Response to Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion

With friends at Calvary Episcopal Church in Rochester
With friends at Calvary Episcopal Church in Rochester

We are blessed to live in a great neighborhood. There are lots of young families and there is an ever-increasing level of diversity. The kids literally play in the street, in everyone’s yard (including ours), and in the neighborhood park. Being regular dog walkers, it’s fun through the seasons for us to interact with the kids and families and watch them grow. There is a real sense of community.

With this being said, and consistent with my experiences with other places I have called home, there are distinct differences in what families value. Some kids roam at a pretty young age, virtually free without a parent in sight. Other children have either a much older sibling or a parent nearby at all times. Some kids ride all sorts of things with helmets and padding, while others wear none. Curfews are all over the map, regardless of age or time in the school year. The distinct differences, in a sense, come with being part of the community.

Last week the Anglican Church made the press, “The Episcopal Church is being suspended for three years!” This was one of many headlines that was only partially true, and some were completely false. To get a more complete and comprehensive understanding I invite you to read the following:

The full Communiqué from the Primates

Our Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry’s response

Blog from Andrew McGowan of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale (for greater understanding of the polity of the Anglican Church and how it functions)

Being part of the Anglican Communion is very much like being part of a neighborhood or a community. There are a great number of things, including shared history, that bind us together. Yet, each home in that neighborhood is inhabited by unique individuals with their own contextual family set of norms and values. When we run up against these, for instance: a kid playing in my yard without supervision at a time when I believe they should be in bed, it is not only challenging, but from my perspective, wrong. However, it is clearly acceptable to that family.

The Episcopal Church as well as many other parts of the Anglican Communion have made a number of decisions in the last 50-plus years around Prayer Book revisions: full inclusion of people of color, women, young people, and LGBT individuals. Each time those decisions have been made, others in the Communion have found those not only challenging but, from their perspective, wrong. Of course, for many in the Episcopal Church, this response seems wrong. 

The fact of the matter is that each family gets to choose what their “family values” are. We can encourage, model, and invite others to understand why each of us have made, or are making, particular choices. That only happens if we are in relationship. To that end, in my opinion, the best piece of information from the Communiqué is the commitment to continue to “walk together.” Relationships only strengthen when we commit to working on them regardless of our differences. This is why, regardless of what has happened or what is currently happening at the Anglican Communion level of the Church, we continue to have great relationships with our sisters and brothers in other parts of the Anglican Church such as Haiti, Cuba, Uganda, and Belize. These countries, along with others, are where those in ECMN continue to work on the ground building relationships and building community. 

Please pray for our Anglican Communion, especially our Primates. Pray also for all our neighbors in the Anglican Communion with whom we have built, and continue to build, strong relationships. Continue to pray for our “own house,” that we may truly be a welcoming and inviting place.

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