Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Institute of New Anglicanism

Cherry-picking here, but why not? Tim Harris, commenting on Stand Firm (in response to Sarah Hey posting his comment made on Titus One Nine, but also in a post below), offers further thoughts on GSE4 and links it to developments here in NZ:

"Thanks for posting this Sarah. One of the interesting statements that emerged through the plenary addresses (I think by ++John Chew) was the need to get away from an idealised vision of ‘Anglicanism’ identified with its English expression. As the Global South gain in confidence as a significant stake-holder within the Anglican world, they appear to me to be increasingly frustrated with inheriting a global north agenda, together with the control of communion instruments to achieve the outcomes predetermined in the proverbial back room (probably a literal one for that matter).

The more positive focus and energy (while responding with clarity to AC ‘issues’ as per the communiqué) was much more in exploring what does it mean to be Anglican (or more specifically, an Anglican expression of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church) in the very divergent contexts as experienced within the global south. In their own words, this will require new expressions of being Anglican as necessary to meet the missional challenges of each context.

It is clear that this is not departing from the AC, nor providing alternatives to the Instruments of Communion, but it does signal that time, energy and precious resources will be given less to AC ‘Instruments’ and their associated initiatives, and more to Global South initiatives and the capacity to further the gospel mission affirmed (with passion) by the Global South.

Here in the Diocese of Nelson, and through our newly established and fledgling theological college, we have a joint initiative that we have named ‘New Anglicanism’. It is unashamedly ‘Anglican’ drawing on the radical and pioneering DNA that accompanied the formation of Anglican Church, but exploring how Anglican treasures old and new (see Matthew 13:52) can provide ‘deep church’ in our particular context. ‘New Anglicanism’ will focus on networking at grassroots level, and be particularly mindful that in a post-colonial age we are no-longer answerable to euro-centric masters. To be honest, I believe we in the ‘western’ church are still in our infancy when it comes to engaging with genuine theological and spiritual dialogue with non-western perspectives and experiences.

In many ways, the grass-roots networking mode of ‘New Anglicanism’ is very similar to the ‘Third Way’ discussions stimulated by Sarah’s post subsequent to GC 2009. If anyone wants to explore this further, you might visit the website for Bishopdale Theological College, and the link to the ‘Institute for New Anglicanism’. This is a positive and proactive initiative in seeking to get beyond to the reactive stance that we have been drawn into by events over the past decade.

To clarify: we are still ‘Anglican’ within the context of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, but seeking to be more intentional in addressing what it means for us in seeking (in God’s grace) to be Anglican in our context and in this point in history, while being faithful to our calling as members of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church."


Bryden Black said...

"To be honest, I believe we in the ‘western’ church are still in our infancy when it comes to engaging with genuine theological and spiritual dialogue with non-western perspectives and experiences."

I wager a large part of this "infancy" is due to another related and more profound "infantilism": a failure to do the deep work of engaging with the Western Church's own vast cultural shifts over the past 250 years, as these have impacted the Christian Faith. That is, a deep failure of missiology - for we failed to see it AS a missiological task!

Tim Harris said...

Indeed Bryden. I agree. However, our engagement in 'genuine theological and spiritual dialogue' with those coming with non-western perspectives and experiences will (amongst many things) assist us to identify what we 'within' are not seeing, whilst being much more evident to those observing from a more distant cultural perspective.