9/25/2006

The Anglican Two State Solution is no Solution.

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.




3 comments:

  1. With the Episcopal Church already in Europe, I can foresee a situation, should we go down Our Ruth's proposed path, of many of us in the Church of England asking the Episcopal Church to set up an alternative province throughout England - especially if you pay better.

    Madness.

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  2. But MP, what would then become of "Fog in Channel: Continent (including the Convocation of American Churches in Europe) cut off"?

    ;-)

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  3. Well, MP, I can certainly say we have a more healthy pension plan.

    Early in the Windsor process I took the liberty of writing to Bishop Mark Dyer, retired and now on faculty at the Virginia Theological Seminary. I specifically asked him about the Donatist and Novationist controversies. He was gracious enough to respond. Among other things, he suggested that the Donatist controversy was useful, but that the Novationist example wasn't. The reason was that Novationist and orthodox catholic parishes coexisted, in some places for as much as 100 years. Walker's History of the Christian Church suggests it was significantly longer. (Being earlier, apparently the Novationists never ran afoul of imperial opinion.)

    What is interesting, though, is Walker's suggestion that in fact the only theological difference between the Novationists and the Orthodox was Novationist rigorism. Since they were with the Orthodox in Christology in the face of Arianism, the two parties could work together. Once Arianism was dead, the only difference again was the rigorism, and the Novationists simply faded away.

    So perhaps, once we're past all this nonsense that progressive opinions on human nature, including full acknowledgement of the full humanity of glbt persons, and folks realize that more really does unite us than divides us, the proud rigorists will simply fade away. Sure, it might take a while; but then God works in God's own time.

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