Editorial: Anglicanism-the muddle way

by Andrew Gerns


Archbishop Justin Welby is calling together all the Primates of the 38 Anglican churches around the world (plus one outside the communion) to talk about the future of the Anglican Communion. According to the headlines, he is saying that the Anglican Communion is a failure that it is falling apart. So to stop the bleeding, we are told, the future of the Communion is looser ties with one another.

When I first heard this, I had to check my urge to panic. On the one hand, I do not want a return to the Anglican Wars of the last decade or two. On the other hand, I don’t want some of the people in other Anglican churches (in and out of the Communion) to beat up the Episcopal Church (and, by extension, me).

And, I am worried that churches that at least periodically prayed and worked together would suddenly start ex-communicating each other.

Well, if it is the end of the Anglican Communion, my first question is “what do you mean by that?” My hope is that he will try to put an end once and for all to the idea that the Anglican Communion is some kind of Super Church or Super Denomination that spans the globe. And I hope that we can preserve the idea of the Anglican Communion as an idea, a fellowship, and, perhaps, as an ideal. I like the idea that 38 different churches from all over the world can be so different and yet somehow still be connected.

The notion that the Anglican Communion is mainly a membership organization with rules, regulations, and membership requirements has not worked very well. The more formal things got, the screwier they became. Instead of it being a gathering of roughly national churches who were in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, it became (or tried to become) an organization whose member churches had to agree on certain litmus test matters.

It used to be that the test was simple. Does your church believe in the Old and New Testaments as the word of God? Does you church accept the Apostles and Nicene Creeds as the central statements of the Christian faith? Does your church accept baptism and Holy Eucharist as the two chief sacraments of the Church instituted by Jesus? Does your church accept the historic and apostolic ministry of Bishops?

In addition, do you have a direct, historic relationship with the Church of England either through colonization or mission work by that Church? Do we share a style of worship that is grounded in a Book of Common Prayer?

In those days, the Anglican Communion was an idea, a recognition that these separate churches shared something unique and special, and that for all our differences we express a common witness around the world.

But it was a muddle. Who was “in” and who was “out?” Anglican Churches in Portugal, Brazil, the Philippines and Japan were in, but the Lutheran Churches of northern Europe (and who would be in full communion with the Church of England and who met all four of the criteria of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral) were not. Individual members of the Anglican Communion could enter into full communion relationships with non-Anglican churches but that didn’t make them part of the club. Generally speaking, there was one member of the Communion per nation, unless you were in Europe where Church of England and American Episcopal congregations live side by side.

The muddle extended to the varieties of liturgical usages and theological preferences. Some members of the Anglican Communion stuck to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and other member churches never really ever used it (like Scotland and the United States). Some were founded by Catholic minded Anglicans and others by evangelically oriented missionaries. The Prayer Books of the various churches can be quite different.

But somehow the idea came into being that we, despite all these differences, could act as One Big Denomination or something like that. We began to think that member churches could regulate one another and, if they disagreed, toss each other out. So when Episcopalians in the United States and Anglicans in Canada ordained openly homosexual persons as priests and bishops, others in the communion thought they could (and should) toss us out. So the Lambeth Conference stopped acting as a conference and more like a synod and the Windsor Report was transformed from a report into a policy statement.

In short, the less we prayed together and the more we tried to regulate one another the less we acted like we were in communion. The more we tried to define membership in the Anglican Communion according to conformity, the more the Anglican Communion began to fray.

Screaming headlines that “The Anglican Communion is dissolving!” only make sense if you think of the Anglican Communion as anything more than an idea. If you want the Anglican Communion to be something more than churches of Christian people who share a common heritage and certain general notions about what it means to be church—if you want it to be some kind of global Super-Church—then Welby’s gathering of Primates will be a disappointment.

We still need each other, and we still share much. It would be a good thing if we would continue to pray together, support each other’s mission work, recognize each other’s orders, and go to each other’s congregations when we are visiting. It would be good if our several dioceses and parishes would partner to educate, disciple, and do mission.

