There are a couple of pieces in the Guardian today asking about why the idea of schism in the Anglican Communion is too awful to conceive, or if it did happen, what the practical consequences would be.
The latest in the Guardian's series, The Question:
"If the Anglican communion reinvents itself around a new set of committees, why should anyone care who just wants to go to church? Even without the issue of openly gay clergy, Anglicans already disagree about whether women can be priests; whether in fact priests are needed at all; whether union with Rome is desirable, or possible; which translations of the Bible to use; whether to baptise infants; whether God can be said to exist; whether the resurrection could have been filmed with a video camera … and many other questions, all of which on their own could split churches, and have done. You could probably find all these disagreements within any single congregation, too. The people in the pews are notorious for not believing what they officially believe. But the question isn't 'Why split over gay clergy, rather than anything else?' The question is whether the split, all formal as it soon will be, will actually make any difference at all to churches in their parishes, and, if so, what.
H.E. Baber responds churchgoers like her don't care:
Members of the Episcopal church are highly educated and well-informed. There is no reason why they should look to the church for moral guidance. As for prophetic proclamation and witness to the world, the church's efforts are pointless. Christendom is over: the world does not recognise the Anglican communion as a moral authority and pays no attention to its statements on matters of public concern.
Laypeople who see church as nothing more than a local congregation, which maintains a building, provides Sunday services and rites of passage, and functions as a venue for community activities are not short-sighted. They are right. The institutional church has nothing else of interest to offer its members or anyone else that isn't provided by secular organisations.
Even after exploring the Anglican communion's website I fail to see what bad consequences would ensue if it fractured into two or 200 pieces.
I'm not sure what a schism in the Anglican communion will mean for me as an Episcopalian. Will I still be officially entitled to receive communion in the CofE or Anglican churches elsewhere? It hardly matters since Anglican churches don't issue communion tickets or check credentials, and I don't see any other way that the schism could affect me.