Around Christmas time, having anticipated this series of posts in my last post for 2011, I found that Mark Harris at Preludium made a post about my views re the AC/ACNA with many ensuing comments, some of which I made, and now joined by comments here, including Andrew Reid's thoughtful points re post (1). The long and short is, of course, practically, realistically speaking, at least four conditions would need to be fulfilled before ACNA could even look like being admitted to Communion membership:
(1) ACNA and TEC recognise each other's right to exist as a bona fide 'Anglican' church for the territory of the USA; ditto ACNA and ACCan re Canada.
(2) Reconciliation is achieved in respect of outstanding disputes re property.
(3) ACNA, TEC and ACCan mutually recognise that the breadth of global Anglicanism in North America is best represented by an arrangement whereby all three churches operate in that region.
Don't say what you are tempted to say about 'flying pigs' ...
Andrew Reid makes an excellent point when he alerts to the danger of encouraging schism by accepting dual or multiple jurisdictions (saving the ones already existing).
One response to make (which I am inclined to make) is that we can consider whether exceptional circumstances exist which warrant accepting dual or multiple jurisdictions.
Three such exceptional circumstances already exist within the Anglican Communion:
(a) the respectively American and British oriented jurisdictions in Europe where (I suppose) the exceptional circumstance is the cultural differences between Americans and British residing, permanently or temporarily, in European cities and resorts;
(b) the arrangements of my own church the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, whereby up to three different bishops may have jurisdiction in a given area (such as my own city where Pakeha clergy are under the jurisdiction of Bishop Victoria Matthews, Maori clergy under the jurisdiction of Bishop John Gray, and one deacon is under the jurisdiction of Bishop Winston Halapua, the Bishop of Polynesia who lives in Suva, Fiji. While these arrangements have been questioned in the past by the Communion (by the Primates specifically), our church remains represented at ACC, the Primates, and at Lambeth Conferences;
(c) with appropriate permissions granted by the local Australian bishops, etc, our Maori bishops share responsibility for Maori congregations in the Australian cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
In the cases of (b) and (c) I assume that 'exceptional circumstances' revolve around cultural differences between Maori, Pakeha, Australians and Polynesians, along with the belief that those cultural differences mean the best way for ministry and mission to occur along cultural lines is through different jurisdictions within the same geographical areas.
A potentially fruitful question to ask about the situation in North America is whether cultural differences are involved in the disputes which have arisen there. After all, the conflict going on between 'left' and 'right', between 'GOP' and 'Democrats', or between 'Tea Party' and the rest are described in terms of culture wars!
If cultural differences in one part of the Communion lead to accepted dual or multiple arrangements re jurisdiction, why not in another part? I can already think of objections!!
To be continued ...