I think we should let the Anglican Consultative Council be a council of Anglicans who consult, instead of being an ongoing policy body that will need some kind of enforcement mechanism to enforce its will. Let the Primates meeting be a meeting of Anglican Primates, not some kind of House of Lords. Let the Lambeth Conference stop being a once-a-decade synod and be what it is, a conference of Bishops from around the globe who get to remind one another of their (and our) common bonds. Instead of laws and pronouncement, let’s let the Bishops pray, worship, and study together so that the resulting relationships might result in more mission.

Here’s the truth: the idea of the Anglican Communion as a big global denomination with local offices has just never gelled. Instead, it’s been an occasion for mischief. With this idea, people in this country who hated the direction the Episcopal Church but who were losing in convention and ballot box were able to pull in people in Africa, Asia, and the Middle-East into controversies not of their making and which were of secondary concern to their ministry. The idea of enforced unity took the ability of building natural affinities away, and certainly drained the joy out of the partnerships, replacing them with suspicion.

And if we have to, we can let go of the idea of One Anglican Church per Country, even if that means living with an ACNA church down the block that is also in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. After all, my ELCA and Missouri Synod Lutheran sisters and brothers seem to have figured this out at least on every local level I’ve witnessed…even if they do it by largely ignoring one another! I hope that the Episcopal Church and ACNA will one day sit down together…or really kneel together…and lay out our differences in humility and prayer. If we promise not to steal each other’s members and property and stop trash-talking each other, it could work.

We’ve said some mighty hurtful things to each other along the way. We sued each other over money and property. Our clerical leaders have dragged congregations into our fights. We have lots to repent of. If we can agree to stop calling each other names, it would be a good start.

We used to call Anglicanism the “middle way.” Maybe the Anglican Communion was “the muddle way.”

If the idea of “looser ties” means returning to the muddle where we consult, meet, pray, and share communion from time to time for the sake of Christ and His mission, then I am all for it. The cost may be that, at least for a time, certain Bishops and Churches will only gather with their own kind. And they might give themselves important sounding names, and make important pronouncements. But, in the end, how different is that?

Muddle is what Anglicans do best. Whenever we’ve departed from our comprehensive heart, things have not gone well. Queen Elizabeth I — who once famously said that she “would not build windows into men’s souls” — created modern Anglicanism by finding a way to allow Puritans to be pure and Catholics to be catholic under the single monarch and the single prayer book. Certainly, today we can find a way knit together a global communion while at the same time resisting the need to regulate one another.

And if we do, it will be a muddle. There will be carping about “fudge.” Some of the solutions we come up with may seem lame or even silly. But it would be distinctly Anglican, doing what we do best. In looking for the unity, in choosing to stay together, in seeking Christ’s face, especially in the people we strongly disagree with, and in daily choosing mercy over regulation in our dealings with one another, we will find uncounted blessings, and we will bring Jesus’ hope, healing, and new life to people all over the globe.

The Rev. Canon Andrew Gerns is Rector of Trinity Church, Easton, PA and a contributing Editor to Episcopal Café

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  1. Davis Mac-Iyalla

    This is a great witness and it’s far better than anything I have read recently on the ongoing Anglican dispute.
    I think leaders of the Anglican Communion on every side are more interested in doing the talking than listening. I hope someone in the Anglican authority will read your article and ask themselves what would Jesus do if he was here looking at the great resources that have been wasted to organize meetings and conferences that have no true missionary values.

    • Robert Martin

      Haven’t you read? There is no Anglican authority….

  2. Bill Paul

    Anyone familiar with serious studies on this, especially on the matter of ‘comprehensiveness’–S. Sykes’ The Integrity of Anglicanism comes to mind–will not be drawn into the lazy affirmation of ‘muddle’ , nor forswear the kind of work done by the international doctrine commission which,perhaps, this author is unaware of. And, curiously, what evidence is there that we “are at our best” with “muddle”? It’s no surprise, or shouldn’t be, that in the recent ‘troubles’ of Anglicanisn, one of the things the C of E has renewed is a commitment to theological education, sensing the loss of familiarity and fluency with basic christian convictions, and the loss of theological integrity.

