Bishop Henderson on Dar es Salaam

Bishop Dorsey Henderson (Diocese of Upper South Carolina) is another of the growing number of blogging bishops. He’s not given to pithy statements or short paragraphs, but his pastoral letter on the March meeting of the House of Bishops is worth a look even by an impatient world.

Some extracts:

It was the first House meeting over which ++Katharine Jefferts Schori has presided since her installation as Presiding Bishop. And she did just that—no more, no less. … She pressed no agenda and did not take sides, which was not always true with her predecessors.

Collegiality among the bishops seemed to me to be deeper and more authentic than usual. Although none of the Forward in Faith bishops (those who do not ordain women) was present, there was broad representation otherwise—conservative, moderate, and liberal.

The Primates are only one of four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion. The other three are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Lambeth Conference, which includes all bishops of the Communion. The Anglican Consultative Council is probably my favorite because it is the only one of the four which includes in its membership representatives other than bishops and archbishops. Its makeup is more consistent with the American model of ministry and leadership in the Church in that it includes lay people as well as bishops, priests and deacons. All four instruments have their role, but none is primary, none is supreme. Accordingly, while the Primates may request that The Episcopal Church respond in a particular way and in accordance with a deadline, they do not have the authority to mandate either response or deadline. At Camp Allen, the Archbishop of Mexico was asked how he had experienced the Primates’ Meeting at Dar es Salaam. He responded that it was great—that although he arrived in Dar es Salaam as an archbishop, he departed as a “cardinal”! His point was clear. The Primates had assumed unto themselves authority which they have not heretofore possessed.

Anglicanism is not only dear to me, but I believe it to be the clearest manifestation of authentic Christianity yet achieved. The Episcopal Church is dear to me—and I believe its development in the setting of the New World to be the clearest manifestation of authentic Anglicanism yet achieved. Neither is perfect. The Kingdom of God is not yet fully realized on earth. God is not finished with us yet! But that’s why we have the Holy Spirit, sent to lead us into all truth and to strengthen us as the Body of Christ for Christian living.

It’s all here.

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