One Church, Two Minds; or Two Churches, Two Minds? - Bishop Mouneer Anis

I was keen to follow the discussions of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in America, especially in regard to the response to the Windsor Report. I had hoped that somehow the Convention, having understood the difficulties created by the Convention of 2003, would be eager to mend the torn fabric of our Communion. Now I realize that I was too optimistic. This also helped me to understand that the culture of individualism and personal freedom has more influence on the thinking of many church leaders in North America and some western counties than the spirit of the oneness of the corporate body of Christ.

A member of the Convention said “we are one church with two minds” but it seems to me that it is two churches with two minds and two hearts!! The views are too diverse and are not constructed on one but very different types of Theological foundations. Of course we Anglicans accept diversity but there must be some boundaries to it. These boundaries are made by the whole Communion.

In his historical document “Challenge and Hope for the Anglican Communion” Archbishop Rowan Williams described very wisely the differences between the two ways or concerns, the catholic concern and the cultural concern and how “each of these would lead to a different place”.

I noticed that the House of Deputies during the Convention has honestly expressed the views of the majority in the House with regard to the blessing of same sex marriage. Their voice clearly said “we value our truth more than the unity with the Anglican Communion”. They did not want to compromise the truth they claim was revealed to them. I respect their honesty though I disagree with them on a theological basis. In contrast the House of Bishops tried to compose a resolution that gave the impression that they accepted Windsor Report but does not clearly stop the ordination and consecration of practicing homosexual clergy and bishops. This is mainly to keep a presence in the Communion.

It seems to me now that we all need the honesty and courage to acknowledge that we are two churches, not one, and these two churches are walking apart. This will save a lot of time, energy and resources that should be used for advancing the mission of the church. It does not mean that it is the end of future listening and dialogue.


Rt Rev.Dr.Mouneer Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Church in Egypt
with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

 

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