Monday, July 13, 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury laments; U.S. Presiding Bishop projects; sad fragmentation of global Communion looms

In my last post, I presented a positive story about international Anglican/Episcopal cooperation in the Sudan. The possibility to reach out in visionary ways and bring blessing across all kinds of boundaries is the power of the Gospel of Christ.

But it would be dishonest to hide the fragile, sin-sick state of the Anglican Communion/Episcopal Church.

The Times of London reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury "regrets" this weekend's legislative reaction by which The Episcopal Church (TEC) dropped its pledged "restraint" from foisting actively LGBTQ( ) bishops on the wider church. "Regret" is U.K. understatement for "Holy crap."

In response, TEC's Presiding Bishop projected the problem on the global Christian community, denying the impact of TEC's unilateral actions and blaming the whole mess on the rest of the world for not getting with TEC's LGBTQ( ) program for the church.

Meanwhile, the General Synod of the Church of England is considering a motion to recognize the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a newly formed body made up of marginalized traditional Christians from TEC and Canada.

Wrote Ruth Gledhill of the Times (and she's fairly liberal on "the issue"),

This is all pretty scarily serious and it is difficult to see where else it is going to end apart from in schism. [The breaking apart of a church]

Long time TEC commentator Kendall Harmon, however, warns not to jump to conclusions until the end of TEC's General Convention this Friday: "...the sausage making process is far from over."

What remains to be seen is how much the House of Bishops (HOB) will act on its reputed desire for unity and caution, and a few Bishops' recently expressed desire to rally around at least some core of Christian teaching for the denomination. The House of Deputies (HOD), which dumped the "restraint" language, is heavily stocked with LGBTQ( ) clergy and lay activists who have the leisure time and resources to attend the almost two week event and spend most of the rest of their time politicking for their narrow agenda.

The activists have steadily turned TEC away from a fellowship based on "bonds of affection" and toward a top down, centralized model of church that downplays congregations and posits the "true church" in its administrative bureaucracy.

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