Monday, August 3, 2009

Bishop of North Dakota on Episcopal - Anglican possiblities

tweet from frjonanthan linked to Bishop Smith's blog.

Here's his question:

Where does this [the recent General Convention and the Archbishop of Canterbury's response] leave those of us who have been resolute in our commitment to remain both as dioceses, clergy and people of The Episcopal Chuch, and covenanted members of the global Anglican Communion as well?

His answer relies on the "good will and encouragement" of a national church leadership that has shown little of either for those who dissent from its agenda:

What is to prevent a diocese or congregation from adopting the Covenant and thereby remaining a constituent member of Anglicanism in communion with the See of Canterbury? It might look something like this:

A diocesan convention could adopt the Covenant. That diocese’s bishop would then be recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury as “in communion” with him.

A congregation in a non-Covenant diocese could adopt the Covenant and request of the diocesan bishop an “Episcopal Visitor” from among those bishops recognized by the Archbishop as being “in communion” with the See of Canterbury.

An individual in a non-Covenant congregation in a non-Covenant diocese could simply have his or her “letter” moved to or baptism recorded in a Covenanted-congregation.

Or, perhaps the Communion Partners initiative could become a “Mission Society” or a “Christian Community” as described in Canon III.14.2(a) as “a society of Christians (in Communion with the See of Canterbury)…”

Why does any of it matter? Bishop Smith expresses well the position of those who want Episcopal and Anglican to remain united, as they are in the Preamble to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church (here, scroll down to p.1).

It has become clear to me in discussions with Episcopalians inside and outside the Diocese that not everyone has the same appreciation or understanding of the importance of remaining “in communion with the See of Canterbury.” (A woman at coffee hour one Sunday remarked: “We always thought Anglicans were nice people, but we never thought of ourselves as Anglicans.”) I, on the other hand, have always used the terms “Episcopal” and “Anglican” synonymously. In fact, I was able to join The Episcopal Church precisely because it is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, thereby demonstrating its catholicity as a church of the redeemed “from every family, language, people, and nation…” (Revelation 5:9), and not existing in isolation as a small protestant denomination in the United States. This precious fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury and, through him and the bishops in fellowship with him, with millions of saints around the globe is essential to my understanding of what it means to be part of the Church catholic. It is this gift of “communion” that the Anglican Communion Covenant seeks to preserve and foster.


Joe said...

Father Fountain,

Thanks for putting into words what I've tried for some time to find a way to articulate to others, "what it means to be part of the Church catholic" and why our "Anglican Communion" matters.

God's peace.

TLF+ said...

Hi, Joe, those are Bishop Michael Smith's words. He says it very well for all of us.

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