Stop doing that which is pulling us apart – Archbishop of Canterbury appeals in interview is the headline at Global South Anglican. This is the transcript of an interview with Lucilla Teoh for the Diocese of Singapore’s Diocesan Digest. Here is an extract:
…Q – So how do you see then things developing pre-Lambeth 2008 and post-Lambeth? If you can make a wish, what will that be?
A – I’m hoping and praying that we shall have no more actions that polarize the Communion between now and Lambeth 2008. This is the point I have already brought to the Canadian House of Bishops which we are trying to get across to the American House of Bishops. But also trying to say to some other provinces: Don’t step up the level of intervention in this crisis because all of that is just pulling us further and further apart. So I hope we can have a bit of moratorium on this, and in a way, a reflection on what kind of a church we want to be. Now, some parts of the Communion would be happy if we could be just a federation of loosely connected local bodies. I’m not happy with that. We could be more than that. We should be more than that. We should be living out of each other’s life and resources and vision and be more closely connected. Because I think that is what the New Testament assumes the local church should do and not live in isolation. They lived with each other, from each other’s life. So, that’s my vision.
I see the next Lambeth Conference ideally as the place where Bishops can really be re-equipped for their central task of enabling mission and in every sense educating the people of God and equipping them for their outreach. That’s how I can see it.
Q – This actually gets you to my next question. Do you think therefore a sort of centrally driven or some sort of concerted organized effort through the Primates or Province representatives?
A – I think at the moment we are in a very confused state with the structure of the Anglican Communion. People turn to the Primates because there doesn’t seem to be anything else that works, a forum for people’s interest, that meets regularly, that can assemble at short notice, which can work together. At the same time, I don’t think the Primates’ Meeting ought to be isolated from other bodies. And I have some hope for the integration of the Primates in the Anglican Consultative Council. Perhaps that will give us a better tool. I think we do need in our shared counsel the voices of priests and lay people as well as Primates and bishops. And the challenge is how to find a structure that will help us cohere in that way. We have some good examples. In fact the meeting of the Theological Education group that has been going on in Singapore this weekend brings together bishops, priests, lay people for a common task around the Communion which is not driven I think by a London-based or a New York-based agenda. It’s owned by everybody. It’s quite a good model. I think we need that sense of the whole Communion setting the agenda and getting away from the suspicion, right or wrong, that the agenda’s been fixed from somewhere else.
Q – So I suppose that’s basically how you see it right now in terms of encouraging the provinces to take more initiative?
A – Oh yes. I think, as I said, with the integration with ACC is in principle a good idea. We just need to make it work properly. I think in the next two years, let’s say, up to the Lambeth Conference, there needs to be quite a lot of thinking of how we make our common structure work better for us, to concentrate our energy where they need to be concentrated and to give us a way of dealing with crisis that isn’t just reactive…