Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hanging Together In Communion

James Tengatenga, Chair of Standing Committee
"A proposal from Dato' Stanley Isaacs that The Episcopal Church be separated from the Communion led to a discussion in which Committee members acknowledged the anxieties felt in parts of the Communion about sexuality issues. Nevertheless, the overwhelming opinion was that separation would inhibit dialogue on this and other issues among Communion Provinces, dioceses and individuals and would therefore be unhelpful. The proposal was not passed..." (Standing Committee, Anglican Consultative Council)
 Good for the Standing Committee. If individuals, parishes, dioceses, or provinces wish to separate themselves from the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) then they can stay away from ECUSA. The rest of us can stay connected. I don't want to separate from them; I quite like them. I visited USA in the late 90s, and was welcomed by the Diocese of Nevada. Just like any normal part of the Anglican Church they had a great deal of diversity of opinion on all sorts of issues. That's one reason why I like ECUSA : just like the US itself, despite its problems, ECUSA is diverse with interesting people and ideas.

Of course, it raises the question of what a formal separation would amount to in any event. It has been suggested that if ECUSA and the rest of us were formally separated ECUSA wouldn't be welcome at formal Anglican events around the globe. I imagine some ECUSANS who like the travel opportunities of the world-wide Anglican gravy-train may lament its end, but the other 99.9% of ECUSANS would get on with the business of being the Church, and that would include their international connections and work with those who are open to collaboration. Communion is a gift of the Spirit, and like all things of the Spirit is discerned not through human fiat, words or feelings, but by its fruit. People can separate themselves and break communion with others, but for those who wish to honour the Spirit's bonds of unity, we cannot be forced to give up the gift of communion. The Spirit will find a way to go around the barriers erected by some.

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