Today has been a heavy news day, so I am reposting Mark Harris’ essay, The Vocation of the Episcopal Church so that it continues to ride at the top of the blog. The pdf is here.

It begins like so: The Episcopal Church has struggled to affirm its place in the organized structures of the Anglican Communion. The need to continue that struggle is now in question.

The continued participation of The Episcopal Church in the instrumentalities of the Anglican Communion is not essential to our continued faithfulness as a Christian body, nor is it the basis for our fellowship with other Churches in the Anglican Communion. We must not confuse the gift of fellowship for the vocation to which we are called.

And ends, like so: The restrictive and punitive efforts of the various “instruments,” commissions and committees of the Anglican Communion are contrary to our understanding of our vocation as a Church and may indeed make our continued engagement with Anglican Communion structures as they now stand increasingly difficult, if not impossible. The emergence of instruments for a magisterium and a patriarchy in the Anglican Communion are contrary to our understandings of our vocation and of union in its “truest and deepest” sense.

It is our intention to continue to be in communion with as many of the churches of the Anglican Communion as will have us. We will seek other companions not of this flock as well.

We will not confuse that continued fellowship with the possibility of a break in relations with one or the other of the various bodies that constitute the structures of the Anglican Communion – vis: the Primates Meeting, The Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

We believe there is no need for any of the breaks in the bonds of affection that tie us together as a fellowship. These bonds are of fellowship, not of some exercising lordship over others. We have only one Lord, Jesus Christ, all others are with us companions on the Way.

The desire by some in the Communion to be an ecclesial kingdom like other kingdoms –that is to say to become a patriarchal international church – is misplaced. We desire neither Rome nor Geneva – neither an international hierarchy nor a state / city church. There is no need for an Anglican equivalent to the Patriarch of Constantinople or Rome. We are protestant, catholic, and free.

We will seek companions in Christ where they may be found, and in all things we will seek companionship with Christ who has found us.

As for those who wish to disenfranchise or shun us, “we must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation,” and hold them, as we hold the rest of the Christian churches of the world, in our prayers and with the hope of more gracious times when God will grant us greater, deeper and truer union.

Past Posts