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Liveblogging Martyn Minns Installation

Saturday, May 5, 2007 • 12:19 pm

I am going to give it a try.

There are a slew of people from all over here.  I bumped into Benjamin Kwashi and his wife Gloria in the lobby on the way in.  We had about a five minute visit.  Loved seeing the text messages from their children.  I asked about the climate in Nigeria and no, it is still not safe for Bishop Kwashi.  An important reminder of the cost of following the gospel.

I had a warm greeting from Bishop David Bena and thought about the sheer courage of the man.  Many forget that he was the Bishop who read a word of protest on behalf of a number of bishops at the New Hampshire Consecration service in the fall of 2003.  I was there.

The atmosphere coming into the event is hard to describe accurately.  On the one hand, given the statement of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and some reappraising blogs seemingly howling in protest over the matter, it seems like a big deal.

But it isn’t in one sense.  The entire province of Nigeria in Synod voted to set up CANA a long while ago.  Martyn Minns went over to Nigeria last summer to be consecrated a missionary Bishop.  One didn’t hear many protests or concerns then (hmmm—wonder why not?).  So why now?  All this is is the period at the end of a sentence which was written almost entirely by the previous two events.

Also, as a commenter below observes, numerous steps were taken that did not need to be to ensure it was even less provocative.  It is not in an Episcopal Church but in a neutral site.  Archbishop Akinola is not preaching—Martyn Minns is.  There will be no press conference by Archbishop Akinola (though I am sure the press who are here will try as hard as they can to get a comment from him). All of this is part of a decision on the part of those in leadership to be careful and quiet, relatively speaking.

True, Archbishop Akinola is clearly the second most powerful person in the Anglican Communion and so simply his presence here (or anywhere apparently) receives notice and response.  But there is response and then there is overresponse.  The right way to understand the Presiding Bishop’s response is to say “methinks she doth protest too much” (both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times observed that she was angry). Ditto the Bishop of Viriginia.  Jim Naughton is trying hard to spin away the overrecognition of the service today, but it isn’t working.

So why the overreaction especially relative to the other two far more important events related to the starting of CANA?  Surely a fuller answer to this will need to wait for some time since when one is in the midst of something, one rarely sees its full dimensions or significance clearly.

But this much is clear now: it is because it is here in America.  Immediately somehow there is a threat to the Anglican franchise which the TEC establishment seems to assume is theirs by divine right in perpetuity (one can’t help thinking of Jeremiah’s Temple sermon in Jeremiah 7 in this regard).  Immediately there is an incursion into the air space which TEC leadership in a bizarre way somehow claims as its own (newsflash to Mark Harris: “the Diocese of Virginia and…the Province of The Episcopal Church” does not include Hylton Chapel).

Yet even this does not do justice to what is taking place, there is some depth that is being touched upon causing surprise when the action is anticlimactic and anything but a surprise.

From where I sit, I believe the answer is this: the TEC leadership does not believe their actions will have real consequences.
Their gamble is simple: they will embrace the new theology and put it into practice faster than the Anglican Communion will evolve effective mechanisms of discipline to deal with it.  At the end of the day, they did not believe the Primates would act. We know from earlier Primates meetings that Frank Griswold said that he believed the global South leadership was simply talk but their would be no action.  The October 2003 meeting was after all just a meeting which issued a statement. One could make similar observations about other Primates meetings, which, although they have now included specific proposals and dealines, still have not specified any concrete consequences for TEC.

Archbishop Akinola, no matter what you say about him, is a leader. He says he will do something and then he does it.
He did it twice in Nigeria and there was little recognition or response but TEC did not feel the consequences.  Now there is a sense that there might be real consequences and that explains the strength of the overreaction.

As Archbishop Akinola made clear in his letter, he would be the first to step back from this ministry if the Episcopal Church does what the Anglican Communion leadership has asked it to do. But they have already rejected the proposed Dar Es Alaam pastoral scheme making some kind of pastoral provision even more necessary in his mind. It is an unusal step.  It can be a temporary step.  But what it signals is tangible consequences which TEC leaders in denial simply are unwilling to face.

