It has been some time since we offered any kind of update on the Anglican Wars, here and abroad. This one will be brief. I promise.
On one level, the hot news of the moment is that U.S. Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori is pleading — with little or no chance of success — for Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola not to proceed with this Saturday’s rites to install the first bishop of the rebel Convocation of Anglicans in North America. Believe me, that local/regional/national/global story is not going to end anytime soon, as regular GetReligion readers know.
However, there is an interesting shift or two in newspaper style in a recent New York Times update on the situation by reporter Neela Banerjee. On one level, it is interesting to note that the headline — “Visit by Anglican Bishop Draws Episcopal Anger” — now acknowledges a de facto division between the global body (Anglican) and the national body (Episcopal). Frankly, I don’t know how to get around that language problem, which must pain U.S. leaders no end.
But that is not the big news. Read the following and see if you can spot the key style innovation (which I do not think I have seen in the Times before):
The Nigerian archbishop, Peter J. Akinola, will preside over a ceremony in Virginia on May 5 installing Martyn Minns, former rector of an Episcopal church there, as the bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, an offshoot of the Nigerian church.
… Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, said in a statement that Archbishop Akinola’s acceptance of “an invitation to episcopal ministry here without any notice or prior invitation” was not in keeping with “the ancient practice in most of the church” that bishops minister only within their own jurisdictions.
… Archbishop Akinola’s office did not reply to an e-mail message seeking comment about his visit. But Bishop Minns said the convocation that he is to lead was not interfering with the Episcopal Church.
Did you catch it? It seems that Minns is now officially a “bishop,” but only on second reference.
At the same time, all of the other bishops have also lost their titles on first reference, only to regain them on second reference. Interesting, no? Has anyone spotted whether this unique Times style strategy also applies to leaders in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, AME Zion, Lutheran, Church of God in Christ or United Methodist hierarchies (or any others that spring to mind)? Did everyone lose their episcopates on first reference, or is this only an Anglican style thing?