In reading a variety of recent statements by Anglican leaders in the generally liberal West/North and the generally conservative Global South, I found that the use of the word “Identity” was common. All seemed to think that the present crisis within (what used to be self-consciously) a Communion of Anglican Churches is a crisis of Identity. Of course, we all know that the presenting problem has been the innovation in sexual doctrine and practice favored by thousands in North American Anglicanism and rejected by millions globally. Yet underneath and surrounding this problem is the pressing question: Who are Anglicans? That is, what is their IDENTITY?
So I studied carefully the three major Anglican Reports of recent years—The Eames Report on Ordination, The Virginia Report on the nature of Communion, and The Windsor Report on the future of the Anglican Communion—in order to find out what they had to say about IDENTITY.
Following the example of the Introduction of The Windsor Report, and inspired by Dr Philip Turner, I also made a careful study of The Epistle to the Ephesians, which has much to teach us on Truth and Unity as “twins from conception.”
And I read many recent communiqués, statements, and position papers from a variety of sources—from the Primates’ Meeting to the writings of members of the Anglican Communion Institute.
Eventually I produced the 22,000 word essay, ANGLICAN IDENTITY. Keeping the Global Family together, as a booklet of 64 pages.
In it I offer a definition of “Anglican” which I hope will be taken seriously by those who compose and agree upon the content of the proposed “Anglican Covenant,” a means proposed by The Virginia Report to help bind together those Provinces who desire to be in a real Communion (rather than Federation) of Churches.
ANGLICAN IDENTITY is available from Monday, November 13 —for one copy go to www.anglicanmarketplace.com and for bulk orders (for use in study groups etc) call 1-610-490-0648. It is published by the Preservation Press of the Prayer Book Society of the U.S.A. In difficulty call 1-800-PBS-1928
Any questions, please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org
One of my hopes is that the kind of proposals I make (which are not unique to me) can be a means not only of uniting most of the present “Federation” of Anglican Provinces (38), but also of bringing the Continuing Anglican Churches and other Extra-Mural Anglicans into the future, orthodox and stable Anglican Communion of Churches. Some of the latter have been too long neglected by the hierarchy of Anglicanism.
Please let this booklet be a positive starter for serious and informed discussion about the true Identity of the Anglican Way.
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)