Audio is here.
Made joke about Rasputin.
Taking about our convention theme, and how thought ought to be how the Anglican Communion ought to be. Holy Partners in a heavenly calling…” Proclaim the Gospel of forgiveness and love. Heavenly calling into communion and fellowship with God and one another. Anglican Communion’s name expresses profound theological truth. We are bound into fellowship in the Body of Christ. Walls of hostility have been broken down; you that were far off are brought near. Once you were people, now you are God’s people.
High calling of Anglicans – living in deep fellowship catagorized by love – by this all men will know you are my disciples.
Communion not be undervalued to neglected or thrown away lightly or inadvisedly. Sense of sorrow about the life of our Communion – not always characterized by love. Bruce’s account of some aspects of life in the Communion is dismaying – power, vendetta, rivalry instead of love. Bruce is right to call us back.
Compliments Diocese of Western Louisiana on faithfulness and love. Believes in the Communion – when he can travel 4000 miles and find brothers and sisters in Christ who are partners with me – same faith; same proclamation. Mentions other friends of his around the world. Wants people to be blessed by Communion fellowship.
Likes our work – Hardtner, servant center, etc. Living out the heavenly calling. Also wants to celebrate our loyalty. Not just +Bruce, but the folks in the hall – go the extra mile with the national church, the Windsor Report, seeking richer fellowship in the AC with Communion Partners.
There is no easy answer to current situation in the Communion. Very tempting to think, oh, if we could just solve this tomorrow. Some see division between revisionist leadership in TEC with rest of the communion, but this is wrong. Intensity and division over current issues are very deep and wide. Can name 15 provinces of the 38 where the issues of human sexuality are deeply controversial and divisive. Not just an Anglican problem, but of all Christianity, including the Syrian Orthodox rep to Lambeth stating that these are questions we all have to address.
Lutheran World Federation having the same problem. If he had shut his eyes and blocked out the names, it could have been a Primates Meeting.
Issue of discernment about the truth of the Gospel for all faithful Christians. Doesn’t believe in easy solutions. Other part of the motto – we are called to be holy partners. Word “Holy” is of profound significance. To call us Holy Partners is to remind us that we find our holiness only in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ; Communion only has value if we gather in community as those who have been redeemed in the Lord. Revelation – who are these coming to the throne, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.
Have to walk with the commandments, in grace.
Setting vocation for us all in the AC – Holy Partners. Called to be redeemed and people who seek God’s holiness. It is about content of faith and processes. Sad truth – looking at AC, people don’t see redeemed community, but a divided and argumentative community. What are we to do?
His mother in law is a marriage counselor. Couples always face difficult times – pinches – things are tough – have an argument. Danger is to ignore the pinch and sweep it under the carpet. Sooner or later, then you get to a crunch. If you can’t deal with the pinches, the crunches make for deep trouble. AC heading for a crunch. His mother in law’s advice? Renogiatate your expectation – why are you in the marriage in the first place, and what are the legitimate expectations? That is fundamentally the model for the proposed Anglican covenant. Attempt to take 38 provinces, sit them down, and ask what fundamentally are you about, do you believe, are you called to be.
1920 Lambeth wrote about the AC – The churches of the AC are indeed independent churches. But, they are independent in a way that recognized Christian freedom with the restraints of truth and love. Not free to ignore truth or fellowship.
Fundamental points of truth and fellowship must be set forth in the covenant. Development of covenant started with 2004 Windsor Report. Word chosen as it is rather circular. Couldn’t use “Constitution” or “Common Declaration”, whereas covenant is dynamic. It is about relationships that grow, change, are on the move.
Churches in movement together – travelling together. Covenant is the model of God’s dealing with us. “I will be your God, you will be my people.” Design group wanted fairly short document that would state the fundamentals – truths we hold and commitements required to go forward. Very quick to draft the first draft – presented to Primates in 2006. Discussed in a period of a year. Group then presented a revised version – three sections – section I about the faith, section II about mission, and section III about fellowship. Sent to Provinces for formal discussion and response. 3 questions:
1. Is your Province willing to give an in principle commitment to a covenant?
2. What changes are needed to the St. Andrew’s draft to get a reasonable chance for you province to sign up to it?
3. What does your Province need to do to commit?
Results to had by March 9. Third text to be presented to ACC next May. It is possible that if there is enought of a postive reponse, ACC may be able to say this it, this is the text we will use to decide if we will be committed to the AC. ABC wants finished text be a rather stronger text even if it means some Provinces can’t sign rather than a weaker meaningless text. We are close to the end of the process. No more questions; ACC will be providing answer?
Who can sign the covenant? Lambeth conference discussed the issue. Discussed St. Andrew’s draft and notes were sent to Singaport to design group. Lambeth commentary on covenent to be published next week. When the bishops did their work, there was no challenge to section I about faith, and virtually no challenge on section II on common mission. St. Andrew’s draft likely to receive ACC approval. Section III requires commitement and is problematic. One or more provinces will be unable to make a commitment to be bound in mutual responsibility.
What is meant by churches of Anglican Communion? Local or particular church – family of congregations gathered around their bishop. Each diocese is a complete church. National or regional churches is next. AC bound together by catechism, canon law, worship, etc. Covenant can be signed by national or regional church, or by diocesan church.
He prays for covenant – not for being bound by legalism, but thinks AC needs to be clear about expectations. Asked if he thinks AC will survive? Maybe God is finished with the AC. But he doesn’t believe so. Doesn’t think God is ready to give up on us yet. Points to motto of Scottish Episcopal Church – profoundly true about the AC and what is offer to humanity and to the world – “Evangelical Faith and Apostolic Order”. Those are the two things as fundamental to our life as a Communion of Churches. We must pray for these things in order to revive our life and be faithful to our inheritance and to God. If we do this, we will answer what +Bruce has invited us to do – to learn how AC can become holy partners in a heavenly calling.