Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dr. Radner's Anglican forecast: sober with a chance of hope

He does as effective a summary as I've seen of the "Four Instruments of Unity" that are intended to foster global Anglicanism's "Bonds of Affection," and describes their failures with brevity and a welcome absence of melodrama.

"In sum, I see the Lambeth Conference as the only real continuity into the future; Canterbury as a possible, if hoped-for, resource for the future; the Primates’ Meeting as giving way to some alternative Global South-oriented gathering of episcopal leaders that can move matters forward into the future in a provisional way (which may involve several decades); and the ACC as altogether finished. And this is perhaps all the Communion needs at the moment: we are learning to be less demanding of immediate solutions; more patient with less structured relations; more open to a future that does not depend on institutional sturdiness, but on God’s provisions and leading; less trusting in an ecclesial politics of maneuver and control; more joyous in the face of the Cross and the Resurrection. And in the course of such learning, individual Anglicans and their congregations are going to be drawn into new forms of witness, ones they perhaps never imagined, in a sense more globally bonded because less tethered to structures whose strength lay in local orderings we have now outgrown."

He admits that it might take decades - and the departure or demise of a generation of church leaders - for the beginning of this new witness.

Some Episcopalians I know speak of the need for a "third way," which is not lockstep obedience to the eccentric and destructive trends in The Episcopal Church, but also not reactive departure for other organizations like the Anglican Church in North America. As Dr. Radner says, "new forms of witness...perhaps never imagined," but drawing on the spiritual treasures of Anglican Christianity.

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