Constitution of the Anglican Mission in the Americas IV

There seems to be some more plagiarism elsewhere in the document:

AMiA Constitution Source Document?
Article 3, Section 3 Associations of the Faithful

By Philip C.L. Gray, J.C.L.

Because such apostolic works under a society must have a common purpose congruent with the mission of the Church, those who are the competent ecclesiastical authority have the obligation of oversight in matters of faith and order so as to promote the common good, protect against the infringement of rights and duties and provide a venue of adjudication when necessary. Because associations of the faithful must have a common purpose congruent with the mission of the Churchcompetent ecclesiastical authority has the obligation of vigilance over all in matters of faith, morals and ecclesiastical discipline. The purpose of this vigilance is to promote the common good, protect against the infringement of rights and duties and provide a venue of vindication when necessary.

Can that be a coincidence?

I also note that the Congo is not currently being mentioned in the document. It says that “The inaugural membership (of the College of Consultors) includes the founding Primates of the Anglican Mission, which was established in 2000 by the Primates of South East Asia and Rwanda.” This may be a formality while waiting for the Congo to iron things out at their own Synod this month.

At the ACNA Assembly today, Archbishop Duncan said:

What will become of the remnant “Society for Mission and Apostolic Works” we cannot know, we only know that what has emerged does not look like the Anglican Mission, the AMiA, that was once so central to who and what we became as a Church.  We continue in prayer for these now functionally separated brothers and sisters.

He also informed us that yet another AM bishop is talking to ACNA about leaving the AM:

In other parts of our two countries (Canada and the US) congregations that have been AM congregations are associating with existing dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop Todd Hunter of Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO) has joined us as a bishop with special mission and two of our dioceses have given “cover” to two other Anglican Mission bishops and their congregations – with a third bishop and network in conversation – as their relationships to the AM gets sorted out.

With Bishop John Miller moving to be the rector of Christ Church, Vero Beach, there is a whole lot of shaking going on.

Constitution of the Anglican Mission in the Americas III

Moving on through the document, we find a continual borrowing from Roman Catholic sources that becomes outright plagiarism, which will become obvious below.The Constitution says:

We are a voluntary association of individuals, families and faith communities committed to the advancement of mission and ministry. We have been called in the Church to exercise a missionary mandate from our College of Consultors.

The phrase “missionary mandate” echoes Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Redemptoris mission: On the permanent validity of the Church’s missionary mandate” issued in 1990. Also, the Catholic Catechism at Section 849 discusses “The missionary mandate” extensively. The Constitution continues:

In our common vocation, each member is called primarily to holiness of life rooted in the Baptismal Covenant

This echoes phrases such as “The call to holiness is rooted in Baptism” by Pope John Paul II as seen at this link for example. It is a common turn of phrase in theology, and so is not terribly surprising to see it here. But while these kind of borrowings from Roman sources can be understood as the zeal of someone for conformity with un-Anglican norms, the borrowing becomes more explicit.
The Oxford American Dictionary of Current English defines “plagiarize” as to “take and use (the thoughts, writings, inventions, etc., of another person) as one’s own.” With that in mind, witness this section in the AMiA Constitution:

By our lives as a mission society, we seek first to glorify the Triune God. We follow in the footsteps of the apostles who were filled with the commitment to the Great Commission to spread everywhere the knowledge and love of Jesus. We live and work that God’s name may be hallowed, that his kingdom come, that his holy will be done (Mt 6:9-10).

And compare it to this section from the “Rule of Life for the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity and the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity.”

3. By our lives as Missionary Servants we seek first to glorify the Triune God. We follow in the footsteps of the apostles who, filled with the Holy Spirit, went forth from the Cenacle to spread everywhere the knowledge and love of Jesus. We live and work that God’s name may be hallowed, that his kingdom come, that his holy will be done (Mt 6:9-10).

With very minor variations, this is word for word the same! I don’t see any attribution in the document to this source. I would call that plagiarism. It is followed by:

In all our apostolic commitments, we recognize the authority of our College of Consultors, the Apostolic Vicar, the Conference of Bishops and their special role as signs of unity, and as pastors in the local (or particular) churches.

Again, this is lifted directly from the Rule linked above, with modifications for differing government structures:

In all our apostolic commitments, we recognize the authority of the bishops and their special role as signs of unity and as pastors in the local churches.

Constitution of the Anglican Mission in the Americas II

We have heard a lot of talk about a Missionary Society over the past nine months. Archbishop Duncan said that a Mission Society cannot also be a jurisdiction, and that the AM needed to chose one or the other. He said, “in that letter we talked about jurisdiction, and any church body that has bishops and clergy and congregations and ordinations, that’s a jurisdiction, you can call it anything you want, you can call it a Missionary Society if you want, but that’s not classically what it is. Classically, its a jurisdiction.” The new Constitution says:

Societies of apostolic life and mission are associations of men and women, lay and ordained, who live in faith communities pursuing the particular apostolic purposes of the society and leading lives reflective of the Baptismal Promises and the Great Commission, striving for apostolic witness through the observance of their constitutions and charters.

