Their post uses the word "overlap" in the heading, meaning that when the ++Sydney proposal is that there might be two recognised Anglican churches in the Blessed Isles of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, it is proposed on the basis of a shared or overlapping Anglican heritage.
In an eLife letter to the Diocese yesterday, I wrote the following:
"In the light of disaffiliations this year and the starting up of new congregations (by my count: 5 to date, 8 by February 2019), some of which are using the word “Anglican” in their names, I encourage readers to read an article published today on Taonga about a letter from our Archbishops to the Archbishop of Sydney (and from that article, there is a link to the whole letter). A particular point made in that letter is this:
“Our General Synod resolution on the blessing of same-sex civil marriages cannot be divorced from this shared history – it was a cross-tikanga resolution, decades in the making. Indeed, had it not been for the extraordinary generosity and patience extended by Tikanga Māori (and Tikanga Polynesia) on this very matter, this province would be in a far less healthy state than it is today. If those disaffiliating want to be committed to that fundamental consequence of being Anglican in Aotearoa New Zealand, then they must stay in these constitutional and Treaty-based relationships. We cannot recognise a Church as Anglican which does not encapsulate this 200 years of relationship and history.”I want to be clear with you all that I will not now nor when I am Bishop of Christchurch speak or write in ways which disrespect those who are forming new “Anglican” churches – they have been and will remain our brothers and sisters in God’s family. In common law they have the right to use a term which is neither trademarked nor copyrighted. But I completely agree with our Archbishops and the General Synod Standing Committee that we cannot offer formal recognition to a church or network of churches which claim to be Anglican apart from the constitutional and Treaty-based relationships which have evolved in the history of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, often through pain, difficulty, forgiveness and reconciliation. To do otherwise as Pākehā would be to – once again – override and ignore the voice of the first Anglicans of these islands, our Maori brothers and sisters in Te Hāhi Mihinare." END QUOTE
I think it worth a few more lines here on "Anglican heritage".
First, to be clear, if we think of being "Anglican" as working through a checkbox list, then the new churches here tick critically important boxes: having a bishop (from April next year); communion with other Anglican churches (through GAFCON membership); working missionally, liturgically, pastorally, theologically from Anglican roots, articles, prayer books. All ticked.
Also, if we worry about more than one Anglican church within a given territory, that that is somehow a bit "unAnglican", then we can set those worries aside: Europe (as ++Davies has pointed out) has more than one Anglican jurisdiction covering it. (We might, of course, worry that nevertheless such dual jurisdiction has fishhooks - I believe it does - but, hey, it is what it is and it is Anglican.)
So, the critique our Archbishops are making is this: in the specific context of these islands, "Anglican heritage" means more than "the heritage of the 16th century, the heritage of the English Reformation." Anglican heritage here includes and cannot set aside "200 years of relationship and history" between Maori and Pakeha, encapsulated in our "constitutional and Treaty-based relationships."
If there is to be "overlap" it must be an overlap defined by Maori and Pakeha together and not by Pakeha alone. And what Maori are saying through Archbishop Don Tamihere is that the overlap is found within ACANZP and not outside it.
Now, some might say, "the Archbishop's view is important, to be listened to, but, it is only one view of these things."
But, the question before us is not about personal recognitions of other churches, but "formal recognition" - the recognition, in this case, by ACANZP in all its synodical authority, of another church, of the Extra Provincial Diocese which is being formed.
The implication of the Archbishops' letter is that a proposal to formally recognise the new EPD as Anglican would not receive support from Tikanga Maori. (I suspect it wouldn't from the other two Tikanga, either, but I am not predicting that here). Thus it is not going to be forthcoming. The grounds for not formally recognising will be the lack of shared heritage as encapsulated in our constitutional and Treaty-based relationships.
So, the issues before us - when people within ACANZP are concerned about the new churches using the word "Anglican" in their new names, and when it is obviously important for the new churches that they continue to be Anglican in character, ethos and practice - include:
- what role is the voice of Tikanga Maori in discussion about these matters?
- will that voice be heard by Pakeha (within ACANZP and outside it)?
- will Sydney and the wider Anglican world understand the particularity of "Anglican heritage" in these islands?
Finally, with respect to my recent post below, where I proposed that perhaps the wider Communion through a very inclusive Lambeth Conference might give us some direction in respect of ++Davies proposal, I acknowledge that even that body of Anglican resolution-making authority might not be enough to dissuade the Archbishops' from maintaining their response, resting as it does on specific concerns in our particular context.