Moving Forward?

Glenn Davies

"Moving forward" is the slogan of the Labor Party as it seeks re-election to government in Australia's Federal Election in August this year. Before the election of the Labor Party in 1972, after 23 years in opposition, the catch-cry was "It's Time!" Either of these slogans could aptly suit the Anglican Communion at the moment, as its leadership waffles between sideways movements and indecision.

After the strident, disdainful renunciation of the Communion's official teaching concerning sexuality, as expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, and in direct opposition to and repudiation of the request of the Instruments of Communion, the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his 2010 Pentecost Letter has been as devastating as a feather duster and as effective as an ashtray on a motorbike.

His response amounted to two proposals that those who had flouted the moratoria of the Instruments of Communion (namely, consecrating bishops living in same-sex relationships, endorsing same-sex blessings and engaging in cross border interventions) could no longer represent the Communion in formal ecumenical dialogues nor could they participate in the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (a body that examines issues of doctrine and authority)"”although they could remain as consultants!

Dear oh dear, what a punishment! How devastating it must be to continue to be recognised as Anglicans in good standing, to attend the highest levels of Communion conversation, namely the ACC, the Primates Meeting and future Lambeth Conferences - yet be reduced to the status of "consultant" on the Commission on Unity, Faith and Order. Good grief!

It would be laughable if it were not as serious as it really is. Moreover, the even-handed Archbishop has applied this "weighty" measure of discipline not just to those who were complicit in the consecration of Mary Glasspool, and those who have approved same-sex blessings, but also those faithful Anglicans who have tried to maintain biblical truth and pastoral care for those who have been marginalised and disenfranchised by heterodox bishops.

Surely it's time to move forward and recognise that The Episcopal Church (TEC) will not change its ways, will not conform to the understanding of Scripture that the majority of the Communion continue to uphold in line with 2000 years of Christian history. They have lost the right to be recognised as one, holy, catholic or apostolic"”let alone Anglican!