as the Anglican world turnsPosted: January 18, 2016
…with a hat-tip to Susan Russell for that most apt phrase.
If you don’t follow the world of the Episcopal Church on Facebook or other social media, you nonetheless have likely seen news reports about the meeting of Anglican Primates (the head bishops of all the constituent member churches of the world-wide Anglican Communion) at Canterbury last week and heard or read about its outcome.
In short, while the Primates stated that they “condemn homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation,” they nonetheless also sanctioned the Episcopal Church in the United States for its approval of same-sex marriage last year. They declared that “for a period of three years The Episcopal Church [shall] no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”
What does that mean? Probably not a lot. Susan, in a blog post from which I drew heavily for this one, quotes Episcopal priest Tobias Haller, who states that the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) “is the only legally constituted ‘instrument’ of the whole Communion,” and that the Primates have no legal authority over that body.
Episcopal House of Deputies president Gay Clark Jennings wrote: “I want to assure you that nothing about what the primates have said will change the actions of General Convention that have, over the past four decades, moved us toward full inclusion and equal marriage. And regardless of the primates’ vote, we Episcopalians will continue working with Anglicans across the globe to feed the hungry, care for the sick, educate children, and heal the world.”
She echoed Tobias Haller’s statement about the ACC: “However, the primates do not have authority over the Anglican Consultative Council, the worldwide body of bishops, clergy and lay people that facilitates the cooperative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion.”
Susan Russell stated clearly the feelings many of us have about this whole episode:
There’s a lot of work ahead – but today I’m proud and grateful that being considered second class Anglicans is a price we are willing to pay to treat God’s beloved LGBT people as first class Christians.
I leave the final word, however, to our marvelous and inspiring Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in the video below.