This article in the Guardian, titled, Unity over integrity, ends with the following:
"Dr Williams' gradualist intention is to manage this divergence of beliefs. But there is nothing uplifting about the consequences. In the end he can do little to stop the separation, as the nominal figurehead of a movement whose members have acquired a confidence that has moved beyond their roots in the British empire. Anglicanism is evolving into two forms of protestantism: a scriptural conservatism and a more free-thinking search for modern spiritual guidance. Both have their adherents. Neither pays much attention to Dr Williams. He may not have to struggle to keep them together for much longer."
Mark Chapman notes, "Different churches across the globe can develop very different ways of thinking about God and his relations with the world. With its history of autonomous action and its absence of central authority, except at a very rudimentary level, Anglicanism has always been particularly prone to ever-increasing diversity." (Anglicanism, a Very Short Introduction ,Oxford, 2006, p 12).
The possible separation may reflect the genuinely felt differences in "thinking about God and his relations with the world." If so integrity lies there. There is no shame in coming down on one side or the other of such a fault line…it runs through here, and indeed through every church community. The shame may be in trying to make unity the place where one's integrity is lodged.
Archbishop Williams is a quite remarkable person and carrying a load no one ought to bear. It seems he feels he has been placed where he is to bear the marks of suffering for unity. That suffering has become, it seems, his integrity.
But unity has already been established in Jesus Christ. The unity of the Anglican Communion as a regulatory agency is not the unity that Our Lord prayed for. That unity is relational, not confessional. The Creator and The Annointed One are one in relation. Surely the Archbishop's integrity of person and position can be relational as well. Unity is not the cause for which he must suffer. My prayer is that he can let it go.
The unity of the Anglican Communion may be let go of as easily as breathing out. When it came into being, it was relational. It has existed relationally. Perhaps even in its disunity it can still be relational.