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ACNA'09: The creation of an Archbishop

ACNA'09: The creation of an Archbishop

By Mary Ann Mueller in Plano, Texas
VOL Special Correspondent

PLANO, TX-The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan processed into Christ Church Plano as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the moderator of the Common Cause Partnership. An hour and a half later, he processed out as The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, first archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.

How did this transformation happen? The impressive 17-minute ceremony was wrapped in heartfelt prayer and enveloped in the joyful celebration of the Eucharist. Bishop Duncan was surrounded by numerous Anglican bishops from around the world along with ecumenical visitors to witness and concur with the investiture of the Pittsburgh bishop with the title and authority of the office of the first archbishop of the re-established orthodox Anglican presence on the North American continent.

The recognition and investiture of Robert William Duncan, Jr. as first archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America happened this way...

Gathering around the semicircular altar rail, the lead bishops of the Common Cause Partnership: The Rt. Revs. Keith Ackerman, Forward in Faith-North America; David Anderson, American Anglican Council; Bill Atwood, Missionary Convocation of Kenya; Sandy Greene, Anglican Coalition in Canada; John Guernsey, Missionary Convocation of Uganda; Donald Harvey, Anglican Network in Canada, Jack Iker, Missionary Convocation of the Southern Cone; Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglican in North America;, and Chuck Murphy, Anglican Mission in the Americas; along with The Most Rev. David Zubig bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, and Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh Standing Committee members The Rev. Karen Stephenson and Gladys Hunt-Mason all said in unison, "Right Reverend Father in God, we present to you this godly and learned man to be recognized and invested as Archbishop and Primate of this Church."

"Let the Mandate of Election be read," replied the ceremony's bishop presider, The Most Rev. Leonard Riches (REC) who is the most senior bishop of the more than 100,000 North American Anglicans in the United States and Canada spiritually united in coming together to help unite a fragmented and authentic orthodox Anglican presence on the North American continent. They comprise more than 700 parishes and missions encompassing the dioceses, networks, clusters and missionary jurisdictions including those from the Southern Cone in South America; Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda in Africa; the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC), the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA), the Anglican Coalition in Canada (ACiC), the American Anglican Council (AAC), the Anglican Communion Network (CAN) and Forward in Faith-North America (FiF-NA).

"To our venerable brother, Robert Duncan, presently Bishop of Pittsburgh, now duly elected as Archbishop and Primate of North America, greetings and blessings," began the Provincial Registrar The Rev. Lynn Ashmeade who was in traditional choir dress of cassock, surplus and tippet. "Desiring to provide a new Chief Shepherd and Metropolitan for the important Church of North America, we judge it best to entrust its governance to you, Venerable Brother, because you are endowed with distinguished qualities and are very expert in the pastoral ministry. Therefore, following the election of the College of Bishops, by our canonical and apostolic authority, we receive you as Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America with all the rights and obligations related to this office, and commit ourselves individually and corporately to pay you true and collegial honor in all things lawful and honest.

"Furthermore, Venerable Brother, following the example of the Good Shepherd, see that the faithful entrusted to you are shepherded in such a way, that they may be likewise zealous in prayer, in listening to and keeping the Word of God, in the exercise of the works of mercy, in making new disciples for Christ through evangelization and baptism, in the reception of the Sacraments, especially Eucharist, which is the Bread of Life and the pledge of eternal life.

"May the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you, and with all the ecclesial Community of North American who are very dear to us, whom we bless wholeheartedly," she said concluding. "This Mandate was signed by al members of the College of Bishops on 21 June, Anno Domini 2009."

"Most Reverend Father in God, we request you take the appointed oaths," stated Bishop Riches. As the Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, the installation ceremony's presider was attired in the ancient Anglican white rochet with red cuffs and covered by a red chimere draped with a wide black tippet. He wore a red zucchetto on his head. His pectoral cross hung from his neck and was supported by the rochet.

