Church future ‘ominous’

Published March 1, 2002

New York The author of an article on the conservative “renewal movement” within the Anglican Communion, said that the Episcopal Church in the United States is “under attack” by a conservative movement “that is seeking to uproot it from its historic role in American public life.” The study, by Lewis C. Daly, is one of a series prepared by the IDS Religion and Democracy program of New York. IDS describes itself as “a not-for-profit research and education center that focuses on anti-democratic religious and social movements.” In an editor’s note, Ronald Haines, retired bishop of Washington D.C., is quoted as saying of the report, “Aided by IDS’s unique capacity and social commitment, the (Episcopal) church can assess the ground it has already lost to the radical right as well as the ominous political landscape that lies ahead.” Mr. Daly identified key institutions and individuals leading the movement, as well as their sources of funding. He wrote that the involvement of primates from other parts of the Anglican Communion in the consecrations of bishops for the Anglican Mission in America “has political implications that go well beyond the church, and it is important to understand how Anglican evangelical networks overlap with political and social policy objectives in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere.” He added that the U.S. Anglican right wing is “essentially perverting the church’s global communion in order to reformulate the ecclesial status of ECUSA and thereby inflict serious damage on the social progress that was its public legacy in the last century.” Mr. Daly said that these developments must be carefully monitored “and firmly challenged.” Reaction via e-mail from some of the individuals and groups named in the IDS report was heated. “The IDS report is yet another paranoid attempt to invent a ‘vast right wing conspiracy’ in the Episcopal Church,” said Canon David Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the American Anglican Council. “I fear that the authors have not only over-reached but seriously misrepresented the work of many faithful Episcopalians,” said Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., a parish identified in the study as influential in the renewal movement. “As far as that the claim that the Episcopal Church is ‘under attack’ by a conservative movement…it is unsupported by the facts – particularly as to the interpretation of canon and the use of courts against conservative-orthodox folk,” said Charles Nalls, director of the Canon Law Institute and attorney for the vestry of Christ Church in Accokeek, Md.


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