So I’ve spent the last few days in beautiful Milwaukee Wisconsin as a guest of the Diocese of Milwaukee and working as part of the Moravian-Episcopal Full Communion dialogue team. We’re getting to the final stages of a proposal that would allow the U.S. expressions of our two world-wide communions to enter into full communion with each other, and reconcile our ministries and ministers.
We spent part of our time talking about the goings-on in Anglican land and getting our selves caught up about what was happening in our personal lives. Moravians are wonderful about working hard to maintain relationships with each other – it’s in deference to this particular charism of theirs that we’ve titled the document we’re writing “Finding Our Delight”
But the best part of the trip for me was the chance conversation that was started by an offhand remark by the Moravian bishop present about the style of communion governance found in the world-wide church. We talked about the way that Moravians have learned to balance a respect the full autonomy of each of their provinces with an agreement to be accountable to the Unity Board (the international body) for the quality of the internal life of each province. The Unity board can only act to push a province that is experiencing internal strife to work to reconcile its internal life. There’s no provision for over-ruling provincial actions, just a responsibility to ensure that the people will treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
I intend to do some research into this style of covenant. I think it may be a radically different model that we could use constructively. The modern expression of the Unitas Fratrum pre-dates any expression or discussion of developing an Anglican Communion, and our elders in communion building may have something interesting to teach us.
Hopefully I can steal some time to look into this in the next couple of weeks…