The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent letter to Anglican Primates

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite many questions about how our decisions about doctrine and mutual responsibility are made in the Communion, and some challenges to the various ‘Instruments of Communion’, the truth is that our Communion has never been the sort of Church that looks for one central authority. This doesn’t mean that we are not concerned with truth or holiness or consistency. It simply acknowledges that all forms of human power and discipline can become corrupted, and that in the Church we have to have several points of reference for the organising of our common life so that none of them can go without challenge or critique from the others. Our hope is that in this exchange we discover a more credible and lasting convergence than we should have if someone or some group alone imposed decisions – and that the fellowship that emerges is more clearly marked by Christlikeness, by that reverence for one another that the Spirit creates in believers.

Another way of saying this is that (to use the language of a great Anglican theologian of the early twentieth century, J.N. Figgis) we are a ‘community of communities’.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican Primates

3 Comments
Posted December 3, 2012 at 3:37 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. driver8 wrote:

I have to say I feel some sorrow upon reading it. The ABC seems to have settled for competing “points of reference” and twitter like networks of affiliation. He’s probably right to suggest the this is all the Communion as communion has to offer. Within a single generation we’ve moved from giving up on visible unity with other churches, to giving up on visible unity within our own Communion.

Where’s the dislike button when you need it?

December 2, 11:08 pm | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Advent Greetings from Planet Zog.

December 3, 6:07 am | [comment link]
3. Randy Hoover-Dempsey wrote:

Our Communion has endured much suffering and confusion, and still lives with this in many ways; yet we are still privileged to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in different ways within our common life, and so are reminded by God’s grace that it is still Christ who lives secretly at the heart of our fellowship, and renews it day by day.

A similar thought to that expressed by Bonhoeffer in Life Together. Our awareness of the central and essential presence of Jesus Christ in our midst makes our forbearance of one another possible. Through Christ we are made acceptable by God. Through Christ we are made mutually acceptable one to another.

December 3, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
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