Anyway enough of that.  The service began with energetic worship and enthusiastic singing with, yes, a bit of an African flavor in terms of style.

Scripture was read.  A formal recognition of Martyn Minns from Archbsihop Akinola was read, including a reference to Martyn’s consecration in Nigeria and a naming of each Archbishop present at the service.

The gospel is being read now from John 17.

Martyn has prayed and begun to preach.  Opening line: “You can learn a lot about a person by listening to their prayers.” He then gives examples of prayers, both goos ones and bad ones. John 17 gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ prayer life.  Archbishop William Temple calls it perhaps the most sacred passage in all of the gospels.

Notice how it ends.  It reflects his passion for the whole world it is not a prayer of self-justification.

We are here for that reason above all.  This is not a gathering of the like minded.  This is not a gathering of people who agree with each other.  This is a gathering of people who long to see the world persuaded of the truth of the gospel of Christ.
A disciple is someone who is called by God.  We tend to foget this.

A disciple is also somehow who knows who Jesus is and where he came from.

These are difficult times for orthodox Christians.  CANA is God’s gift to orthodox Anglicans for those who cannto find a home in Tec as it is currently led.

We want to see lives transformed and not merely excused.  We want a church where everyone is welcomed but no one leaves unchanged. We want to remain faithful members of the Anglican Communion.

We are thankful for the recognition of CANA by the Primate of Nigeria it has cost him a great deal (standing ovation).  The solidarity of the provinces of the global South has also been an inspiration.

What’s next. Many of the issues are unresolved.  The Anglican Communion is wrestling with irreconciliable truth claims.

3 themes

1—radical inclusion we are a missionary church

2—profound transformation

3—inspired service
a servant church

all to the end that God’s glory will be revealed and the whole world may believe in him.

During the greetings, Martyn made special reference an thanks to Archbishop Akinola, Bishop David Bena, Bishop Bob Duncan amd the Anglican Communion network, and Nigerian Judge the Honourable Abraham Yisa.

For the offertory, during praise music, people who were led to give were encouraged to do so Nigerian style by dancing up to the oferring plate, putting their offering in, and dancing back.

On the way to receive Communion I bumped into Dom Armstrong and a contingent from Colorado, and saw Christopher Leighton from Connecticut.

A very raucous chorus of “These are the days of Elijah” after the post-communion prayer.

Martyn asks people to be seated.  The primate of Nigeria is asked to bring a word:

“This indeed is a unique and historic event.  This has never happened before in the church of which I became a part.  As the Chinese say a journay of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.  I want to remind everyone that this is simply a first step.

The journey ahead is long, the rough will be rough probably, but you don’t go through life bread and butter we are called to pick up a cross and following our master.  The Church of Nigeria itself has almost nothing to offer.  We are doing this on behalf of the Communion.  If we had not done this many of you would be lost to other churches, maybe to nothing at all.

I urge you to continue to pray for ECUSA.  Continue to pray for the Anglican Communion.  IF the Episcopal Church gets back in line with the rest of the Communion I renew my pledge, which I also made in Tanzania to the Primates and to Rowan, that we will cease from the ministry of CANA.  It is meant to provide a safe spiritual home.

God bless you.”

(Please note this last section is anything but verbatim the Archbishop went too quckly).

29 Comments • Print-friendlyPrint-friendly w/commentsShare on Facebook

All wonderful—except the dancing.  If our parish took offering by dancing, they would be getting my pledge checks in the mail instead! smile

[1] Posted by Jason Miller on 05-05-2007 at 02:27 PM • top

Thank you, Kendall, for taking time to share this with us.  May God richly bless Martyn in his new ministry.  May He continue to lead and guide Archbishop Akinola and keep him safe.  And our prayers for safe travel for all, especially you.

[2] Posted by JackieB on 05-05-2007 at 03:00 PM • top

Thanks for posting here.  I kept switching between here and BabyBlue’s clips. 

As far as dancing to give my donation…I can handle that!  After all, God wants us to be cheerful givers. grin

[3] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 05-05-2007 at 03:07 PM • top

I’m ok with dancing, so long as I’m not expected to join in.  I can hear my wife now: “I can’t get you to dance, but these people do?  Hummph!”

