Saturday 1 September 2007


It's that man again. A certain Rev. Dr. Chris Sugden never denied that he was involved in the creation of a document sent out in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Archbishop's name (Peter Akinola), but the Archbishop's Communications Officer, The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola, who was at the centre of writing and overseeing this document and sending it out for comment, stated this:

I would have believed the ‘computer software’ story were it not for the allegation of ‘minor amendments’ by the Canon Chris Sugden who had nothing to do with the document.
Also see

Well he did have something to do with the document, because the Word file is available for all to see. Perhaps Tunde Popoola should take some advice: if you are going to lie, make sure you do not leave documentary evidence so that you are found out. Or, better still, don't lie.

It might be difficult to see the authorship of changes, but with the Track Changes displayed, conversion to a web page within MS Word and then viewing the source brings out all the authors. Here is an example that shows that said people worked on the document:

datetime="2007-08-13T08:39"prediction/ins/span span class=msoInsins

cite="mailto:Martyn%20Minns" datetime="2007-08-15T09:52"a/ins/spanspan

class=msoInsins cite="mailto:Chris%20Sugden" datetime="2007-08-15T14:44"span

class=msoDeldel cite="mailto:Martyn%20Minns" datetime="2007-08-15T09:52"A/del/spanspan

class=msoInsins datetime="2007-08-15T14:44"t /ins/span/ins/spanspan

class=msoInsins cite="mailto:Martyn%20Minns" datetime="2007-08-15T09:59"t/ins/span
The main question however is what is Chris Sugden up to in a more strategic sense; approving as he is of recent consecrations of Kenyan bishops to operate in the United States. He has now come out with a personally penned piece that is simply very significant for the future intentions of not just Anglicanism in the USA but also in the UK.

It is called Not Schism but Revolution

These are texts from it that I have highlighted and extracted, and on which I add comment:

the Communion has been increasingly under the dominance of leadership which is over-influenced by the assumptions of western intellectual culture through the dominant role of the Church of England and ECUSA. People are now saying publicly that this unrepresentative dominance must end.

Some people also say that Churches should relate to the culture they are in, and this is the case with the United States and the United Kingdom, otherwise they become uncommunicative sects. The Communion should be flexible, not centralised or going in a centralising direction. It is why there is opposition to the Covenant; it is a huge error by Rowan Williams that the Covenant can govern a process of change when the Communion is so bipolar. Relevant to the article and what it states is Chris Sugden's coupling of the Church of England and The Episcopal Church (TEC). Simply, the boundary crossings in the USA could come to the UK, especially if the leadership of the Church of England, the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church is deemed equally heretical - and the latter two do have a more consistent liberal identity than the Church of England. So what does Chris Sugden state?

In other words, since the Archbishop of Canterbury has not provided for the safe oversight of the orthodox in the United States, he has forfeited his role as the one who gathers the Communion.

This is about an absence of oversight structures being set up for dissident congregations in the USA. It was against TEC polity, and to decide upon it takes its General Convention to do it, if it so decides, in 2009. It is hardly the Archbishop of Canterbury's fault, but he is being increasingly targeted by the schismatics, especially as the border crossings intensify.

refusing to attend a dumbed-down Lambeth Conference

The reference to dumbing down is another attack on the Archbishop. He has made it clear that invitations are for discussions, Bible study and working parties, and not for passing resolutions. Perhaps Lambeth is being intellectualised up, not dumbed down: he wants no repeat of rowdy meetings and railroaded resolutions. However, attacking it in advance is preparation for alternative gatherings which, no doubt, will pass resolutions.

the old leadership gets increasingly out of touch with reality. The Archbishop of York

Now the Archbishop of York has stated that these sexual questions that obsess the likes of Anglican Mainstream and others are not a primary doctrinal issue, whereas they say from a biblical literalist point of view that they are. The Archbishop has also stated that those who set up a Not the Lambeth Conference meeting are being schismatic. So obviously they don't like him.

The Communion will remain, but the form and the leadership will change.

This is obviously a reference to a different centre for the Anglican Communion and a different organising principle. However, it will not "remain", it will be another, and new. It is important to note here that the conservative faction has already split, so that the likes of Ephraim Reader retain contact with the Anglican Communion through the Archbishop of Canterbury, whereas his once pal Bishop Robert Duncan are with the people who intend (obviously from this piece) a new Communion.

This is another tract by Chris Sugden, one of the organisers of the new Communion, and surely he is not going to be a principle organiser in England. Oh and watch out for the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, a lonely episcopal sender of greetings to the recent Kenyan consecrations in the USA (a few others would join him).

Let's be clear, now. When the Anglo-Catholic traditionalists lost the vote about ordaining women back in 1993 their backs were broken as a movement within the main body of the Church of England. A different kind of Affirming Catholicism took their place. When Chris Sugden and others create the new Communion, the effect on evangelicals could well be the same - divided, weakened and taking the weight of evangelicalism to the more liberal Open Evangelicals. The effect of the new Communion could be precisely the opposite of what Chris Sugden intends. Such is often the case in the history of institutionalised religion.

I recall different times and events, but those Presbyterian Puritans set out in 1662 to produce a pure Church in their own image, and ended up being the backbone of liberal Unitarianism. I wonder what Chris Sugden may produce, indirectly if not directly?

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