Prophetic Word finds fulfillment in recent Anglican Bishops’ Meeting

Anglican Bishops in Dialogue agree with Preludium’s 2006 statement.

Nice to see that eight years afterPreludium posted “Not a Worldwide Church, but a Fellowship”, Anglican Bishops in Dialogue issued a “testimony” concerning their journey toward reconciliation, agreeing.The Dialogue Testimony included this statement:”We are family. The Anglican Communion is a family of churches. It is not a Church itself. There is much we have in common as Anglicans, which is evidenced in mutuality in mission, but we remain independent and diverse provinces.”On March 8, 2006, I wrote,”Perhaps we have missed the abundance of God’s grace to us… that we are not a worldwide church at all, but rather a fellowship. This is abundance because we are not one thing but many things, held together not because we are one in ourselves, but because we are one in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I wrote that in the context of arguing that of the two notions – that the Anglican Communion is a “world wide church” and that the Anglican Communion is a fellowship (or family) I go for the second.

Here in the small junky office of Preludium I sometimes wonder if anything written here has value, so it is good to see that occasionally the highly placed agree with something I wrote earlier, even if they got the idea elsewhere or simply because they too can read the tea leaves of past history.

Of course the idea that we are not a worldwide church but a family of churches, a fellowship of churches, etc., is not new at all. It is old news, as old as the spirit that gave rise to the first Lambeth Conference. But in the intervening years the gentle lusts for status has made Anglicans want to be worldwide churches “like” the Roman and Orthodox Churches. As I said in 1998 in “The Challenge of Change,” we don’t need another worldwide patriarchy, this time of Canterbury.

And for the moment, it appears we have been allowed to pass up this cup.

Canon Mark Harris

(article first seen on blog-site Preludium, hosted by TEC Canon Mark Harris)

I am an afficionado of the U.S. blog-site ‘Preludium’, hosted by TEC priest, Fr. Mark Harris, whose pithy articles reflect the eirenic  ethos of the Episcopal Church in North America.
It is wholly good that an article of his, published in 2006, on the problems of Anglicanism as a world-wide Church modeled on the Roman Catholic and Orthodox pattern, has been largely reflected in the recent report from a meeting of Bishops from TEC, The Anglican Church of Canada, The Church of England, and various other Provincial Churches of the Anglican Communion. These Bishops now see the Provinces of the Anglican Communion as being – more realistically –  autonomous Churches with their own polity and constitution but in fellowship with one another.
Obviously, whether or not Preludium’s initial article was a catalyst for the conversations at the Bishops’ Colloquium, the signs of the times are being not only read but better understood by these leaders of our diverse provincial areas who are now ready to admit that we are a fellowship of Churches, rather than a body ruled by a Magisterium from the centre.
With the emergence of GAFCON – the conservative group of Churches largely from the Third World that has formed an alliance based on their own ‘Jerusalem Statement’ of Faith and Order – there has arisen a need for a wider understanding of the limitations of a confessional-style relationship, ruled from a didactic centre, based around a unified constitution and a ‘sola Scriptura’ ethos – rather than the basic, Anglican-style, three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason – the last of which charisms might be lost by the assertion of a uniformity of dogmatic principle inimical to modern understanding of, for instance, issues like  gender and sexuality.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
See this Full Report of the Bishops’ Meeting :

Click to access Bishops_Dialogue_2014_Statement.pdf


About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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