Small reality check:
How many times does the phrase Anglican Communion appear in the Constitution of the Episcopal Church?
Answer 1. (in the Preface.)
How many times does the phrase Anglican Communion appear in the Canons of the Episcopal Church?
Answer 8. (In Title I: regarding a commission on International Peace and Justice, in the section on Missionary Jurisdictions, Congregations in Foreign Lands, and Churches in Full Communion; In Title III: regarding proficiency in the history of the Anglican Communion.)
Title I concerns organization and administration of the Episcopal Church and Title III concerns Ministry.
The phrase "Anglican Communion" does not appear in the body of the Constitution, except for the preface, or in the Canons on either Worship or Discipline.
Perhaps the massive level of identification of The Episcopal Church with the Anglican Communion is a bit overblown.
How many times does the phrase "Anglican Communion" appear in the Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal Church)?
Just for fun, how many times does the phrase "Anglican Communion" appear in the BCP of 1662?
Answer 0. (Of course...in 1662 there was no AC)
And in the Canons of the Church of England?
Answer 0. In the supplementary materials to the Church of England Canons there is a section on Churches in Communion with the Church of England. This includes a list of those churches in the Anglican Communion. It appears that the list of churches is not part of the canons because inclusion on that list is not finally dependent on act of synod. "Rule 54(5) of the Church Representation Rules provides that ‘if any question arises whether a Church is in communion with the Church of England, it shall be conclusively determined for the purposes of these rules by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York’"
So if the Anglican Communion is not mentioned in the official Book of Common Prayer of either church, and is not mentioned in any canon concerning either discipline or worship in either church, what is all the fuss and fury about?
It would appear that the Church of England has no essential concern for the Provinces, and the Episcopal Church mostly speaks to the matter of Provinces as subsets of its own church structure. "Provinces" related to the Anglican Communion is only mentioned twice in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church - in the preface and in the listing of people in title III whose orders are accepted in this church. There is no indication that the Episcopal Church considers itself a Province, as opposed to, say a "regional church."
Seems to me that the Anglican Communion is developing along the lines of the British Constitution. It exists, but not on paper.ReplyDelete
When do you think that the percentage of Episcopalians in the Senate will reach their percantage in the general population?ReplyDelete
Why is there such complacency about being disproportionately represented in high office?
When are you people going to move aside to make room for others?
Why is the Episcopal church disproportionately convert?ReplyDelete
Only about 30-40% of those born in this church stay with it until they die-what does this say about the church?
Why are your clergy-for that matter, nearly all clergy-disproportionately gay?
Why are you such a Problem Child, Brian?ReplyDelete
When are you going to grow up?
Why don't you leave us alone, until you do?
Lord have mercy!
What silly statements, Brian. Remind me, where in the Constitution is the proportional representation in the Senate by religious denomination clause? Don't know where you get your figures, but it would seem to me that a denomination that is "disproportionately convert", might be doing something right.ReplyDelete
["Do not feed the Trolls. Do not feed the Trolls".]
Um, if "nearly all clergy" are "disproportionately gay" - then it's not a "disproportion." It's the norm, at that point.ReplyDelete
But this is an interesting complaint, actually. I guess it must be tough for the real hard-core anti-gay folks to realize that the people they most want out of their churches are in fact up front leading worship every Sunday.
I hope the ultimate intent of this post is not to suggest that the whole "Anglican Communion" is overblown, as to ask the question, "Why the heck should we even be concerned about being a part of it?"ReplyDelete
This is going to come across as being more adversarial or angry than I intend, but...
Being part of this "Anglican Communion" thingie, IMHO, is because it reminds us so poignantly that it is not all about US! It gives to us a good dose of humility that Americans so desperately need - yes, even liberals (perhaps even more so). Do we take our medicine, or do we think we know better? Huh, Americans!
American hegemony is as generally rampant in TEC concerning our attitudes toward many of our mission partners (the other provinces) as it is with the present U.S. government. The Episcopal Church is supposed to be progressive and liberal, but we act so much more like the “evil empiricists” that we accuse the present administration of being.
We need the Communion as desperately as some of the provinces in which the Church is severely persecuted. Can we humble ourselves to recognize that everything is not always on our own American terms? Are we in the U.S. able to come down from our "high horse" of believing that we are some how so enlightened, and in humility recognize that we need them? The "conservatives" and the "liberals" are more alike then they want to admit. Both groups tend to want to impose their “agenda,” which is much more culturally driven then Gospel driven – and I’m writing this as a gay priest serving in NYC. Communists and Fascists are so similar to one another in attitude and action, with noted differences, and so are the liberals and conservatives like one another in our own current troubles.
Considering Brian's comment, “When are you people going to move aside to make room for others,” (which I may well misunderstand): I have heard again and again younger clergy people and lay leaders say something like, "I can't wait until this generation of leadership retires so that the Church can get back to being the Church." The ideologically driven conflicts taken up by this generation of leadership, both conservative and liberal, need to come to an end. The mythological 1950’s were not the golden years many conservatives want them to be nor were the 1960’s a glorious heyday that the liberals believe them to be. The strengths of true liberalism and true conservatism are complementary, but we make them to be adversarial.
This is not meant to be snide, truly, but I wonder how it feels to be "the man" to a generation that so rebelled against "the man." For what it is worth, if an “agenda” is more important then being in the Anglican Communion, then to hell with the agenda – conservative or liberal.
brian, perhaps we're involved because we believe public service is one possible expression of seeking and serving Christ in all persons, loving neightbor as self. As to your second question, how would we know whether either assertion were true? What indeed would be "proportional?" At the same time, we do seek to express welcome, as Archbishop Williams suggested; so perhaps people are in the Episcopal Church because they feel welcome.ReplyDelete
Brian, Brian, Brian...ReplyDelete
There are more converts in the Episcopal Church because people find our tradition more satisfying liturgically, spiritually, and intellectually.
Many "cradle Episcopalians" leave because they, having known no other church experience, do not fully appreciate what they were born into.
My personal experience has been that those from other places have much more appreciation for our part of the Church than we who have grown up in it.
Interesting point, Mark Harris. If I read you right, your question is, "If the Anglican Communion doesn't appear in official documents which we consider authoritative, what does the conversation matter?" (more politely put, of course!)ReplyDelete
Doesn't that put a huge (possibly disproportionate) emphasis on what is written versus what is spoken or lived? Or, to put it another way, the implication is that the relational and slippery side of being church is less important than the solid black and whites. But perhaps that argument is precisely what you're pushing against.
I have no idea who Brian is, but I have a question for those of you who responded to him. Why do you rise to the bait so easily? There wasn't even a decent worm on that hook, but you went after it with gusto anyway.ReplyDelete
How many times "Body of Christ" appears in our C&C? None, and yet, it is the underlying notion whereby our C&C makes us a Church and not a club or not a "Rotary-like" service organization.ReplyDelete
I believe that Mark has a valid question, however, I think he may be looking in the wrong place to find an answer.
I would suggest that the roots of the idea/notion of "Anglican Communion" as well as the oft sidelined "Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ" are unequivocally Pauline.
Our problem, I guess, is that because we have become so attached to the idea of city/state=church/bishop, we have failed to develop and forcefully argue an ecclesiology that effectively may push us out from the Middle Ages.
With due respect to the non-US dioceses, without the Anglican Communion, TEC will be no more than a city/state=church/bishop institution on steroids.
Mark, I think you are on to something here --especially since some of the documents you mentioned were considered "root cause" for the so-called orthodox.ReplyDelete