The past couple of posts have focused on some aspects of being Anglican in the world today which are institutional: a House of Bishops' statement, a counter statement, an Archieposcopal response to the counter statement, a critique by an Archbishop and a condemnation of that critique by another Archbishop.
Here I want to focus our attention on being Anglican and the future of being Anglican in respect of what Anglicans are doing on the ground, with or without episcopal or archiepiscopal guidance and direction.
There may or may not be any special insight attached to the ontology of episcopacy but a function of episcopacy is to experience Anglican life as lived by Anglicans across the many ministry units of a diocese (with some wider experiences from time to time via travel to other dioceses).
What I see as I travel around is that there is a range to being Anglican. For instance, liturgically speaking:
There are sticking pretty much wholly to our NZPB services Anglicans.
There are mixed services Anglicans (one service sticks close to NZPB, the other does not).
There are strongly influenced by NZPB services Anglicans.
There are exploring new ways of worshipping God Anglicans.
Or, put another way, and noting a couple of recent posts by Bosco Peters (here and here), there are Anglicans who value the principle of "common prayer" and engage liturgically accordingly, and there are Anglicans who do not value the principle of common prayer, for example, because they value something else more highly, such as local adapation to a particular context leading to a liturgy which is fit for that local purpose but not especially coherent with "common prayer" across the wider church.
It's all Anglican because Anglicans are doing these things.
But in the messiness of much diversity, there lies the question, what will continue and what will discontinue?
The English Reformation gave rise to the 1549 and 1552 prayer books, then to Mary's reactive reign, then to Elizabeth's progressive-towards-reformed-but-not-extremist Anglicanism, all which developments settled, post Elizabeth with the 1611 King James Bible and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and long they reigned over us, into the 20th century.
We may never, of course, settle again on one version of the Bible and one prayer book. But it is a fair question, I suggest, to ask what currently diversified Anglicanism is going to become? Assuming we are evolving, are we merely improving the species or going to generate a new species?
That is, should any younger readers here be alive in 2100, what will the Anglican liturgy which buries you have become? What will the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have evolved to?
Here I resist the temptation to predict. I observe only this, I don't think we are going to see a movement which wants to take us back to a "clasic Anglicanism" whether that is say 1950s Anglicanism (all the great hymns, 1662 BCP and some use of 1928 PB) or 1989 Anglicanism (i.e. full switch over to the NZPB published in 1989).
We are going to become something and it may be something which bears a strong or a weak resemblance to our experience of Anglicanism in 2021.
That is, according to our understanding of "Anglican" today (acknowledging all disputes and arguments), we may not think the future of Anglicanism in these islands is actually "Anglican".
Though it might be. The Holy Spirit is involved in the evolution.
Yes, yes, I know that statistically speaking there may be no ACANZP in existence in 2100. I am hopeful, contra stats!