This is something of a paraphrase of the Catholic Canon Law:

Can. 731 §1. Societies of apostolic life resemble institutes of consecrated life; their members, without religious vows, pursue the apostolic purpose proper to the society and, leading a life in common as brothers or sisters according to their proper manner of life, strive for the perfection of charity through the observance of the constitutions.

Constitution of the Anglican Mission in the Americas I

I want to look at pieces of the draft Constitution for the AM. The text is followed by my comments.

The Anglican Mission in the Americas (hereafter known as the Anglican Mission or The Society) is established by competent ecclesiastical authorities…

What is a “competent ecclesiastical authority” and where does this terminology come from? Given Canon Donlon’s background, it is not surprising that this is a term rooted in canon law. We could look at the 1990 Code of Canons of Oriental Churches, referred to favorably by Canon Donlon in his paper “The Challenges of Covenant and Canons as a for the Future of a Ius Commune Anglicanae.” There we find:

Canon 1047 – §1. In the law pious foundations are:
1° autonomous pious foundations, that is, aggregates of things destined to works of piety, of the apostolate and of charity, whether spiritual or temporal, and established as a juridic person by competent authority;

Or, we can turn to Catholic Canon Law, which says:

Can. 298

§ 2 Christ’s faithful are to join especially those associations which have been established, praised or recommended by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this type of law matters in North American Anglicanism. Are retired Archbishops Kolini, Tay and Yong from overseas competent ecclesiastical authorities to establish this new thing, whatever it is? Roman Catholic canon law says:

Canon: 265:  Every cleric must be incardinated in a particular church, or in a personal Prelature, or in an institute of consecrated life or a society which has this faculty: accordingly, acephalous or ‘wandering’ clergy are in no way to be allowed.

It seems to me to be circular reasoning that retired bishops could create a society when they have no standing to do so, outside of the society that they are creating.  Ultimately, what canon law would be in force over this group anyway? They would probably be better served in just declaring themselves a new Society and dropping the pretense of authority from canonical or ecclesiastical sources.

From AMiA to AMSMAW?

It turns out that unnamed leaders from the AM did meet in Chicago yesterday. The AM issued a press release telling us that the Inaugural Assembly will occur in Atlanta on July 31st. The meeting in Chicago was the Inaugural Convocation. I haven’t seen any pictures from it, nor have I seen names associated with the documents, other than H. Miller’s on the PDF of the draft Constitution.

What follows are my comments on some snippets of the press release, but for a better look at it, see the comments on this thread over at Stand Firm.

The Anglican Mission Society for Mission and Apostolic Works Commits to a Vision for the Future

Is this really the name now? Is it “theAM”, the AMSfMaAW, or the AMSMAW?

Research indicates that adaptive change is necessary for evangelism in today’s world,

I was curious as to what ‘research’ indicates this, so I Googled it and found this quote:

“…our churches have begun to make that adaptive change necessary for evangelism in an unchurched world;”

That was from a paper by some named David C. Schoen located here.

It has been said that “today’s challenges are based on yesterday’s successes.”

I’m not sure where that has been said, although I do find this:

“…today’s challenges can be fixed by yesterday’s success stories…”

From a book called “Sincerely, Jesus” by Ed Goble.The statement goes on to list the adaptive challenge:

Our adaptive challenge now is to continue to reflect theologically, strategize and work collaboratively within our Mission Society to effectively evangelize in local contexts through church planting.

This is exactly what the AMiA was doing for the last twelve years. It is also the task of every church based on the Great Commission. What is new about it?

The primary and most significant shift is systemic as the Anglican Mission adopts a vocational model of mission reflecting the Celtic approach of St. Patrick.

I’ll have to look into this.

Changes include oversight by a College of Consultors, rethinking networks and their role, developing specific episcopal portfolios for bishops and a vision for “hub churches” that will drive our commitment to equipping leaders and planting churches. TheAM will be streamlined for efficiency and effectiveness, and we are committed to improving the nature of our coaching and support for new church plants as well as existing congregations who may be experiencing a plateau.

This idea of a “hub church” can be seen elsewhere, such as here and here. The rest of this boils down to the now familiar “College of Consultors” idea and some corporate world lingo. The statement is notable for what it does not mention, such as:

* The Articles of Religion

* The Congo

* GAFCON

* ACNA

* The Jerusalem Declaration

* The AMiA Solemn Declaration

* Who was in attendance

Oh well.

Inaugural Convocation of the Society

The AMiA is supposed to be meeting in Chicago right now:

THE CONSTITUTION AND STATUTES at the end of the 40 days, will be promulgated when those delegated members who seek permanent status as members of the Society will gather for its INAUGURAL CONVOCATION OF THE SOCIETY on 3 June 2012 (Feast of Martyrs of Uganda).

What happened? Is it happening? Did we miss something? It seems to have gone the way of the missing exclusive interview promised to David Virtue…