Thursday, March 26, 2009

This is the news: there have been developments!

Anglican Communion watchers look for signs of things happening, hoping to interpret the signs, and from the interpretation to make announcements about the health or disease of the Communion. I am not quite sure how to interpret the following things which are happening. It could turn out that they are not signs; just things which are happening!

One, Thinking Anglicans reports, 24th March 2009, that the long-running saga of Grace and St Stephens property in the Diocese of Colorado has come to an end. Many members, including the rector, Donald Armstrong, have formed a CANA affiliated parish. They wanted to keep the property. The Diocese said it was not theirs to keep. After court deliberation the Diocese is the legal property owner. In one sense the news here is not that the owner is the owner but that a congregation thought it could be what it is not!

Two, Preludium reports the full decision of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Nigeria to recognise and to be in 'full and abiding communion' with the Anglican Church in North America (of which CANA is a part). Mark Harris in this report senses that this declaration is likely to mean that ACN is no longer in communion with TEC (and, presumably, also ACCanada), though the statement does not unequivocally say that. In turn that would raise questions about the state of the Anglican Communion: can it be a Communion in which one church is not in communion with another while being in communion with an Anglican church in the same geographical region as the one in which lies the church it is not in communion with. (Feel free to have a brief rest to recover from reading that last sentence).

I think all I would say at this point is this: it would be premature to rush to judgement about the state of the Communion in general or of Nigeria's place in it. Nigeria is a stalking horse in some ways. There are other Anglican churches that, push coming to shove, would go with Nigeria's decision; some which would be equivocal about being in communion with TEC and ACCan; some which would be in communion with all. Let's not expel anyone without having a cup of tea to think and to talk about it!

No comments: