Canon Vincent Strudwick, a member of an Anglican Consultative Council’s “sub-group” fleshing out notions for an Anglican Convenant defends the covenant initiative in this week’s Church Times.
In an otherwise helpful piece, he offers this bit of naive-ry:
“Now is not the time to talk more of ‘constituent Churches’ and ‘associate Churches’ of the Communion — because the ‘re-imagining’ of the Communion is part of the covenant agenda, and belongs to all who participate.”
Please, Canon, no Church will begin this process without giving some thought to where it might stand, and whom it might stand with, when the process ends. If we do not acknowledge that the process before us is, in some measure, a political one, then the cloak of theology will be thrown over all manner of backroom maneurvering. Better to have the politicking done in the daylight, and called what it is.
That said, I hope that the leaders of our various Churches will embrace the Canon’s conclusion:
“The starting-point for those who engage in the process is that the covenant does not require them to accept all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion, or ministerial practice characteristic of other provinces, but that each believes the other to hold the essentials of the Christian faith, and that all commit themselves to respect the integrity and good faith of those whose search has led them to different understanding in matters of importance.
It is the proper role of the Communion, as part of its common life, to attempt to shed new light on these differences, attempting to discern both the truth that is our goal, as well as the grace in our search. My ‘illusion’ is that we have an Archbishop who can preside over such a re-imagining, and that we have a creative opportunity that should not be sidetracked lightly.”