Point and counterpoint in local media

Syndicated columnist Michael J. McManus seems to be a raving fan of Nigeria’s CANA initiative, writing, among other things:

As Minns summed it up, “We are here to give people a freedom of choice.” At present, CANA has 34 parishes and nearly 7,000 members, which is more than 40 Episcopal dioceses. About a third are ethnic Nigerian churches in America, a third are in Northern Virginia and the others scattered.

Bill Mehr responds to the entire column (available here) in the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star:

In “Missionaries to America?” Michael J. McManus asks, “Why would the United States need a missionary bishop?” The answer is: it doesn’t. Mr. McManus claims outnumbered orthodox Episcopalians must reach out to Anglicans in the Global South for “safe haven.” There’s the flaw. They don’t need to reach out for what they already possess.

According to historical Anglican tradition, the Episcopal Church, like America itself, welcomes diverse points of view within a broader set of canons. The problem for Mr. McManus’ orthodox is that they constitute a minority that is frustrated they can’t impose one viewpoint upon the entire church.

Their strategy is to claim a majority within an international Anglican Communion, but that association carries no binding authority over the Episcopal Church in America.

If individuals feel they want to attend a church with a narrower theological doctrine, they are free to exercise that choice. There are no provisions, however, for whole entities like dioceses or parishes to leave. There isn’t a diocese or parish in the U.S. where everyone wants to secede.

What about freedom of choice for those who want to stay? That’s the focus of the lawsuits.

The diocese is acting on behalf of loyal members who simply want to reclaim the space to worship in their own church and offer that blessing to their children.

My choice, like that of the majority of Episcopalians, is to remain a member of a denomination that provides safe haven for disagreement and that entertains diversity.

When the lawsuits are over, and the issue of property is cleared up, the Episcopal Church will stand as firmly as ever upon the principles on which it was founded, and will grow and flourish, once more, as a shining example of the freedom offered to all who follow Jesus Christ.

Found here.

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