It is good to see you all. Quotes 1940 hymnal, “The Church…thousand years the same”. A better text would come from the book of Hebrew’s “We seek the city that has foundations whose builder is God”…
The assignment I’ve been given is to talk about the developments since Sept 30th. I want to say that it has been a delight to get to know the Network lay leaders here in SC. I am still, Ill say for my own part, the bishop of Pittsburgh, applause
Harding has been talking about patience. My model is that patience is learned by suffering. My wife knows this well and many of you pray for her and I thank you for that. One of the more touching things in the last few weeks is that since the inhibition is that each visitation on Sunday, well in the first one, there was a Baptist minister who came to see a baptism that I was doing just to express his solidarity. An Assemblies of God minister expressed to me at another time that her whole congregation was praying. We are seeing a convergence of sorts of the church through this crisis.
Fitz knows that when he asks me to do something I always have to say yes. He is a great hero and a great mentor. A lot of my remarks this morning will be historical but don’t blame fitz he didn’t teach me history.
The final thing I want to say in intro: I would ask us to pray for our brothers and sisters in Kenya. Today that wonderful servant ++Nzimbi is leading his fellow Anglican leaders in a peace march. A dangerous prospect physically…
Leads us in prayer for Kenya and the peace march…
I have been asked to say something about events and developments and what I want to do in addition is to speak more broadly so that we can understand the meaning of what surrounds us. You remember in the revelations of Dame Julian, she asks “what is the meaning” and she was shown not just a vision but what his meaning in the vision and his meaning was love and we remember the great conclusion of her work, that all be well and all manner of things be well.
Let me rehearse that you will recall after GC 2006, TLC said that in the two week period of GC it seemed that there were not daily but hourly developments.
The most significant is that one man decided that Sept 30th was no development at all.
Though five years of process had gone before, the one man who managed the system decided that process did not have a deadline.
In that brief period before the end of Sept, the HOB met and the JSC of the Primates and ACC met with them and the JSC came away saying that the HOB Response was adequate, that they had complied. ++Anis disagreed and many of us thought that what the HOB had done was inadequate.
In that last few days of September the Windsor Bishops, that expanded coalition, probably had the nadir of its existence. In August we Windsor Bishops agreed there would be a minority report, that was our strategy going into the HOB. But no minority report emerged. And of course some of us had already gone but the others knew in advance we would not be there and the strategy had remained the same.
Then there was the meeting of the college of common cause bishops and that gave hope that fragmented Anglicanism was being drawn together.
In October it came to appear that SC would have a bishop. The vote was 67 SCs and 63 bishops. Not encouraging majorities but majorities.
Also in October we saw +Steenson go to Rome.
We saw Rwanda change its name going back to the word “Anglican”. After the slaughter in Rwanda in the 90’s they found the name “Anglican” reprehensible and dropped it. After what the Episcopal church has done, they’ve found the name “Episcopal” reprehensible and changed back to Anglican.
They also put the AMiA in their canons as a permanent missionary outreach
Also in October there was troubling news from Quincy. They had decided to take one vote to leave. They decided to take two votes. It was difficult to understand exactly what was going on there.
In October there was a threat to three bishops, Bishop Iker, Bishop Schofield, and myself, that we would all be inhibited and deposed.
Early in November the dioceses of Pittsburgh and the diocese of Fort Worth met and voted, for the first time, there will need to be another vote, to remove from the Episcopal Church
Also in November in CFL, it came to pass that the Network parishes would separate from the diocese.
These events marked an ongoing “disintegration” that was spreading and progressing.
It also became clear in November that those who were pursuing me in civil court decided to move from there to ecclesial courts. They attempted to remove me in that venue as it would be more conducive.
Also in November the Via Media made its requests of Bishop Iker.
It was also in November that +Lipscomb revealed that he was going to Rome. Of all the non-Network Windsor bishops, his voice was the most effective.
December: This nefarious plan called Gafcon was hatched and announced in the 4th week after Christmas.
And the CCP council met the first time and organized itself as a distinct and structured entity.
