Live: drafting the Reflections

The third draft of the Reflections upon the Lambeth Conference 2008 was released this afternoon.

Here are some sections I found worthy of note, with an occasional note from me included:


3. Our time together has indeed demonstrated to us the breadth and richness of the Communion. It has been a privilege to be here together, to represent our dioceses and to grow in respect and affection for one another. Many of us have experienced a real depth of fellowship in our Bible Study groups and have (‘been’ missing here?) moved, sometimes to tears, by the stories our brothers and sisters have told us about the life of their churches, their communities and their own witness. For many bishops, especially those for whom this has been their first Lambeth Conference, they have understood for the first time what a precious things it is we have in the Anglican Communion and indeed what it is to be an Anglican. There has been a wonderful spirit of dialogue and we want that to continue beyond the Conference by every means possible –“the indaba must go on,” as one group expressed it. (extraneous word here?) For many of us have discovered more fully why we need one another and the joy of being committed to one another. At a time when many in our global society are seeking just the sort of international community we already have, we would be foolish to let such a gift fall apart.

24. We affirm that the good news proclaimed in Christ is especially addressed to the poor and to the outcast, to the fringes of our societies and to the dispossessed. In situations where there are immigrants, refugees and displaced persons, the Church often is the first to respond helpfully, but there is need to develop better Communion/Partnership network for more effective ministry to this group. The church needs to be watchful of immigration policies of governments. The need to welcome immigrants and those in the urban drift was expressed. It was also noted that evangelism to this population is often a hit and run process without evident signs of results. There are many settings in which the Church is actively involved in work among person with HIV and AIDS. It was noted, however that the church needs to be more involved in advocacy, awareness building, pastoral care and provision of health care facilities for those affected.

Here is a part I find a little worrisome: 21. For Anglicans the diocese is the basic unit of the Church; it is on this front line that we must be most effectively engaged in missions…. And then 27. Our dioceses are bound together as national or regional Churches, often known as Provinces. We affirm the value of our Provincial structures, but which the life of the local Church is nurtured and sustained. The mission work of dioceses would be made more effective through links and partnership at the Provincial level which enable blah blah blah. (This seems to reflect the notion that the dioceses are creatures of the Communion and not creatures of their provinces. This isn’t the case.)

57. Formed by scripture: As Anglicans we acknowledge the joy of engaging with the scriptures in setting forth the authentic proclamation of God’s Word. We are attentive to scripture in our worship, prayer and study, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that scripture may shape and form us. We believe the scriptures to be primary, but read them informed by tradition and reason and with regard for the cultural context. We value the place of biblical scholarship as a critical tool to unpack the scriptures, and this leads inevitably to divergent interpretations across our many and varied contexts. The overarching issue with which we wrestle is the interpretation of the Bible in our ongoing life.

59. Ordered for communion: ….There is a strong desire to say in communion with one another. Such communion has much to offer to our common life. Some of our bishops, for example, come from countries or situations where there is strong persecution; here the Communion may offer invaluable support and solidarity. We have inherited and value the pattern of the historical three-fold ministry: bishop, priest and deacon, which unites us with many other churches. There is a strong view that the way forward in our common life lies chiefly through deepening the reality of our Communion:

In the proclamation of a common faith

In the development of person to person relationships

In diocesan partnerships

In reviving our sense of belong and mutual affection.

…. (then, the following among several comments in italics):

We recognize that the variety of provincial order—the different polities of our Churches—can produce misunderstandings and confusions.

62. Nevertheless, we must acknowledge that there are great tensions in our relationship at present, and an erosion of trust between us. There is concern caused by a perceived lack of restraint and self-limitation, by impaired communion and by intervention across provinces. There is a some lack of confidence in the Instruments of Communion as the means of achieving this and a particular concern about the role of the Primates’ Meeting.

Category : The Lead

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5 Comments
  1. Paul Davison

    The worrisome aspect of any such document is that I can see parts of it immediately elevated to doctrine, which you do not agree with at the peril of being cast into the outer darkness.

    Paul Davison

  2. Randy Muller

    Part of this reflection simply echoes several statements Rowan Williams made a while back about Bishops and Dioceses:

    The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such.

    and

    The Bishop and the Diocese [are] the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church’.

    The text in question does not have anything to do with the abstract reality of the notion that the Diocese is a creature of General Convention.

  3. David Austin Allen

    There seems to be a cognitive dissonance here. On the one hand they are trying to minimize the significance of the province by emphasizing the importance of the diocese as the basic unit of the Church.

    But on the other hand, it is the Primate’s Meeting that is an Instrument of Community (Unity) and which some wish to elevate to a Curia. Without a province, there would be no primate.

    I do not think that they can have it both ways.

  4. tgflux

    There is concern caused by a perceived lack of restraint and self-limitation, by impaired communion and by intervention across provinces.

    This line was mentioned earlier, by someone who caught its problematic aspect.

    I’d be much happier, if it simply said

    “There is concern caused by a perceived lack of restraint and self-limitation, leading to impaired communion”

    This would allow—if not openly stated—BOTH sides to SEE “lack of restraint and self-limitation” as an interpretation of their (respective) problems.

    It’s the “and by intervention across provinces” which makes the former then appear to be “Teh Gays”—there is NO WAY we in TEC (democratic-majority) can see our LGBT members is that (libertine) light!

    Try again, Lambeth…

    JC Fisher

  5. bill bonwitt

    Does it ever occur to people in purple shirts and those who ‘serve’ them that the Church of Jesus Christ might meet the world in the local congregation?

    The world is usally centered around our place in it – the Kingdom centers around God and God’s people. Most of God’s people will be found in a local church — in mission and worship. And giving money so that church bureacrats can go off somewhere to proclaim themselves at the center.

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