We are but a few days out from our latest Way Forward report/recommendations (I am going to the TAB on a 4 July release). Compromise is in the air, obviously. But what kind? Does the devil lie in the details? Patience!
Meanwhile, as an appetizer and a reminder of the subtle art of Anglican compromise, we could consider a proposal coming out of the CofE which I am sure ACANZP will be interested in. This one concerns Methodist/Anglican recognition of mutually interchangeable ministries.
A bit like cold fusion, ecumaniacal AngMeth-ecclesiologists have been working on this for ages without success. Until now. Is this the moment?
I hope so. Our journey on earth to the kingdom of heaven becoming the kingdom on earth involves (among many things) finding Christian unity. As I now often say, there are not separate sections in heaven for different kinds of Christians, so why not begin now to live the unity we will live in for eternity!
Not that it is easy, this search for elusive unity, but then Jesus never promised the way forward would be without challenges.
Back to our challenging life in ACANZP where differences abound on a range of topics: blessings, (NZ) Methodists (with whom we have a covenant), and a certain cathedral.
My thoughts lately have been about the importance of recognising that as Christians we are always in a coalition - a group of people with striking differences yet making compromises to be in coalition rather than in opposition to one another. At its broadest our coalition is simply that we are Christians (and not atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, etc). Like it or lump it, we cannot within this coalition dismiss Christians we disagree with. We are Christians in disagreement and with differences in this coalition. And even if we are tempted to dismiss Christians we disagree with, we find that outside the coalition, the world (whether atheists or Islamists) does not side with "us" or "them": it simply sees us as Christians who do not get on very well with each other.
For a few centuries Anglicans and Methodists have coped with differences between them by being a coalition of Christians rather than (say) a coalition of (diverse) Anglicans or a coalition of (diverse) Methodists. Now, at least in England, the possibility is that Anglicans and Methodists are moving into a "coalition of Anglicans-and-Methodists".
What will the impact of the forthcoming Way Forward report and recommendations be on ACANZP as we receive, digest (our local synods) and approve or not (General Synod, May 2018)? Will we remain the coalition we currently find ourselves in, of Tikanga, of churchpersonships, of theological differences - a coalition under one Anglican name for these islands?
Or some other kind of coalition?
But, make no mistake, whatever the future holds, we will be a coalition of one kind or another.
Personally I am voting to remain in coalition under the one Anglican name.
As far as I can tell, that is what Bishop Richard Condie of Tasmania is working on re the Anglican Communion as a whole!