Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Compromise or schism ahead for Orthodox Anglicans?

So will the hardline Anglicans really break away or are they, as Tom Heneghan's blog suggests, actually more likely to stay in some way within the world Anglican communion and not leave to form a new church. I suppose we will all wait and see what happens at the meeting in Jerusalem and then at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury.
I haven't yet read the 94 page booklet which sets out GAFCON's vision of the "pilgimage to an Anglican future". I'm sure I ought to read it but I find it hard to get over-excited about these issues which seem a long way from being gospel good news for either the world or the church. It's hard to see how unity can be maintained for the communion.

Anyway here's an extract from the Faith World blog, the Anglican communion is the summer's big church story.

Over at The Lead, Jim Naughton, spokesman for the Episcopal diocese of Washington, D.C., had an interesting take on why this goes on and on:
“Whether there will actually be schism is an open question, but at least one factor mitigates against it: as soon as schism is declared, the media will loose interest in the Anglican Churches of Nigeria and Uganda, and their small, but influential group of followers in the United States. (How much had you read about these Churches before the consecration of Gene Robinson?) At that point, these churches will no longer be useful to the donors who have made GAFCON possible, and the money will be reallocated to other fronts in the culture wars. It is in the interest of Akinola, Orombi, Minns, Sugden, etc. to sustain the Communion in a state of near-schism for as long as possible, and then, at some point, find a way short of schism to declare victory.”

Meanwhile our friend Simon Barrow has a new and thoughtful book out on the subject, pictured above, which will make for much more edifying reading than the GAFCON booklet on the issues. Here's some further information from the press release:

Anglican wrangling about sexuality and authority in the church is missing the big picture about how the relationship between religion and society is changing, says a new book from the think tank Ekklesia to be published next week.

Christians need to be beacons of hope, not signs of decay, it argues, suggesting that the 'conservative versus liberal' stereotype disguises a deeper tension between establishment religion and the Christian message of radical transformation.

With a preface by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who declares, "in God's family, there are no outsiders, no enemies", Fear or Freedom? Why a warring church must change, is edited by Ekklesia co- director Simon Barrow.

The book contains essays by clergy, a peace activist, an equalities adviser and two New Testament professors. It is aimed at substantially challenging the argument that will take place at the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in July.