Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's At Stake at the Lambeth Conference

There's a lot of writing and blogging about the Lambeth Conference, the meeting of Bishops from across the Anglican Communion that happens every ten years. With many of the African and southern hemisphere bishops who represent the bulk of the Communion boycotting Lambeth following the GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem, and with conservative and liberal Anglicans unlikely to agree on the ordination and marriage of homosexuals, a split in the Anglican Church seems inevitable.

I recommend two pieces on what's at stake by Lambeth, the first by Jordan Hylden writing in the Catholic journal First Things, and the second by Ephraim Radner, a faculty member at my alma mater, Wycliffe College in Toronto (Radner was included in a recent ranking (!?!) of the top fifty most influential figures in the Anglican Church today.
Here's an excerpt from Hylden:

The Anglicans at Lambeth: What’s at Stake
By Jordan Hylden

Monday, July 14, 2008, 6:23 AM
Nearly six hundred purple-shirted Anglican bishops will gather this week in England for the Lambeth Conference, the decennial meeting of all the bishops in the global Anglican Communion. Of course, there would have been well over eight hundred, but for the fact that the bishops of five national Anglican provinces—about a quarter of Anglican bishops overall—decided to stay home.

That’s a sadness, for the average Anglican today (as Gregory Cameron has pointed out), is a black woman in Africa, under the age of thirty, who supports three children on a salary of two dollars a day and finds the story of her life written in the pages of the Old Testament. The average Anglican represented at Lambeth is more likely a white man from New Jersey with a three-car garage who supposes that the world in which he lives is described quite well by the pages of the New York Times.

Above all else, the Lambeth bishops must show themselves to be an effective instrument in service of the faith and unity of the Anglican Communion. Essentially, the bishops must give a clear articulation of their common mind on the issues that presently threaten the Anglican world with schism, and they must present a viable and biblically faithful way forward that can be pursued by the majority of Anglicans with vigor and conviction.

Read the whole article

And Radner:

The Moment We Face

1. Your responsibility is shaped, in part, by the times we are in. For we are facing the most perilous crisis in our life as a Communion and as members of it, that we have ever faced. To be sure, this is not the first major threat to our common Christian life as Anglicans. During the first half of the 17th century, the Great Migration saw thousands leave England, and effectively leave the Anglican church, for North America; the subsequent Civil War nearly destroyed for all time this tradition and her gifts, and despite emerging from this, the Anglican Church was long beset with exiles and schisms. These were first made international at the end of the 18th century, with the American Revolution and the Methodist divisions, and the 19th century also saw a long struggle, marked by anguish and departures, one however that was more than compensated by an unparalleled missionary outreach. For all that, nothing in the past compares with the sheer extent of the threat to Anglican existence that we now face, as the Communion looks into permanent and multiple fracture, and local churches do the same in the wake of already grievous divisions.

Read the whole article

Please pray for the Anglican Church and for its bishops meeting at Lambeth in the days to come, and for the future of this historic part of the Christian church, that it may continue to be able to do God's work in the world.


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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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