(article from ‘Praeludium’ web-site – Fr. Mark Harris, TEC)
David Virtue, on Virtueonline has reported
that two Nigerian
bishops and one clearly irregular bishop, Julian Dobbs, have refused to receive communion at the ACC meeting in New Zealand. He reports,”The Most Rev. Ikechi Nwosu, Archbishop of Aba in the Church of Nigeria
, the largest Province in the Anglican Communion
, the Ven. Dr. Abraham Okorie, Diocese of Nsukka and US-based CANA Bishop Julian Dobbs said they could not take communion because relationships are fractured over serious Gospel issues such as: the uniqueness and Lordship of Jesus Christ, the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman, and the historic understanding that the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation.”Bishop Nwosu and Dr. Okorie are both members of the Anglican Consultative Council
. That they decided not to receive communion is not unexpected, given past experience, but continues the strange notion that refraining fromCommunion ought to be used as a political / theological statement. In particular the opening Eucharist of the ACC makes the refusal a “prime time” protest event. Oh well.Meanwhile Bishop Julian Dobbs has surfaced again. He is a bishop chosen by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America
(CANA) and serves, I believe, on a commission or committee of the ACC as an “advisor.” He is at the ACC meeting, but is not a member. So although his not taking communion is a show of solidarity with the two Nigerian members, it is not much else. Except of course to remind us that the Anglican Communion Office has deemed it proper to invite as a participant from its networks a person whose office is the result of recent deliberate continuation of incursion into the life of a member church by another church.Once the camel gets its nose under the tent flap we are just talking about the details. Pretty soon the camel will be in the tent and there will be no end of it.Meanwhile, the ENS reports
“Anglican Communion General Secretary Kenneth Kearon said an Oct. 29 (local time) press briefing that while no province is officially staying away from the ACC15 meeting, there are some people missing.
Anglican Communion News Service reported that out of 87 delegates, 10 are not yet present. They include three members from Uganda and one each from Congo, Ireland, North India, Pakistan, Philippines, Tanzania and from among those invited by the Anglican Communion Standing Committee to ensure diversity of membership on the council. Some of those seven are still in transit while others have declined because of personal or administrative reasons, or because of visa issues.
“There’s no province staying away,” Kearon said.
The Church of the Province of Uganda is not represented at the meeting, but only because it forgot to choose its members, he said. The province was due to have chosen its three members this past summer at the same meeting during which the Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali was elected the 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.”
The briefing puts a good face forward, although reporting that “some people are missing” leads one to wonder. Uganda I suspect did not come on purpose. The others are subject to the problems of life in this troubled world.
Maybe it is just as well Uganda did not come. Had they come they too could have refused communion and joined those whose sense of what “together” is about is limited to making statements one way or another by their presence or absence at the Lord’s Table.