Friday, May 9, 2008

Iker and Venables Puzzle Me

Read this from the Church Times latest report on bishops going to Lambeth.

"Bishop Venables has been censured in recent weeks for ministering to congregations in Canada and San Joaquin, in the US, without the permission of the Anglican leadership in those provinces, and in contravention of the Windsor process.
He told The Times: “It is clear the division is pretty final. Dialogue is the one thing that is lacking. I don’t think we are going to change people’s minds, but I think it would be wrong for us to get to a point where we acknowledge a division and try to organise it without being together and talking about it.”
The other conservative who has announced his intention to travel to Canterbury is the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Revd Jack Iker. He said last week: “I stand in solidarity with all those bishops who have decided, as a matter of conscience, that they are unable to be at Lambeth. However, given the situation the diocese of Fort Worth finds itself in with the unfolding realignment that is taking place in Anglicanism, I think it is important for me to be there to make our case and to face our detractors.” "

Note words about organise, division ... final ... unfolding realignment that is taking place in Anglicanism ...

But what does this mean beyond North America and Africa (and possibly Asia). We see, indeed, a potential Anglican global organisation emerging consisting of parts of the Canadian and American churches, the Southern Cone (plus Recife), Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and one or two others from Africa (but, note, not necessarily Tanzania, and Sudan, and definitely not South Africa). This looks like it could be a discrete organisation disconnected from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2018, the ACC and the ACO, though not necessarily out of communion with the A of C. But what of Sydney? How would it fit into such an organisation: still united with the remainder of the Australian Anglican Church (and thus also a member of the Anglican Communion)? Or something different? And what status might other singular entities (dioceses, parishes) have if they cannot leave their province but wish to be associated with the new organisation? Ironically, it is possible to imagine this new organisation haveing full and associate membership!!

So Iker and Venables' words together become the most revealing and concrete disclosure yet that there will be a new global Anglican organisation. Yet their words also puzzle me because I do not yet see just how this organisation is going to incorporate conservative Anglicans who either cannot disengage from current arrangements, or (such as myself) do not yet see a pressing need to disengage. Yet I would not want to have a diminished fellowship with evangelical Anglicans around the globe!

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