Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Conference, N.T. Wright

ABC Video message about Lambeth ’08

If you’re looking for a clearly defined set of actions then you will definitely be disappointed. As usual, this is a very Anglican statement. The idea being that there needs to be ‘better bishops’ to influence the church. I’m not quite sure what it means to be a ‘better bishop.’ But based upon the video, this will include different groups strengthening each other. However, if the brief mention of the covenant is anything to go by, then there will be considerable numbers which will be disappointed. I’m confused as to how one will implement a covenant, which according to the ABC will reflect our ‘Anglican-ness’ (i.e. particularly related to structure or one might insert ‘not Roman Catholic’), that is simply a promise between provinces. Promises have been made before and the current state of affairs is the result of previouse promises which have been broken. In my own opinion, if we do not come to some sort of understanding which allows for an authority over and above the provincial level this will never be settled. As of yet, I do not see such a possibility within the covenant. Moreover, those who disagree with the covenant, particularly on the point of provincial authority, have made their objections abundantly clear. But who is to finally say, “If you don’t adhere to the covenant, you’re out.” Where we are right now is akin to two children playing a game with one saying, “I got you.” The other responds, “Did not.” “Did so.” “Did not.” “Did so.”…. When will it end? Who is going to stand up and finally say enough is enough?

For many this sort of response is the GAFCON conference. But in that regard I would have to agree with Bishop Wright, who has been quoted as saying some are using this to readdress the balance of power and gain more for themselves.

I do believe the covenant is the way forward. But is it time to realise that the way the Communion has worked in the past is no longer working, and there is a need for some sort of Communion structure to which one can defer for a final decision? Could we not let go of the supposed reformational struggle for a moment and learn something from our bretheren in Rome?

Just a thought…


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