    We do some things that don’t just “look” silly, but actually are or, at least, are pretty close: grasping at this or that fad, offering ashes and communion promiscuously, clown masses, unleashing mantras or slogans that even a basic grounding in the NT would prevent…it’s heartbreaking. We need more theological, doctrinal effort, not less IMHO.

    • Brother Bill, I do see a need for more theological education. I expect, however, that even here you and I would disagree on emphasis. I’m involved in formation for ministry, and I’m quite aware that in the United States we can no longer assume a familiarity with the content of Scripture that we once did (and perhaps wrongly, at that). On the other hand, I would hope that theological education across the Communion would also include education in the theological methods of Aquinas and Hooker, and not just their content; or in historical and literary criticism of Scripture, and not just the texts themselves. I would find those important, and (not to put words in your mouth) some might find them part of the problem.

      I know we have experienced in the culture loss of familiarity with basic Christian convictions. I’m also aware that once we get beyond the Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Trinity we have differences about what needs to included as “basic.”

  3. Prof Christopher Seitz

    Muddle — what a sad declension.

    One reads the OT and NT and one sees dramatic new life and forgiveness of sins and promises of Eternal Life. A savior who gives his life for the sins of the World.

    I think the message of the Gospel could reasonably defined as the annihilation of muddle.

    Sunday blessings.

    • JC Fisher

      Au contraire, right down to spitting into dirt, I see the Gospel as Jesus’s active EMBRACE of muddle (you know, where the publicans and prostitutes are). But if you would really prefer to stay outside the wedding banquet, well then…

      [Pssst! Re the “wedding garments” thing? The host PROVIDES them! They’re called “Unearned Grace”! :-D]

      • John Lovett

        Not much of a banquet-a wafer and a sip of (elaborately diluted) wine? For which I have to pay through the nose and it takes at least half an hour to get from the kitchen?

  4. Cynthia Katsarelis

    Amen, Andrew.

    For those who think we need more doctrine, I recommend Jesus and what he had to say about the Law when it was abused to hurt people. The doctrine that Andrew noted in his 6th paragraph is sufficient.

    It’s the 21st Century. We are not going to get anywhere by forming central power structures for the express purpose of coercing one another. Most especially when some of the coercing is coming from HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSERS. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why that fact (the fact that some of the GAFCON archbishops are human rights abusers) doesn’t stop the movement in its tracks. Really!

  5. Philip B. Spivey

    What a breathe of fresh air and what a radical idea: “Live and let live.” But as James asks in today’s epistle: “Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts.”

    On one level, those “cravings and conflicts” are traditional in all religious traditions: From a single faith tradition spring many faith traditions and usually these divisions spring from one iota or another of disputed orthodoxy. I think this applies now to the Anglican Communion except that, until recently, we have held it together, albeit in tension. Referring to James again, what am I to make of these new “cravings” and what is being “coveted”? Theological correctness? Regional power to hold sway? A power grab? (I’ve always thought so). Or is it something more nuanced and unconscious?

    One particular question in Fr. Gerns’ reflection caught my attention: “… [D]o you have a direct, historic relationship to the Church of England either through colonization or mission work done by that church?” From my stand point, here-in lies the rub and the irony. The Anglican Communion was founded as an Imperial Church and for a time in the 19th century, the sun never set on its empire.

    How ironic, now, that the nations most savaged by European colonization and American resource exploitation are some of those most deeply invested in a new order in the Anglican Communion. Live and let live is no longer a viable option. Fr. Gerns accurately captures this reality when he says: “…people in this country hated the direction of the Episcopal Church but who were losing in convention and the ballot box were able to pull in people in Africa, Asia and the Middle-East into controversies not of their making and which were of secondary concern to their ministry. The idea of enforced unity took the ability of building natural affinities away…”

    If the “conservatives” cannot win at the ballot box (President Obama’s election was an especially painful blow) let’s foment mischief in our Church and around the world. Maybe there’s some vestige of the past we can still hold on to. If we can’t win the culture wars, perhaps we can win the Anglican Wars.

