The Anglican Communion News Service states
In response to a number of queries, and following consultation with The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has issued the following statement:
“The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is, to my knowledge, a “mission” of the Church of Nigeria. It is not a branch of the Anglican Communion as such but an organization which relates to a single province of the Anglican Communion. CANA has not petitioned the Anglican Consultative Council for any official status within the Communion’s structures, nor has the Archbishop of Canterbury indicated any support for its establishment.”
I would think that the AMiA is described in Lambeth in much the same way as is the CANA ( which has made news recently through the entering into it of two well-known northern Virginian congregations).
The AMiA is sponsored by the Province of Rwanda but is apparently seen by the A of C and others in London as not being officially in the Anglican Communion even though its bishops are regarded as Rwandan bishops by Rwanda.
In the same vein it would seem that the hundred or so formerly ECUSA congregations now under overseas bishops are also not in the Anglican Communion, but rather are only in fellowship with their adopted bishop.
We may recall that churches in communion with individual provinces (e.g. Lutheran) are not thereby in the Anglican Communion. So what Lambeth states does make Sense. However, in the present confusion and crisis of the Anglican Way, statements from Lambeth do not seem to have the authority they once had – which is sad. Thus patience is the name of the game for the next 18 months at least!
The test will be the invitations to Lambeth Conference 2008 – as of now it appears that the Bishop of CANA and the Bishops of AMiA will not be invited.
However, Lambeth 2008 may not happen or may happen in ways that break the traditions of the last century! Watch for the results of the Dar-es-Salaam meeting in Tanzania in February 2007 of the Primates (including the competent and outspoken American lady primate). These may tell us what to expect of Lambeth 2008 and whether the Global South will take a strong line on whom they will meet with in council – right now it seems that they will not sit down with many of the bishops of the ECUSA and Anglican Church of Canada.
We may also soon have missionary diocese offshoots from Uganda, Southern Cone etc in the West. It seems that the Anglican Family is going to become much more dysfunctional before it begins to be healed of its divisions and schisms. And the healing – as so often in Church history – may include a major division! For to unite those who are so clearly divided over doctrinal and moral matters is a task for angels, even archangels, not women or men.
Let us pray and hope that the Holy Trinity wills that the Anglican Family be healed and in his inscrutable and ineffable wisdom will achieve the same despite our many sins and infirmities, and despite our tendencies to centrifugal rather than centripetal ecclesial actions.
I hope that we all are able to exercise PATIENCE and CHARITY for the immediate future so that the Holy Trinity can do the work he wills to do!
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)