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AAC: President Says DEPO Plan Inadequate

Some revisionist bishops already moving to frustrate plan

Special Report

By David W. Virtue

The president of the American Anglican Council, Canon David C. Anderson, says that it is important to recognize the difference between the Anglican Communion Network and the AAC, as the two will work separately but remain in conversation.

The Network (NACDP) will press for Adequate Episcopal Oversight for orthodox parishes under siege in revisionist dioceses.

The Primates called for adequate provision, and any provision that frustrates delays or denies the process isn’t adequate.

The AAC on the other hand will work in a grass roots manner to help orthodox ECUSA congregations that are already known to the bishop, apply for DEPO. Although the AAC doesn’t believe that DEPO is adequate, it is the vehicle produced by the House of Bishops, and AAC wants to see it in action.

For those who apply for DEPO, any delays designed to frustrate or stretch out the process or any denials or additional requirements laid on by the local bishop will be seen as a bad faith gesture. The Network and AAC will be deliberately working off of different pages for this crucial time. The Network will be working on ecclesial connections and recognition, and the AAC will be in the trenches trying to help liberal revisionist bishops to understand why it is in their own best interests to cooperate with the true intentions of the Primates.

In a phone interview with Virtuosity, Anderson said that a number of bishops would be willing to provide pastoral care to the beleaguered and harassed orthodox congregations.

Anderson said that DEPO solved only the HoB’s own perceived problems to satisfy the Primates as well as remove pressure from Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, but it failed to do anything for orthodox parishes in hostile dioceses. "We were never consulted before any of this happened. Faithful Episcopalians are no further ahead than they were before DEPO. "It won't solve pastoral issues of calling new priests, or gaining access to the ordination process for local orthodox aspirants, nor necessarily provide for confirmations, let alone provide for property issues. The Episcopal Church has left the faith and order of the Anglican Communion."

Anderson said it was still difficult maintaining consensus among orthodox Episcopalians as to how they should proceed. Bishops, priests, parishes and attorneys have so many opinions, it is hard to get everyone to work off the same page, he said.

Anderson said recent comments by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola in an Associated Press interview provides a watershed moment for the ECUSA. Dick Ostling of the AP reported that Akinola also said "unless conditions change he will not attend meetings alongside the leader of the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, or attend the 2008 meeting of the world’s Anglican bishops if the US hierarchy participates."

The orthodox global Primates are pressing the orthodox Episcopalians to do more. They are willing to act, but they want the orthodox Episcopalians to do more. "I think that everybody is underestimating the resolve that is building in Africa. They are not going to sit idly by and let Western provinces call the shots any longer. They will no longer be swayed by old loyalties and new money. Those days are gone."

Anderson said that the concordat signed recently by Southern Africa Primate Ndungane and Nigerian Archbishop Akinola was "very significant". "Both leaders realize that they need to stand together on most issues and that the consecration of V. Gene Robinson is a communion breaking act. Nobody in Africa wants to be isolated. They are building a consensus on that continent that they need to stand together."

Anderson said he was not at liberty to talk in detail about recent communications with the Nigerian leader, but he described his meeting as "very hopeful" and the pan-African leader made him aware that faithful Episcopalians are not being forgotten in North America.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the Global South will one day wipe their hands of the ECUSA altogether. There is tremendous frustration with the American scene, and growing frustration with the Canadian one as well. Words of caution are starting to circulate that the orthodox in North America need to pull together and work together before North America is simply written of as lost. One clear action item for the orthodox is how to work together and pull in unison clearly and publically.


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