Following up on what has come to be called "mitergate" let us note the following from Canon Kenneth Kearon's opening remarks to the Presiding Bishop at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, meeting this last Friday.
Canon Kearon asked that all of understand that his remarks were in the context of a conversation, one which he (and I think all of us) hoped would be dealt with as something not to be picked apart and dissected, but rather appreciated as a conversation. Fair enough. It was a difficult environment and we ought not gather and gnaw at the bones too much.
Still, given the blowup up concerning ecclesiastical dress and passports and such like that had happened in the Church of England it does seem useful to note that Canon Kearon was up for a bit of an apologetic aside.
Just a few moments into his beginning remarks he said (addressing the Presiding Bishop),
“I gather you’ve also been visiting England and there have been some issues that arose during your visit there. I just want to say I’m not a member of the Church of England, I'm a member of the Church of Ireland."
It was, I think, a moment when Kenneth Kearon was pretty much himself, not the spokesperson for the Archbishop of Canterbury, not the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, but someone actively in the fellowship we call the Anglican Communion and embarrassed by the way a fellow member was treated. It was an awkward moment for us in the room, and there was a bit of laughter, but still, there it was. That tendril of an apology that says more than all the formal statements from that point on.
Canon Kearon did not have to come to this meeting. He did so because it was important to do so. We did not have to invite him. We did so because we wanted to hear more than the bare bones of the reasoning behind the termination of membership of TEC persons in various ecumenical conversations. We got that, for which we ought to give thanks to both the Secretary General and the Presiding Bishop.
I have previously posted the exact questions that were prepared by the EC Standing Committee on World Mission from ideas solicited from EC members. The letter to the Church from Executive Council spoke further to the time we had with Canon Kearon. I will take that up in my next post.
Canon Kearon apologized, within the context of a conversational moment, and distanced himself from the Church of England. It was a little and very human thing, and very central as a reminder that somethings need not be picked apart, but only appreciated for what they are.