Can ya believe it?

American Anglicans consecrated in Kenya.

Sorry to be such a thicko, but are there any Episcopalians/Anglicans out there who can explain the rationale behind all this? Why tootle off to an African bishop to be consecrated when there are already plenty of Episcopal priests who have got themselves consecrated as bishops and set up their own independent Anglican churches?

How will this new Afro-American Alliance be different from the existing ‘continuing’ churches?

And how are any of these churches essentially different from any other Protestant sect/denomination/ecclesial body?

  • Mephibosheth

    Meh–you know the arguments as well as anyone, Father. This keeps them in communion with Canterbury–the “See,” anyway, not that being in communion with Dr. Williams is any better than being in communion with Dr. Schori. And it gives them some measure of Scriptural orthodoxy until hopefully they can have a new American “province” which will get the nod from Canterbury over TEC.I’m in a town where there are now more communicants of Kenyan- and Ugandan-Anglican parishes than TEC parishes. I’m glad these folks have fled TEC, but it keeps them in denial about what they really are–Protestants with a penchant for incense and brocade. They are what they are because they’re not Roman–even while they co-opt the word “Catholic” and attempt to redefine it.

  • phbrown

    While I am no longer an Anglican, I think I may be able to explain this. These folks want to retain an institutional connection to the worldwide (Anglican) communion, which (as far as I know) none of the “continuing” churches can provide. So they need a bishop with impeccable Anglican credentials, but who also understands their rejection of the Episcopal Church. Not all of the ex-Episcopal congregations that have affiliated with non-American provinces have affiliated with African provinces, but I think the Africans (specifically, Nigeria and Kenya) are the only ones who have consecrated bishops to oversee their American congregations.So the basic difference between these African-based bodies and the “continuing” churches is that the African-based groups are somewhat more catholic in their thinking: unlike the continuing churches, the African-based bodies are (in practice, if not necessarily in theory) willing to identify the Anglican tradition with a particular group of Anglicans that they do not control (in this case, one of the African provinces), and are therefore willing to submit themselves to the authority of that province’s bishops.As to how these African-based groups are different from any other Protestant bodies—they certainly retain the essential Protestantism of the Anglican tradition, in that they elevate Scripture above Tradition and the English Reformation above visible, institutional communion with the Church founded by Jesus Christ. They generally tend to come from the evangelical end of the Anglican spectrum (as, let it be noted, do the African provinces with which they’re affiliating). On the other hand, as noted above, they do understand the need to interpret their Scripture in community. Since—from their point of view and mine—the Episcopal Church is an increasingly post-Christian body, these folks are looking overseas for their interpretative community.Does that help? (Sorry for the long comment; ask simpler questions, and you’ll get shorter answers :-).)Peace,–Peter

  • Judge373

    By placing themselves under the authority of African bishops, they can remain in the Anglican Communion and escape the authority of the TEC at the same time. Also, it helps strengthen ties between the conservatives in America and the Africans, which will probably be helpful at the next Lambeth.

  • Different

    I’m not an anglican, but it seems that underlying these decisions is a recognition that unity within a church is a good thing and that a proper hierarchy is desirable. Basically, these priests understand that there is some value in a formal organized hierarchical church and refuse to create yet another “independent” church. Hopefully, these attractions to unity and hierarchy can eventually lead some of these men back to Peter and the True Church.

  • John

    To follow up on phbrown and judge373, it is one more indication that the beginning of the end of the Episcopal Church in the United States as we know it has begun.