11 September 2006

A Month Of Meetings

From Joseph Hylden, an excellent summary of where we stand, what's at stake, and what may yet be possible:

There will always be an England,” as the saying goes. That may well be true, but the eternal perseverance of its Church, unfortunately, is somewhat more in doubt. As nearly all interested observers know, the Anglican Communion has been tottering on the brink of implosion for quite some time now, and recent events have not necessarily been in its favor. Three meetings this month, however, will almost certainly lend clarity, and perhaps even hope, to a situation that heretofore has often been murkier than the London fog.

The first meeting is set for this week, September 11–13, here in New York, and was called at the behest of
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. He will not attend in person, but Kenneth Kearon, his representative, will. The meeting will comprise twelve leading Episcopal bishops, running the gamut from the liberal establishment to the Network conservatives, with a number of Windsor Report–affirming moderates in between. On its face, the meeting is an attempt by Canterbury to make some sense of the recent request of seven bishops for something called “alternative primatial oversight.” At its root, the meeting is an effort, at long last, to do something about the increasingly sharp divisions that have riven the Episcopal Church. Given the magnitude of what has been asked, Canterbury has little other choice...

...“We must all hang together,” as the good Mr. Franklin once said, “or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” It cannot be emphasized enough that the decisions of the next few weeks and months are crucial, and are all interlocking. If the Episcopal Church does not allow the formation of an adequate alternative structure for Windsor-affirming dioceses and parishes, things will become very messy very quickly in this country, and the already-impatient Global South may well decide that a “new expression” of Anglicanism is required. The chaos of divorce hangs over the Anglican Communion, dark and thick like storm clouds. It seems almost cruel to counsel patience to those who, for years, have painfully watched their church turn into something they no longer recognize. But it is precisely now that patience is most required, and it is finally at this moment when that long-suffering patience may give way to hope. Admittedly, just now it is very dark, but it may be that this is the final and darkest moment before the dawn. Pushed to the brink of chaos, Anglicans may emerge from it for the first time truly as Communion and find their vocation as part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church they have claimed to be all along."

 

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