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.