Tuesday, August 02, 2022

"We are a Communion of Churches, not a single church" -- Thus Spake the Archbishop of Canterbury

So it was evening and it was morning and it was the Seventh Day of the 2022 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. And rather than resting on the seventh day -- which actually has a nice biblical precedent -- the bishops dug in for the long awaited discussion on the Lambeth Call entitled "Human Dignity."

And as I "process" the events across the pond in Lambeth Conference Land today, I once again find myself recalling the words of our All Saints Church, Pasadena Rector Emeritus George Regas who called us to "set audacious goals and to celebrate incremental victories."

As a Lambeth Conference observer (1998) and survivor (2008) I believe that the comments posted below from the Archbishop of Canterbury are inarguably an incremental victory over the days of moratoria and threats to vote whole provinces off the Anglican Island for striving to fully include LGBTQ people in the Body of Christ. And for that I rejoice and celebrate.

At the same time, I am working here to balance my gratitude to Justin Welby for not throwing LGBTQ people under the Lambeth Conference bus with my anguish at the damage continuing to be done to LGBTQ people in the name of the Church. The fact that we're better than we were is not good enough as we continue to work toward that audacious goal of being a community of faith where all are welcome, loved and included -- not in spite of who they are but because of who they are. 

Nevertheless, we persist. And today I give thanks for all who have persisted and insisted; advocated and agitated; prayed, lobbied and organized to reach the point where these words could come out of the mouth of the Archbishop of Canterbury ... words I could literally not have imagined when we stood on the fringes of the University of Kent in the summer of 2008 with the Bishop of New Hampshire who had been locked out of the Lambeth Conference.

Of the provinces that are in the minority on the full inclusion of LGBTQI+ people in the life of the church and the world, he said: 
“They have not arrived lightly at their ideas that traditional teaching needs to change. They are not careless about scripture. They do not reject Christ. But they have come to a different view on sexuality after long prayer, deep study and reflection on understandings of human nature. For them, to question this different teaching is unthinkable, and in many countries is making the church a victim of derision, contempt and even attack. For these churches not to change traditional teaching challenges their very existence.”

“I neither have, nor do I seek, the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion. I will not do so. I may comment in public on occasions, but that is all. We are a Communion of Churches, not a single church."
It's not the whole enchilada ... but it has enough guacamole for me to give thanks for today for the steps forward -- and to regroup and recharge for the ongoing work ahead. La lucha continua. 

No comments: