Chuck Blanchard: The Anglican Communion: Next Steps

Centrists / General Convention

Chuck Blanchard, picking up on a comment left on his blog (that I’ve already noted) has gone on to make some suggestions about the next steps we Episcopalians might make in response to the Primate’s requests and as part of the Windsor process:

“First, another response by the House of Bishops that speaks of polity and the independence of the Episcopal Church will not be helpful. We have made our points about polity and independence. It is time to offer a way ahead to reconciliation within the Communion.

Second, we need to end our obsession with Archbishop Akinola and the most vocal Global South Primates. They are not the audience for our response. I doubt even defrocking of all gay priests would be enough for them. Instead, our audience includes Anglicans across the world who want to preserve the Communion, members of our own Church for whom the issues of the day are of no import, and yes, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the majority of the Primates. This audience will not demand capitulation, but it will expect a respectful (and yes, compromising) response.

Third, we need to stop talking about the issues of same sex union issues as if they were political that can be decided by majority votes. These are theological issues, that deserve theological attention. Quite frankly, the TEC has moved in a direction without such a formal theological process–at least not one that gets much attention today. The Canadian Church’s St. Michael’s Report was quite useful. The House of Bishops should start a serious and open theological discussion and study among Episcopalians on all sides of this issue. If we are to move in the direction of recognizing same sex relationships (which I think we should), we need to do some serious theological work–now. And we should invite Anglicans in other provinces to participate.

Fourth, I think the House of Bishops can offer at least something to the Communion in addition to a willingness to engage in a serious and open theological examination of the issues. The House of Bishops can clarify what we all know what was intended by General Convention in 2006–that at least until the next General Convention, a majority of the House of Bishops will not vote to approve a bishop that would cause angst in other provinces. And, I think that the House of Bishops could agree to wait for the next General Convention, and the results of the theological discussions, before proceeding with official rites for same sex blessings.

If we care only for the Episcopal Church, we need not do any of this. If we are about our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the rest of the Anglican Communion, we need to take heed of what the Mad Priest has to say.”

Worth thinking about if you’re clearly on the progressive side.

NB: I don’t know that Chuck is aware that there was a report by the Bishop’s Theological Committee on the question of same-sex blessings prior to the 2003 General Convention. That report recommended that the Episcopal Church not act to create liturgies for such blessings. There was no similar report on the question of Bishop Robinsion because that question arrived on General Convention’s docket too late for any action by the Bishop’s committee.

Read the rest here: The Anglican Communion: Next Steps

(Via A Guy in the Pew.)

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Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...