My dwarf irises are in bloom and the lake has open water so spring must be here at last! And, I’m trusting that the showers predicted this week will bring beautiful May flowers. One of my colleagues always says that I look at the world through “rose-colored glasses” and maybe that’s true, but looking for the bright side makes for a happier day for me; and, I’m really not blind to the reality of things.
So, in the spirit of happier thoughts, this week I’d like to share a resolution from General Convention that lies at the heart of our identity: D008: Affirm Anglican Communion Participation. When I read Hebrews 12:1 speaking about “so great a cloud of witnesses,” I picture all those who have gone before us cheering us on in this race of life. But after reading of the 80 million members of the Anglican Communion around the world, I think we have a “great cloud” right now! So, here’s the resolution –
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention express its profound gratitude to those who so faithfully work at encouraging dialogue within the diversity of the Anglican Communion, and be it further
Resolved, That we celebrate the great blessing of the Anglican Communion in its diversity within community as autonomous churches in relationship bound together in our differences in service to God’s mission, and be it further
Resolved, That we hold fast and reaffirm our historic commitment to and constituent membership in the Anglican Communion as expressed in the Preamble of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church, and be it further
Resolved, That The Episcopal Church maintain and reinforce strong links across the world-wide Anglican Communion committing itself to continued participation in the wider councils of the Anglican Communion, and be it further
Resolved, That The Episcopal Church deepen its involvement with Communion ministries and networks using where applicable the Continuing Indaba process: conversations across differences to strengthen relationships in God’s mission (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/continuingindaba and http://www.continuingindaba.com); and be it further
Resolved, That The 77th General Convention encourage dioceses, congregations and individual members of The Episcopal Church to educate themselves about the Communion as well as promote and support the Anglican Communion and its work.
The second resolve refers to the preamble to the constitution which reads:
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, otherwise known as The Episcopal Church (which name is hereby recognized as also designating the Church), is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. This Constitution, adopted in General Convention in Philadelphia in October, 1789, as amended in subsequent General Conventions, sets forth the basic Articles for the government of this Church, and of its overseas missionary jurisdictions.
It is so easy to be about our own business yet we do have a rich history, indeed, and need to recognize and affirm our connection with our brothers and sisters in the Communion. On Saturday, the Episcopal News Service reported that the Anglican Communion has a new Facebook page! This move should help all of us become more aware of the happenings within the Communion and the work being done on its behalf. Jan Butler, director for communication at the Anglican Communion Office reports: “We have volunteers from Africa, Asia, Oceania, North and Latin America, and Europe who will be posting and reposting anything they think will interest Anglicans and Episcopalians around the globe.” You can find the page here: https://www.facebook.com/TheAnglicanCommunion The Anglican Communion website is also a great source for further information: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/
I must be honest; I wasn’t familiar with the meaning of the fifth resolve’s reference to the Continuing Indaba Project until I checked out their website: http://continuingindaba.com/. Here I found a great explanation:
The aim of Continuing Indaba is to enable Anglicans worldwide to live reconciliation by facing our own conflicts, celebrate our diversity and difference and so become agents of reconciliation in the world. This website hopes to be a place that provides resources and generates energy to equip us all to be reconciled reconcilers. Because when this happens, in the word of Archbishop Justin: “we are unbelievably attractive, distinctively prophetic, not because we all agree, but because we disagree with passion in love, and set the bar high for the world around. And then reach out and help people over the bar.”
From their website –
“Continuing Indaba is an ongoing and intentional way of working as the body of Christ that…..
- trusts God and acknowledges the faith-journey of all involved
- builds trust and creates space for disagreement to be heard
- insists that all groups referred to are fully included in the process
- requires stepping out of comfort zones and a willingness to see the world through the eyes of another
- commits to listening and being open to hear other perspectives, without pressure to change position
- demands commitment, transparency, vulnerability and authenticity in relationship.
This results in
- being better equipped to work together for God’s Mission
- deepened relationships, with Christ and one another
- enriched lives which allow people to grow together.”
This intentional work building open and honest dialogue can be a strong witness to those around us who are pained by the rampant divisions within denominations and congregations. Check out their website and watch the brief video by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – http://continuingindaba.com/2013/10/30/archbishop-of-canterbury-commends-continuing-indaba/
Together, let’s learn more about the greater Household so that we may be an even stronger witness to the love of God!
— Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council