, pen or keyboard in relation to this matter will be the absolute truth.

No it won't. It wouldn't be so from me in similar circumstances. Anyone's reportage of an event is filtered through his own perceptions and is thus far less than 'absolute truth'. My father wisely taught me that anyone who needs to claim to have the absolute truth is not to be trusted. I am, however, entirely willing to hear +Peachey out under the assumption that he perceives himself to be speaking truth, and that the evidence could well support his perception.

Meanwhile, since St. Paul advised that we should try every spirit to see if it be of God, forgive us if that is just what we do.


Anonymous said...


Your scepticism in relation to this matter is wholly understandable.

In the spirit of pardon and forgiveness, I assume that you will forgive my combative tone in my initial comment; when one sees the potential for damage to the reputation of someone held very dearly in one's heart, it is very difficult to avoid such tone.

Truth, as we know, is a very subjective issue; indeed, every man's truth is his own. Can any man have a view of truth which is not filtered through his own perception?

Should you to wish to enter into discussion with +Barry directly and to hear his views of the recent goings-on, I trust that you know how to find him.

Ms D. Isling

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I do not keep up with the alphabet soup, and don't know who these AIC people are. However, such phrases as "power base" and having the "support" of a majority, strike me as worldly political. Most troubling is the ease with which these phrsases roll, without any attempt to put a Christian face on it all.

Anonymous said...

Have all AIC been closed in the UK, as reading from the main AIC website, bank accounts have been frozen?

Albion Land said...

I am continuing to receive emails privately and comments here on the turmoil at the AIC.

As I said very early on, it is not our intention to engage in a blow-by-blow account. I think enough has been said here on the subject, and I am closing down comments on it.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am not a member of the Anglican Continuum, as I have supposed. I am a communicant in the Episcopal Missionary Church. We do not have a lot of fights, nor do we have an excees of bishops. We just worship God in the Anglican way.

I confess to receiving Holy Communion in an ACC church building one time. That guy +Cahoon administered the Sacrament.

How can we ever become united enough for anyone to notice us if we continue petty divisions?

Anonymous said...

Barry and Heather have been friends of my family for over 10 years; we have interacted with them on both a professional (legal) level and friendship / personal level. I am not completely up to speed on AIC issues, but I do know this- they are good people, kind-hearted, warm... the derogatory whispers making the rounds don't jive with the wonderful couple who have stayed as our guests, invited us into their home, etc. I would just ask that you give the facts a careful, critical review before you judge or condemn, especially if you do not know them as we do.