[4] Posted by Id rather not say on 05-05-2007 at 03:15 PM • top

I’m with you, rather not—my dancing would be anything but joyful—painfully self-aware and inhibited would be more like it-ha! smile

[5] Posted by Jason Miller on 05-05-2007 at 03:24 PM • top

My heart, thoughts and prayers were with Abp. Akinola, Bp. Minns, Fr. Armstrong and all the others who attended this historically watershed event. With the recent pronouncements by Abp. Williams and PBp. Schori, it is evident that the ship bearing Christ’s word is setting a new course - one without the apostates. God Bless ABp. akinola, Bp. Minns, Fr. Armstrong and all those other true disciples carrying the word.

[6] Posted by FrankV on 05-05-2007 at 03:36 PM • top

“If we had not done this many of you would be lost to other churches, maybe to nothing at all.”

So true.  I am not as worried about the loss to other churches as I am the loss to nothing at all.

The same applies to most of the parishes that have been forced to leave.

[7] Posted by Going Home on 05-05-2007 at 03:36 PM • top

Readers may find this posting and the ensuing discussion interesting here:

[8] Posted by Id rather not say on 05-05-2007 at 03:55 PM • top

Any idea of attendance?

[9] Posted by Gator on 05-05-2007 at 04:32 PM • top

Re:  Mark Harris post

There are times that I really pity reappraisers - and this one of them.  It’s like they see all the presents and traditions of Christmas, but totally miss the reality of and the mysticism of the day.  For him, I’m sure it is just a chair, just a tradition, just lifeless - dead ritual with nothing there.  How sad that is. 

I suppose I’ve been very fortunate in my Walk with Christ - I know the Spirit and when He is present.  When someone of Christ speaks you can hear it resonate in your heart.  There is a mystery about that which escapes words.  When we were forced to abandon our church (much like the VA churches) we had to meet in a barn - an old barn with no glass in the windows - you could see the gaps of sky in the roof.  However, when we sang the doxology and celebrated Eucharist that building was transformed and I didn’t regreat leaving our old stone structure a bit.  The church is living and is where it’s people gather.

For those on the outside, it’s just a barn, for those within it’s a church.  For those outside, it’s just a chair, for those within it’s ordination of one of God’s people.

[10] Posted by Eclipse on 05-05-2007 at 04:34 PM • top

Not to bring a somber tone to this, well maybe the thought of dancing did (man, worse than Baptist;-P , this seems like sheer terror ohh )

Last Sunday a gentleman from US State Dept gave a brief on life North Korean Christian. Last night I had diner with the China section of State Dept and a lady who 18 years was in Alexandria, Egypt, talking about various forms of persecutions.

Our first response should be thanks for God, that our is so light and there is provision. We are so blessed that I fear we take it for granted. Then we need to remember the Nigerians, the Sudanese, Chinese, Korean and many others that can not just pull away, rent a chapel and proclaim Jesus, we need to pray for them and see how we can assist.

Not meaning to drag this thread down, just the Lord really gave me a wake-up call this week. As for dancing, you need to practice creative incompetence, dance as you fell lead, dance with all you got, dance until your wife or others beg you to stop. Problem solved, maybe cured forever.



SF didn’t post for some reason, but than opening another widow I say yours.

Mark Harris actually posted a sweet note on Baby Blue’s site. There are moments of grace in the midst of ugliness.

Thanks for sharing your lessons learned in the barn worship hall. The Church truly is Living Stone.

[11] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 05-05-2007 at 05:18 PM • top

SF didn’t post for some reason, but then opening another widow and I saw yours.

(Keeps me humble I guess ...)

[12] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 05-05-2007 at 05:21 PM • top

Thank you for the post, Kendall Harmon.  The pictures and audio on BabyBlue had me in tears.

God is good…all the time!

[13] Posted by ElaineF. on 05-05-2007 at 06:35 PM • top

Just finished watching the videos on BabyBlue and WOW!!! Wish I could have been there in person. I am sure that all who were in attendance felt the mighty power of God indeed in that place even in the dancing! Just as Psalm 150:4 says, “Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!” What a blessed day this has been! Thank you for posting this event for us to be a part of and witness even from a distance through technology!

