Fellow Palm Beacher George Conger’s detailed analysis of the recognition process is as good of an opportunity as any to make some comments on this complicated process.
In principle, I think it’s a great idea. North American Anglicans deserve better than the warmed-over humanism they’ve been getting out of TEC and ACoC for the last four decades. It’s simply too easy to find the answers these churches give outside of Christianity, and even easier to find the ones they don’t inside of it. Both of these explain most of the loss of membership that has taken place. If TEC had devoted the resources it has used to legally retain the property to retaining and expanding its membership, it would have more of both in the end.
But that’s done. It’s admirable to watch those in the various Anglican groups on the continent try to put together a single institution. It’s not an easy job on simply internal grounds, let alone seeking the approval of the convoluted structure that is the Anglican Communion.
There are several items that tell me that Anglicans better be in for the long haul on this one:
- The difficult process of recognition, as Conger outlines. That speaks for itself.
- I don’t see any Archbishop of Canterbury, either the present occupant or any successor that a British Government might suffer, recognising this province. They can talk about the ACC or the Primates all they want, but unless the Archbishop of Canterbury gives the high sign, real entry into the Anglican Communion is impossible.
- The issue of women’s ordination (WO.) There’s simply no consensus on this issue, irrespective of which side you take. That goes to the heart of the apostolic succession issue, which is key for a proper Anglican church.
- The resolution of the seceding dioceses, which will involve the U.S. court system.
- The real possibility that our government, in its desire to be politically correct and its need for revenue, will begin revoking tax-exempt status for churches that do not embrace homosexuality. That will doubtless be coupled with a legal assault based on anti-discrimination legislation and all of the other legal tools I outlined in my 2007 piece Waiting for the Cops to Show Up.
Given that the GAFCON provinces are sure to recognise this new entity, one things for sure: this new entity will go a long way to formalising a split in the Anglican Communion, which in the end may be the best–if not the happiest–way to resolve this long-running conflict.