Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
The Annual Meeting of the Compass Rose Society was held at St. Andrew’s House in Notting Hill, London this week. I have come away with two major impressions. First, the Archbishop of Canterbury will not take a stand that will allow winners and losers or allow any of us to do the hard work of sorting out relationship. I’m not certain if this is good leadership or not, but on the whole I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. He is not going to ‘ask anyone to leave’ or give aid and comfort to any single position held by constituent bodes of the Anglican Communion in any way that gives one an edge over another. He abhors resorts to law suits among Christians and Churches but also has great sympathy for those who come to believe that there is no other way to go. This is quite a dance when both the Bishop of Virginia and the successor to Martyn Minns at Truro are present at the meeting. That legal battle over property is likely to be protracted with the Diocese claiming that historic buildings were not left in trust for a Nigerian Church and the parish claiming that they are the true inheritors and successors of the faith and ought to be able to hang on to their property. These things are much easier to sort out when there is alternative property readily available and when the buildings and history involved are not integral to the identity of the Episcopal Church which it appears to me that the clergy and most in the congregation have decided to leave. The official position of our denomination is that individuals can choose to leave the church (even en masse) but that there is no such thing as parishes or dioceses doing such a thing however much some wish that there were. We may function very like a federation of congregational churches from time to time in our life, but we are fundamentally and integrally more connected to one another than that.