Why is the Anglican Communion so resilient?

In light of the news that the Lutherans in Ethiopia have completely severed relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the question arises “Why is the Anglican Communion so resilient?”

GAFCON may rattle their sabres, and their bishops may declare themselves to be in communion with breakaway churches that are not in communion with Canterbury or that communion with the Episcopal Church is impaired , but they never actually leave the Anglican Communion as a whole.

Is the Anglican Communion fundamentally resilient and, if so, why? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here is part of the press release from the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus:

It is recalled, earlier in 2006, two of the major partners of the EECMY, namely the Church of Sweden and later, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, passed decisions that favor Homosexual practices and blessing of same sex marriage. The EECMY noted this as a surprise and immediately reacted against and earnestly requested for reconsideration of their decisions. To the contrary, these two Churches, going further, resolved to legalize same sex marriage and calling of gay persons into ordained ministry. As a result of this, the EECMY was compelled to engage with an intentional theological reflection and deeper search of Scripture as well as legal and cultural perspectives of the Ethiopian Context. The outcome of this study was critically reviewed and taken as the basis for the decisions of the 6th Church Council — which resulted in the writing of Pastoral Call to the two Churches to reverse their decisions, lest the EECMY would be forced to terminate her relationship, with prior notification of one year as per the Standard Partnership Agreement. Sadly, the repeated endeavors of the EECMY on this line, failed to obtain the expected positive response from the two Churches.

Subsequently, the Council of the Church at its 8th regular session held in July 2012, was obligated to implement the decision of the 6th Council, i.e. termination of the partnership relations and setting of exit strategy to realize the decision. Having heard and thoroughly reviewed the report presented on the actions so far taken on this Issue, the 19th General Assembly of the Church unanimously endorsed the Resolution passed by the 8th Council.

Being cognizant of the fruitful and long-standing relationships with the ELCA and the CoS, the EECMY expresses her very deep and sincere appreciation of their historic contributions in God’s Mission.

We will continue to pray that, one day, the relationships will be restored.

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Category : The Lead

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  1. Actually, I don’t believe we are a Communion anymore. How can we be when some Anglicans (including Primates) will not receive HOLY Communion from one another, and some bishops do not believe other bishops are validly ordained?

    We are more like the Orthodox – not really in “full communion” but with a recognizable history and ethos which holds us together.

    The Roman Catholic Church is the only global Communion where every Roman Catholic can, and will, receive Communion with one another and all bishops are in communion with one another.

    For all their problems, this is no small accomplishment after 2,000 years.

  2. Bill Dilworth

    I’m with Bishop Epting. I can’t see that the Anglican Communion is very resilient at all. On the contrary, it seems rather brittle.

    True, GAFCON et al. don’t leave the Communion. That’s probably because they believe that they are the only True Anglicans remaining, and that the rest of the Provinces have already left in every sense but the paperwork.

  3. tgflux

    I hadn’t heard about the Ethiopian Lutherans. Very sad. It takes two to make a relationship, but only one to fracture it, when that one’s heart is so hard. (*) Kyrie eleison!

    JC Fisher

    (*) Extrapolate to the (now so loose as to be in-name-only, if that) Anglican Communion, to the same effect.

  4. Ann Fontaine

    Late to this thread but I think it is the Queen of England. Most of the Anglican world comes from the British Empire and though we have all broken away and don’t like foreign interference – we still love the trappings of royalty (see our vestments) – none of the other groups have the Queen.

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