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Monday, 31 May 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter to the Anglican Communion

Last Friday, 28 May, Archbishop Rowan Williams released his Pentecost Letter to the Anglican Communion. In it the Archbishop encourages Anglicans to pray for renewal in the Spirit and to focus on the priority of mission. He also acknowledges that the Communion is going through a time of transition and that we are dealing with questions of drawing boundaries in controversial matters - not only sexuality but issues of bioethics or the complexities of morality in the financial world.

In response to the current situation, Archbishop Rowan makes clear that when a province "declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard to see how members of that province can be placed in position where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues...and our faith-and-order related groups".

The Archbishop then makes some proposals for members of provinces that are in breach of the three moratoria requested by the Instruments of the Communion. (Those moratoria are: no authorisation of blessings services for same-sex unions; no consecrations of bishops living in same-sex relationships; and no bishop authorising any ministry within the diocese of another bishop without explicit permission). He proposes that such members:
  1. should no longer participate in the formal ecumenical dialogues in which the Anglican Communion is engaged, such as those with the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Churches.
  2. currently serving on the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (a body that examines issues of doctrine and authority) should, for the time being, no longer have full membership, but retain the status of consultants.
These proposals are "simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as acceptable limits of diversity in its practice".

The Archbishop concludes by urging that we reflect on rebuilding relations and a more coherent Anglican identity, which he makes clear is not an identity with no diversity.

The five page letter entitled Renewal in the Spirit can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. I believe that it is the beginning of a revival in the Anglican Communion and perhaps an Anglican 'Counter Reformation'..Of course only time will tell..