Thursday, August 23, 2007

Who's Talking Now?

A recent letter from Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola to the Nigerian clergy – which appeared to express his personal anguish about attending the Lambeth Conference and a call for the Episcopal Church to be disciplined, if not ejected from the Anglican Communion – received a great deal of blog-attention this week. The letter was released on the Nigerian website in a difficult format, more readily available from Thinking Anglicans.

Father Jake did a fine job of analyzing the Archbishop's letter and some of its "more bizarre statements." So did Mark Harris here and here and here.

Now, the Episcopal Café reports, "The voice of the Global South apparently emanates not from Abuja, Nigeria, but from Fairfax, Virginia. The Church Times reports that Bishop Martyn Minns, not Archbishop Peter Akinola is the principal author of the recent letter from the Church of Nigeria that bears Akinola's name."

Some Episcopalians will recall that the British-born Reverend Martyn Minns was frequently nominated, but never elected, to be a bishop in the Episcopal Church. Finally, Archbishop Akinola this year came to Virginia and consecrated him a bishop for the Church of Nigeria, where no laity have a vote in episcopal elections.

The Church Times reveals:

A BISHOP in the United States has been revealed as the principal author of a seminal letter to the Church of Nigeria from its Archbishop, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, which was published on Sunday.

The letter includes a suggestion that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s status as a focus of unity is "highly questionable." It also refers to a "moment of decision" for the Anglican Communion, which is on the "brink of destruction."

The document, "A Most Agonising Journey towards Lambeth 2008", appears to express to Nigerian synods the personal anguish of Archbishop Akinola over his attendance at the Lambeth Conference.

But computer tracking software suggests that the letter was extensively edited and revised over a four-day period by the Rt Revd Martyn Minns, who was consecrated last year by Archbishop Akinola to lead the secessionist Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Bishop Minns, along with the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, has not been invited to Lambeth.

Close examination of the document, tracing the authorship, editing history, and timing of changes, reveals about 600 insertions made by Bishop Minns, including whole new sections amounting to two-thirds of the final text. There is also a sprinkling of minor amendments made by Canon Chris Sugden of the conservative group Anglican Mainstream.

Click here to read the entire Church Times exposé.

Writing for the Episcopal Café, Jim Naughton says:

The significance of this development lies less in the fact that Akinola has a ghostwriter--The leaders of many organizations, ecclesial and secular have staff members who handle writing assignments for them.--than that what has long been portrayed as the authentic voice of African Anglicanism is, manifestly, not African, and perhaps never has been.

This revelation is likely to damage Akinola's already sagging prestige in Nigeria, where he may now be perceived as a mouthpiece for wealthy Westerners. And it is likely to damage his credibility with his fellow Primates, who were already weary of his practice of interrupting their meetings to take counsel from Minns and Sugden.

We have contended that powerful, ideological forces in the U.S. are manipulating the effort to undermine the Episcopal Church and create a global schism in the Anglican Communion. This revelation from the Church Times merely underscores our contention.

Update: Father Jake has now picked up this story, and the active discussion seems to be occuring in his "comments" section. StandFirm is bending over backwards to insist the story is entirely irrelevant ... notwithstanding the Church Times discovery that Minns wrote two-thirds of Archbishop Akinola's letter of "personal anguish."


Blogger Liz Zivanov+ said...

A bit of light on the darkness of hypocrisy. And from the Church Times yet!

8/23/2007 11:34 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Just a few days ago, Susan Russell asked, "How low with the Schism-mongers go?"

It didn't take too long to answer that question, now did it?

Indeed, I suspect in the days to come we'll see just how much lower they will, and indeed, have been.

8/24/2007 8:21 AM  
Blogger Scott+ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/24/2007 10:09 AM  
Blogger Scott+ said...

Oh what a shock. The archbishop's paper was edited by the most junior of his bishops. Who likely has better equipment that does the archbishop.

The last word document I published in my secular work, was the result of more than a year of work. 80% of that work was mine. I did the first draft of the paper but another did the editing. I did the proof reading using paper and pen. Our desks were within a minutes walk of each other. If you were to do the same analysis as discussed above 80-100% of the paper would show as the other person.

I have also edited papers by others. I have often turned off the track changes feature as it can get in the way at times. In this case the file would show me as the author of much if not all of the document.

To be honest, I rarely think about the author feature of any word-processing software, as it really makes no difference. It is who signs or releases the document, and this is no question that was done by the archbishop.

How many papers do you think would show the CEO of a major corporation as the sole author using the above analysis. Please remember that author in this sense is who did the typing, not whose ideas are being written.

This is the biggest non-story in a long while. I know many here do not like the archbishop. I know many here would rather he just of away. But get a life,

8/24/2007 10:20 AM  
Blogger Scott+ said...

PRESS RELEASE- Re: Church Times on Abp. Akinola's letter


24th August, 2007

RE: Software suggests Minns rewrote Akinola’s Letter –Church Times

It is very insulting and racist to infer that the Primate of All Nigeria is being dictated to. Is this in continuation of the ‘jamming’ of people opposing the agenda?

8/24/2007 10:56 AM  
Blogger Liz Zivanov+ said...

This is getting to be quite a bit of fun -- watching the neocons dance around the issue of who the actual author of this letter is (and most likely a few other letters as well!). Scott -- as a former professional editor, I can tell you there is a major difference between editing and rewriting. All indications from the CT article are that Minns did a major rewrite. And that's why this is such major news!

I don't hear any denials coming from either Marty or Peter Jasper. Do you? Oh right. They probably can't be bothered responding to the nasty little Episcopalians and the no-longer-credible-in-their-eyes Church Times.

Has Ruth Gledhill written about this? It'll be fun to see how she spins it.

Still waiting for the next episode of Whose Church is This, Anyway? What great entertainment!

8/24/2007 1:05 PM  
Blogger Scott+ said...

Sarah Hey
BREAKING: Archbishop Akinola Uses Claris Works, Minns Uses Apple Pages Software on MAC OS X

8/24/2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Try again, Scott. If you meant to post a hyperlink, it didn't come thru.

If the ACI was "6 guys and a website," Sarah Hey is laughably, ridulously less. But, hey! Go ahead and link her latest words of spin here. I'm sure we're all yearning to hear what she has to say. Hey?

8/24/2007 11:40 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

And did you see that yesterday (9/13) Akinola managed to unseat the one Archbishop in Nigeria, Josiah Fearon, who had kept some ties with the US? "Over my dead body," said Akinola, will he be re-elected to serve as an Archbishop!

9/14/2007 11:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home