20 April 2009

Something old, something blue, something stolen, nothing new

Bright Week was a quiet week for the Anglican Communion. The schismatic primates met in London to recognize themselves but that was it.

What is interesting is that the world took little notice of the event or the press conference that announced the "new church" in North America. A scant handful of press attended. It must have been devastating to the Gafconners who believe the world is going to beat a path to their door.

The whole issue is like "Groundhog Day." I have the feeling I've heard all this and written about it before. Many times.

According to the Church Times, Duncan, who attended the Puritan Primates' second day of meeting, had
Given a progress report to the GAFCON Primates. His Church had 100,000 members in 700 congregations in 28 dioceses. On any given Sunday, there were about 80,000 worshippers, about ten per cent of the numbers in the Episcopal Church, “and growing all the time”.
Notice the new numbers. No longer are there 200,000 plus members as claimed just a few months go by Duncan or even 150,000 as prophesied by Schofield; now there are 100,00 members. In February Duncan's web page referred us to a report stating the average attendance as 81,311 people--exactly. Also gone are the 900+ congregations: the new figure is 700 congregations.

We must remember that these figures include several groups that left TEC long ago including the Reformed Episcopal Church formed when Southerners left the Episcopal Church officially in 1873 allegedly over "retaining low church evangelical theology" (read Calvinism") but the split had pro slavery roots going back to the 1830s.

It is most interesting that the schismatics are unable to stand on their own record or their theology. They continually resort to ad hominem attacks to validate their religion. and themselves True to form, Duncan, the misogynist, could not resist the opportunity to attack ++Katharine Jefferts-Schori Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.
Bishop Duncan echoed the insistence of the Primates that theirs was not a breakaway movement. “I’m a cradle Anglican. My grandfather was a boy chorister. . . My theological views haven’t changed. The problem is that folks who have become the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the United States have pulled the rug out from under me. The person who is our Presiding Bishop, she didn’t begin as an Anglican. I did. She represents something very different. I don’t think I’m a breakaway. Emphasis added.
She is a convert! whereas Duncan's grand father sang in the choir with the old ladies which certainly qualfies Bob to be the new Luther. One must be born into TEC (and born male) to be a leader. Converts are inferior. Duncan's cradle status is just pure snobbery.

And of course Duncan and his group play the the injured-partiy-in-the-divorce card again:
I don’t believe I have divided the Church. I believe the innovators are the ones who are dividing the Church. I love them, and I want to behave in a godly way towards them, and I will do everything I can to convince them about the truth that’s been delivered; but my focus now has to be on those who don’t know Jesus.
Well, he has certainly tried to divide the TEC property and other assets. But the sad fact is that it is Duncan and his cohort who have pushed for the schism and done all he could to bring it to fruition. For him to say he has not been at least partially responsible for the division is a boldfaced lie. By the way, did you notice a personal pronoun was used eight times in one sentence?

Duncan went on to say
The creation of the ACNA had meant that the United States now had two parallel Anglican provinces, Bishop Duncan said, and this was “not altogether comfortable”, as the meeting of all the Primates in Alexandria had admitted. But the purpose of the GAFCON Primates had not been to create a second Church. “For the Communion as a whole, we have not talked about two parallel Churches. The majority of the Anglican Communion is saying that where the Communion has always been is where the Communion needs to be, and this group represents that view. We are the Communion. Who has the right to take the Communion from us?”
Well, of course it isn't altogether comfortable - they want the whole pie, not a slice of it. Greedy people are never satisfied unless they have it all. As for who has the right to "Anglican Communion," it is not the Gafconners who decide whi is or is not in the communion:,it is the ABC. What he will eventually do is any one's guess.

Of of these days the Gafconners will say something new, but I'm not going to hold my breath awaiting the day.

The really interesting write up is from The Guardian. Paul Handley writes
So, what traffic analogy should I apply? A common jibe at the Anglican Communion is that it's in the middle of slow car-crash. That sounds neat, but it's not strictly true. How about this one instead: the Anglican coach has drifted into the slow lane and is in danger of disappearing up a slip road [frontage road]. Along come the conservatives in their nippy little minibus, labelled GAFCON after the Global Anglican Future Conference at which they got organised last June, and they offer to take some of the passengers.

But maybe the Anglican coach is still on the motorway, and it's the minibus that is heading up the slip road. Or perhaps they are both on the motorway, but heading in opposite directions. Or they've both been held up in a jam. This is why these analogies are a bad idea: all they explain is one person's prejudices about a situation.
This sums it up well:
And so when Bob Duncan, leader of the new Church in North America, spoke of "two religions. . . One is classic Christianity. One is actually not Christianity," it was hardly surprising. The GAFCON leaders denied charges of being schismatics, or of breaking away from the Communion.. (They looked at me pityingly when I mentioned "breaking away" It was they who had been forced out, they said. They remained loyal to Anglican teaching; it was everybody else who had broken away. They wanted to restore Anglicanism to its original roots. They didn't appear worried that revolutionaries down the ages had used the same argument in all sorts of contexts. Or that there wasn't anybody there at the Renaissance Hotel to hear.

The upshot is that the GAFCON revolution, the minibus, what you will, will continue to progress with or without an audience of journalists. Conservative Christians don't, by and large, worry what other people might think.
An that is the truth - and they particularly don't worry what Jesus would say about their actions.

A certain H8 site has a different take on the lack of interest in the Gafconner press conference. He claims the lack of interest is because (paraphrase to avoid unpleasant exchanges)
The majority of the Anglican Communion doesn't care what The Episcopal Church is doing. As far as the Communion is concerned, TEC is a former Provence. TEC has money but that's about all
He is as wrong as Corrigan. There is only one province of the Communion in the United States and it is The Episcopal Church. The puritans can yowl until the cows come home, but that is the fact. The Duncannites are the odd man out, like it or not. But truth never interferes with the Gafcon crowd - truth just gets in the way of their imagination.

The lack of interest in the Gafconnite press conference says the 21st century is finished with the 15th century and its reenactors. They had their fifteen minutes in the spotlight; but the spot when dark and the house closed. All that remains are a few actors who continue to spout well rehearsed verse to an empty house.

The cartoon is by the ever brilliant Dave Walker from The Church Times Blog.