[14] Posted by TLDillon on 05-05-2007 at 07:31 PM • top

When the Spirit of the Lord moves, we will ALL dance as David danced.

[15] Posted by David+ on 05-05-2007 at 07:40 PM • top

I was there.  The dancing was not that big a deal actually, and it fit in to the service very well.  And we only did it one time. wink  Normally, when I even *think* the words “dancing in church,” it makes me break out in a liturgical cold sweat.  smile  I would call it more like Joyful Swaying While Walking Plus Arms Upheld And Waving Once In A While, or JSWWPAUAWOIAW.  Now, that’s not so bad, is it (you wussy WASPs.) wink

p.s.  It was a WONDERFUL day!!!

[16] Posted by veritas2007 on 05-05-2007 at 08:02 PM • top

It was indeed a glorious service!  There were ‘old’ and ‘new’ aspects to the worship, but the bottom line is this - it was WORSHIP! 

In terms of attendance, I’d estimate about 2,000. The balcony was closed to all but a few bloggers and photographers, but most of the front lower level was full (the two end sections were roped off.)  The back section was maybe half full.  My estimate is based on a report that Hylton Chapel seats 3,500.

[17] Posted by GrandpaDino on 05-05-2007 at 08:35 PM • top

I don’t mind dancing in church at all, however a triumphal display at a time of humble offerings does seem odd (remember the humble widow with two copper coins).  It seems an odd practice that I am obviously not accustomed to.  Anyway, I am just happy that Kenadall was present after reports to the contrary.  It certainly sounds like it was moment bathed n the Lord’s anointing.  I wish I could have been there! Blessings to all involved…

[18] Posted by Spencer on 05-05-2007 at 11:17 PM • top

I disagree with Archbishop Akinola on one point:  The Church of Nigeria has much to offer the world.  It offers an example of faithfulness in suffering; trust in the reliability of Scripture; focused commitment to evangelism and church planting; consistent opposition to aspects of Nigerian culture that undermine traditional values and family, and outreach to the poor and the sick. In other words, here we see the Church being the Church and that is something Episcopalians haven’t seen in ECUSA or TEC.

[19] Posted by Alice Linsley on 05-06-2007 at 07:36 AM • top

Folks, do go to Baby Blue’s site and watch at least one or two of her videos—perhaps especially the Processional (“The Church’s one foundation” will play), the Recessional (the headline is “Amen”), and the Offertory (African-style worship).  I know you have these links, but here they are in case this is handy:
Offertory, African-style
Nothing that someone might say about this ceremony could replace your viewing and listening.  This is what will make you feel the solemnity and international validity of what is being founded.  It can ease some worry about the possible divisiveness (within our own ranks) of present events; it can put balm on your heart.  If this is not what the founding and transmission of Church looks like, what could it look like?  I see that Mark Harris wrote in that he had a tear in his eye, and another well-known revisionist blogger said he had a lump in his throat.  (Mark signs off: “Always a fan, even if across the divide.”)

I also note that Archbishop Akinola emphasized the fact that CANA is indeed formed as a refuge—a part of the larger Church, not ambitious but ready to cease at once if the American Church should return to AC standards, ready to be part of an AC entity.  (This is what I understood from his statement.)  I say all this because I am one who has been very worried about the CANA movement (though never lacking in great respect for Archbishop Akinola).

I have double-posted most of this note, I know—apologies—but I originally got it onto the wrong thread.

[20] Posted by Paula on 05-06-2007 at 07:52 AM • top

I just finished watching the AnglicanTV installation of Bishop Minns.  Not having access to a local orthodox congregation, I really yearn for these types of videos.  I am in tears, full tears.  Anglicans, I mean ANGLICANS!—dancing in the spirit.  Hallejuah!  Hallejuah!!

