Info on 2011 Holy Land Pilgrimage

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November 30, 2008


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The statement "Conservative Anglicans determined to stay within church" has a hollow ring to it. Why does one have to be "determined" to stay in an organisation that is dedicated to promoting one's beliefs? Unless it isn't.


I guess it would deserve a longer response, but the thought that comes to my mind is going to sound foolish to some, but hopefully a little bit wise to others. "Determined" is an act of will, in response to a vocation and calling to which one can choose or not choose to remain obedient. I didn't attend or have any contact with the people involved in this particular conference, but I can understand why they are doing what they are doing.

I see and understand that some people I know and respect as Christians have determined that God is calling them to work outside of this aspect of their church structures.

Sometimes it's not about being on the winning side in the short term: a lesson which Athanasius learned well.

God has been faithful to me throughout the times when I rebel against Him.

"Now go and do likewise".


I would certainly agree that determination as an act of will can be a good thing. And in this particular case, if it were truly a determination to fulfil a vocational call by God, I would have no quarrel with it.

Now I admit I may have a natural inclination towards suspicion, but, having read some of the articles by Ephraim Radner and having spoken to someone who was at the conference, I find it hard to escape the conclusion that something else is going on.

I think what has emerged from the conference is that the Federation believes the most significant problem - or perhaps sin - that the ACoC faces is schism and the schism has been created by ANiC. In my view, that is a distortion, since any schism that has occurred was actually brought about by the ACoC itself when it wilfully prosecuted its own agenda in spite of requests from the rest of the Anglican Communion to stop. Also, I would argue that schism in itself is not the main problem.

Now we are left with the Federation ‘distancing’ itself from ANiC and moving from a position of ‘not staying, but standing’ (April) to a determination to stay at all costs. Could the latter be a vocational call? I find it hard to believe that it could.

Is the determination really one of wanting to maintain the structure of Western Anglicanism no matter what?


I can't speak for those within an organization of which I'm not a member - so I don't know if the reporting on the event is accurately portraying their intentions and outlook. I don't think that all those in the "Federation" will really "stay at all costs". It is merely a guess on my part, but I suspect that if a point comes where they cannot proclaim the message God has entrusted to them, at that point they will leave. For instance, it is a common talking point that "no one will be forced to perform a SSB". That is a complete red herring. As an Anglican priest, current canon law grants that I won't be forced to perform any marriage/baptism/ sacramental act against my conscience. So that line sort of strikes me as a car salesman telling me that if I buy the new model, it will even come with wheels! The real issue is whether or not those who hold to a traditional view will be allowed to openly speak of that view. That is the real issue, I suspect.

I see that there are some within the Anglican Church who think that "schism is the wost sin", but then again that is more than slightly ironic, as the Anglican Church as a whole is derivative of schism, or reformation, depending on which way you are looking. Schism was certainly perhaps among the worst sins in an era when the church was (at least on the surface) recognized as undivided in its episcopal fellowship or governance, but those days are long gone. As I've said before, there are at least 4 bishops in my geographical area all claiming Apostolic authority. My RC friends might say to me: "If you anglicans keep saying that schism is the worst sin, why don't you all just join back up with the RC (the church from which you separated/reformed - "insert verb here") and keep working within?"

As Legolas said, to those things the Elves do not have the answer.

I can only speak for myself. I know where the boat is from which I am called to fish.


But then, as Gimli said "Never trust an Elf!". :-)


Personally, I sense a vocation to open a smoky jazz bar somewhere by the docks...

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blank stare...

  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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