Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, tells the press that the Anglican Communion is becoming a Church

At the final Lambeth press conference, Rowan Williams answered a question from the Church Times about whether the Anglican Communion is a Church. It seems clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury sees the "church" as a global ideal, that the "church" is the Anglican Communion and warns that local provinces, like The Episcopal Church, "get trapped in their local contexts. I think that’s a danger," he said.
I think the answer would have to be yes from where I stand. I hope that a little bit more mutual responsibility and accountability and a bit more willingness to walk in step will make us more like a Church. Not, I have to say it again, not a centralized body with enforced conformity but that has a willing acceptance of moving together.

More of a Church in the sense that that structure, as I again said in the Presidential Address, represents a bit of a challenge to the tendency for local churches to get trapped in their local contexts. I think that’s a danger. The catholic ideal, if you like, the global ideal, is one of the ways we push back against those tendencies.

Rowan Williams
Lambeth Conference

Of course, when we talk about "church" (with a little c) there's nothing quite like being back home again after seven rather intense days at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. There were times when it was hard not to wonder - why are we doing this? And then we're home again and we remember.

The following is a short clip from the Eucharist service this morning at Truro Church in Fairfax, VA. It is good to be back home again.


Anonymous said...

b.b., I find your thoughts here, and in the article below on the Perfect Storm, regarding "who is a church" as come up in the Lambeth conference, fascinating.

This is an interesting dissection indeed. I've loved your blog as a source of information, but this bit of interpretation is simply stunning.

I'll still need to go over it again and think to see if I agree, but it's an exceedingly interesting theory, to say the least.

I would have never seen this on my own.


Anonymous said...

Well, with regard to thinking the WWAC is a "Church", *that's* what I call revisionism. The man may be some kind of theologian, but he is surely not an historian of Anglican ecclesiology. Either he is completely naive on this point, or he has gone completely Orwellian. I rather think the latter.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating that the whimsical, intellectual ramblings of what Christ's church 'is' never really seems to be the focal point of this controversy.

As the video suggests, the church 'is, what it is'. Christ's church is made up of believers of the faith, that with the power of the Holy Spirit worship and glorify God. God provided an amazing connection that transcends the flesh and crosses into a spiritual reality that is open to all (aka. All are already invited to the table).

None of the current rumblings have anything to do with the worship and glorification of God. The Gospel will always remain, while the pretenders will quickly return to dust. Christ has promised this, and the AB\C would do well to remind his flock now and again.

Anonymous said...

No overhead projector?

Anonymous said...

It will be fascinating to see just what this 'church' believes and who signs up for it. I'm pretty certain if TEC and the ACoC is in, Im not.

Bruce said...

Funny, I thought that was a clip from a Holy Ghost revival at the local Pentecostal church. Not much Anglican there, apparently, either in theology or practice.

Unknown said...

Well, the clip from the weekly celebration liturgy of the Eucharist straight out of the Episcopal Church Book of Common Prayer, Rite II. But, yes, there are those who do quarrel on whether the TEC Rite II truly reflect the theological and aesthetic intent of Cranmer's original, so perhaps we can see your point.

Ah, but is it the overwhelming joy that Jesus is risen that you find particular "non-Anglican?" I suppose a stop at HTB (COE) on Brompton Road, London, has not been on the "to-do" list of late? How about congregations in Uganda? Now they know about joy.

Yes, those are actually vestments the clergy and the traditional choir are wearing and yes, that actually an organ (complete with real pipes) up there. And the Sunday morning drummer is from the National Symphony Orchestra - but perhaps, you are right - the NSO is just perhaps too Pentecostal these days.

Well, the door is open wide. We have flipped some Episcopalians out over the years, it's true - but sometimes they become the most joyful of all. By the way, that's a built-in immersion-ready baptismal tank in the floor under the celebrant - it used to be the largest one in the Diocese of Virginia until the Diocese bought up an old Baptist Church in Arlington. They kept the tank but gave away the hymnals. Gotta watch out for that joy.

Seriously, it really is Rite II Eucharist - right out of the Prayer Book. This is the song just before the closing prayer, And now Father, send us out ...


Anonymous said...

Baptist theology, with Pentecostal love of the Spirit, with the Anglican Eucharistic Rite, and some Gothic architecture tossed in (stained glass, please) sounds heavenly to me.

Where do I send my tithe?