Friday, December 21, 2007

Update on Conservatives and Traditionalists

About Martyn Minns

It seems that I owe the readers a correction, not to my reporting, neither to any reporting of David Virtue. It seems that the Falls Church News quoted Bishop Martyn Minns incompletely by editing much of what he said. Furthermore, his full remarks are bad news, and they indicate how strait the gate is, and how narrow the path.

Here is the wider quotation:

Another arena where we have both opportunities and challenges has to do with the question of women’s ordination. From the inception of CANA we have made it very clear that we are committed to the full participation of women in the life and leadership of the church. We recognize that among biblically faithful members of the Anglican Communion there are differing theological positions as to whether women should serve in ordained ministry. There are, as have been described, TWO INTEGRITIES: those who believe that women should NOT be ordained at all and those who do believe that women can serve in ordained ministry– although within the latter group there are differing understandings as to whether this includes priesthood and extends to congregational oversight and serving as bishops.

Ordination is not only a response to God’s call on an individual but it is also an action of the church. At this time the Church of Nigeria, to which we owe canonical obedience, has no provision for the ordination of women although there has been acceptance of women in the order of deacons. At their most recent gathering the Church of Nigeria’s General Synod tabled discussion about ordination of women to a future date. Archbishop Peter Akinola has stated that while he supports this action he recognizes that there needs to be freedom for CANA to take a different direction because of its North American context. In light of this commitment to embrace both integrities we have received applications from congregations and female clergy with the expectation that women clergy will be licensed to continue their ministry.

In anticipation of this Council I appointed a task force under the leadership of Archdeacon Adedokun Adewunmi and the Rev’d Bill Haley to prepare recommendations as to next steps. The members of the task force included advocates of widely differing perspectives. They are working on a number of possible ways in which we can move forward as a united community while recognizing both integrities. I have asked that they be available to discuss their deliberations with members of this Council. They acknowledge that while they have not yet come to one mind as to a recommended direction they have made enormous progress in the time that they have worked together.

In light of this I propose the following:

• We will keep our promise to honor both integrities within CANA and fulfill our commitment to the full participation of women, in the life and leadership of the church. We will seek to do so in such a manner that both those who are unable to support the ordination of women and those who embrace it will know that their position has been honored.

• We will continue to accept applications from qualified congregations and female clergy with the expectation that women clergy will be licensed to continue their ministry within
CANA. We will request permission of the Church of Nigeria to ordain appropriately qualified women candidates to the diaconate within CANA as soon as possible.

• We will continue to look to a task force to continue work on this issue. We will expect them to develop a unified recommendation regarding ways in which we maintain our
commitment to both integrities and at the same time provide the necessary theological framework pastoral procedures and canonical provision for the ordination of qualified
women to the presbyterate within CANA.

I am fully aware that this is a topic of concern for many clergy and congregations throughout CANA and one that produces intense reactions. It is therefore my prayer that we will take these next steps looking for the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth and guard our common life and witness.

"Accepting applications" indicates a willingness to consider them for ordination, even though it is possible that actual ordinations might be delayed until some sort of further resolution is found among these new "Continuing Episcopalians." In other words, we must pray for them, not think of them as enemies, but in compassion pray God to open the eyes of their understanding. Remember where they are coming from, a place of turmoil and confusion. I am more upset about what this tells us about Archbishop Akinola- I feel like a hero has fallen, maybe like a kid who just found out that one of his favorite baseball players was using steroids.
My information came from someone who related it to me from Stand Firm, a source from which I was unable to obtain an answer to my inquiry. It was important to find out why they attacked the Falls Church News report (having relied on that very report, and therefore having a responsibility to get to the facts). I questioned why they attacked the accuracy of a report that had seemed to be objective. I was rewarded for my efforts in asking this reasonable question by being banned from their blogsite. Well, so be it. I simply asked for information, and they took it as a challenge (something that is always too much for them, it appears). I have only visited that site a total of less than ten times ever. They need to grow up over there.


Anonymous said...

Bishop Minns' statement gets worse the more I read it. He doesnt understand the difference between those who say "women SHOULD not be ordained," and those who say "women CANNOT be ordained." He evidently does not understand the concepts of priesthood or sacramental ordination.

Two years ago I was somewhat upbeat about the possiblity of some sort of rapprochement or coalescence between us old-line Continuers who go back to the St Louis era and the neo-Anglicans who are exiting ECUSA in droves these days. I now see this was highly naive. For all the inept mistakes of the Continuers, we at least had a comprehensive sense of the whole scope of Catholic truth--even when we squabble and bicker about the details. The neo-Anglican phenomenon (represented by Bp Minns at its best and by SFIF in an amateurish sort of way) is strictly a one issue movement. Without VGR, their raison d'etre would vanish like a puff of smoke. And like all one issue movements, it will make a lot of noise for a year or two and then quickly vanish.

Dear Fr Hart, you have lost your notoriety. Since you were banned from that high school newspaper of a blog, someone else has run afoul of Miss Sarah. Their notion of being "on-topic" is merely to parrot like a zomby opinions identical to theirs. Why don't they move to Guyana and set up Hey-town? Probably their following would be too small, but it would enjoy the koolaid served by Matt and Greg.
Laurence K. Wells

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

CANA, under +Minns, appears to be a reconception of TEC/ECUSA sans homosexual clergy. The problem with the new departures from ECUSA is that they appear to have no desire to return to Common Prayer and Catholic Order. I know there are optimists out there who say the possibility remains, but actions like these make one doubt.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

CANA, under +Minns, appear want to recreate ECUSA of 15 minutes ago, not return to historic Anglicanism. I know there are optimists who say it is still possible that those who want Common Prayer (1549-1962) and Catholic Order will win out, but actions like this leave one in doubt.