January was the Lambeth kickoff, 70 percent of the bishops of the communion registered. The Lambeth Palace full court press worked to get as many as possible to agree to come. It was then that many of the evangelical and catholic bishops decided to go to Lambeth.
Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya (one other I could not hear) also made it very clear that their bishops would not be at Lambeth.
It was during January that disagreements among the orthodox primates bore out publicly regarding lambeth attendance.
Schofield was inhibited
Pittsburgh was broken into three.
Anglicanism, it seems, is coming apart. It is ceasing to be, it is disintegrating, and this is not rocket science. It’s not hard for us to see that things are disintegrating. There is a lot of denial, pretending that this is not happening, bargaining with God, “Lets get about our business….” This is denial.
I do not leave myself out of this. My people are somewhat unprepared for what they face, part of that is that I and my clergy tried to say that the Church all about mission. We said this to the laity and imagined that we might try to take on the battle ourselves without the people of God.
What I want to do is start with a little rocket science. I’ve been busy lately, so this is not a text. I’ve found that everything I write is used in a way it should not. So there is no text.
I think if we can put all of this in some kind of construct we can do better as we go through it. Here are the questions I would like to address: What does this disintegration mean to Mere Anglicanism? This has profound consequences for Mere Anglicanism, not just for Anglicanism. I have to wonder for just a minute what Mere Anglicanism is? I want finally, to ask what are the structures and the systems that enable Mere Anglicanism. This is a preliminary effort so +Fitz will have to forgive me.
What is the meaning of all of this? What is God doing?
Three anecdotes suggest some hopefulness as to what may emerge but I offer them recognizing that we are a very long way from those anecdotes being reality and having the structures to sustain such things
1. The first is an extraordinary experience. I preached at Wheaton College. Imagine a catholic like me with all of those evangelicals. At Wheaton, during a meeting with the dozen faculty there who call themselves Anglicans, after the preaching to the graduates there, they said to me, “if you were to ask how many here are Anglican or seriously considering becoming Anglican…” their guess was that over half would consider themselves Anglican. That is staggering.
2. The second anecdote: Mere Anglicanism actually has a tremendous future. I see this in my own diocese where a two year old congregation that meets in a Presbyterian building on the boarder of our diocese and the Diocese of Northwest Texas. When I went to visit this fall, I confirmed a large number students in a congregation of 150 students, not counting professors and other adults. This is a fast growing congregation. Why would they be confirmed now? Why would there be such a desire to do that, to think that this Anglican structure, as it is disintegrating, would be a starting place for their lives?
3. Folks in the Chicago area, near the Billy Graham evangelism center. What has been called the Anglican awakening has now spread out into other denominations and it is now called an “awaking” in general. This is extraordinary hopeful and amazing. An “Anglican awakening” that has become a general awakening.
These are signs, manifestations of Mere Anglicanism: Truly Catholic, truly Evangelical, and truly Pentecostal and truly reasonable.
Mere Anglicanism is truly evangelical, truly catholic, truly Pentecostal and is reasonable
What is Mere Anglicanism? This synthesis, this via media this construct, the students above are trying to structure their lives around it and they believe this construct is real but it is hard to see because what has been the construct is disintegrating
What I want to suggest about what has gone wrong is this: you all remember the Elizabethan settlement. We say that Mere Anglicanism and Mere Christianity are actually he flowering of that settlement.
And what has happened is that that consensus has disintegrated. The substance of the settlement, not the idea itself, has disintegrated. A new consensus has to emerge and we are a long way from that.
The systems that characterized the Elizabethan settlement, there were three:
1. Anglicanism was agreed to be under the Word. Are we there now? No. We use these words sometimes but they no longer have the same meaning. The settlement was that the church was to be under the Word.
2. The second thing that was true is that the Settlement: was under the prayerbook. We don’t have that anymore. There is nothing in terms of our prayer that is common. There is nothing that might lead us to believe that what we pray is really what we believe. We no longer pray the same things so we no longer believe the same things. The book has collapsed. The book was our magisterium. We did not have a Roman Magisterium. We had a book. It was our articulation of doctrine. It was the theological construct in which we prayed. But just like the word that we believed judged us rather that us it, the book has collapsed.
