2/17/2012

The Anglican Communion In over 165 Countries

The Anglican Communion Website has a new banner:







So, the Anglican Communion is in 165 Countries.  Interesting.  The map of the Anglican Communion makes it appear that the world is mostly colored Anglican. (The map below colors in the Russian Federation and China, as per the Anglican Communion countries pages claim.)



The Anglican Communion Website lists the countries in which the Anglican Provinces are present (see HERE.) By my count there are one hundred thirty four countries listed, give or take some that are not countries per se but overseas territories of other countries, and in the case of India one country with two provinces. Make it 135.  So, where are the other thirty countries?

Perhaps some are countries where there is no "official" presence of Anglican churches - countries where the British Embassy has services. Some, deaneries in Vietnam, Laos and Nepal,  of the Province of South East Asia, for example, may be later additions not yet on the list provided by the Anglican Communion office. Many countries listed have only one congregation - Abu Dhabi, Yemen, Libya, etc. 

So the number 165 is impressive, but the Anglican presence is spread thin in much of the world, sometimes limited to one church per country.  If the object is to paint the world map "Anglican" the effort works. But the paint is very thin in many places.  

The United Nations boasts membership of 193 nations.  165 of 193 is not bad. Even 135 of 193 is pretty good. Still, more presence is needed to paint the map Anglican even in those 135 -165 states.

The real problem with this mapping thing is that it leads us in the direction of thinking of a "world church" rather than a connecting thread of congregations and dioceses committed to an "Anglican" way of being Christian. It evokes notions of conquest and power.  Instead of coloring the map Anglican, maybe we could connect the dots...the dots of communities, many quite small, that carry on an Anglican sensibility, often in difficult circumstances.



9 comments:

  1. Nice to see the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world and the role of The Anglican Way in that. Nice to be able to preserve that and not think of the unbiblical idea of 'national churches'! St Paul would shudder at the notion.

    Msgr

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  2. Hmm, Mark, how is that different from the posting of the flags of the various countries in which TEC is present?

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  3. The headline actually says "over 165 Countries," meaning "more than 165." So is it 166 or what? Or don't they know?

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  4. Canon Neal.. you are right on the essentials. The plus side to the TEC "brag" is that with the exception of the Chiurches in Europe, some countries of which have only one church, the nations or other political entities represent dioceses. The down side is that from a missionary standpoint we ought to be always thinking of how to grow in each country to the point where they become parts of, or complete new provinces. This counting business doesn't help.

    But at its core the "bragging" side of this business is counterproductive. 165, 135, etc is a distraction. So is 16 in TEC. The only good is to remind ourselves that TEC does indeed include dioceses and General Convbention deputations that dont use English at home, live in seriousluy different cultures, and have different agendas than most of us most of the time.

    Good eye.

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  5. The idea of a national church may have some similarity to Paul's idea of the Church in Corinth. It is also an idea strongly endorsed in the English Reformation and in the history of the Anglican Communion. For all its limitations it is not a bad idea at all - the Church incarnate in a particular place.

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  6. Colossians 1:6. Paul rejoiced that the Gospel was spreading throughout the whole word.

    Is the objection that we have a single colour (blue)? And not lots of different colours? Too 'triumphal'?

    When people get their ardent wish that the covenant fail, we will have a major global south bloc that has already considered TEC to have gone their own way; we will have a 'progressive' bloc; we will have a divided CofE; we will continue to have conservative dioceses in TEC which cannot in conscience fund the present direction.

    So then we will have the multi-coloured map....

    Sad.

    Msgr

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  7. Many are called. Few are chosen.

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  8. Reminds me of one of those "spread of Communism" maps in the World Book Encyclopedia, 1966.

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  9. Hi all,

    Just to say that I was trying to convey that Anglicans (inc. Episcopalians naturally) are in Communion right around the globe; more of a celebration of our bonds of affection than anything else.

    I stopped at 165+ countries because the actual number is surprisingly fluid year on year.

    Hope that clarifies things.

    Regards,

    Jan Butter
    Director for Communications
    The Anglican Communion Office

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