"The Anglican Church in North America is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church worshipping he one true, God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds; which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in the historic formularies, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priest and Deacons," he said. "In the declaration you are about to make will you affirm you loyalty to this inheritance of faith as your inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to those in your care?"

Turning to the assembled congregation, the new archbishop-designate replied. "I Robert William Duncan, do so affirm and accordingly declare my belief in he faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, set forth in the catholic creeds, embraced in the Jerusalem Declaration, and to which the Fundaments Declarations of this Province bear witness; l and in public prayer and administration of the Sacraments, I will use only the forms of service which are authorized by or allowed by Canon.

"Further, I do solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation," the bishop continued. "...and I consequently hold myself bound to conform my life and ministry thereto, and I do solemnly engage to confirm to the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of Christ as this Church ahas received them."

Being handed the Book of the Gospels, Bishop Riches asked, "Most Reverend father in God, I now ask you to declare that you will faithfully serve this Province of the Anglican Church in North America, consistent with councilor decisions of confession, Anglican archbishops and bishops worldwide, defending its rights and statutes, and preserving its liberties."

Placing his hand on the Book of Gospels, Bishop Duncan affirmed in a strong voice, "In the Name of God, I will."

"I, Robert William Duncan, by Divine Providence Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, promise that as much as in me lies I will be a faithful pastor to the bishops, clergy and people of this Province, that we may all be equipped for the work of God's service and build up in the Body of Christ," Bishop Duncan replied in a measured voice," the archbishop-designate continued.

"and furthermore I do solemnly declare that I shall faithfully and accountably service in the councils of he confessing Anglicans globally, and shall dutifully observe and keep the statues, ordinances and customs and preserve the liberties of the churches and he people entrusted to me; and shall set forward and promote such works as may be fitly done therein for the service o God, for the benefits of His church, and for the extension of the Kingdom of God, so help me God and these Holy Gospels," he concluded kissing the Book of Gospel's to confirm his oath.

The archbishop-designate was reminded by the Deacon of Liturgy and two youth of his primatial responsibility to them.

"Jesus said, 'You call me teacher and Lord --- and you are right, for that is what I am.'" The Rev. Mr. Andrew DeFusco said, quoting the Gospel of John. "'So, if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also aught to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example that you also should so as I have done to you. Very truly I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one Who sent them.'"

Then two Anglican Church in North America young people, quoting from the Gospel of Mark, reminded their incoming archbishop and primate what Jesus said, "'Truly I tell you whoever does not received the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

"Archbishop Duncan, always remember that you are first an adopted Child of God." The two young men stated. "A Christian with us and an Archbishop for us."

Turning to the gathering, Bishop Duncan humbly begged the congregation's prayers.

"My brothers and sisters, you have heard the pattern of leadership given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ," the bishop said in a soft voice. "Will you pray for me today and in the days to come, that I may know God's grace in the task which lies before me, and do all things in His strength alone?"

"We will, with God's help," came the emphatic reply from more than 1500 Anglicans who crowded into Christ Anglican Church to witness Bishop Duncan's elevation to the rank of archbishop and primate of the newly emerging 39th Anglican Province.

The assembled crowd included more than 60 bishops and nearly 300 deacons and priests each vested in their own unique clerical style reflecting the various jurisdictional liturgical fashions now making up the Anglican Church in North America. Some bishops were in flowing copes and matching mitre, while others were decked in a snow-white rochet with a red chimere and black tippet. Many priests were in choir vestments that included black cassocks with a long flowing white surplus with tippets or red stoles and overlaid by colorful academic hoods. A few priests wore a biretta which they doffed as they reverenced the altar. Deacons wore a red deacon's stole diagonally over their left shoulders. There was also one Franciscan in his familiar brown friar's habit.

"Let us pray," intoned Bishop Riches.

