16 August 2008

Why The Episcopal Church should stay in the Anglican Communion

This post was prompted by a comment from Bonnie who expressed her opinion that The Episcopal Church should leave the Anglican Communion, now.

Many Episcopalians believe the time has come to leave the Anglican Communion. This is in response to the recently completed Lambeth Conference at the close of which the Archbishop of Canterbury called for the continuation of Windsor Report as a rule rather than a report. In addition, there is his apparent inability to understand, or disregard, that The Episcopal Church has maintained the two moratoria asked of us. This opinion is because the Global South Primates sees both the American and Canadian churches as recalcitrant schoolboys in need of severe discipline.

Many feel that we should at least stop contributing money to the AC. Their reasoning is that if we are to be seen as recalcitrant children neither respected nor equal in standing with the other children, why foot the major part of the family budget.

Here is my opinion.

The American and Canadian churches have a unique place in the life of the Anglican Communion. We are much as the United States was during the Cold War Years. For the Communion, we are the champion of those who long for freedom and justice throughout the communion.

Our two churches are beacons on the hill for other parts of the Anglican Communion. They struggle for justice but are not large enough (in many respects) to make their voice heard. As long as we “have a dog in this fight”, they have hope. As long as we are at the table, we can speak on their behalf. If we leave the Communion voluntarily, they will be without a voice at that table.

We, who are in the Anglican form of Christian experience, must remember is that we are not A Church. We are a group of autonomous churches sharing common liturgy and tradition. Regardless of what the near future holds for all of us, I believe that we have an obligation to our sister churches who are in at risk from the fundamentalist take over.

Should the North American churches be forced out of the Communion by the fundamentalist minority, it would be a different situation. In that instance, many of the provinces (some say as many as twenty provinces) will cast their lot with the American churches.

Also, keep in mind that the Global South primates speak for the elite – the prince bishops of their respective provinces. They do not necessarily speak for the majority of their lay or clergy members. We are told the Global South is of one opinion on this subject, but they are not. We also have a responsibility to those disenfranchised Anglicans, too.

What say all of you?