WILLIAMS RECOGNIZES NETWORK SAYS DUNCAN
Patience Urged as Break-up of the ECUSA Escalates
By David W. Virtue
PITTSBURGH, PA (11/11/2005)--The Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan told 3200 delegates to a Hope and A Future Conference here that the Archbishop of Canterbury told him in Egypt that he now recognized the Network.
At the South-South Encounter III near Cairo last week, Dr. Rowan Williams told the Network leader, "I recognize all the bishops, priests and people of the Networks [of the United States and Canada] as full members of the Anglican Communion."
Duncan said he was then embraced by the Archbishop of Canterbury. "It was a welcome and long-awaited verbal embrace and public recognition for us who gather here today. The plain sense of the archbishop's words was the old exclusive franchises are no more. A new day is dawning."
"The Global South is committed to provide our recognition, energy, prayers and experience to the Networks in the USA and Canada, the Convocation of Nigerian Anglicans in the USA, those who make Common Cause and the Missionary District that is gathering congregations that circumstances have pressed out of ECUSA," he said.
Duncan said that our identity as orthodox Anglican Christians in North America is as exiles, strangers and aliens. "The beautiful city of classical Anglicanism, in which we were raised or to which we had found our way, now lies in ruins. We have been taken captive, against our will, to a place we did not wish to go."
The 3,200 delegates from 77 dioceses with seven Primates representing 32 million Anglicans were told that impatience, murmuring only lengthens the purgatory of the wilderness that orthodox Episcopalians were now in. He also warned against idolatry and despair and urged his hearers to trust God for His plan and His deliverance.
A standing roll call of who was now in or out of The Episcopal Church revealed that about one third of those present had now left the Episcopal Church in the past few years for other orthodox jurisdictions.
Duncan also warned about self-righteousness. "It is not just someone else's sin that got us here. It is our sin, our complicity, our unfaithfulness," that has gotten us into this mess, he said.
The Moderator of the Network urged his hearers to choose truth over accommodation. "For everyone in this hall we are continuing to deal with choosing Jesus first: Jesus above culture, Jesus above comfort, Jesus above property, Jesus above family and friends, Jesus above any other security, Jesus above a wayward North American Church. We are here to confirm our choice for Truth above accommodation. This is the evangelical choice."
Duncan urged his hearers to choose accountability over autonomy. "There are lots of fragments in this hall: fragments of congregations, fragments of dioceses, fragments of denomination. Freedom, like Truth, is a passion that all of us share. But the vast danger here is that we will get stuck in our freedom Forty years of Anglican splits and splinters tells the story only too well. Autonomy is every bit as much a danger as accommodation." To choose accountability over autonomy is the catholic choice, he said.
The orthodox bishop said it was imperative to choose mission over sullen inaction. "Is your congregation a church-planting congregation? Is your congregation partnered with a Global South diocese? Is your congregation functioning in local needs-based evangelism? Are you personally engaged in a Matthew 25 ministry?"
Duncan said the Hope and a Future conference was to model a united, biblical and missionary way of being Anglicans and blasted revisionists saying that the departures from the Anglican Way were the symptom of a deeper problem, which is the diminution of the authority of Holy Scripture."
But a panel of Anglican Primates from Africa, South East Asia and the West Indies ratcheted up the ante by suggesting that the problems with the Episcopal Church were so entrenched that a split might be inevitable by orthodox Episcopalians from the rest of the Episcopal Church.
When asked how orthodox Episcopalians can remain in the heretical Episcopal Church, Archbishop Yong Ping Chung, (South East Asia) said, "Yes, we will stand with you as long as you remain faithful, biblical, evangelical and orthodox."
His words were echoed and carried to another level by Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola who challenged those attending the conference to make a clear choice about their allegiance. "Many of you have one leg in ECUSA and one leg in the Network. You must let us know exactly where you stand, are you ECUSA or are you [in the] Network?" Akinola words brought the people to their feet with a standing ovation.
West Indies Archbishop Drexel W. Gomez said Anglicanism was really now is a state of flux, with the American church teaching a "new gospel" that affirmed cultural values that ran counter to historic Christianity.
"We requested the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint Panel of Reference that would bring justice to faithful people in ECUSA who are suffering unfairly. It was a matter of urgency. This was started in February. Now it is November and he has not yet responded to the first case. As of yesterday the Panel has not considered any matters placed before it. We are unhappy and disappointed. It is not taken as seriously as it was intended it to be."
Central African Archbishop Bernard Malango said the Anglican Communion was broken because of the Episcopal Church's own stand.
Archbishop Gomez said the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop and his colleagues will continue to fudge their responses, "they will say one thing when they mean something else."
"The final answer lies with the Primates of the Communion and not with a couple of people in England."
Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola said the ECUSA is resisting every effort to do anything we have asked them to do, All they have been doing is trying to justify their actions and defend their new theology and that is unacceptable to us."
"We are being forced into this by people who are teaching something new and something totally different. I put the blame squarely on their shoulders," he said.
Uganda Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said the Anglican Communion was at the dawn of a new era. "We are people centered; we can go beyond national boundaries."
"With Jesus Christ you can never kill the church because Christ is alive. The voice of Christ is rising up in America. Trusting the Lord may be hard but there is no other way. We stand with you, we encourage you."
Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola said he was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and his church was actively evangelizing non-Christian force in his land. "We must proclaim the gospel. We have over 17 million people and we are sending missionaries to the Sudan and Madagascar. Our church believes in aggressive evangelism. He said he has challenged his province to double their membership to 36 million in three years.
He asked the Network to tell him what they in the Global South wanted them to do.
Quincy bishop Keith Ackerman addressing the situation in the Episcopal Church said the burden of proof is not on those who have kept the faith but on those who have departed.
"Revisionists have brought chaos out of order and created God in their own image. The difference is between being inclusive and comprehensive. It is not about the Bishop of New Hampshire (a homosexual) but building the sure foundation of Jesus Christ."
Ackerman blasted the arrogance of revisionists who think they can change the Blessed Trinity. "It is arrogant to think we have the right to change what has been entrusted to us, it is beyond what I can comprehend. Calling God the creator is like calling my mother and asking if he could speak to his sperm donor. Saying the Son is merely Redeemer is to declassify Him and we don't have to claim his as my Lord and Savior, and to call the Holy Spirit 'sanctifier' violates the meaning of sanctification. Do we give communion based on hospitality? No. Metanoia, that is conversion, must take place first."
The Anglo-Catholic Bishop said baptism was now being viewed as a polite initiatory rite. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Martyrs have died for that truth. We are one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which god has formed with his blood. We are a small part of one big worldwide communion. We can reclaim and proclaim our heritage."
"It is not about tea with the queen but communion with Jesus Christ." Ackerman publicly apologized for standing back and watching things take place and letting things happen. "We have allowed ecclesiacrats to rise to the top. Biblical fundamentals and canonical fundamentals are not about forming something new, but getting back to basics."
"No more task forces, it is time to get into the trenches, rebuilding the people and raising up saints of God. We have been called to rebuild, we should never complain but thank God for the opportunity."
The Rev. Ellis Brust, an American Anglican Council spokesman, said God has chosen us for such a time as this. "We did not choose the battle; we must be strong and very courageous."
The Rt. Rev. Leonard Riches, Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church said he came to the conference because of seniority not antiquity. "We have a 40 year history of Anglicanism dividing splintering and fragmenting."
"My forbears pioneered that effort. The REC is celebrating its 132nd anniversary as a testimony to the grace of God. We have walked a separate path. That is the concern that lies at the heart of our Common Cause partnership."
"Well my friends when are we going to end the insanity, the insanity I am talking about is the proliferation of jurisdictions that lay claim to being Anglicans, they have now exceeded the number 40 in the US. I think insanity best describes it. We have experienced fragmentation, impairment and duplication, competitiveness with the inevitable result that is not just senseless or mindless but it is unhealthy, unwholesome and symptomatic of a disease that calls out for cure."
Speaking about Common Cause, Riches said the rationale of the Common Cause partnership is motivated and stems from sensitivity to the heartbeat of our Lord Jesus Christ. "How could it not be; the heart of Christ calls out for it, the will of Christ demands it."
What has taken place? God laid a burden of necessity on the heart of Duncan and we owe him a debt of gratitude, said the Presiding Bishop.
Ekklesia General Secretary Canon Bill Atwood said the new regional body CAPAC - the Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and Caribbean (CAPAC) was inspired by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) which lead to the creation of a body that will "enable coordination, cooperation, collaboration, and communication, and to encourage mission as well as resource theological education and ministry of the Gospel in the Caribbean and the Americas."
It will raise up Third World leaders, said Atwood. "We signed a covenant of understanding with Archbishops Greg Venables (Southern Cone) and Drexel Gomez (West Indies) because of the crisis in the Anglican Communion which has lead to a lack of vision.
Atwood ripped the Episcopal Church saying the ECUSA had invested $40 million to shrink the church and it was losing four people every hour, over 700 each week, and 36,000 each year.
He also took a slice out of conservative churches saying that 1000 of the most vibrant churches spent more on air conditioning thanThe 1,000 most vibrant conservative parishes spend more on air-conditioning than all the provinces of Africa spend on provincial ministry put together. "We need a new passion for the lost and for the gospel," he said.
Atwood praised the ministry of Recife Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti, describing the hands on ministry among the poor by Living Waters Church in his diocese as "Spirit filled with evangelical teaching and hands on ministry with the poor."
The primates were divided over the ordination of women, with Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi saying his province ordained women. "It is very successful like the ministry of men; we encourage the church to do it."
Uganda Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said, "My women priests excel much more than some men. Women work alongside men in the primary goal of reaching people for Christ."
Southeast Asian primate Yong Ping Chung said his province did not ordain women, but affirmed the place and role of women in the church saying, "We have no doubt of the ministry of women. Women feature very importantly in the church life of our Province. Ordination is not the end of all of ministry in the church it should not be a communion breaking issue."
The archbishop praised the recent work of the AMIA on women's ordination and urged its study.
Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda said his diocese had 33 parishes with 200 congregations lead by lay people and women. "It is not a big issue. Women have lead people to Christ."
Network leader Bishop Robert Duncan said the Hope and Future Conference comes at a kairos moment in western Civilization and Christian history.
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