Best wishes and a rebuke as ACNA ordains “Missionary Bishop” for Europe

by Rosalind Hughes

Following through on GAFCON’s recent announcement of a Missionary Bishop to offer alternative oversight in provinces deemed to be insufficiently orthodox, the ACNA ordained Canon Andy Lines on Friday at Wheaton, IL.

Writing for ACNA, the Rev. Canon Phil Ashley maintained,

Canon Andy Lines’ consecration will not be irregular or invalid.  His Holy Orders in the Province of South America have been duly and lawfully transferred to, and likewise received by, the ACNA. He will be consecrated by acting primates, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion. His consecration will fall within the historical tradition of faithful Bishops who have created order in the Church during times of crisis. These are times when faith and doctrine have been threatened by others’ failure to guard against false teaching—or worse, have actively promoted such false teaching.

GAFCON was particularly exercised over the Scottish Episcopal Church’s recent decision to move towards marriage equality in that province.

According to Christian Today, the Bishops of Blackburn, Birkenhead, and Maidstone in the Church of England have offered their support and prayers for the ordination, with the Rt Rev. Rod Thomas stating,

‘I therefore welcome the steps that GAFCON (the global fellowship of orthodox Anglicans) is taking to support those who are seeking to stand firm by the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexual relationships, and wish to assure Canon Andy Lines of my prayers as he becomes a missionary bishop.’

But the Most Rev. Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, wrote an open letter to his bishops, decrying in measured tones the attendance of two of their number at the ordination service.

Whilst I appreciate the courtesy of my Episcopal colleagues in seeking my advice, I regret very much that they have decided to act contrary to it.  The consecration in the ACNA is not on any view an act in communion with the Anglican Communion and its member churches, particularly the Provinces of the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church and existing jurisdictions in Europe.  Whilst any individual and any diocese may form a view as to whether continued communion is consistent with the Fundamental Declarations, it is for the General Synod of our Church alone to determine such a question.

Our Consecration of Bishops Canon 1966 mandates the permissible manner of consecration of bishops.  It binds all of us as bishops in the Church. It provides expressly for the circumstances of a bishop consecrated to serve in Australia being consecrated in a Church in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia in accordance with s6 of the Constitution and stipulates the manner of that consecration.  It does not appear to provide expressly as to the current circumstances.

In a photo caption, Christian Today wrote that, “Andy Lines has been told by the Archbishop of Canterbury his authority will not be recognised by the Church of England.”

Read more at Christian Today, and find Archbishop Freier’s open letter here.

Photo via GAFCON.org

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

"Episcopal bishops have not always been subject to discipline from the national church." With respect you need to read some basic textbooks. Bishops have been subject to discipline by fellow Bishops -- three with the seniority in the HOB. Not by "the national church" whatever that means. At no point prior in the history of TEC did the PB have this role. Never.

Pike and Righter? See the canons. Fellow Bishops. Not PB, not national church. THAT is the point being made.

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Eric Bonetti
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For anyone interested in reading a thorough refutation of the AIC's claims (which Mr. Seitz helped promulgate via his collaboration on a paper challenging the constitutionality of the present version of Title IV), see http://www.collegeforbishops.org/assets/1145/tiv_paper3cl.pdf .

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Eric Bonetti
Member

Sorry, but your point is a red herring. Bishops,who along with the HOD, voted to establish the earlier canons. They can, with equal validity, enact the Title IV canon. Where the supervisory power resides is irrelevant, and neither dioceses nor bishops have ever been independent entities, immune from scrutiny.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

In the states mentioned we are not speaking of parishes wanting to leave a diocese...we are talking about *dioceses as dioceses* challenging the legal claims represented by recent (KJS era) lawyers, and winning. The judge's brief in Illinois ought to be mandatory reading for canonical/legal perspective. It is a false comparison to refer to individual parishes leaving a diocese, either on terms congenial or offending, as is held here. In addition, the dioceses of Dallas and Springfield have NOT left, in spite of winning resoundingly.

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Michael W. Murphy
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Michael W. Murphy

It is about time that we liberals learn to tolerate our conservative neighbors. Our position with the conservatives should be: We recognize you as fellow members of our church, even if you do not recognize us.

It is rarely pointed out that the "Good Samaritan" was following a commandment in both the Samaritan Bible and in Lev. 19: 34:

"The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God." RSV.

We are the ones who, in our neighbor's eyes, who departed from the standard. We departed for good reasons. Unfortunately, we failed to write a biblical case for our departure from historic standards and we have failed to think through the implications of the biblical case which supports our actions. That biblical case requires us to "turn the other cheek."

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dave thomas
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dave thomas

I was attempting to be generous by using the word "pilfering". The plain, unvarnished truth is not nearly as charitable (regardless of the few state court rulings you cite). Personally, I can have respect for any one who leaves a church when they feel they can no longer participate due to a sincerely held belief.....not so much when they attempt to line their pockets on their way out the door.

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Eric Bonetti
Member

While I respect your views, we also are called to resist injustice and oppression, When the CANA/GAFCON crowd agrees to cease their efforts to bully us, seize our property, and usurp our duly elected hierarchy, then and only then can we work towards reconciliation.

I for one refuse to be bullied by those who oppose marriage equality, just as those who insisted on racial equality in the 60's and 70's saw no need to apologize for their advocacy. There is no imperative whatsoever to be nice to a bully, and I will not bend to those who promulgate hatred in any form.

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Eric Bonetti
Member

I agree Dave. While I vehemently disagree with the views of the rector of my childhood parish and its vestry (they left TEC due to their discomfort with marriage equality), they did not attempt to seize assets, and they adhered to their ordination vows, versus trying the whole, "I know I took an ordination oath, but now you did something I dislike, so I'm going to argue that my oath no longer applies," routine. Thus, I respect these individuals, versus those who promulgate nonsense such as the notion that Episcopal bishops have not always been subject to discipline from the national church. One only has to look to the Pike and Righter trials to see that the whole states' rights argument is uttterly bogus. And note that both the heresy trials cited above were launched by conservatives; conservatives liked centralized authority just fine when they thought it might allow them to defrock liberal bishops. Now that they have discovered that centralized authority will not produce the result they want, they do a 180 and argue against their earlier proposition.

GAFCON and ACNA include "revisionist bishops,' not the other way around. Meanwhile, the CANA/GAFCON crowd are already seeing that haters who oppose marriage equality, and who feel that their hatred justifies breach of their ordination vows, are in for a difficult time of it. Just look at the schisms in CANA to see the results of their organizational and individual ethics.--they claim to be Anglican, yet the CANA bishop in SC isn't even Mark Lawrence.

Any church built on hatred and dishonesty will not survive over time.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

But property in the CofE is not analogous to the circumstances in TEC. Bishops/Dioceses in the CofE have no analogy in law to TEC, canonically or civilly. You can study which parishes and how they might seek to leave in the CofE, but the matter would be altogether different than TEC in the nature of the case.

So, for example, given the state-jurisdictional legal context, IL, SC and TX have made rulings about the character of property law that has favored what you apprarently call 'pilfering' and they decided the word rightly applied to TEC not the Dioceses!

But none of this will have any corresponding reality in the CofE.

If one decides to create an entirely different form of anglicanism in England/UK/Europe, property claims will only be relevant where the lwa favors them, if at all.

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