I believe that the Lambeth Commission made a remarkable journey in the year.
Strongly different views on the developments in North America were represented
on the Commission: those views, echoed in the evidence submitted, were all
forcefully and frankly exchanged. But every member of the Commission also firmly
believed in the future of the Communion, and for that reason found the will to
work out a series of recommendations that they could all commend together to the
(See New Directions, October 2004, page 20, column 3)
So the Commission of 17 members made a remarkable journey! There is much talk these days of “journeys” in the modern interest in “spirituality”. What was the route and where were they heading? Was the goal to agree on recommendations? If so they got there.
The fact that there were differing and opposing views amongst The Seventeen on “developments in North America” is very suggestive. It prompts me to think that their agreed recommendations contain no moral or theological judgments as to the rightness or wrongness of the sexual innovations introduced in the ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada. After all the purpose of the work of the The Seventeen was to suggest ways in which the highest degree of communion possible can be maintained, when there is such disagreement over the homosexual innovations, which are themselves contrary to the standards adopted by a majority vote at the Lambeth Conference in 1998.
The Seventeen all believe in the Future of the Communion, but of course that is to say little for the Anglican Communion of Churches can exist as a Federation or at a variety of levels of eucharistic Communion. The Seventeen will tell us what in their judgment is the highest level of fellowship that can reasonably be aimed for and achieved in the present crisis.
The fact that late in the day the officers of Anglican Communion Office (not the Archbishop of Canterbury) decided to make an agreement with the SPCK for publication (£4.95 per copy) and to call the Report “The Windsor Report” (and odd title but similar in nature to “The Virginia Report” of a few years ago) is to be understood against a specific background. The same Office was responsible a year ago for “finding” the huge cost of getting twenty or so people from all over the world to three residential meetings and of paying for Fedex and UPS and Post Office specials to get the paperwork from country to country over that year.
The Revd Dr Peter Toon October 8, 2004.