Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Episcopal/Anglican Border crossing

First off, let me preface this ... rant ... by saying I'm not an historian. I also have little insight into the Anglican Communion's seemingly schizophrenic attitude to so-called "Boundary Crossing". I do know, however, that TEC is pitching a hissy because foreign bishops are coming in and setting up ANGLICAN churches in the same geographical areas which also encompass Episcopal dioceses. OK. Someone on a Stand Firm thread asked a very salient point:

Did TEC establish their overseas (European and otherwise) dioceses before there were non-TEC Anglican provinces in those countries? If not, how can TEC accuse Southern Cone and African provinces of violating historic precedent/polity?

Well, being a librarian, I thought I'd do a little research. Europe seemed like a good place to start. The Church of England has been around a while - long before TEC popped onto the scene, so let's see what's going on. The CoE has something called The Diocese in Europe. Looks like it's been around since, oh, around 1633. The TEC has something called The Convocation of American Churches in Europe. And it's been around since, oh, about 1994. Indeed, from the CACE website:
Delegates addressed a letter to the 1998 Lambeth Conference reiterating their commitment to resolve the anomaly of parallel Anglican jurisdictions and their belief that the future would involve the establishment of an Anglican Province in Continental Europe. The Lambeth bishops adopted a resolution encouraging ‘continued exploration towards appropriate provincial structures for Anglican Continental Europe in partnership with other Churches in the service of the common mission of the Church’.

Hmm. Umm. Hmm. Now, CANA (oddly enough the name has a slightly familiar ring to it: Convocation of Anglicans in North America) is doing the same thing, yes? It's planting appropriate (read that: orthodox, Bible-believing, Jesus-professing churches) in North America, and it certainly serves the common mission of the Anglican Communion (that whole Great Commission thing, I think).

I don't think I will say any more. But it's just something to think about. And if someone has deeper knowledge of the polity and structure of provincial systems and can explain to me why it works for the US to go to Europe but not for Africa or the Southern Cone to come to the US, I'd be happy to hear it.

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