Four Americans are consecrated bishops in a rite denounced by ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.
For the second time in 18 months, Anglican conservatives have rebelliously consecrated bishops for the Anglican Mission in America.
Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, and Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal church, denounced the consecrations as divisive and damaging.
The AMiA operates under the auspices of the Anglican provinces of South East Asia and Rwanda. Archbishop Datuk Yong Ping Chung of the province of South East Asia presided over the consecrations, fresh from an Anglican Essentials conference in Langley, B.C. where he was a keynote speaker. Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda also presided.
The consecrations were seen as a signal from Anglican western conservatives that their attempts to move the church to the right are serious. At issue is conservative opposition to openly gay and lesbian clergy and to the ordination of women.
The total of six new bishops will not lead geographical dioceses but will be free to work with particular bishops with whom they have a special affinity. AMiA bishop John Rodgers, one of the first two to be consecrated in Singapore in June 2000, said that “geography will play a role but not a definitive one” in the administration.
According to a news service, congregations which accept the ordination of women, may move toward Bishop Rodgers and the Province of South East Asia, and those who oppose it will be drawn to Bishop Murphy and the Rwandan jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, members of the house of bishops in Archbishop Yong’s own province disassociated themselves from the proceedings and condemned their primate for his involvement.
Archbishop Michael Peers, the Canadian primate, said this alone raises questions about Archbishop Yong and Archbishop Kolini’s provinces.
In an interview, Arun Kataria, a spokesperson for Archbishop Carey, said that Canterbury could not recognize the four new bishops unless they became reconciled with Archbishop Griswold, who has also refused to recognize the consecrations.
AMiA said it hopes to become an alternative to ECUSA, which, it says, is losing members while conservative Anglicanism and Christianity experience “extraordinary growth.”
The newly consecrated missionary bishops are Thaddeus Barnum of South Carolina, Alexander Greene of Colorado, Thomas Johnston of Arkansas and Douglas Weiss of California.
They plan to stay within the Episcopal church, but under the jurisdiction of the Rwanda and South East Asia bishops. The first set of missionary bishops were consecrated in Singapore in January 2000 by Archbishop Kolini and Moses Tay, the former primate of the province of South East Asia.