Friday, December 22, 2006

Anderson Speaks to the AAC Faithful

The following message was distributed to members of the American Anglican Council on Friday, December 22, 2006. The message is reprinted in full here, followed by some comments from The Episcopal Majority.

A Message from the AAC President, the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson

December 22, 2006

Beloved in Christ,

Let me begin by wishing you, each one of you, a very blessed Christmas.When Christian soldiers have been in foxholes during battle, they have paused for a moment at Christmas and remembered that this is their Savior's birthday. Many of our priests and bishops feel very much "in a foxhole" this Christmas, but in the midst of it all, they and we re-think - maybe the word anamnesis is better - vividly relive - the great gift that God our Father has given us in his Son, Jesus the Christ.

Our God seems to prefer the incarnation model - first his own Son, but then through saints, well known and unknown, and on to us, you and me - to accomplish his purpose. Jesus was God incarnate in a unique and singular way, and we continue the incarnation action in a much less profound way. My prayer is that we all may be faithful to the high calling that our Lord gives us.

Back on the battle front, things are jumping in Virginia. Charlotte Allen, in a column in The Guardian, says, "Jefferts Schori pooh-poohedthe mass departure of the Virginians, declaring that they were asplinter collection of malcontents..." It is interesting that the former bishop of Nevada, whose elevation from parish cleric to backwater bishop to Presiding Bishop makes the term "fast track" seem inadequate, has demeaned the northern Virginia people who left the Episcopal Church for safety under an orthodox Anglican bishop by calling them a splinter of malcontents.

When she was bishop of Nevada, her baptized membership was appoximately6,000, with an average Sunday attendance of just over 2,300, for an entire diocese! The group she lightly dismisses as a "splinter"constitutes nearly 7,600 baptized members who have an average Sunday attendance of 4,300. She has dismissed and demeaned a group of departing Anglicans that is considerably larger than her entire former diocese. The numbers would also seem to indicate that the Virginia Anglicans go to church on Sunday a good deal more often that the ones in Nevada. The former bishop of Las Vegas becomes the "take a chance" Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC), and she demeans those whose faith is firmly rooted and their actions godly.

As new orthodox congregations are starting up all over North America in response to the realignment in Anglicanism, one of the pressing needs is an inexpensive or free (free is always better) supply of basic necessities such as processional crosses, candlesticks, altar linens, chalices, patens, etc. The Lord has put it on my heart to do something about this, and the American Anglican Council could act as a redistribution center for such basic necessities. If your church has more of any of these, and if they are in decent condition (no junk please!), would you consider it a mission to the larger church to send them to us; we will store them; and when a church is in need, we will redeploy them to those who will gratefully receive the items and use them for the furtherance of the kingdom of God? Most churches I have known have extras, and if you could share your abundance with those who are struggling to restart the church, it would be a great blessing. I pose this request at a time when we celebrate the greatest gift of all, the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson

CEO & President of the AAC

Lisa Fox responds for The Episcopal Majority:

Upon first reading, I am struck by the fact that the Rev. Canon Anderson persists in using the language of war in his comments. We have heard this language for over three years now. It has nothing to do with the mission of reconciliation to which our Lord has called us. But it should not surprise us. After all, he is the one who – when asked by Larry King on CNN in June 2006, "Why do you stay [in the Episcopal Church]"? – replied, "Well, I like a good fight."

It is pretty funny that the Rev. Canon Anderson appeals to Charlotte Allen as an authority! She is one of those adherents of the Institute of Religion and Democracy who have been working for quite some time to destroy the Episcopal Church. [For those who have not been tracking, the IRD has a branch devoted to destroying the Episcopal Church as it now exists. The Political Spaghetti blog does the best job of tracking the interactions between IRD and other movements.]

Anderson enjoys pointing to Charlotte Allen as a supporter and journalist. It appears he is referencing her recent piece in The Guardian. In fact, she is one of those Roman Catholics (along with Deal Hudson, Michael Novak, and R.J. Neuhaus) working with the IRD and other organizations to take down the the mainline churches in the U.S. -- all in the service of Christ.

Canon Anderson's disdain for Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori is palpable. I should not have been surprised by this, but I was. Perhaps he needs to read his Bible again. There he may recall how God has repeatedly called the meek and lowly to do God's will. I don't think God cared how large the Diocese of Nevada was when God called Bishop Jefferts Schori to lead the Episcopal Church.

What I find most interesting, though, is Canon Anderson's final paragraph. Perhaps he is finally realizing that the secessionist parishes really are not going to be able to walk away with the goods of the Episcopal Church.

Canon Anderson says God has "put it on his heart" to be something like the Anglican Ebay of surplus property. Here's what it looks like to me. The faux Anglican movement has bypassed the AAC. Diane Knippers up and died on them. The Brusts left, as soon as Ellis Brust was not elected Bishop of South Carolina. And now Canon Anderson is reduced to being a clearinghouse for second-hand religious goods. It must be quite sad for him, when he thought he and the AAC could rule the Anglican roost in the U.S. ... and now sees it has slipped through his hand.

I do have one pragmatic concern about Canon Anderson's proposed Anglican Swap 'n' Shop. Let us suppose that St. Swithen's on the Mound plans to vote to leave TEC. But first, they send all their worldly goods to the AAC, as suggested in Canon Anderson's last paragraph. Then they hold their vote and leave to form a "new" parish, then -- voila! -- the AAC has some spares they can ship to the "new" church plant, St. Swithens in the Cesspool Anglican Church. Is there anything in law or polity to prevent this?

Those are my thoughts in response to Canon Anderson's letter. What are yours?


Blogger Cranmer49 said...

I have a feeling that we're supposed to be more upset about the VA churches leaving, Lisa. But frankly, I think it's time for the major shake-out to occur and we need to encourage them to walk their talk, just as Peter Jasper did last year (or was it 2004?). Godspeed to those who are walking away from TEC, and may the angels watch over them as they are ruled by the Akinolites. I think you're right about the movement passing by the AAC -- David is smart trying to carve out a little niche for himself as the evangelical Anglican eBay-er. I don't see anyone else competing for that particular ministry.

I think we politely hold the door open for them on their way out, and make sure it's not locked so the sheep can return when they're ready to come home.

But I must say, this certainly is not a Christmas message of joy and peace. So much for the Prince of Peace....

12/22/2006 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Can(n)on Anderson: from leader of a movement to junk dealer. How the might have fallen!

12/27/2006 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Well I think the Canon Father Anderson like some of the others of his ilk uses character assaination as his basic tool. And he is concerned with power ... look how he signs his statement - from a position of power ... being priest is not good enough for him ... he is CEO and President ... but you have to say, "God love him" for staying for a good fight.

As well all know, literal or from the historical-critical tradition, God works in strange and mysterious ways, His/Her wonders to perform. Let's open all the doors and windows and let the Holy Spirit in beloved sisters and brothers ... only then will we find the Presence beyond our distinctions.

1/05/2007 12:19 PM  

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