Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Anglican divide and other voices seldom heard

I am still on my "time away," for which I much appreciate as a gift from the parish and from those of you, dear readers, who read this blog. I am not posting as frequently, but I am posting now-and-then. Thank you so much for your gift of time and patience with me!

I've been keeping up, from a distance, developments in the Anglican Communion, particularly the Pentecost letter from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams removing The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada from several ecumenical committees because of our errant ways in welcoming gays and lesbians into the full sacramental life of the Church.

Aside from the contradiction-in-terms (if it is ecumenical committee, how is it the membership of an ecumenical committee should be limited?), my gut feeling is Williams is more concerned with appeasing his own restless right-wing in England than he is with creating dialogue in the rest of the Communion. That said, we cannot claim he didn't warn us; he said last summer at our General Convention there would be consequences for our actions.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that in recent days our own Episcopal Church has made overtures to be more tightly connected to the Canadian church, and the Anglican Church of Brazil has made overtures to be more tightly connected to both of our North American churches. Sadly, what Williams has done is made the fracture officially deeper and probably made himself less relevant to any talks that may eventually lead to reconciliation, or a realignment of the Anglican Communion.

There are many opinions out there, and we do well to listen not just to the familiar liberal-conservative voices, but to voices from other corners of the world we seldom hear. I came across this earlier today from Kantinho do Rev, a blog out of Brazil, and I share it with you in full:

Quarta-feira, Junho 09, 2010

Fear and exclusion: new challenges for the Communion

The decision of removing representatives of The Episcopal Church and of the Church of Canada from ecumenical networks represents the most drastic change amidst the theological conflict within the Anglican Communion.

In my point of view the Archbishop of Canterbury moved a piece of high risk and the consequences of such recommendations are what it is not possible to predict. The Pentecost Letter addressed to the Communion was one of the most contradictory documents in our history as Communion.

At the heart of a feast of the unity, we heard a message of discipline and exclusion. Absolutely strange for a moment in which other Christian traditions were celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit giving to the Church power to be in one faith and witness. For us, the Archbishop`s letter showed our fracture and incompetence to stay on the table of dialog, wishing to hear the God`s will.

In our Provincial Synod, we heard from the mouth of our Archbishop Mauricio that in the heart of God hasn`t place for boundaries. Our delegates approved unanimously a motion of solidarity with brothers and sisters from TEC and Canada and a letter to the Communion will be issued about punitive actions gone to Provinces who has been looking to welcome all the persons without barriers and prejudices.

Pentecost - as I wrote in an previous post - means to jump for the newness of life. To surpass the ignorance and to know the language of the love. The disciples were afraid and they were freed to speak, to welcome and to build a new community with persons who were strange for them in everything: language, customs and values.

In the installation of the National Cathedral of the Province of Brazil in Porto Alegre, at the Trinity Sunday, we had a true Pentecost. They were there Buddhist, religions afro, Roman Catholics, Muslims and people of several religious background. An unforgettable demonstration of fraternity. It is for that that purpose the Church exists: to be a sign of reconciliation and welcome.

Regrettably our Communion has not been able to surpass the challenges of the diversity. Now, besides this difficulty, we have the mark of the fear and of the exclusion


The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil stands in solidarity with our sisters churches in USA and Canada and our hope is that we can reaffirm our commitment in welcome people to live their faith fully and with confidence in the gracious love of God!

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