Friday, October 14, 2011

Anglican Communion and Ecumenism

An important distinction exists between membership in the Anglican Communion and ecumenical relations with a member Church of the Communion. An important example exists in the relationship between the Church of England and the Porvoo Communion.  The Church of England is a partner in the Porvoo Agreement, but the Porvoo Communion is not in communion with the See of Canterbury.  It seems that this is a contradiction, but in terms of the Anglican Communion, there is not. 

The Porvoo Agreement is, as is stated on the Porvoo website, "
an agreement to 'share a common life in mission and service'. These churches are either Anglican or Lutheran. The Porvoo churches agree on certain fundamental issues, but Porvoo is not a new confession. The churches maintain their respective identities." 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

'Membership' in the Anglican Communion

As the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina draws new scrutiny at the invitation of some members of the diocese, folks are renewing their struggle with various and strained notions of what it is to be a member of the Anglican Communion.  May I presume to try to help?  It seems well and good to pay attention to Anglican ecclesiology here.  Neither 'South Carolina' the state nor 'South Carolina' the Episcopal Diocese thereof has the ability to 'remain a member of the Anglican Communion.'  Only the Churches of which dioceses are subsidiary parts are members of said Communion.

In addition, an 'appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury' is completely outside the ecclesiology of both the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (PECUSA) and the Church of England.  Both Churches are independent of one another.  Neither the Church of England nor the Archbishop of Canterbury has ecclesiastical authority in the PECUSA.  An appeal to Canterbury from a member of this Church in the 21st century is reminiscent of someone from the Church of England appealing to Rome in the late 16th century.  In either case, it is entirely un-Anglican thinking to suppose that such is appropriate.  This, besides the fact that it is unconstitutional and non-canonical.