On May 2 at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Oviedo, Florida, the Very Rev. Gerald Lee Schnackenberg and the Very Rev. Carl Eugene Buffington, Jr. were consecrated as Bishop Emissaries for AMiA by the Rt. Rev. William Mugenyi of the Diocese of Boga, Anglican Church of the Congo, the Rt. Reverend Masimango Katanda of the Diocese of Kindu, Anglican Church of the Congo, and the Rt. Reverend Sospeter T. Ndenz, Diocese of Kibondo, Anglican Church of Tanzania. A couple of years ago, then Fr. Gerry Schnackenberg gave his approval for me to enter into a discernment process for holy orders in AMiA, so for me personally his consecration is very poignant. Congratulations to Bishops Schnackenberg and Buffington, and may God richly bless their ministry among us and to a world in dire need of the Gospel. As the Orthodox would say at the consecration of a bishop, "Axioi!"
Unfortunately, the joy of the consecrations has been somewhat dampered by the re-ignition of the ACNA's old hostility toward AMiA, which we had hoped would be laid to rest after Archbishop Duncan's concilatory gestures toward AMiA last year. The renewed hostility stems from a dust-up between the Primate of the Anglican Church of the Congo and the two consecrating bishops from that province over the consecrations, and certain folks deemed journalists in conservative Anglican circles are leveraging the dust-up in the Congolese church in order to score rhetorical points. A particularly uncharitable display can be seen in May 13 episode of "Anglican Unscripted", which was given the lovely title, "The Mission's Zombies", featuring this puerile caption: "The Mission is not dead yet. . .booh!"
If the childish title of this Anglican TV episode weren't enough to highlight the utter contempt for AMiA held by many in ACNA, the snarky content of the video dispels all doubt, as does the rapidity with which the principals at Anglican TV rushed to judgment in taping and publishing this video. They apparently did so without having heard "all sides of this story", as Fr. Conger acknowledges at 12:56 of the video. Tsk. It seems Mr. Kallsen and his Episcopalian (!) colleague Fr. Conger take no thought whatsoever about how this kind of careless and self-congratulatory commentary scandalizes and hurts many of the faithful, not only in AMiA, but even in their own provinces.
Predictably, ACNA news gatherer and commentator David Virtue also chimed in on all this. I left a comment at that discussion and provided a reference to a text from the Book of Acts for everyone's consideration. It reads as follows:
When (the Pharisees) heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill (the apostles). But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God.” (Emphasis mine.)
Here in Colorado, the Colorado Anglican Society is seeking to transcend the old feud and work together for the cause of Anglican unity-in-diversity and the proclamation of the Gospel. The Society's board is composed of clergy from ACNA, PEARUSA, and AMiA. An example of what the Holy Spirit can do, provided we don't quench Him.
Now, I am just a simple deacon with little knowledge of or interest in the workings of bishops, including my own. My chief concern is my diaconal ministry to the saints and to the suffering, not the messy and oftentimes sinful world of church politics, so you'll have to forgive me if this blog entry reflects a certain naïveté. That being said, I think we as orthodox Anglicans in the process of realignment could spare ourselves -- and more importantly, our churches -- a lot of grief by adopting the Gamaliel Principle. You would think that Anglicans might have learned that lesson from the tragic case of John Wesley.
Unless, that is, it does turn out to be the case that Anglicanism is merely "about form and function", as Mr. Kallsen avers at 13:40 at the video. Just ponder the implications of that statement, however, from a pneumatological point of view.