Saturday, December 08, 2007

International Anglican Consultation Claims Shared Gospel Agenda

Q. Chicago in December? Who thought that was a good idea?

A. The organizers of “The Chicago Consultation” did – and it turned out to be a very good idea, indeed!


The weather outside may have been frightful (at least by this California Girl’s standards!) but the discourse was quite delightful … and challenging and empowering and encouraging and uplifting and … well, you get my drift.

For as the snow drifted outside the windows of the seminary conference room, fifty-some leaders from around the global Anglican Communion met, prayed, listened, reflected, worshiped, strategized and organized around the Gospel Agenda of the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ. It was an extraordinary gathering and a MOST extraordinary privilege to have been part of what I believe was truly an historic meeting.

We were laity and deacons, priests and bishops; academics and activists, teachers, preachers and bloggers; USA, UK and “Global South;” parish priests and seminary deans -- even a politician and a primate. (All that was missing was the partridge in a pear tree!) We came from all parts of the country and many points of the globe – a genuine incarnation of what Jenny Te Paa called “the small ‘c’ communion” of “Anglican men and women whose lives and whose loves are prescribed by a prior sense of sacred belonging to God and thus to one another” and “who share therefore an unbreakable commitment to the indisputably inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The emergence of that unbreakable commitment as our shared Gospel Agenda became the focal point for our imagining a church – a communion – beyond what I have come to think of as “The Inclusion Wars.” And when the wisdom, vision and giftedness in that room full of amazing, faithful people shifted from the “therefores” to the “how-tos” it seemed to me that there was palpable sense of the possible transcending the impasse-able as we began to chart a proactive course forward.

More will be written about The Chicago Consultation – indeed, colleague Mark Harris already has his oar in the blog waters over at PRELUDIUM and Tobias Haller offers reflections with "The Gospel via Chicago." I’ll write more about the content of the conference when the dust settles a little and I get the bags unpacked and the decks cleared a little here on the home front.
In the meantime, I invite you to rejoice and be glad with me at the good work begun and in the spirit of optimism and opportunity that bloomed in wintry Chicago this week. It was like nothing so much as a rose e’er blooming in what has felt like the bleak midwinter of our Anglican life together.

To quote Jenny Te Paa again, here’s “the rose” we have in mind: “Can we begin as global Anglicans to imagine and to discuss ways in which we might stand more confidently together as diverse members of the family of Christ, on the common ground of God’s world, on the basis of a newly apprehended model of unconditionally inclusive relationality?”

That is the Gospel Agenda we claimed together at The Chicago Consultation. And now I invite you to join with us as we pray for the grace and the power faithfully to accomplish it.


JimB said...

Next time you come, maybe we can have a real snow storm. ;-)


Ann said...

And check Episcopal Cafe for more.

RonF said...

Come back when it gets cold.