Tuesday 6 May 2008

GAFCON and Common Cause

Graham Kings has written a piece at Fulcrum within which he joins the speculation that GAFCON's main aim is to set up Common Cause Partnerships in different parts of the Communion. Presumably this is the method by which GAFCON will be sending itself out in boundary crossing mode as it declares parts of Anglicanism sufficiently heretical by whatever method it chooses. Later he also refers to the possibility of a non-Canterbury Communion being established.

This is why I don't understand this, from Graham Kings:

It is encouraging to learn that planners of the Lambeth Conference are considering how to discuss positively in Canterbury some of the concerns which may emanate from GAFCON.

I would not regard it as encouraging at all - if it turns out to be anything like the Advent Letter in its double lockdown against diversity. The best thing to do with GAFCON is let it overreach itself compared with its overbearing rhetoric.

He thinks the metaphor of Dunkirk is appropriate not for the heroism of rescue and bringing home, because of the mess and chaos it actually involved.

Later on he makes this claim:

The Communion has come of age. The Archiepiscopate of Rowan Williams is anything but dull and again we are in a period of reshaping the Anglican Communion. Reshaping is much better than splitting. It seems to me that GAFCON is about splitting and Lambeth is about reshaping.

To say that it is anything but dull is an understatement. It is more of a disaster: that again, recently, another Anglican Church (Brazil) rejected the need for a Covenant, and it simply will be rejected by too many Churches. Who wants the Anglican Communion reshaping anyway? Rather than centralise, Anglican Churches should revisit the Eastern autocephalous model, to live and let live regarding which Anglican Churches recognise which other Churches, and be less worried about competition as by GAFCON (and see it likely overreach itself). Anglican Churches are sensitive to local culture, and that's where it matters: boundary crossers can only appeal in the west to New Puritans. They will be a small sect, if they separate.

After Dunkirk came a period of watch, of overstretching over there, and then taking back. Sometimes conflict has to be faced, and was ever in the world of Churches.

Anyway, so what about religious bureaucracies: I suggest we start to focus on people themselves and what is to be valued about them, and how they might come together in diversity to inherit the riches of traditions and interpret anew.


Anonymous said...

"Militant" rejected Kinnock's reforms in the Labout Party....so what? Should he have dropped his reforms???
If Labour had listened to a small, left wing minority we would now be in our 29th year of Tory government and Labour would be dead.....

If the small, left-wing element of the AC had any growth or strength, people may listen....but it does not....average TEC congregation's have less than 70 with an average age of 66!! (not very "diverse")

Liberals are the equivalent of "Militant" and Rowan Williams may well be the AC's Kinnock i.e. the man from the left who has to cut out the extreme left for the sake of the party......and its long-term survival....and health and unity.

Given theological arguments for liberal innovations have been inadequate and convinced so few, nobody really cares what a small and shrinking minority in the AC wants re the covenant...get it?

GAFCON - 35m Anglicans' bishops
Lambeth - 15m and shrinking
Very embarassing for the ABC!

You will see the ABC go a lot further to keep the AC together - it ain't going to be sacrificed for small, dying TEC and its client provinces....it just ain't worth losing the AC for "provinces" that will not even exist in 50 years given their current rates of decline......sorry, harsh facts but facts nonetheless.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

It is my view that it is quite the other way around. The people I mix with in the pews, and those ordained who lead congregations, are by and far mixed, from liberal to evangelical to Catholic, but it is these New Puritans who act and behave like the Militant Tendency, with centralised Trotskyist type organising. The analogous thing to do would be to cut them out, but rather than being a Kinnock Rowan Williams has consistently shown a weakness to them, leading from behind. The liberals have had a continuous impact on the Churches, though matters have reversed in recent decades. A political analogy may be there a formation of the SDP, the effect being to bring the Labour Party back over the territory held by the SDP. Except that liberals by and large don't leave, don't form their own, a strength that is also their weakness.

I suggest that GAFCON will have an intitial conserving effect on Lambeth and Anglicanism, that will soon be lost as a Covenant of any effect fails to go through.

The numbers are irrelevant because the GAFCON ones are concentrated and are likely inaccurate anyway. Its form of Christianity simply does not extend in sufficient bulk into the West, and is opposed even by numbers of evangelicals.

As for decline, this includes evangelicals, and is a phenomenon far broader than TEC or the C of E, and raw projections can see a number of denominations structurally collapse in the UK in some decades time, denominations which include bulk numbers of evangelicals.

The liberal approach simply is not going away. How it organises into the future is as yet unclear but perhaps not dramatically different from now for some time.