Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Still time to do what is necessary


As we pray for the Primates... I offer you this meditation as a suggestion for intercession and petition

Procedure wrong but God is merciful

Episcopalian eyes will be upon Lambeth Palace on the 15th & 16th October and then upon Church House, Westminster (next to the ancient Abbey) across the River Thames on the evening of the 16th for the Press Conference.

By 7.00.p.m. (2 p.m. NYC) on the 16th, the American Anglican Council will know whether or not what it asked for in its Petition to the Primates' Meeting will have been granted in full or in part.

But, however much or however little is granted to the supplicating evangelicals of the AAC, there is the big question of what will occur to their bishops and people after the 16th October. It has been stated by one observer of the American Anglican scene: "I don't see much staying power in groups that expect foreign churchmen to vindicate them, reward them, put them into business, and punish their enemies, and to do so instantly. This is a scenario for a movie, and not a plan for a dedicated religious life." Such an observation has the ring of truth about it and we would all do well to ponder it seriously. Is there really genuine staying power in the AAC camp?

Caught up as it was in a profound horror of "gay" partnerships and a general euphoria, it is debatable whether the AAC took the right road by paying very much more attention to the faults of the enemy than to the faults in its own position called "a place to stand" in the build up to the Texas congress. I suggest that the right way for the AAC and related groups to have proceeded after the General Convention would have been to have made a serious attempt to clean up their own households first and then, and only then, make serious overtures to the Anglican Communion for the dealing with their enemies.

This did not happen. The message that has gone out loudly and clearly is that if there can be a return to the state of affairs before the General Convention then all will be fine. So get Gene Robinson to stand down and get the Bishops to say they will not allow local liturgies for same-sex blessings and "orthodoxy" will be restored to the ECUSA. If this is what happens then ALL is lost for the kindness of God in alerting us to what needs to be put right in his household, the USA Episcopal Family, will have been spurned.

BUT, The Lord our God is merciful and gracious & the putting of the house in order can follow the Petition to the Primates. Then this serious business of self-examination and reform of our own households will actually be the proof that we really are desirous to be genuine and committed Anglican Christians professing the Reformed Catholic Faith. Without serious reform with renewal from October 16th onwards all the energy expended through August and September on attacking the enemy will have been in vain - the scenario, as it were, for a movie rather than the beginning of a plan for corporate, holy life before God.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.)

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