Ruth Gledhill is Religion Correspondent for the London Times. I read her reports regularly and with great appreaciation. However, she missed one. She recently wrote this about the Kigali Communiqué:
“The two Anglican Churches would not be in communion with each other, but both would remain in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the Communion’s “instruments of unity”.
The concept is not unprecedented. Such a structure exists in Europe, where both the Church of England and the Episcopal Church have a diocese that exists alongside each other in the same geographical territory.”
She is wrong.
The Global South proposal for a two state solution is abnormal, unpresedented, and will hopefully be rejected out of hand when the fog lifts.
The Church of England has a diocese, the Diocese of Europe, and the Episcopal Church has the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, not a diocese, but with a Bishop in Charge. It is under the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop.
While it is true that there are two ecclesial entities “in the same geographical territory” they are very definitely in communion with each other. The reason for the two entities is not doctrinal or disciplinary differences, but peculiarities of mission history. Furthermore they work together often and to good effect.
That of course makes them unlike the one being trotted out by the Global South Primates (however many actually are on board with the idea). The GSP idea is of two provinces not in communion with each other, the European situation is of dioceses / convocations very much in communion. Got it?
The peculiar situation of Anglicans in Europe, with English and American congregations and two churches that are extra-provincial to Canterbury (Spain and Portugal), is indeed an anomaly, but it is one among friends and churches in full communion with each other.
The trouble with this little quote is that it is bandied about by the realignment folk as if all this might be business as usual, and when a respected journalist repeats it, it gets further chiseled in stone. But it still isn’t true.