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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Anglican Communion: A Profound Document

Most everyone has heard the Mainstream Media's wailing and gnashing of teeth over the Anglican Communion's call for repentance from The Episcopal Church USA. It is obvious most journalists have not bothered to read The Windsor Report, and those who did have done so through their secular, and oh so liberal, worldview.

Please don't buy the spin. This is a profound document, written with love and compassion for both sides. It is a call for unity, with an understanding that unity may not be possible. It leaves the door open for both sides, yet is firmly based on the historic, orthodox beliefs of the Church. I am most profoundly touched by these words, at the end of the report:
156. We call upon all parties to the current dispute to seek ways of reconciliation, and
to heal our divisions. We have already indicated (paragraphs 134 and 144) some
ways in which the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Diocese of New
Westminster could begin to speak with the Communion in a way which would
foster reconciliation. We have appealed to those intervening in provinces and
60 dioceses similarly to act with renewed respect.105 We would expect all provinces
to respond with generosity and charity to any such actions. It may well be that
there need to be formal discussions about the path to reconciliation, and a
symbolic Act of Reconciliation, which would mark a new beginning for the
Communion, and a common commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to a
broken and needy world.
157. There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together.
Should the call to halt and find ways of continuing in our present communion
not be heeded, then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart. We would
much rather not speculate on actions that might need to be taken if, after
acceptance by the primates, our recommendations are not implemented.
However, we note that there are, in any human dispute, courses that may be
followed: processes of mediation and arbitration; non-invitation to relevant
representative bodies and meetings; invitation, but to observer status only; and,
as an absolute last resort, withdrawal from membership. We earnestly hope that
none of these will prove necessary. Our aim throughout has been to work not for
division but for healing and restoration. The real challenge of the gospel is
whether we live deeply enough in the love of Christ, and care sufficiently for
our joint work to bring that love to the world, that we will “make every effort to
maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4.3). As the primates
stated in 2000, “to turn from one another would be to turn away from the
Cross”, and indeed from serving the world which God loves and for which Jesus
Christ died.
These are words that should give pause to both sides of the dispute. The Windsor Report invites and encourages unity, yet shows a realistic understandng that unity may not be possible. A thoughtful summary of the report can be found here.
It would appear Bishop Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop for the Episcopal Church USA, may not heed the counsel of this report. This is sad, but a part of the process will be a period of denial and anger. . This report is but the first step in a long process, either toward unity, or separation. Time will tell which way the Anglican Communion goes.

1 comment:

  1. There appears to be some sort of goofiness in formatting quotes in blogger. Sorry about that. I've tried to fix it, but it still comes out funky.