I read with concern Archbishop of Wales’ recent reported remarks to his governing body. While acknowledging the severity of the 2003 crisis, he ask that there should be ‘no quick fix solution to the Communion crisis.’
While he states and wishes that “sexuality is not a Communion-breaking issue’, - the fact is, it is - and we only need to see the widespread response throughout the Communion to this ‘test of reception.’ What is at stake is not only just the Church’s traditional plain reading of Scriptures, but what the Church has always taught, bear witness to and advocate on the issue of family, it’s wholeness and bearing on the health of societies. It is not a ‘new’ set of binding beliefs. It is as old as the Church herself.
The Lambeth 1.10 resolution merely affirmed again what the Church has always believed (”...in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage; ..1.10.2). While we may acknowledge that those on the pews do struggle in living out what they affirm (have always been), changing the teaching and witness of the Church is another matter altogether. That is what the 2003 action amounts to.
While we have always have our historic formularies and creeds, the Church has needed from time to time to restate again her position on issues affecting our common life. In the 1998 Lambeth, one of the issues was our Church position on the family. And if Lambeth 2008 is anything to go by, that mind remains.
If so, why can’t we submit ourselves to this discipline and mutual accountability as minimally expressed through the Windsor-proposed Covenant process (as a solution to the crisis and help the Communion to deal with future similar ones)? If being part of the wider (global and by far, much larger in some parts) Communion is to mean anything, why can’t each Province choose to stand together on this? And we have not even begin to mention our relationships with our ecumenical partners and what these recent innovations will do to our long held ‘Via Media’ role.
We have come thus far in affirming the Windsor Report (and the ‘process,’ which in the opinion of some, weakens the report). Whether quick or otherwise, the crisis needs fixing.
We pray that the Covenant Design Group and various Communion bodies will not blink.