Wednesday, March 07, 2007

albany bishop jumps to CANA

Our bishop suffragan, David Bena, has announced his transfer to the Province of Nigeria under Archbishop Akinola, to minister to CANA alongside Bp. Martyn Minns. This is, of course, quite understandable: he had intended to retire as of Feb. 1st anyway, so instead of that he simply transferred to Nigeria. His wife, similarly fed up with TEC, became Roman Catholic recently. I have the greatest respect for Bp. Bena and his work in our diocese. Local press coverage, usually slanted against our diocese, was fair (read it here). Bp. Bena's move was not entirely unexpected, but all we had to go on was rumor. The only worries that I see being expressed by other leaders in this diocese are hopes that this move will not contribute to division in the church in general. I don't think it will. Some may take it as, if you will, a rodent fleeing a sinking ship - why should they stay in TEC if the man who led them gets the heck out of dodge as soon as his obligations are up? If it was ok for him while he led us, why not now? I don't see it that way: he had a call and an opportunity to minister in a different context, but still within the Anglican Communion. It's just as if he transferred to, say, our sister diocese of Down and Dromore, Northern Ireland. The move ought not to be seen as a repudiation of the diocese of Albany's catholicism, even as part of TEC, and Bp. Bena makes that clear in his letter to Bp. Love. The only caveat that can be offered is that the Province in which Bena now serves is in impaired communion with TEC but not, I think, with the faithful dioceses within TEC.
It remains to be seen what will happen if TEC's bishops do, in fact, acquiesce to the Primates' demands, and CANA comes under the Primatial Vicar. In that case, Bp. Bena would not in fact be in any manner of impaired communion with TEC or the diocese. It may be this hope that has led to his choice of timing.
All told, I'll miss him and envy CANA. They're getting one heck of a bishop.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Below is a letter I recently received from Bishop Bena. At his request, I am forwarding it to you. As you will read in the letter, Bishop Bena, in faithful obedience to his understanding of God’s call, has transferred to the House of Bishops of Nigeria, where he has been received by Archbishop Peter Akinola. He will be working with the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, as a Missionary Bishop of CANA.

We are grateful to Bishop Bena for his many years of faithful service to our Lord and His Church, as Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Albany. We were richly blessed by him. We now wish Bishop Bena all God’s blessing as he answers this new call.
Faithfully Yours in Christ,
+William H. Love

Read the Letter from Bishop Bena here.

No comments: