Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
I received a few texts and e-mails this day from concerned parishioners about an announcement that they had seen on a few news feeds. The headline, "Primates suspend Episcopal Church from full participation in the Anglican Communion" sounds troubling, but what does it truly mean in the real world?
The "suspension" the article refers to is from a majority of leaders, also called primates (37 total around the world, ours is Bishop Michael Curry) who called for this suspension due to The Episcopal Church's (TEC) change in the Canons of the church surrounding marriage. In other words, the majority of leaders of provinces in the Anglican Communion felt that TEC acted unilaterally and without consent of the larger body when they started to allow same-sex marriages.
What does this suspension mean? The primates resolved that TEC "no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal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." This is what they are suggesting to the Archbishop of Canterbury (AC) to implement. The AC can accept, reject, or alter the primates suggestions.
In the same statement the primates asked the AC, "to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognizing the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ."
Jon White, a responder to this article on Episcopal Cafe reminds us, "We've [The TEC] made a strong witness to our desire, as a church, to be loving and inclusive. Why should we expect that there won't be consequences and struggle as we work for justice? Doesn't it always work that way? And how can we convince others if we refuse to talk with them or turn our backs away.
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.
Jesus' command here is difficult to pull off, but it seems that being willing to walk among thieves is the right thing to do.
Being a Christian is messy at times, we have different views, philosophies, passions, understandings, etc. and what holds us together are the sacraments of Jesus Christ. We are all followers of Jesus Christ and we do that in a different context than our sisters and brothers in Uganda, Australia, England, the Philippines and throughout The Anglican Communion. Thus, our manifestation of Christ looks a little different. However, in the end we maintain community and we love and pray for each other and remember that God loves all.
Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, has responded to these actions in an article that can be found here: http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/01/14/majority-of-primates-call-for-temporary-episcopal-church-sanctions/ .
See ya Sunday,
All Saints Messenger >