    • John Lovett

      You have delusions of relevance; nobody outside of 90% of the US population has even heard of your issues. This is like watching worms wrestle.

      • Philip B. Spivey

        Please speak for yourself, John.

  6. Wayne Rollins

    A few years ago, I answered a question about the Anglican Communion by saying that in some ways, I thought it to be one of the last vestiges of the British Empire. After some thought and reading this article, I can see that while my answer has some truth in it, the AC seems to be for many a way of holding onto tradition in the face of sometimes overwhelming change. I am an Episcopal priest now serving as pastor in a Lutheran congregation, and we talk about how the once-strict boundaries that divided us have become pretty indistinct in many ways, to borrow your term, muddled. And maybe we just need to slog through the mud so we can find the path the Holy Spirit could very well be leading us. But it is time to stop grabbing handfuls of it and slinging it at one another.

  7. Leslie S.

    I’ve been watching, for reasons that need to not be said, a collection of the PB talks. She has a consistent need to start each talk with a prelude: “I greet you in the name of the Episcopal Church of the United States, Columbia, Cuba, Bolivia, etc etc” Maybe we can back off of the colonial self-congratulations for a bit, and replace it with “greeting you in the name of those Christians in communion with ….” I hate the numbers contest that that greeting seems to presume. If we don’t want or don’t need to be in communion with some folks, then lets not presume to talk in their name. It’s ugly.

    (Please use your first and last name when commenting in the future -thanks, Editor)

    • Rod Gillis

      Not to mention that U.S. foreign policy with regards to Latin America, including Columbia, Bolivia, and especially Cuba, is a whole lot more complicated than the PB’s greeting implies. Colonialism takes many forms.

    • David Allen

      There is nothing of the sort in her greeting! She is emphasizing that she is the PB of a church that encompasses much more than the USA. Before 1995, Mexico would have been in that list of Anglican Christians for whom she is PB.

      • Rod Gillis

        David Allen, “She is emphasizing that she is the PB of a church that encompasses much more than the USA.” Yes she is. I got that. That is correct. Although, I gather the the vote by the Cuban synod to return to its previous relationship with TEC was very close. Notwithstanding, U.S. foreign policy with regards to Latin America, including Columbia, Bolivia, and especially Cuba, has been and is a whole lot more complicated than the PB’s greeting implies.

      • Cynthia Katsarelis

        Rod, TEC and US foreign policy are not the same thing. Including those dioceses as our sisters and brothers in Christ is one way to build awareness and empathy that could actually change the actions of the US government.

        I was in Haiti when thugs armed by GW Bush were making “manifestations” in the street, shooting their guns and hurting innocents. Should TEC exclude mention of Haiti because of this? Or include Haiti?

        As a witness who was there, huddling with the children in the stairwells, my inclination is towards inclusion.

      • Rod Gillis

        @ Cynthia Katsarelis …”TEC and US foreign policy are not the same thing.” Correct, when you compare statements and stances of church leaders with U.S. foreign policy. Most of us can make a distinction between the foreign policy of our country and the policy positions of our respective churches.

        Canadian Churches, including most especially the Anglican Church of Canada with regard to Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba , had long standing connections with Cuba during the embargo. So the complexities of the situation are not unknown here for sure.

        Additionally, whatever the relationships and stated views of church leaders, one cannot wave away the very complex history between The U.S. and countries in Latin America. It is on that basis that I find the greeting by the PB somewhat Pollyanna in nature.

        I am aware of the decisions taken at your most recent General Convention. I’ve attached a link to the Anglican Communion News Service report on the earlier vote by The Cuban Church. It makes for interesting reading.


