I appreciate Bishop Iker's concern for protocol and, more important, for the integrity of diocesan boundaries. I really do. I therefore fully expect the Bishop to write and post this letter when Archbishop Akinola comes to Wheaton College on September 23, 2007 to share in a workshop sponsored by the Chicago area chapter of AMiA....
“This visit by Archbishop Akinola was arranged without any prior consultation with the Bishop of Chicago or any of the other elected leaders of that diocese. I consider it a breach of protocol and a violation of the basic polity of The Episcopal Church. It is a clear effort on his part to recognize and empower a small group of people who dissent from the stated theological positions of that diocese and who claim that they alone are the true ‘loyal Anglicans in our sister Diocese of Chicago.
“This visit by Archbishop Akinola further exacerbates an already tense, adversarial relationship that has developed between international leaders and Episcopal officials. Unfortunately, he has sought to further divide the people of that diocese rather than to promote reconciliation. I regret that Bishop Akinola has chosen to fan the flames of division and to advocate a rather one-sided view of the controversies that have overtaken The Episcopal Church in recent decades. Rather than working with Bishop Persell and other diocesan officials, he has chosen to go around them in a blatant attempt to work with the revisionist opposition group known as the Anglican Mission in the Americas.
“I regard his visit as part of a concerted effort to undermine the existing Episcopal leadership in favor of those who support the reactionary agenda of these groups. It is disconcerting to see this deepened alienation fostered by one of the top leaders of The Anglican Communion. However, I am sure I join with my brother bishop is assuring that we will not be deterred or side-tracked from our Gospel mission by this kind of political manipulation.”
One can always dream.