By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal staff writer
April 30, 2011
The official installation of Bishop Roger C. Ames as the first bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes signals the continuing development of the theologically conservative parish network created for Anglicans who broke away from the Episcopal Church.
“This sends a very clear message of our commitment to a life together as Anglicans,” said Ames, 68. “Church planting and growth are at the heart of the new diocese. We expect to be 50 percent larger next year.”
On Saturday, representatives from the global community of the Anglican Communion gathered at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Fairlawn for a formal service to celebrate Ames’ induction. The local church was instrumental in launching the national movement to defy liberal bishops in the Episcopal Church.
The service, filled with pomp and circumstance, included a procession by the priests of the Great Lakes diocese and bishops from Nigeria and across the nation. It was led by Archbishop Robert Duncan, head of the Anglican Church in North America.
“Bishop Ames is a real gospel man. He’s a leader who loves Jesus and loves his people,” Duncan said. “He’s a faithful shepherd who protects his people, who guides his people and who teaches his people. He’s a great choice to lead the diocese.”
The Great Lakes diocese – which includes 21 congregations in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan – was actually formed last year during a conference of the Anglican Church in North America. During that same conference, Ames was approved as its first bishop.
During the service, Duncan formally invested Ames with the authority to head the diocese. He also brought greetings to those in attendance from the worldwide Anglican Church, having returned Friday from a meeting with other archbishops in Kenya.
“We’ve had great encouragement from around the world. We’re very thankful to the Lord for his blessings,” Duncan said. “Our work as a church is to reach all the world with the transforming love of God. We’re standing on the reliability of the Holy Scriptures and on the unique saving grace of Jesus Christ.”
The Anglican Church of North America was founded in 2008 by orthodox Anglicans who withdrew from the Anglican Church of Canada and the American Episcopal Church in the aftermath of what they considered the introduction of more liberal policies on homosexuality and teachings that strayed from the tradition that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.
The flash points that ignited the movement away from the North American branches of the global Anglican Communion were the Episcopal Church’s consecration of an openly gay bishop, V. Eugene Robinson, in 2003 and a decision in 2004 by the Canadian province of Westminster to bless same-sex unions.