        Given the situation within The Communion
        at large between the west and the global south, given the situation in the Canadian Church and the fast moving developments with First Nations, given the historic issues between the U.S. and Latin America, I think it wise that the church’s connection to colonialism not be over simplified.

      • Cynthia Katsarelis

        Rod, it would be extremely rude to exclude the Latin American countries. It isn’t pollyannish at all. It would be isolationist to ignore them. Her inclusion is fabulous for building up the Body of Christ.

        I’m afraid it looks to me like your complaint is just anti-Americanism. It is clear that you are conflating an imperial government policy with a church that is trying to recognize all of our sisters and brothers in Christ, bound together in our church.

        I find it uncharacteristically rude. I really do. Having been in the field in Third World portions of TEC, it is vitally important to include, humanize, and affirm the sisters and brothers in these far off places.

        The imperial foreign and corporate policies thrive in silence and ignorance. ++KJS’s efforts to keep them in mind is admirable.

      • Rod Gillis

        @ Cynthia Katsarelis, “I’m afraid it looks to me like your complaint is just anti-Americanism. I find it uncharacteristically rude. I really do.”

        Anti-American? Hardly. However, if you were to accuse me of being critical of the policies and interventions of the Anglo-sphere countries, of which your country and my country are both part, then I guess I’m guilty as charged.

        In the light of your comments, which I certainly want to take very seriously, I went back through the thread to review what has been said.

        My initial comment was a reply to a comment by Leslie S ( above) on September 20, this part, “I’ve been watching, … a collection of the PB talks. She has a consistent need to start each talk with a prelude: ‘I greet you in the name of the Episcopal Church of the United States, Columbia, Cuba, Bolivia, etc etc’ Maybe we can back off of the colonial self congratulations for a bit, and replace it with ‘greeting you in the name of those Christians in communion with ….’

        To the extent that I understood that comment correctly, my reply to it focused on the phrase “colonial self congratulations”. I thought it a statement about what was said v. what was heard. No matter how well intentioned, all of us need to be careful about being too sure of ourselves with regard to for whom, or in whose name, we speak when dealing communities or countries with which have or have had a colonial past. The colonial involvement of The U.S. in Latin America has a long and unfortunate, sometimes tragic, history. If saying that is anti-American, then I guess I’m in good company with a lot Americans who have been very vocal or activist about that over a great many years.

        I was challenged in my initial reply by David Allen, “There is nothing of the sort in her greeting! She is emphasizing that she is the PB of a church that encompasses much more than the USA.” To which I thought I gave a pretty clear response i.e. Yes she ( the PB) is. That’s correct. It was at this point that I introduced the matter of the Cuban vote which was reported both by ACNS and in The Anglican Journal. Clearly there are issues. More work is yet to be done. I gather that the legacy of the embargo and pension funds are an issue, for example ( something also pointed out by a comment over at Thinking Anglicans by a member of TEC ). Which raises perhaps a juxtaposition between the optimism found in the PB’s alleged greeting, and the dynamics on the ground in Cuba.

        How do you conclude that I would want to exclude in any way the churches of Latin America.? Let me be clear. I’m not questioning the integrity or sincerity of the PB. I’m not questioning her authority to speak as PB for all the provinces of her church. I am, however, applying a kind of hermeneutic of suspicion to the rhetorical form of the reported greeting as a segue from the original comment by Leslie S.

        The entire Communion is grappling in one way or another with our colonial past. We want to atone. We want to make things right. That’s what I want,I’m sure its what you want, What your Presiding Bishop Wants, what our Primate wants, and so forth. But we are not there yet. We need to be careful not to speak about what we desire in such a way that it tends to obscure the “not yet” that others may be experiencing. If the greeting under discussion here was made in the spirit of ” we are not there yet, but as a church we we want to show a way forward”, then that’s a good thing.

        As for being rude, well, on a comment board, happy the soul who is sure what rudeness is.

