Saturday, March 29, 2008

The gift of Communion

There is much distress in Anglicanland as we approach the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

The "conservative" faction are upset that the Communion has not exercised non-existent powers to "discipline" the American and Canadian churches. As a result, the leading "conservatives" are boycotting the conference. Instead of coming, they will rudely impose themselves upon the unwilling hospitality of the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem at GAFCON.

Certain "liberals" are wishing an end to the Communion and saying that no American bishop should attend Lambeth because the Bishop of New Hampshire has not been invited.

In between, 99% of the world's Anglicans wish that the childish troublemakers on either side would simply be quiet.

Authentic conservatives are planning to attend Lambeth despite their objections to certain North American developments.

Authentic liberals are following Bishop Robinson's sage advice:
Some of you have indicated that if I am not invited, you won't go either. I want to say loud and clear - you must go. You must find your voice. And somehow you have to find my voice and the voices of all the gay and lesbian people in your diocese who, for now, don't have a voice in this setting. I'd much rather be talked to than talked about. But you must go and tell the stories of your people, faithful members of your flock who happen to be lesbian and gay.
I've spent some significant portion of my life involved in secular politics at a variety of levels. One of the important things I've learned is that decisions are made by those who turn up. Boycotting a meeting, while giving the illusion of dignified satisfaction, is virtually always the stupidest possible choice.

In that same speech, Bishop Robinson said, "the worst sin is leaving the table."

He's right. Leaving the table is schism.

It is ironic, of course, that those who thought to have others expelled from the Anglican Communion are now in the process of expelling themselves. GAFCON represents surrender and retreat for the most extreme of the "conservatives." GAFCON is the "conservative" faction declaring victory when they have not won. All they are missing is the flight suit and the aircraft carrier.

Part of me (and not the nicest part of me) is tempted to say to Archbishops Akinola, Orombi and Jensen, Presiding Bishop Venables and the rest of the schismatics, "here's your mitre, what's your hurry?"

The better part of me wants them to repent of schism, and will seek to leave the door open for their eventual return.

In the meantime, I believe in the Anglican Communion. I believe that the place to hash out our differences is the Anglican Communion. I believe the place for us to advocate and argue is the Anglican Communion. I believe the place for us to fight and to yell and to get royally pi$$ed is the Anglican Communion.

I commend to my few readers the new Gift of Communion website. An initiative of Inclusive Church, the site upholds a traditional Anglican comprehensiveness.
As Christians, we believe that all people have been made in the image of God. We believe that God loves each and every person with an infinite, never-ending, unconditional love.

As members of the body of Christ, we acknowledge each person’s unique and valuable contribution as we seek together to build up that body in love.

As members of the Anglican Communion, we celebrate the gift of our diversity and are committed to being a broad Church that accepts and welcomes difference. We acknowledge our need of God's forgiveness for the sins and failings which harm our shared witness in the world. We believe our unity is rooted in our baptism in Christ, and we will seek to maintain that unity through the grace of the Holy Spirit who lives and works in each one of us.
The backers of this initiative are very deliberately seeking the support of parish councils and vestries - and NOT the endorsement of individuals.

If you feel you can support this statement, please refer the matter to your local parish council or vestry.

And now, a mere one-seventh of the way through the Feast of Feasts, let us return to the important business of proclaiming the risen Lord.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!


Fr. Peter said...

Great post! One would hope that our Anglican Brothers and Sisters come to their senses before they end up like us Orthodox. We are so splintered that it is hard to tell who is in communion and who is not! One of the local bishops here has just told his clergy that they cannot serve the Liturgy with other clergy from a different diocese. I guess he has excomunicated them all on his own!
We need to get along some how. I applaude the words of Bishop Robinson and he is right you cannot walk away from the table. Roll up your sleeves and get down to the hard work. Slug it out, laugh togther, cry together, and please stop tearing our Lord into so many parts we will not be able to recognize Him!

Christ is Risen!

Country Parson said...

All I can say is AMEN!