2/25/2007

Our place in the Anglican Communion: Background

The question of how to respond to the increasing disregard for the historic Christian faith in the Episcopal Church has been on a lot of minds lately at my parish, Blessed Sacrament. Some think it might be time for them to leave. Some are committed to staying.

For my part, however, I hadn't (until now) spent a lot of time trying to decide whether it would be best to stay or go. I find both arguments persuasive, in their way. I could fully support a decision to stay and cause such a holy ruckus that they are forced to kick us out or convert. On the other hand, I could see expressing my zeal for the truth of the gospel by separating myself from a body which has shown such egregious disregard for it.

I never really felt the need to decide between the two. Fr. David is, as his title implies, the spiritual father of our parish. And, as a good Anglican I was content to submit to his authority in this matter. So long as he manifests a clear commitment to orthodoxy (and he does), it would take quite a lot to convince me of the necessity of making my own decision.

Up until quite recently Fr. David had never given any indication that we would do anything but stay. That changed after last year's general convention (which largely ignored the Anglican Communion's request that TEC (the Episcopal Church) repent of electing an openly gay bishop and stop blessing same-sex marriages). When Emily emailed him about the outcome of general convention, he responded that whatever we did, we would not act alone. While he hasn't fundamentally changed his position (you don't change the faith, and you don't break the church) I think he feels that some action may be required to stay in the church, as TEC is walking away from it and may very well be kicked out of the Anglican communion.

Also rather surprising to me was his announcement that he was forming a discernment committee to investigate what, if anything, Blessed Sacrament should do in response. In retrospect I think it was a very wise decision, but it did kind of shatter my plan to just following his leadership :-).

At any rate, I signed up for the discernment committee and am excited about serving on it. These are very formative times for the Anglican communion, and while the big decisions are completely out of my hands it is still nice to be able to participate in a small part of the global discussion.