      • Ann Fontaine

        Rod – Thanks for your participation – it is good to have differing perspectives on these issues. Re: Cuba – the Rev. Alberto Cutié (ex RC priest who is now an Episcopal priest in Florida) https://twitter.com/padrealberto has some strong words about the big embrace of Castro – from his perspective as a refugee from the terrors of that regime.

      • David Allen

        Rod, you’re starting to come across as the git who constantly has to have the last word!

      • Cynthia Katsarelis

        @ Rod. I found Leslie S’s comment “Maybe we can back off of the colonial self-congratulations for a bit” is making a wild judgement that the motive of inclusion is colonial. As someone whose been going to Haiti for 11 years, I can say that inclusion and awareness of our sisters and brothers in Christ are much needed.

        You’ve got your view, I’ve got mine. But the PB’s view comes from visiting those countries and being in relationship with its leaders. Her feel for it would surpass ours, though I’m still going to draw on my experience.

        As for the abuses. They thrive in silence and darkness. Absolutely thrive. The only antidote is shining light in those places. And that’s what I believe ++KJS is doing.

      • Rod Gillis

        @ David Allen, “Rod, you’re starting to come across as the git who constantly has to have the last word!” You know, David, some times I am that guy. However, I console myself with the notion that its better than being that guy who keeps yelling, “get off my lawn”.

        @ Cynthia, I had to make a rejoinder to challenge the notion that I’m anti-American. I reject that accusation categorically.

        Throughout the embargo The Episcopal Church of Cuba was under a Metropolitan Council the members of which included the Primate of Canada, the Archbishop of the West Indies, and the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Our current Primate has been heavily involved there despite distance and the language issue.

        With the end of the embargo there is now a new and evolving situation. I think the end of the embargo is a great break through. I also think that given issues of language and culture that the affinities between Cuba and TEC are a positive thing. Hopefully things will move forward in a way in which meets the needs of the people of Cuba and in a way in which they can own.

        I appreciate that your strong views are formed by your experiences in the field in Latin America.

        As Canadians are often stereotyped as being “polite”, in a crooked kind of way I find the charge of being rude somewhat refreshing.

      • Rod Gillis

        @Anne Fontaine, tks for the info re Fr. Alberto Cutié and Cuba. I’ll be sure to check out his views.

    • Cynthia Katsarelis

      Well, if you see it as a numbers contest… It is pretty formulaic, a la Paul’s letters. And it certainly reminds Episcopalians in the US that we are connected beyond. I believe that connection can be the source of new understandings.

      How do you think Cuba, Columbia, etc., would feel if they were left out? Really, do you think they’d like it? Just being ignored?

      As an Episcopalian who frequently works at an Episcopal School in the Diocese of Haiti, I am grateful that ++KJS “errs” on the side of inclusion.

      – edited

      • Bill Paul

        Rowan Williams in an article from the 1980’s (not at hand but it compared two RC theologians to Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky ) wrote s’thing like this: ‘one of the most understandable and sympathetic blasphemies is to presume to love the world more than it’s creator does’ as a way of challenging Rahner’s version of anonymous viz. inclusive Christianity. I’ve kept that in mind as I have tried to eliminate ways in which people are kept from church while not presuming to rewrite the gospel in the ways that, sorry to say, in my opinion, the PB demonstrably has, not to mention her canonical abuses. Her aside, however, we all should be willing to let the gospel and the best understandings of it interrogate our “inclusivity.”

  8. Christina Cleveland

    Someone said the words in my heart about this matter almost Exactly.
    This kind of attitude and response to the future of Anglicanism is my hope and prayer too.

  9. Rev Dr. Ellen M Barrett

    Andrew, you are a wise man. I hope that some future return to typically Anglican ‘muddle’ ground will enable at least mutual courtesy if not respect among our disparate brothers and sisters. I would also hope that we might be more able to reach out to those who have been buried by the mud-slinging over the last several decades. Whether they have gone down with loud lamentations or simply been trodden into the muck like the soldiers who drowned in the mud of the Western Front a century ago, they hold us to account for our preference for purity over persons. Let us never, any of us, forget that it is people–every one of us made in the image of God–for whom Christ died and rose again, not for power and ritual purity of doctrine and observance. Or are we, of whatever faction and party we are a part, ultimately too afraid of ‘the Love that casts out fear’ to risk the creative discomfort of diversity?