Third: the Settlement exchanged an international leader for a local leader (pope to king). All this took place under British systems. Theses systems were remarkable. Even after the collapse of the Empire everyone was still under the systems. Who calls the primates together? Who gives the mandate to the ACC and who appoints the General Secretary? The consensus that had existed that was the settlement and the settlement worked in a system.
The system has worked, the settlement has worked for 400 years, but the agreement that authority rests in the bible, in the prayerbook and the English church system…all of that is collapsing
What I am suggesting is that sustaining a Mere Anglicanism that is catholic, evangelical, pentecostal, and reason, is not working under the old settlement.
The Elizabethan Settlement produced two great streams that are engaged in mortal combat.
The first stream is white, western, and progressive, used to the system. The settlement created the modern world, in fact, and it is white, it is western, and it believes in progress.
It actually also produced the Global South: Brown, southern, and traditional. Most of us would identify with that second stream today. That is new.
How that great consensus that produced an Anglicanism that was truly conducive to the maintenance of Mere Anglicanism is an incredible thing. But these two realities, these two parts of Anglicanism, western progressive and southern traditional, again vast oversimplifications, these two worlds, are no longer coexisting under the settlement. For Mere Anglicanism to survive a new settlement is required.
The bad news is that the old consensus is in horrendous disintegration. This is somewhat familiar
Between the Christian consensus about what it was to be an American and the multicultural consensus that has emerged in the last 30 years, the change came about through a massive disintegration. US history in a way familiar to us all, the journey from one consensus…from colony, to nation…cost blood and incredible ways of rethinking and destruction to this very church, so much that it did not come back to life until 20 years after the revolution.
The Reformation moves from the catholic consensus about England to a Protestant one before the same century is over. Henry is divorced and becomes the supreme head of the church. Cranmer, Fisher, Latimer, Ridley are martyred
And ultimately a settlement is found. But everything disintegrated in between.
The Church is not the same. It moves from consensus to disintegration to consensus again. And if the good news is true that God works all things together for the good, and if we do not trust that we are in real trouble.
And of course, you know how the story ends, we know that God is in charge and that he wins.
What does all this mean?
The disintegration means that a new consensus is on the way.
For years I’ve called that a Reformation. The Reformation actually had an effect not only on the protestants but the Catholics too…a new consensus emerged in both contexts.
Mere Anglicanism needs new systems and structures. I do not know how we get there. No one in 1763-7, no one in that place at that time could have imagined the USA. WE cannot imagine what the new structures are going to be.
This look at the Elizabethan Settlement has taught us that we are in a period of disintegration but a new consensus will emerge.
A final thought. This week there was an exchange of letters between +Wright and Dr. V. Samuel. Wright is orthodox but I would suggest that his letter, unintentionally, points to a consensus that has to emerge and a “new thing.” God has to do it if Mere Anglicanism is going to carry forward. +Tom Wright excoriates those who are planning the GAFCON. He does that because he sees it as an alternate Lambeth.
It was or should be clear that those who had made commitments, who had promised that without discipline they would not attend, could not be there. This group of GS primates could not go as a matter of keeping their word. They simply could not go. They needed, however, to be somewhere.
The point I want to make is that his critique of the leadership of this movement; that it is being planned and brought into being by +Minns, Sudgen and ++Jensen, white, western, progressives. +Wright sees the situation in terms of colonial structures. That is his framework.
But Dr. Samuels who happen to be an Indian scholar has said you’ve got it wrong and your words show where you are thinking incorrectly. You think that anywhere white people are involved they have to be in charge. Despite the presence of all these GS leaders it has, you assume, to be the colonials who are leading.
I was in a hotel room on the 12th of December which was election day in Kenya. Dr. Samuels said that what it is that must emerge before Anglicanism can go on and progress is what will be the equivalent of the Elizabethan settlement, a Post Colonial Settlement. I heard his words and they came form that brown southern and traditional part of Anglicanism. I said within my spirit aha, now I understand.
The Elizabethan settlement has served us well but no longer are we white western or British, a new settlement must emerge with systems and structures that will sustain and protect Anglicanism.