Monday, August 4, 2008

Local Lambeths

I just wrote a blog post in Empoprise-IE about the effect of the Lambeth Conference in the Inland Empire of California. Because, for better or worse, the future of the Anglican Communion will not be decided in Canterbury, nor in Episcopal headquarters, nor in Nigeria. The future of the Anglican Communion will be decided in individual congregations, such as St. Paul's in Pomona, California, and All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia:

As far as what we will do at All Saints’ in the near term is consider whether to continue to invest in relationship with Christians in very different circumstances than those in which we find ourselves. This means, in effect, ensuring that our partners are willing either to suspend judgment on our actions and commitments which they find difficult for a variety of reasons, and being willing to do so ourselves. In effect we would be in partnership with those who are willing to live as though our interpretation of scripture might be a legitimate and godly reading in our time and place even if they can’t see how at the moment, and so be willing to live as though our decisions regarding the proper place of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church is not something that is of the essence of the faith once delivered to the saints (adiaphora). For our part, we would be acknowledging that in the great scheme of things we could yet be shown to be wrong. Until such time however we need to continue to affirm all of God’s people.

Similarly, St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Arlington, Texas has a choice:

In Virginia, all 15 congregations decided to leave the diocese and the Episcopal Church. Our situation is a little different—to leave the diocese or the Episcopal Church. But for us as individuals and as a congregation, the issues to discern are very much the same:
(1) to conform to TEC,
(2) to stay and continue to resist TEC,
(3) or to seek safe harbor from TEC elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.

It will help if you are clear with yourself about what motivates you in your involvement
in a faith community, about your desires, and about what sacrifices you are able to live with depending on which scenario is played out.

It is important to be realistic about the future. I’m sure all of us have had the thought—well, if I had absolute power for a day, I could fix all this. But frankly, some things are just out of our control. Whether there is a decision to continue our affiliation with TEC or to dissolve our union with the General Convention, there will always be conflict in God’s church. There will always be hard choices to make. No matter what decisions are made at the conclusion of this discernment process, there will be new ramifications and opportunities.

In essence, it's fair to say that the recent Lambeth conference decided not to decide. The decisions, it appears, will be made at the congregational level. They may get enmeshed with other issues such as property ownership, but some congregations may end up deciding that their faith is more important than retaining their property.

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus