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Anglican officials denounce consecrations as ‘schismatic’

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    CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE From the Presbyterian News Service ... June 26, 2001 Anglican officials denounce consecrations as ‘schismatic’ Conservative
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 26, 2001
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      CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE

      From the Presbyterian News Service
      ------

      June 26, 2001
      Anglican officials denounce consecrations as �schismatic�
      Conservative Episcopalian group ordains four priests as
      �missionaries� to U.S.

      by Chris Herlinger in New York and Cedric Pulford in London
      Ecumenical News International

      NEW YORK CITY � Ignoring pleas by top Anglican leaders, two
      non-American bishops have ordained a group of four U.S. Episcopal
      priests as missionary bishops of the conservative Anglican Mission in
      America (AMiA).

      The priests were consecrated by Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda
      and Datuk Yong Ping Chung of the Anglican province of South East Asia
      during a June 24 ceremony at a non-Episcopal church in Denver.

      The move was seen by church observers as a sign of the growing
      prominence of a conservative church movement but was sternly
      criticized by Anglican leaders as a severe threat to church unity.

      In London, Arun Kataria, press spokesman for the Archbishop of
      Canterbury, George Carey, told ENI that he regretted that the
      consecrations had gone ahead despite Carey�s "strong but
      businesslike" appeal to the dissenting bishops before the
      consecrations.

      The archbishop of Canterbury is the leader of the world-wide Anglican
      Communion. The Episcopal Church is the official Anglican church in
      the United States.

      Kataria told ENI that the new bishops could not be recognized by the
      See of Canterbury unless they became reconciled with the Episcopal
      Church of the USA�s presiding bishop. In a letter addressed to the
      bishops before the consecrations, Carey wrote: "What you propose to
      do is in blatant disregard of our Anglican ecclesiology."

      The Colorado ordinations � which took place during a three-hour
      ceremony attended by more than 1000 people � were the latest in a
      series of dramatic and highly public moves by the conservative
      mission movement to establish itself as an alternative to the
      Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) while still remaining
      tied to the world-wide Anglican Communion.

      AMiA supporters are unhappy with an Episcopal Church they say has
      abandoned tradition on such issues as the ordination of women and
      openly gay and lesbian clergy.

      They also decry the loss of membership in the past 30 years within
      the Episcopal Church and other U.S. Protestant denominations and
      contrast that with what they call the "extraordinary" growth of
      Anglicanism and Christianity elsewhere in the world, including Africa
      and Asia.

      "The United States, who once sent missionaries to Africa and Asia, is
      now becoming a mission field in the new millennium," the AMiA said in
      a statement. In an unusual strategy, the AMiA has enlisted the
      support of conservative bishops in the Third World who believe the
      Episcopal Church is the errant "liberal" member of the more
      conservative world-wide Anglican Communion. The AmiA strategy
      involves consecrating bishops as missionary representatives of their
      Anglican provinces.

      The newly consecrated priests � Thaddeus Barnum of South Carolina,
      Alexander Greene of Colorado, Thomas Johnston of Arkansas and Douglas
      Weiss of California � remain within the Episcopal church. But they
      are under the jurisdiction of the Rwanda and South East Asia bishops.

      Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal church in the
      United States, also refused to recognize the consecrations.
      Archbishop Griswold declined to comment after the Denver ceremony.
      But in a strongly worded letter to the two bishops prior to the June
      24 event, he criticized the action, raising the specter of "schism,"
      or church separation, and calling the ordinations a deliberate
      attempt to circumvent church polity.

      By consecrating bishops in the United States, he said, the dissenting
      archbishops "without informing me and certainly without my
      permission, are planning to enter this province with the express
      purpose of acting contrary to a basic principle of the Communion that
      no bishop is to perform Episcopal acts in the diocese of another
      bishop without obtaining the bishop�s permission."

      The action, Archbishop Griswold said, was "a profound violation of
      what it means to live in communion and could have drastic and
      negative effects within our Anglican fellowship."

      Two other Americans, Charles Murphy and John Rodgers, were
      consecrated in Singapore in January 2000 by Archbishop Kolini and
      Moses Tay, the former primate of the province of South East Asia.

      Both Archbishop Carey and Archbishop Griswold had criticized those
      ordinations, Carey calling them "at best irregular and at worst
      schismatic."

      Kataria, Carey�s spokesman, told ENI that the Denver consecrations
      were different from those of Rodgers and Murphy because they came
      after meetings of Anglican primates in Oporto and Kanuga at which the
      issue of extra-territorial consecrations had been thrashed out. It
      had been agreed there that bishops were not to act in other provinces
      without proper consultations.

      "The Archbishop [Carey] will reflect on this," Kataria said. "There
      are a number of options open to him, but he will not let people know
      in advance what he is going to do."

      Church observers have said the AMiA consecrations have far-reaching
      consequences because the polity of Anglicans is expressly based on a
      geographical diocese headed by a bishop. Some conservatives have also
      criticized the action because of its threat to church authority.

      Earlier this month, three Anglican bishops in South East Asia
      disassociated themselves from the actions taken by Archbishop Yong,
      saying they did not believe he had the legal authority to perform the
      ordinations.


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