FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement this morning entitled "Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future" and subtitled: Reflections on the Episcopal Church's 2009 General Convention from the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion. In it, +Rowan Williams does what he believes he is called to do as an "Instrument of Unity" for the whole communion: He trys to keep as many as possible at the table doing the work of the gospel. Integrity does not envy him that task.
Integrity regrets the Archbishop's categorization of TEC's commitment to full inclusion of the LGBT baptized as a "rights" issue rather than a "theological" issue -- believing that it falls sadly short of recognizing all the theological reflection that has both moved and motivated this church over the years.
"We are frankly tired of being told we 'haven't done the theology,'" said Integrity President Susan Russell, "when the truth is that there are those in our wider Anglican family who do not agree with the theology we have done. But what we can do is keep doing it. We can keep reaching out. We can keep working together with our communion partners on mission and ministry all over this Worldwide Anglican Family of ours with those who will work with us. And we can stay in conversation with those who won't.
Because we recognize that those who have been waiting for the casting-out-of-TEC-into-outer-darkness are not getting what they want. And as we continue to move forward in mission and ministry with those who embrace historic Anglican comprehensiveness, we believe those "outer darkness" threats are going to ring more and more hollow until they fade away altogether.
And meanwhile, we can live into the liberated-for-mission message our General Convention sent home from Anaheim and bless those who come to us asking for the church's blessing on their already-blessed-by-God relationships and raising up into ALL orders of ministry those who God calls into vocations of deacon, priest and bishop.
Because, as the closing word's of +Rowan Williams' statement assure us:
If the present structures that have safeguarded our unity turn out to need serious rethinking in the near future, this is not the end of the Anglican way and it may bring its own opportunities. Of course it is problematic; and no-one would say that new kinds of structural differentiation are desirable in their own right.
But the different needs and priorities identified by different parts of our family, and in the long run the different emphases in what we want to say theologically about the Church itself, are bound to have consequences. We must hope that, in spite of the difficulties, this may yet be the beginning of a new era of mission and spiritual growth for all who value the Anglican name and heritage.
As American Anglicans, we've "rethought structures" before (see also: "1789" and the birth American Episcopal Church) and lived to tell about it! And -- at the end of the day -- that may in fact be the good news and great hope we have to offer our worldwide Anglican Communion family as we move forward together into God's future."
Louise Brooks, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, (626) 993-4605