Bishop Minns: What does all this mean?

BB NOTE: Bishop Minns, BIshop of CANA, writes to the CANA Churches on the recent flurry coming out of London. Here’s an excerpt:

What does all this mean?

First of all it is clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury faces an impossible task – he is confronted by two irreconcilable truth claims. This has been the presenting problem from the beginning – that is the key issue with which the Windsor report wrestles. What Archbishop Rowan has chosen to do now, however, is to ignore the underlying issue and elevate process over principle.

Second, all of the various efforts at discipline resulting from several meetings and communiqués have been ignored. The Lambeth Conference has been reduced to a meeting where bishops and their spouses simply gather for group bible study, prayer and shared reflection. These are significant activities but hardly justify the enormous expense of such an extended and world-wide gathering. They also presume a shared understanding of what the Bible is, who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Without any such agreement how can there be a coherent gospel to present to a hurting world?

Third, the Windsor Report and the Dar es Salaam Communiqué clearly recognized that the various pastoral provisions for orthodox Anglicans within the U.S. – especially CANA – are in response to the defiant and unrepentant actions of the Episcopal Church since 2003. There is no moral equivalence between immoral living and a creative pastoral provision. To ignore this reality and to pretend that by simply excluding one or two individuals we can have business as usual is decidedly shortsighted.

Finally, we need to remember that all this confusion is simply one more phase of a global conflict for the soul of the Anglican Communion. I have no doubt that there will be many more media moments and decision points in the coming months. It is a profoundly important battle that has eternal significance. We would do well to reread Ephesians chapter 6 and remember that in the heat of the battle our call is to pray and stand firm!

One final observation: Nowhere in the announcement was any mention made of the unprecedented court battle that commenced in January and continues for eleven CANA congregations in Northern Virginia. This action, initiated by the Diocese of Virginia and the Presiding Bishop of TEC, continues in direct defiance of the Primates’ recommendations in Dar es Salaam; it is shameful behavior by those who declare themselves to be Christian leaders committed to reconciliation.

We are hopeful that the lawsuits will eventually be settled in our favor but this may take a very long time. It is a costly process that diverts needed energy and funds from vital ministry initiatives. One thing is clear, because of all the publicity we have almost unlimited opportunities to witness to the transforming love of God. We can all take heart in remembering that CANA was the place where Jesus transformed a disaster into a celebration – I believe that it still is, the miracle continues, and we will see a similar transformation in the coming days.

Read the letter in full here.