Paul Handley: The Anglican Communion will finally split in 2009

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the game now is going to change from now on. The object has shifted from trying to reform the old Communion (by supplanting the liberals in the US) to forming a new one. Rowan's task in the year ahead will thus change, too, from trying to hold together two disputatious groups in the same Church to trying to hold together two Churches. It can't be done, especially now that he has lost the respect of the conservatives.

So, schism in 2009? It certainly looks like it, and then the numbers belonging to each side start to matter. The conservatives in the US are in a clear minority, but when allied to the millions of Anglicans in, say, Nigeria or Uganda, they become a force to reckon with, however much the liberals would like us to ignore them.

There are many things to like in this piece, but it is significantly marred by the fact that he gets wrong what happened in 2006 at the General Convention. There was no agreement on the bishops matter in the terms requested, and on blessings what was requested was clearly not agreed to. Since the Convention, there has been an increase in same sex blessings against the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion. So it is simply nonsense to talk of a moratorium being lifted which doesn't exist in practice throughout various parts of TEC. In any event, read it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisArchbishop of Canterbury Common Cause Partnership--Proposed Formation of a new North American ProvinceEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsGlobal South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON I 2008Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

17 Comments
Posted December 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Choir Stall wrote:

This fellow has great points. Here is the crux that got me forever kicked off of an enlightened liberal blog…too much truth for them?
Here’s how it’s going to go down:
At most the Primates of the majority of the Communion will fool around with the American/Canadian indolence for only a couple more years. The notion to let the ABC referee and even have pre-emminence is fast dying out. Some over the top event will eventually tip the Global South to say “Enough!” (GC 2009). They will see that Canterbury is nothing but a tale signifying nothing. There will be a split of enormous proportion with the majority of the Communion now recognizing the See of Jerusalem as the locus of Anglican identity. After Rowan Williams (if he is still ABC) gets his hair combed from that great tornadic blow he will be stunned into even further irrelevance. The Jerusalem Anglicanism will not recognize North America’s currently contrived provinces. The shocked remnant of old Anglicanism will be outraged, undone, etc., etc., etc. and will want Williams out. The grudge of all grudges will now be held against North America’s old dying Anglicanism by those who had hoped that Canterbury’s pre-emminence would survive.  TEC and the ACC will have to find an Anglicanism that will want them: Jerusalem won’t, and Canterbury’s alliance probably won’t either. The liberals of North America will have succeeded in their goal of making an insignificant micro-Church, successfully akin to the UCC or the Shakers.
That got me kicked off of Mark Harris’s blog because…
...it’s the truth.

December 29, 5:52 pm | [comment link]
2. Ad Orientem wrote:

I find all of the various predictions of schism a bit silly.  Especially given that the schism is already a fact here in N. America and it is widening as some provinces recognize the new province.  Bottom line: the schism is here.  The only question is who is going to line up on which side of the fence.  That may take another year or two to shake out.

December 29, 6:42 pm | [comment link]
3. William P. Sulik wrote:

I concur, #2 -

  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

-John 15:2 (English Standard Version)

December 29, 6:57 pm | [comment link]
4. Cennydd wrote:

Hmmph!  I consider it an honor to get kicked off Harris’ blog!

December 29, 7:19 pm | [comment link]
5. Larry Morse wrote:

Hum. If I were a Shaker, I might been some insulted. (Truth is, I have always admired the Shakers.)  Larry

December 30, 12:15 am | [comment link]
6. Gator wrote:

Interesting—5 comments here+15 on Stand Firm=split? ho hum. Mr. Handley cites the silence. Everybody is now going about their own business. As the Communion Partners official intone—no more attempts at reformation of TEC. ACNA leaders are gone. GC2009?

Having gotten to Lambeth 08 with all her bishops but one, if KJS really thinks the departures are “a rare few,” she will allow a nuanced reformulation of Resolution B003 that will remove the barrier. This will be the proof of the pudding.

GC2009 will also pass a move toward gay blessings. How can they not in Anaheim?! The gay lobby wants full equality (Just change the nouns and pronouns in the marriage liturgy). It will be an interesting battle with the institutional liberals. The level of boldness of the result will show if prophecy/Comment #1 is on track.

December 30, 8:40 am | [comment link]
7. Jim K wrote:

#1’s comparison of TEo with the Shakers is priceless!  Recall the PB’s risible comment that Episcopalians were admirable because they have few children (I paraphrase but I think I have the gist of her comment).  The Shakers took this tactic to its logical end and had no children at all, leading to the oft-quoted observation that “sex is hereditary.  If your parents didn’t have it, odds are you won’t either.”  At least according to Wikipedia, as of 2006 there were four Shakers left.  How many Episcopalians will Wikipedia report after 2009?

