Akinola installs US bishop, despite appeals

by
10 May 2007

by Rachel Harden

New territory: Archbishop Akinola (centre, right) at the installation of Bishop Minns (centre) on Saturday

New territory: Archbishop Akinola (centre, right) at the installation of Bishop Minns (centre) on Saturday

THE PRIMATE of All Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, went ahead with the installation of the Rt Revd Martyn Minns as a missionary bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) at the weekend, despite requests by both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States not to do so.

Both Dr Williams and Dr Jefferts Schori said that, by going ahead with the installation of Bishop Minns as leader of CANA, a conservative group for those wanting to opt out of the Episcopal Church, Archbishop Akinola would heighten tensions within the Anglican Communion.

The service was held at the Hyl-ton Memorial Chapel, a non-denominational church in Virginia, where Bishop Minns was previously the Rector of a large Episcopal church, before he was consecrated as a bishop by the Church of Nigeria last summer.

Dr Williams and Dr Jefferts Schori had sent separate letters to Archbishop Akinola. Dr Schori’s said that, by installing Bishop Minns, Archbishop Akinola “would display to the world division and disunity that are not part of the mind of Christ”, and would “not help the efforts of reconciliation”.

The Episcopal News Service also reported that she had said that the installation would represent a violation of the “ancient customs of the Church”, which respect the autonomy of individual provinces.

Archbishop Akinola responded by saying that CANA was “a safe place for those who wish to remain faithful Anglicans but can no longer do so within the Episcopal Church as it is currently led”.

The text of Dr Williams’s letter was not made public, but James Rosenthal, the director of communications at the Anglican Communion Office, confirmed that it had been sent on 4 May, after Archbishop Akinola had arrived in the US.

Archbishop Akinola responded that he had not received the letter until after the installation on Saturday. He said that CANA was “for the Communion and we are more than happy to surrender it to the Communion once the conditions that prompted our division have been overturned.”

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He described the most recent statement from the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops as “both insulting and condescending”. They had made it “very clear that they have no intention of listening to the voice of the rest of the Communion. They are determined to pursue their own unbiblical agenda,” he wrote to Dr Williams. The Bishops had rejected the Primates’ scheme for pastoral oversight for dissenting congregations in the US (News, 23 March).

In his sermon at the installation, Bishop Minns was reported to have said that the Anglican Communion “is wrestling with irreconcilable truths”. He offered CANA as a gift to those in the Episcopal Church who “crave a different theology”.

In a news conference, Bishop Minns said that he saw CANA as a building block for replacing an Episcopal Church that had strayed from traditional Anglican teachings.

At the Primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam, the Episcopal Church was asked to pledge not to consecrate as bishops gay men or lesbians who are in relationships (News, 23 February). The Primates also asked that the Episcopal Church not allow its clergy to authorise blessings of same-sex couples.

In a news conference, Bishop Minns said that he saw CANA as a building block for replacing an Episcopal Church that had strayed from traditional Anglican teachings.

At the Primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam, the Episcopal Church was asked to pledge not to consecrate as bishops gay men or lesbians who are in relationships (News, 23 February). The Primates also asked that the Episcopal Church not allow its clergy to authorise blessings of same-sex couples.

Press, page 26

Should Archbishop Akinola have heeded the requests of Dr Jefferts Schori and Dr Williams to refrain from installing Bishop Minns in Virginia? Vote here

Press, page 26

Should Archbishop Akinola have heeded the requests of Dr Jefferts Schori and Dr Williams to refrain from installing Bishop Minns in Virginia? Vote here

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