An article by Michael Conlon for Reuters details the GAFCON backed plan to create an alternative or parallel Anglican province in the United States. The article has a number of quotes by Bishop Minns of Nigeria and claims that the Communion is likely to recognize his efforts to create this new structure. Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of actual balanced reporting in the article.
The article begins in a straightforward enough manner:
"Conservatives who have abandoned the U.S. Episcopal Church by the thousands in recent years are trying to form a separate-but-equal church, a move that could leave two branches of Anglicanism on American soil.
'I have tried to see if we can create a safe haven (for traditional views) within the Episcopal Church, but failed,' said Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader of the conservatives.
He is helping write a constitution for a new church, to be unveiled December 3, in an effort to be recognized as a new entity within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Then it reports the following statement from the Bishop
Minns, a former Episcopalian elevated to bishop by the Church of Nigeria and leader of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, said the new province could count on 100,000 people as its average weekly attendance. The Episcopal Church says its average weekly attendance is about 727,000.
The problem is that contradicts other estimates which describe the 100,000 number as membership, not weekly attendance. Which, if is true, should then be compared the total membership of the Episcopal Church of 2.1 million. Christopher Seitz of the Anglican Communion Institute also questions the number.
The article continues:
Becoming a province would require approval from two-thirds of the primates and recognition from the Anglican Consultative Council, another church body.
'More than half of the Anglican world will support us,' Minns said in an interview, referring to the primates. 'My guess is that we have provincial recognition from at least a majority.'
People can quibble with this number. Some sources have suggested that at most a third of the primates will support the initiative, but either way, Bishop Minns indicates that the support is less than the needed 2/3rds.
The article then continues:
GLOBAL SUPPORT LIKELY
The primates meet in February and, if they approve a new province, the matter would go to the Consultative Council when it meets in Jamaica in May of 2009, according to church publications."
Which seems to give credence to the idea that this initiative will be widely recognized. A close reading of the text of the article would seem however lead one to think that this section heading's statement is misleading at best.
Nowhere through out the article does one find any attempt to put Bishop Minn's statements into context or give voice to the many who dispute his claims.
Like I said, the article swings, but misses.
Read the full article here.
h/t to Kendall Harmon
What do you all think?