December 30, 9:15 am | [comment link]
8. Larry Morse wrote:

The comparison between TEC and the Shakers is without merit. The systems were unlike in every respect. TEC may become as extinct as the Shakers, but for different reasons. the Shakers intended to go extinct as humanity disappeared sans children. That was the whole point. The Shaker communities existed for those who simply were waiting for the end that they espoused. Larry

December 30, 9:42 am | [comment link]
9. Marion R. wrote:

The Shaker communities existed for those who simply were waiting for the end that they espoused.

“espoused”

Get it?

December 30, 10:07 am | [comment link]
10. Marion R. wrote:

If I were a Shaker, I’d shake it in the morning. I’d shake it in the evening all over this land.

December 30, 10:08 am | [comment link]
11. Jim K wrote:

#8 A wise man once said:  “Subtlety (and, I would suggest, humor as well) is wasted on 99% of the human race.”

December 30, 10:39 am | [comment link]
12. Choir Stall wrote:

Let’s not forget that the Shakers were a cult movement based on the private revelations of Mother Ann Lee. Among her oddities was that she taught that Jesus’ Second Coming would be as a woman. What they taught was unorthodox and against the plain Scripture. The TEC-likeness is there: independent leader accountable to none, private revelations/doctrines taught as truth, radical inclusiveness (rather than the Gospel) as the drawing point, and lots of fine furniture to lay around after they ceased to exist.

December 30, 2:32 pm | [comment link]
13. TBWSantaFe wrote:

He is certainly wrong about “two churches.” The Episcopal Church is not throwing anybody out or declaring them as “heretic” or “apostate.” We are willing to live with diversity, so long as bishops and priests obey their ordination and consecration vows. I believe even the most liberal in TEC wants that broad umbrella that has sheltered us all for centuries.

It is those who are marking themselves off as the only orthodox and only moral elements in the church who are defining themselves as a separate church. In my experience in a very conservative diocese, whenever I or those in authority have suggested the sharing of church property by the remaining and departing congregations, the answer has been direct and unequivocal—“We will not be tainted by a continuing relationship with you.” 

One can only recall with great sadness the group of newly arriveds in heaven being told to be silent as they passed the compound housing a group of more righteous than thou folks. “Be very quiet, as we don’t want to disturb them—they think they are the only ones here.”

December 30, 6:20 pm | [comment link]
14. Choir Stall wrote:

Sorry TBWSantaFe,
The private musings and innovations of liberal TEC bishops are not diversity, they are indulgence. Indulging the House of Bishops’ and loud priests’ private thoughts on everything from whether or not the resurrection happened, to a new definition of marriage is…well…HERESY!  One can believe in differing interpretations of the Second Coming, so long as one believes that “He will come again..” That is diversity.  One can believe in scientific or creationist views of the beginning of the universe, just so long as one believes that God is “One God, the Father Almighty…Maker of heaven and earth”. That’s diversity. It is NOT diversity to take private thoughts and turn them into taught doctrine.  The gall of loud amateurish theologians is being widely mistaken for prophecy these days. Stop falling for it and passing on the lies.

December 30, 9:58 pm | [comment link]
15. Ross wrote:

#1 Choir Stall says:

Here’s how it’s going to go down:
... There will be a split of enormous proportion with the majority of the Communion now recognizing the See of Jerusalem as the locus of Anglican identity. ...

Without commenting on the rest of that… Jerusalem?  Really?  Because in everything I’ve read on both sides of the debate, you are the first person I’ve ever seen suggest that the reasserting part of the current Anglican Communion would center itself around the See of Jerusalem.  Given that the center of mass of that part of the Communion is in Africa—both in numbers and, at least at the moment, in leadership—I’d be interested to know why you think they would elevate that particular See as the new primus inter pares.

December 30, 10:15 pm | [comment link]
16. Larry Morse wrote:

Well, I see your point, Choirstall, but much or what you have said is not apposite. Mother Ann came from an abusive marriage sexually and did indeed hear voices. Schori is, if I may say so, too dull for any of that. The Shakers were not Christian in any of the usual senses of the word and did not pretend to be. It was originally a cult, but it grew far beyond that and became an entire way of life, fully rationalized: “Hands to work, hearts to God.” Not a bad motto and hardly cult-ivated. Moreover they were not radically inclusive. Quite the reverse. Their lives were surrounded by rules and joining was NOT easy at all. The sect was, in fact, exclusive. One last difference: The Shaker integrity was beyond all question. Everyone trusted them implicitly. And this put all of this into their practical endeavors:Their seeds had the highest germination rates, the Shaker box was once everywhere because it was so well made, their brooms sold everywhere. Oh that Schori could boast of such a reputation!  Larry

    Incidentally, Did you know they invented the washing machine? Hum. Did I hear you say you would turn down genuine Shaker furniture if offered to you?

December 31, 9:02 am | [comment link]
17. Choir Stall wrote:

For Ross:
Why Jerusalem for a new Anglican locus? GAFCON was held there. Africa is united in its disdain for revisionism, but they are hardly asserting that they are the spiritual center of Christianity. Jerusalem = Holy Land. Jesus’ locus of life and ministry. Beats an inept Canterbury every time.

December 31, 11:31 am | [comment link]
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