Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Archbishop's Advent letter to Anglican Primates
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sent an Advent letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches.
The full text can be read either on the Lambeth Palace website, or on the Anglican Commmunion Office website.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Wednesday, 5 December 2012 at 10:18pm GMT
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It's a really good letter. Especially the bit about not letting our differences keep us from getting on with the work of the Gospel. I don't know who started the Indaba process, but it really seems to be taking root and having a positive impact on growing in love, even if we can't agree. And that opens the doors and windows to working together, especially to bring compassion, food, water, medicine, and nurturing to those in need.
This is the path, not the covenant or hierarchical efforts to bring the liberal churches in line with the conservative ones. Hopefully we can put that all behind us and move forward.
Cynthia. It's all very well to talk about living together with difference', but it take two to tango. I doubt if you could ever get an intransigent anti-women's-ordination person to live with women in charge. Why, they even demand separate episcope!
Cynthia, I wish I could agree, but it is not a really good letter.
In it Dr. Williams continues his basic mistake of trying to please all sides.
Most objectionably, he further encourages those who would try to make the Anglican Communion into one structure. This letter is no retreat from that project.
Particularly troubling is the phrase "the truth is that our Communion has never been the sort of Church that looks for one central authority.... [I]n the Church we have to have several points of reference for the organising of our common life."
This is archiepiscopal doubletalk.
The "truth" is that our Communion has never been any sort of Church at all.
"[S]everal points of reference for the organising of our common life?" What is being referred to here?
At present, each province "organises" itself.
It is incredible to see the spin that George Conger and then Kendall Harmon's brigade put on this letter. They say that ++Rowan has - apparently - conceded that the Anglican Communion has become 'corrupted'. Are they reading a different Advent letter? Being a 'conservative' is one thing; being creative with the facts is quite another, and what ++Rowan actually said was:
"Despite many questions about how our decisions about doctrine and mutual responsibility are made in the Communion, and some challenges to the various ‘Instruments of Communion’, the truth is that our Communion has never been the sort of Church that looks for one central authority. This doesn’t mean that we are not concerned with truth or holiness or consistency. It simply acknowledges that all forms of human power and discipline can become corrupted, and that in the Church we have to have several points of reference for the organising of our common life so that none of them can go without challenge or critique from the others."
Robert Runcie said the same thing many years ago, and it is an excellent summary of why many of us are Anglicans in the first place. If George Conger and Kendall Harmon and their followers want a central authority, why aren't they taking up the Pope's kind offer?
Fa. Smith, I hear you, especially the bit about the intransigent people demanding a separate episcopate. That is exactly what happened in TEC, in the face of intransigent people who could not be appeased in any way, the rest started voting their conscience and that's how we got so liberal. And faced schism, South Carolina is the last gasp. And this is the crossroads for CoE now.
However, between provinces in the Anglican Communion, it is possible to coexist and agree to disagree. It's especially possible if no one tries to exercise power over another province. Power really is the key. No one should have it, not even the ABC. That makes us talk instead, and it looks as if the Indaba process is helping.
Jeremy, I appreciate your parsing of "archiepiscopal doubletalk" for me. My ear for that is not keen. And sometimes us Yanks don't pick up on it all, even me, having lived in England for a small bit. If you're right, then I guess the prayer is that the new ABC exercise more humility and perhaps more savvy in the job. It does look like he's got his hands full at home.