Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, just can’t seem to help himself. He persists in protesting that the Episcopal Church of the United States is provoking “painful division” in the Anglican Communion for its rebellious ways.
The latest salvo was the Archbishop’s Pentecost letter to the worldwide Communion in which he writes:
“Our Anglican fellowship continues to experience painful division, and the events of recent months have not brought us nearer to full reconciliation,” “It is clear that the official bodies of The Episcopal Church [in the US] have felt in conscience that they cannot go along with what has been asked of them by others, and the consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool on May 15 has been a clear sign of this. And despite attempts to clarify the situation, activity across provincial boundaries still continues.”
The “activity across provincial boundaries” the Archbishop refers to is the meddling in the US church by mostly African bishops who oppose the ordination of gay priests and bishops. When the Bishops raised such a fuss after the ordination of Bishop Robinson in New Hampshire, the American church paused in going forward to allow a reasonable period of conversation among the members of the Anglican Communion in hopes of resolving the disputes.
What the Episcopal Church of the US got instead was efforts by other bishops outside the US, mostly African traditionalist bishops as Dr Williams might call them, to undermine the American church by welcoming Dioceses and parishes in the US who share their views to switch their affiliation from the American church to Uganda or other places where these ‘traditional teachings’ of the church were properly observed.
So instead of Communion, the American Church finds itself observing another tradition—litigation asking the Courts to determine who owns the church property and other assets. So far the Episcopal Church of the US seems to be winning the legal battles. And while we grieve the alienation of affection from our brothers and sisters in Christ we recognize that they have a God given right to practice a faith tradition of their choosing. So we will pray for them, love them, and are prepared to welcome them home like the prodigal son anytime.
As for the Archbishop of Canterbury and his band of merry men, I wonder how Dr Williams can reconcile his views as the teachings of the Church and thus from God when that very same God has called the American church to live into its own call from the Holy Spirit and in a process that is pure and holy, honest and democratic the action to call Bishop Robinson and now Canon Glasspool welled up from the hearts of the congregations as if the Holy Spirit breathed on them just as He did in that Last Supper with Jesus saying this is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you!
The question, my dear Archbishop, is who is really living into the Gospel?