[21] Posted by ama-anglican on 05-06-2007 at 02:33 PM • top

I can’t believe how emotional I became watching the videos of +Martyn’s installation.  I cry for the church, as she is split.  What have our leaders, what have WE done to the Episcopal Church that we have so few true shepherds left, and none in the leadership?  Why have they insisted on novelty and not defended the faith once for all delivered? Those of us in the pews have no one to blame; we sat in blissful ignorance until the camel managed to get into the tent and collapse it.  I rejoice in ++Peter’s outreach, his offer of refuge to those leaping from a sinking ship, and the leap of faith the clergy and lay are making as they sever the connections between themselves and the established Episcopal Church, and in many cases meet in unusual places and at unaccustomed times to worship our Risen Lord.  My personal feeling as I watched the ceremony, and read accounts of it, is that ++Peter and +Martyn are real pastors, seeking to protect their flocks from danger by upholding and defending the faith once for all delivered.  Alleluia, Christ is risen!  Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia.

[22] Posted by El Jefe on 05-06-2007 at 03:16 PM • top

“Make His praise glorious!” 

I am making my husband watch the footage at Anglican TV this evening in the hopes that it will give him some hope about our future as Anglicans.  He is ready to throw in the towel, I think, and look for a non-denom. or Spirit-filled Bible Church (yes, in TX there are such things) or something.  We’ve worked hard in our parish lately but he says he’s not being fed.  Maybe it’s just burnout?

[23] Posted by Jill C. on 05-06-2007 at 03:20 PM • top

Sheepdog, sounds like you and him have just the energy that we GS Anglicans are looking for…find such a church or participate in creating one!

[24] Posted by Going Home on 05-06-2007 at 03:46 PM • top

I like the out going style of the African worship I’ve seen.  Our Ghanaian families in the mission church we were helping with the past five years do the offering this way, too.  Honest—it isn’t really triumphal as much as celebratory and joyful.  Those families added so much to the worship time.  It was such a joy and a privilege to work with them—that was one of the hardest things to face in leaving the mission church to come back “home.”  So, thank you for posting the videos!  It helped me to remember how badly I want to see an out reach to our immigrant families begin at our parish.

[25] Posted by Pat Kashtock on 05-06-2007 at 04:09 PM • top

It surprises me that so many have commented on dancing to bring forward the offering.  This is the practice in African-American churches across the nation.  Go visit one!

[26] Posted by Alice Linsley on 05-06-2007 at 04:47 PM • top

I just read the daily office Gospel lesson:Matthew 7:7-14: ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! ‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. ‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
That just seemed to fit with my mood after watching the installation.  I think +Martyn and ++Peter both exemplify the kind of shepherd who will teach us this lesson, and keep it before our eyes.

[27] Posted by El Jefe on 05-06-2007 at 05:02 PM • top

Thank You Kendall Harmon for this excellent and timely report. I particularly liked your observation concerning the temple sermon in Jeremiah 7 and its applicablity to the current situation in The Episcopal Church.

The last prophecy in Jeremiah 7 is chilling:

“Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land shall be desolate.”

Jeremiah’s prophecy reminds me of the revisionist episcopal priests around the country who have banned all Christian Marriages in their church buildings or chapels as a political statement in favor of the Homosexual Agenda in The Episcopal Church.

However, God always provides a WAY. Jeremiah’s prophecy in Chapter 33 is “heartening”.

Be of Good Cheer:

Jeremiah 33: 5 -16

I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.
” ‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’
“This is what the LORD says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without men or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither men nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying,
“Give thanks to the LORD Almighty,
for the LORD is good;
his love endures forever.”
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD.
“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without men or animals—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks. In the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them,’ says the LORD.
” ‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
” ‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
The LORD Our Righteousness.’

[28] Posted by stancase on 05-07-2007 at 08:58 AM • top

Alice:  Kendall was apparently struggling to keep up (especially with Akinola’s accent).  Akinola didn’t say that the Church of Nigeria has nothing to offer, but that it has nothing to *gain* from what it’s doing, making the point that it makes no money from CANA and instead loses both time and money from many difficult tasks that call back home and endures grief from others.  (Akinola and his other bishops apparently paid their own travel expenses for this trip.)  He was emphasizing that he just wanted to help faithful Anglican brothers and sisters in the US.

[29] Posted by Aidan on 05-07-2007 at 09:33 AM • top

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