It’s clear to me that Gospel issues, fundamental to Christian identity, underlie the choices that now face the Anglican Communion and every Province of it – ultimately, each one of us:
• Will we use Scripture expectantly, humbly and obediently as formative of our discipleship and witness?
• Do we intend to be orthodox in creedal and ethical belief and in our ecclesiology?
• Will we persevere in behaving “as one Body” (see 1 Corinthians 12) across the
• Are we determined to treat each other, within a family of Christians of every ethnicity and language, with care, graciousness and respect – to cherish each other (see 1 Corinthians 13. 4-7 in contrast to 13.1-3, Galatians 5.22-3 in contrast to 5.19-21)?
Then he went on to offer five topics for fervent and informed prayer:
1. For a new will on every side, at every level and in every Province to return faithfully, humbly, expectantly and obediently to the four Gospel fundamentals that I outlined a few moments ago - denial, refusal of which I take to be the basic issue at stake among us.
2. For the Communion’s leaders, its Primates, its Bishops, its Consultative Council, and particularly for Archbishop Rowan - for faithfulness, courage, patience, perseverance through what will be decades of difficult, often controverted decisions if our Churches are to be renewed.
3. For whatever “conversion”, whatever changes in mind and heart and behaviour, our Lord will want to give to us ; and in this regard, as we pray for people of every Province and for each of us we should pray especially for the leadership, and the majority, of The Episcopal Church USA.
4. That we learn how to offer an appropriate care for, understanding of and witness to people who understand themselves to be homosexual – within learning to offer within our present culture a renewed, attractive witness to marriage and to continence outside it.
5. That God will renew our own Church of England, The Episcopal Church USA, and every other Province in a confident, joyful, attractive orthodoxy – and for each of us that our own faithfulness will be among God’s means of bringing this to a reality.
As you hold these themes in your heart, offer this Prayer as a start (which is provided first in modern and then in the classic English language of prayer):
Almighty Father, who have chosen us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world and who have called us by the Gospel to be your faithful, holy and obedient people, give us eyes to see, minds to understand and hearts to love You and your purposes in Jesus our Lord, we implore You, so that our motivations and actions in the service of your Church may be pure and holy, and under your blessing and by your Spirit bring true fellowship and genuine unity of faith into the Anglican Family; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty Father, who hast chosen us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world and who hast called us by the Gospel to be thy faithful and obedient people, give us eyes to see, minds to understand and hearts to love Thee and thy purposes in Jesus our Lord, we beseech thee, so that our motivations and actions in the service of thy Church may be pure and holy, and under thy blessing and by thy Spirit bring true fellowship and genuine unity of faith into the Anglican Family; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
October 26, 2006 The Revd Dr Peter Toon