The Report of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion is out, with the title, “ONE BAPTISM, ONE HOPE IN GOD’S CALL. In the hour since it was posted there have been a number of internet sighs, groans, snarls and growls, and statements of relief. All and more should be expected. Hopefully it will be of considerable use in the work to be done at General Convention. It is accompanied by a letter from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies which places the report in context. The cover letter is very helpful and echoes in succinct ways the mutters of my last posting on this blog.
Now that it is out for the church to use, I want to finally acknowledge my real joy in having the chance to work as a member of the Special Committee. The Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies said in their letter, “We note here that the members of the Commission, who represented a breadth of opinions and convictions, worked in a sprit of incredible generosity and koinonia.” I can attest to the reality of that spirit and also to it being a costly reality. We had to move beyond hearing one another to actually caring about the each others ideas, beliefs, faith statements and lives. That meant moving beyond mere listening to listening to the core, from the core. I once defined koinonia as a “community of mutuality.” (The Challenge of Change: The Anglican Communion in the Post-Modern Era) That was very much the case in our life together as a Commission.
As we draw nearer to General Convention it will be important to remember that this is all grist for the mill. In the context of hearings, committee meetings and finally in the debate on the floor the final form of resolutions will be worked out. This report is meant to provide additional tools for beginning the General Convention work of conversation and action. I hope it does.