Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If you were the next ABC, what would you do?

This is what I would do ... in respect of the Communion side of things.

(1) I would see the Covenant process through to the point where it was clear whether we were going to have a Covenanted Communion or not (though that process may come to an end before the end of this year should the C of E itself decline to accept the Covenant). On the presumption that the Communion is not going to be a Covenanted Communion I would make clear my determination that this meant that the autonomy of local churches reigned supreme in Anglican thinking in respect of global fellowship, responding to Christ's ut unim sunt prayer, and working on matters of common life.

(2) I would then declare that no Lambeth Conference or Primates Meeting would be called by me until 90% or more of the bishops and primates signalled in writing that were such meetings to be called, they would join in eucharistic fellowship together.

(4) As far as possible the word 'Communion' would drop out of my vocabulary and I would talk about the 'Anglican global association' (Aga) instead.

(3) The point would be made that the Covenant process had revealed at least three significant theological groupings in the Communion,
- those who saw a Covenanted Aga as having a deficit of justice,
- those who saw a Covenanted Aga as having a deficit of truth, and
- those who saw an unCovenanted Aga as having a deficit of unity.

I would invite each of those groups to forge their own corporate Anglican identity via any means they saw fit. I would be available to attend any conferences or other meetings these groups decided upon. I would communicate my hopes for the future of the Anglican global association, that one day it would be united in following one of these three models for AnglicanLifeInternational.

(4) ACC would be allowed to continue to meet because it is unlikely to stop meeting even if I asked it to cease, what with it being an Anglican committee with a constitution and not being ruled by the ABC's fiat.

(5) I would take no part in any ARCIC deliberations until such time as the conditions for the Lambeth Conference and Primates' Meetings in (2) above were met. I would personally explain to the Pope that integrity required me not to pretend that some kind of common Anglican mind was being engaged through ARCIC with the common mind of the Roman church.

(6) Whenever I met a primate or bishop I would remind them of (2) above and ask whether the Anglican global association grouping they belonged to had any proposal to bring for renewing the eucharistic fellowship of the global association.

(7) I would write a magnum opus on communio ecclesiology. It might not be a very good book but it would be quite large because its opening chapter would need to be quite a long account of why the Anglican global association had become what it is. There would also be another long chapter in which I bewailed the folly of those bishops who harped on about the deficiencies of the Covenant while having nothing useful to say about how the corporate life of the Anglican global fellowship could be improved (example here).

By the way, this is not a candidacy speech. Apparently since the ABC is one of the Lords Spiritual sitting in the upper chamber of the British parliament, certain citizen requirements must be met, none of which I qualify for being a Kiwi without British parent or grandparent to secure me useful bits of paper!

PS What would I do if I were the ABC, in respect of the C of E part of the role?

I would appoint Tom Wright and John Milbank as my theological advisors. That should get the chattering classes chattering :)


Father Ron Smith said...

I would 'Clear the Slate', call a meeting of Provincial Archbishops, pointing out the fact that their response to my invitation would determine their willingness (or not) to be a part of the Anglican Communion of the future.
But that's me.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
That would be another way to move forward. And it is an attractive, straightforward way to proceed.

Martin Davies said...

In case any would-be ABC wants to model Anglican archepiscopal leadership style and appearance too closely on the current Roman model, I think some of the words of a wise old Cistercian abbot might be usefully read. Some of it does not apply, of course, but it's a good read anyway :) http://users.skynet.be/bs775533/Armand/wri/pope.htm

Peter Carrell said...

So you don't want ++Katherine Jefferts Schori to be the next ABC then, Martin :)

Andrew Reid said...

I might have a cup of tea with the Queen first :)

Following that, I would invite ACNA to attend future Primates' Meetings and Lambeth Conferences, and put on the ACC agenda to include them in the membership list. (See, my first act would be to include more Anglicans rather than exclude them!!)

Next, I would call Anglicans to a Year of Prayer and Discernment, providing resources on Anglican faith and practice, ideas for mission, identity and fellowship, and spirituality. Sort of a Communion wide time out from the fighting, with a chance to re-think what we are about and where we are headed (but I would strictly enforce a No Butcher's Paper rule).

After that, some kind of forum where provinces and dioceses can decide what level of future fellowship they want in the future Anglican Communion. If they want full fellowship, great, but no more heresy, law suits, breakaway groups, or border crossing. If they want autonomy, fine, but they won't be able to participate as full members of Communion bodies and instruments.

Peter Carrell said...

Yes, ACNA should feature in that conversation with the Queen!

Father Ron Smith said...

Sadly, for those who imagine ACNA has any part in the future of the Anglican Communion; it would have to resile from its intentional schism, with due repentance, before that could happen.

Also, it would require the consent of all Provinces that have not absented themselves from Lambeth or the Primates' meetings. The principle is called 'loyalty'.

Anonymous said...

The only intentional schism has been by KJS and the leadership of TEC. ACNA has been faithful to the Communion and to the Anglican faith.

Of course the use of the term "schism" is in fact nonsense. A Roman Catholic would claim that the AC as a whole is in schism from Rome, so shism is very much in the eye of the beholder.

Christians must obey God, not man. If a particular Church leadership abandons the clear teaching of Scripture, and in the case of TEC leadership, that is the case, then faithful Christians have no choice but to seek alternative leaders.

The current leaders of TEC have turned their backs on the Communion and on God's Word, and gone ther own way. They are the ones who must repent.

Kurt said...

“The current leaders of TEC have turned their backs on the Communion and on God's Word, and gone their own way. They are the ones who must repent.”—Shawn

Con-evo rubbish!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

It is not "rubbish", Kurt, though it may be an exaggeration.

How do you explain the divergence between TEC's Executive Council's proposed motion re the Covenant ("no") and the proposal now emerging from the HOB (see Preludium, http://anglicanfuture.blogspot.com/2012/03/some-bishops-put-forward-resolution-on.html (Yes to S1-3; keep thinking about S4) )?

I explain that as a concern on the part of some bishops that TEC could be seen as turning its back on the Communion!

My explanation

Father Ron Smith said...

Your latest remark Peter, about 'some bishops.." in TEC; might just echo something that has occurred lately in the Church of England - and may not necessarily indicate the mood of the Church as a whole.

In England 'most bishops' have shown favour for the Covenant, but the faithful Laity and Clergy have out-voted them. What does that say about the tenor of opinion in the churches?

The Body of Christ is ALL the Baptized, not only the hierarchy!

Peter Carrell said...

You are right, Ron, about all the baptized, but often it is bishops who make the news!