Some Anglicans are interested in the financial affairs of churches not their own. So recently we heard more news about the difficulties the Diocese of Sydney is facing through a loss of income of redundancy making proportions (though its assets remain substantial, $200m or so). Then in the last few days is the emerging story of the financial difficulties of TEC in respect of its corporate life, where it is looking to extend a $46m line of credit to a $60m mortgage. Naysayers do need to remember that this national difficulty is not in itself a guide to the financial health of individual dioceses (though it has been exacerbated by lower than expected diocesan contributions), and the difficulty is all about choice (sell some buildings and land and, puff, the debt goes away), Prognostications of demise are overwrought: TEC's annual budget is still an amazing-to-most-Anglican-churches mid $30 millions.
Also from faraway is the possibility of evaluating the situations and making calls from 'see I told you so' to 'if I were in charge I would never have made such and such a decision.' It is far from clear why anyone in Sydney or New York should pay any heed to such thoughts.
But what may be appropriate - in appropriate diplomatic language rather than in the language of schadenfreude - is to raise a 'Communion' point which goes like this. In different ways Sydney and TEC (arguably) have something in common: both have a vision for what Anglicanism is, and therefore what current Anglicanism should become. Sydney has a particular evangelical vision which is not shared by all evangelical Anglicans because it emphasises some aspects of Reformed theology to a point where the character of its Anglican life looks more like a Puritan character, familiar to historians of the late 16th and 17th centuries which the Church of England chose not to take. Let's call this 'Reformed Anglicanism' for now.
TEC has a particular progressive vision which is shared by many progressives around the Communion, though (in my limited knowledge) its application to the point of making decisions knowing that division will ensue as night follows day is not shared by all progressive admirers. Let's call this 'Progressive Anglicanism' for now.
In both cases I suggest that Anglicans outside of Sydney and outside of TEC hear a message, no doubt often implicit, that the future of the Communion either will be or should be Reformed or Progressive. Some proponents of these views are more than capable of pointing out (say) that non-Reformed Anglicanism is collapsing, or that it is just a matter of time before we are all Progressive Anglicans because that is where history is inexorably taking us.
So for Anglicans looking at these 'laboratories' of ideal, if not also of future Anglicanism, it is appropriate to look at the whole package of life in the laboratory. How are congregations faring? Is the money following the vision? Are claims that theology X makes a difference to life supported by evidence?
The fact that all is not absolutely brilliant in Sydney or in TEC is fine - other Anglicans live less than absolutely brilliant lives. What is not so fine is the sense that we are being told how to be Anglican from these less than absolutely brilliant places.