Well the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have a full mail box these days. Reminds me of the ol Bee Gees song:
First the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies wrote the ABC concerning D025 - the resolution concerning episcopal elections.
They reassured the ABC that B033 was not rescinded, rather it returned to the place it belonged, the conscience of the individual bishop and the standing committees. They in turn were to be guided by the experience of this Church, the Constitution and Canons, their understanding of the requirements for holy living, and our common life with others in the Communion.
That letter can be read about and accessed HERE.
Now it appears they have also written concerning C056. It can be read about and accessed HERE.
Both these letters are efforts to inform the Archbishop of Canterbury that what we have done is place the matter of decision making where it must finally be placed, in the conscience of bishops, the General Convention, the clergy and laity, as they each participate in the life of the Church.
These letters are important contributions to the ongoing efforts to inform the wider church of the work we do in relation to the call for justice, mercy and faithfulness. Read them.
And by now we may assume that the ABC, or at least his office, has received a letter sent from Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America and deposed bishop of Pittsburgh to the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Duncan makes the case for the great duality... the forces of good and evil. Here is what he says,
"Two Cities: One Choice
An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion
Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There are times in the history of God’s people when the prevailing values and behaviors of those then in control of rival cities symbolizes a choice to be made by all of God’s people. For Anglicans such a moment has certainly arrived. The cities symbolizing the present choice are Bedford, Texas, and Anaheim, California. In the last month, the contrasting behaviors and values of the religious leaders who met in these two small cities made each a symbol of Anglicanism’s inescapable choice.
Jerusalem and Babylon come to mind as the Scriptural cities which are enduring symbols of choices to be made by God’s people, and of what can happen when God’s people make a choice for something other than God’s Way, God’s Truth, God’s Life, as set out in God’s Covenant, whether Old or New.
Charles Dickens contrasts London and Paris in the last quarter of the 18th Century in his Tale of Two Cities. Both cities are in crisis, but one operates from received values and behaviors, while the other attempts to re-make the world to its own revolutionary tastes.
St. Augustine of Hippo in his De Civitate Dei contrasts the City of God and the City of the World, explaining the fate of Rome in terms of the favor that comes from conforming to the behaviors and values of the Heavenly City as over against the Earthly City.
The Anglican Church in North America, whose leaders met at Bedford, Texas, from June 20th to June 25th, embraced the values and behaviors familiar to Christians in every age: daily repenting of human sin in disobeying the one Lord, embracing the need (both personal and corporate) of a divine Savior, and recommitting to the proclamation in word and deed of the gospel of transforming love. The unity at Bedford, despite very real differences, was palpable.
The Episcopal Church, whose leaders met at Anaheim, California, from July 8th to 17th, blessed the values and behaviors of a re-defined Christianity: enabling a revisionist anthropology, budgeting litigation rather than evangelism, and confusing received understandings of Scriptural truth, not least concerning the necessity of individual salvation in Christ Jesus. At Anaheim, there were those who valiantly stood against the revolutionary majority, and their pain and grief at what was happening was heartbreaking for all who saw it, not least for their brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church in North America.
The North American poet, Robert Frost, once wrote: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by. That has made all the difference." For Anglican Christians, for the Instruments of Unity (Communion), for interdependent Provinces, for ordinary believers, there is a choice to be made. The choice is between two religions, two roads, two cities, two sets of conflicting values and behaviors. In Deuteronomy, chapter 30, Moses sets the choice as between blessing and curse, life and death. For contemporary Anglicanism the present choice is this stark.
I write this humbly and as a sinner. I also write it as one whose hope is in Christ alone, and with deepest love for all for whom He died and rose again.
Faithfully and Obediently,
The Most Reverend Robert William Duncan, D.D.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America
Anglican Bishop of Pittsburgh"
What Duncan has written is no surprise. But let us be clear: what he has written is that ACNA is, in his mind, an instrument of life, and The Episcopal Church is an instrument of death. ACNA a blessing and TEC a curse.
That precise statement of the duality and the identification of one church with blessing and life and Christ and the other with curse and death and no-Christ is what makes it impossible to consider a world wide Anglican Communion in which both TEC and ACNA are understood to be Provinces in North America.
The Archbishop of ACNA is setting an impossible stand and daring the Anglican Communion to buy on to it as righteousness.
He wrote the letter to thin air, as "An open letter to the Anglican Communion." It betrays a level of arrogance that is remarkable, even for the realignment community.
Perhaps it went to the dead letter box for thin air delivery. A letter to everybody is, after all, a letter to nobody.