Bare headed and sinking to his knees before the altar, Bishop Duncan bowed low in humility and prayer as the nine stanzas of "Veni Creator Spiritus" were sung antiphonally between Cantor Mark Snow and the congregation. The Cantor intoned the Ninth Century in keeping with the rubrics for the Ordering of Bishops in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The assembly, with full organ accompaniment, sang the responses.

Still kneeling, Bishop Duncan faced The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, the Archbishop of the African Anglican Province of Kenya who represented the wider Anglican Communion in the establishment and recognition of the primatial office of Archbishop for Anglican Church in North America. The visiting Kenyan bishop was vested in an ornate ivory cope. His matching mitre featured the symbol of the descending dove.

"Archbishop Duncan. I anoint you with this holy oil; and sign you afresh with the sign of Christ in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in token that you are set aside and consecrated," the African prelate said. "...as a DEACON, to serve the Church of God, and toe work with its members in caring for she poor, the needy, the sick, and all who are in trouble...

"As a PRIEST, to work with other bishops and with your fellow-priests, as servant and shepherd among the people of this diocese;" the Kenyan archbishop continued. ..."to proclaim the work of the Lord and to call everyone to repent and turn to the Lord...

"As a BISHOP, to be chief missionary within a Church whose every member is called to be a missionary, to be lead in serving and caring for the people of God and to work with them in the oversight of the Church," Archbishop Nzimbi said in his Kenyan accented English. "... and to further its unity, to uphold its discipline, to guard its faith, and to interrupter the Gospel of Christ.

"You are to know your people and be known by them," the African bishop exhorted his American brother-in-the-mitre.

After dipping his thumb in the Chrism, Archbishop Nzimbi traced the Sign of the Cross on Bishop Duncan's head, saying in heavily accented English, Bishop Duncan, may your mind always think of Christ."

Tracing a Chrismed cross on Bishop Duncan's lips, the African primate said Duncan, may your lips always speak of Christ."

And finally Archbishop Nzimbi traced the Sign of the Cross in Bishop Duncan's outstretched palms while saying,: "Brother Duncan, may your hands always be ready to bless and heal in the Name of Christ, and may your life be filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit."

Standing, the newly installed Archbishop put on his gold-embodied mitre. He was robed in a flowing ivory cope decorated with entwined vines and roses. He was handed an ornately carved three-dimensional wooden primatial staff rather than a traditional bishop's hooked crosier. The gold-gilded wooden crucifix has the global logo of the new Anglican Church in North America as a part of the shaft of the Archbishop's staff.

"Archbishop Duncan, receive this Cross," Bishop Riches instructed. "Keep watch over the flock which God has appointed you shepherd. Encourage the faithful, restore the lost, build up the Body of Christ, that when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you may receive the unfading Crown of Glory."

Bowing his head, quietly and almost inaudibly, the new archbishop responded "Amen."

Meanwhile, The Rev. Canon David Roseberry, Christ Church's founding pastor and the emcee host for the evening's celebration, was acting as verger and sought out the Archbishop's bride of nearly 30 years bringing Nara Dewar Duncan to her archbishop-husband, after a brief stop among the other bishops' wives for a quick prayer for strength and some communal support. The new Archbishop's wife wore a bight red-orange multicolored print outfit sporting a white spider mum corsage on the left shoulder.

The new archbishop waited patiently in hushed silence as his wife made her way to his side. Stepping forward to greet her, he protectively embraced her with his free right arm while clutching his new primatial cross with his left hand.

"My brothers and sisters in Christ," Bishop Riches began. "I present to you Archbishop Robert William Duncan, our Archbishop and Father in God..."

At this point, the new Archbishop leaned over and quickly gave his wife a friendly peck on her left cheek. Afterwards, he broke out in a broad grin as he clutched his new symbol of primatial authority with both hands.

"Receive him in love and obey him in truth," Bishop Riches advised the newly established American Anglican Province, "that together we may give ourselves to the purpose of God in the Province, to the praise and glory of His Name."

"Amen." came the resounding reply from the Inaugural Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America.

---Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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