In an post here earlier today, we mentioned some concerns about the efforts to re-imagine the Church of England brought out by the UK group Modern Church and wondered if their concerns might enlighten our own efforts here in the Episcopal church.
And earlier this week, we presented a story about the meeting of GAFCON Primates in London, where they affirmed their desire to be part of the Anglican Communion (kinda, sorta, maybe) while also announcing their effort to re-evangelize Britain, including support of groups undermining the work of the CoE.
And now Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, in his latest blog post, speaks to these as he reminds us that in most places, at most times, the CoE is quietly going about its business seeking to be the Body of Christ.
The Church of England is investing a huge amount of time and energy into re-shaping its agenda. Not in order to bolster the institution, but in order to get us back (amid a million claims on attention) to our core vocation: to make and nurture disciples of Jesus Christ; to grow disciples who pray into ministers who evangelise; to shape churches that give themselves away in serving their communities. Not simply growing churches for the sake of having big churches, but growing churches in all our communities – even and especially where it is tough.
But now he’s wondering if the “quietly” part is working out as well as it was hoped
For a long time I have wondered if the Church of England ought not to be a little more robust in countering the misrepresentation and manipulation (of reality) that emanates from Gafcon. I am not alone. But, I have bowed to the wisdom of those who (rightly) assert that we shouldn’t counter bad behaviour with bad behaviour, and that we should trust that one day the truth will out. I am no longer so sure about the efficacy of such an eirenic response. I think we owe it to Anglicans in England and around the Communion to fight the corner and challenge the misrepresentation that is fed to other parts of the Anglican Communion.
I couldn’t agree with the Bishop more on this point. It is important to remember that the church most of the time is going about the business of its core mission; sometimes inefficiently or ineffectively perhaps, sometimes robustly and sometimes while falling short of the mark. But, while we’re re-imagining, let us remember this and find ways to better tell our story.
posted by Jon White