Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Communion as We Know It is Dead

From a GAFCON Primates Council release:

'5. For the sake of Christ and of His Gospel we can no longer maintain the illusion of normalcy and so we join with other Primates from the Global South in declaring that we will not be present at the next Primates’ meeting to be held in Ireland. And while we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate.
6. We also acknowledge with appreciation the address to the Nicean Society meeting in Lambeth Palace on September 9th of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. We welcome his call to all churches of the Anglican Communion to step back from the abyss of heresy and reclaim the revealed truth that is at the heart of our historic understanding of Christian faith and moral order. We share with him the conviction that failure to do so will endanger our common witness and many important ecumenical dialogues but we would also point out that there are many within the Anglican Communion who have not ‘bowed the knee’ to secular liberalism and who are determined to stay true to the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ whatever the cost. '

On the day when the CofE GS approves the Covenant provisionally, sending it to the Dioceses, major Global South provinces declare they are out of fellowship with ... basically TEC as the bastion of what is called 'secular liberalism.' There is no way back from this to the Communion as it was until there is repentance or an expulsion. We can be sure that TEC will not do the former and the ABC will not drive the latter.

I have been saying for a while now that the Anglican Communion will become a 'white person's club'. More or less that has happened. We have lost most of Africa and Asia.

Everything here is sad. Including the illusion of the GAFCON Primates Council that there will be a future global Anglican Communion to 'love:'

'10. We are also grateful for the recent conference sponsored by CAPA in Entebbe, Uganda, where we witnessed the growing strength of the Anglican Churches in Africa and their commitment to wholistic mission. We believe that GAFCON/FCA must expand its ministry through the inclusion of other Anglican provinces that share our faith conviction and love for the Communion. We also applaud the efforts of the Global South Provinces to find common ground and opportunities for common mission. We are committed to doing all that we can to strengthen our common witness.
11. We remain convinced that the unique character of GAFCON/FCA with its diversity of cultures and its embrace of the Jerusalem Declaration as a common theological confession is a vital contribution to the future of the global Anglican Communion. We are persuaded that we must offer new initiatives to more effectively respond to the crises that confront us all. We must strengthen our communication capabilities and we are also looking to build partnerships with other denominational churches that share our faith convictions.'

There will be two global Anglican entities going forward from here. Let's get real folks.

6 comments:

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

The Anglican Communion is dead! Long live the Anglican Communion!

Bryden Black said...

What I find rather signifciant Peter is the geographical spread of these signatories. Unless/until we have some clarity about Asia - India, Singapore, et al - we may not know for sure what the fragments of the old Anglican Communion will become: two/three/fourfold ...

So; while something sure is over, we have yet to see either what quite that is and what might yet become of us. "Us" who?!

Peter Carrell said...

I'll stick with the branch you belong to, Bryden!!

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
I thought I had opened up Virtue Online when I read your headline this morning :)
It's certainly a significant development, but they're not talking schism just yet. In fact, they held out olive branches to those thinking of joining he Ordinariate, and to the Global South. They appear to be withdrawing formally from all Communion structures, and developing parallel ones - e.g. conferences, ecumenical relationships etc.
Is it a schism in all but name? Possibly. It depends a bit on how they proceed from here. I hoped to see concrete proposals that could bring them back to the table - e.g. Covenant modifications, further consequences for TEC, proposals for restructuring the Instruments. They obviously decided that would be a waste of time and effort.
You're right that it has consequences for the Covenant as well. It needs at a majority of the provinces to sign for it to be meaningful. It will be lucky to get that now. Even if it does get a majority of provinces, it won't represent a majority of Anglicans. These African provinces are the biggest by far in the Communion.
Did anyone else notice Robert Duncan from ACNA has joined the Primates' Council? I don't remember that being announced. They're hardly likely to be any more reconciliatory to TEC with him on the Council! I was also pretty surprised by the clear majority for the Covenant in the CofE General Synod! It looked dead in the water a week ago.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrew,
One point about my 'dead' ascription is that it is very hard to see how these GAFCON Primates come back into full communion with other primates unless there is significant action against TEC, so, yes, the Communion as we know it is dead because it will not be the same again (save for TEC changing).

Once the ABC reaffirmed unambiguously his commitment to the Covenant, the media headlines and Church Times polls etc which suggested 'dead in the water' were themselves dead in the water!

Bryden Black said...

There is much Andrew to ponder in your post; the threads of your comment range far and wide.

+ Duncan for starters. Yes; you are right that the GAFCON Council will be implacable vis-à-vis TEC. And there is little point in adding riders like: “Unless TEC’s changes/repents...” They clearly will not. So there we have, secondly, a schism indeed - only a slow-moving train-wreck, glacial schism, akin to quick-sand’s inexorable downward pull. I’d imagine most historical schisms were of this kind: it’s only we are currently in the very midst of the swim and have no temporal perspective as yet ...

As for the Covenant: I cannot myself imagine any tinkering/accommodating of the text for a good few years, while the present RCD (with revised Section 4) does the rounds. Sure; suggestions might emerge from this (global) process. But frankly again, I cannot see them gaining meaningful traction, as I suspect other dynamics will actually drive relationships around the AC more significantly. To pick only two: The ABC’s Gen Synod address only this week reiterates the key drivers of both women’s ordination/consecration and same-sex relationships. To be sure again; I myself see both of these as being symptomatic of a deeper issue, that of authority and the means of legitimation in the Church, of mutual recognition vis-à-vis the various groups whom the ABC exhorts “to arrive at shared understanding”. Call me “of little faith”. But having ministered in four key geographical parts of the AC, I simply cannot see such an “arrival” let alone a “sharing” occurring for decades ...

Other factors will probably bring about forms of resolution: like a lack of membership and sheer cash. For God has a way of judging us by our own idols, given time! But such resolution is hardly “understanding” ...

So lastly, if and when a serious effort is undertaken to “restructure the Instruments” (as you mention), I might become more ‘hopeful’. Yet at this stage of proceedings, I can only view our OLD AC “slip sliding away” (Paul Simon). Of course, miracles might - just might - eventuate out of Cape Town and IASCUFO, just as something seems to have occurred at St Julian’s in Limuru, Kenya, last week - even as westerners dither ... But all the same; I shall simply remain in my Benedictine ‘cave’: it’s more fruitful I have found! The ‘currency’ is of a different order again, and more akin to the Gospel’s heart than many of the present Nietzschean/Hegelian machinations of the major players ...