    • John Lovett

      Why should anyone bother with this? It’s boring.

      • Jon White

        You did, and managed to find the time to leave three comments 🙂

  10. The Rev. Dr. L. Lamont Wiltsee, Jr.

    Perhaps if we take the word “communion” down to its fundamental meaning, we can organize our Communion around this premise: Whom would you excommunicate, i.e. literally refuse either to receive from or give to a the person offering themself [sic] in front of you? We’re talking face-to-face here. What, exactly, constitutes a “notorious and evil liver (the standard for excommunication in the US 1928 BCP)” in the Anglican Communion? Not being able to celebrate in a diocese or larger judicatory that doesn’t share my beliefs regarding adiaphora is a small price to pay for my being able to receive Communion in that place, and it is probably good for my ever-developing soul, humility-wise.

    • Just a note, Brother Lamont: the Disciplinary Rubrics are in the current Prayer Book, in the Additional Directions for Eucharist on page 409. I grant that they aren’t observed much these days; and as a priest who would be responsible for observing them, I positively quail at the thought. Then again, I wonder how many of us follow the rubric calling on our parishioners to remember that they will die and should prepare wills et al (Thanksgiving for a Child, page 445).

  11. Prof Christopher Seitz

    Nice to see Gavin Ashedon’s (Chaplain to the Queen) note to The Times. No muddle for him. We basically have two competing accounts of what constitutes Mere Christianity in its Anglican form. As he notes, this is not the global south at odds with some monolithic northern muddle Anglicanism, but an expression of Gospel priorities that many not in the Global South also share. I commend his text.

  12. Martin Reynolds

    I feel the thinking behind this post rather “muddled”.

    For example we here in the UK and Ireland enjoy an intimacy of communion with the Porvoo churches of Northern Europe. True, they are not members of the Anglican Communion, but one imagines that might be because they have never seen it as imperative or politic to apply.

    Quite independently we in Wales have Covenanted relationships with several Christian groups through Cytun, they too remain outside the Anglican Communion. I understood that PECUSA also had such relationships?

    While I have deeply regretted the internal wars within Anglicanism and have some concerns about how they impacted on the instruments of Communion and continue to be concerned about the way Primates are being manipulated by Moore College Protestantism and its wealth, I remain committed to the thesis that we should be working for a deeper communion, common doctrine and mission.

    I continue to find it rich that those connected to the misnamed Anglican Communion Institute who did so much to destroy confidence in the last ABC and the instruments of communion and sought governance by Primates should have anything to say further on the unity they so decidedly helped destroy.

    From the 1960’s on leaders of PECUSA and present members of TEC were at the forefront of the move to greater communality and deeper communion within our Communion, their catholic path was deeply resisted by the Archbishops of Sydney and their allies, those forces have now worked themselves out in a rather unexpected direction with Sydney seizing control of the greater part of what was once our communion.
    My concern is for them.
    I feel the present malaise within TEC is due precisely to its own failure to work out a proper internal relationship and canonical integrity, and while I resisted the Covenant firmly, I did so simply because it was the wrong tool at the wrong time. In principle I see this as the way forward.

    I commend people (especially federalists) to look at the prologue to the Lutheran Federation website it describes their aspiration to have what we once enjoyed – and can still!
    We are moving from a loose knit federation of churches to an interconnected communion of churches.

    This communion is a gift before it is a task. We hear the gospel of God’s grace, receive baptism and join together in Holy Communion. And thus we are drawn to God, and to one another.

    This is a spiritual journey, where God’s Spirit enables us to listen to one another and share our joys and sufferings.

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