I am a Christian. I am also a rather reluctant Anglican.
Well here it is, for all its faults I love the Church of England, in many respects it is a lumbering dinosaur of a Church. But it has a depth and breadth that is hard to find on other Churches. In England it is nationally recognised and has the sort of national presence that McDonalds and Marks and Spencer would kill for.
When folk need a Church 9/10 times it is the CofE they end up in. That fact alone gives us the potential for mission unrivalled in the UK. (If only we were better at using it!). But I am also deeply frustrated by the Church, the political posturing and the increasing divide ‘tween Parish and the Synod.
Todays vote on the position of the Anglican Church in North America and the existing communion with The Episcopal Church (the Anglican Church in the USA is a case in point.
It saddens me to see the Church bickering. It saddens me that things in the US have reached such an impass that part of the Church felt the need to break away and it has been extremely sad to see the name calling on both sides.
The thing is, as I watched today’s debate and more importantly as I watched the responses on twitter of the Anglican Clergy I follow (UK and abroad) I was saddened more by the sheer lack of understanding from both sides of the debate.
If I had to nail my colours to the mast and give a simple answer to a complicated issue – would say that I am broadly in favour of recognising the ACNA as part of the communion. The Episcopal Church dismiss them a schismatics, but it is the TEC that has failed to honour Communion-wide agreements in the wider debates so could be argued that the TEC is responsible for Churches feeling disenfranchised to the point of schism.
But then should we as the Church Of England encourage schism by entering in communion with the ACNA.
The debate is not black and white.
But the issue I have is with an entire afternoon of name calling and ungracious behaviour both within Synod and by watchers outside.
I started this post by talking about our potential as a missional community in the CofE. Surely an afternoon debating enabling & resourcing Parishes in relevant mission and outreach would be better spent.
I know I am being naive to think that they need not debate these issues, but actually I see more and more that Synod’s deliberations are increasingly irrelevant to the Parish and it’s people.
Synod as the Church’s council does needs to debate the big issues, answer questions of Doctrine and the like. But these days we see more debate about issues that make little or no impact on Parish life whatsoever.
In the parish people are concerned with money, sex, relationships, death illness and the like. They don’t give a flying fork handle about whether or not the ACNA is or is not in the communion,the sexuality debate or any of the other things that has taken up so much so Synod’s time in recent years.
What a waste of an afternoon. come on Synod, let’s make a real difference and talk about how to shine the light of Christ in this ailing and weary nation.