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Mar 18, 2012

Fr Freddy's April message


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Category: General
Posted by: suzi hedgecock

Easter Greetings! ..... though this letter is not full of the joys of Spring – something I want to get off my chest!

You may or may not have read, or heard, in the media about the “Anglican Covenant” debate.  If you haven’t, do not worry because it is a trifle boring!  However, you may be interested to know my position on the matter.

To date, seventeen Dioceses of the Church of England have voted against it, ten are for it.  Exeter votes at the end of the month, so by the time you read this, it will all be over.

The Anglican Covenant wants to be an international treaty.  Championed originally by the Bishop of Durham that was, Dr Tom Wright, and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop, it was a response to the threats by conservative Anglicans, that they would walk away from the Anglican Communion if other provinces became more gay-friendly or encouraged women bishops.  So you see, it seems a sort of blackmail, which ought never to be pandered to.

The Anglican Communion has not fallen apart – a bit dented maybe – so all the huffing and puffing about walking away were empty threats.

The idea that all the different churches of the Anglican Communion can be held together only by signatures on a page rather than by years of tradition and a common baptism and liturgy, is bureaucratisation of theology and fellowship gone mad.

If you allow one province a quasi-legal mechanism for pushing out another province. then you are providing a context for acrimony, not for reconciliation.  Reconciliation comes when those divided by differences learn to see Jesus at work in each other – mostly achieved through patient friendship and listening.  The reason why the Covenant is such a terrible idea, is that it replaces the search for common ground with a fear that the Other is out to get me.  The Covenant contains the idea of a two tier Communion – those who sign up being on the inner tier and those who do not, on the outer tier.

It’s quite likely that the C of E will be on the outer tier, which makes a nonsense of the whole thing.  Being in Communion with the See of Canterbury has always been the defining feature of what it means to be Anglican.  The whole idea is messy and needs to be quietly disposed of.

Happy Easter.  Nothing is certain – only the certain Spring!

Fr Freddy


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