Profound insult to Christ.
Re: Two-tier church 'anathema.' Archbishop Robin Eames, at the press conference in England for the Windsor Report, stated that he came from a part of the world where hatred and division had eroded the fabric of the community, and he cautioned that this absolutely must not happen in the church.
For me, it was this final statement that really mattered. While the report itself did request caution on the part of the North American churches, it also requested that those bishops from other areas withdraw from acting within dioceses other than their own.
The Anglican church was born in conflict much greater than any we see today. The commitment to reconciliation was tested much later following the devastatingly brutal war between the states. When General Convention convened the northern American bishops moved out to welcome the bishops from the south who were standing outside.
But our real historical roots and our example for this trying time can be found in the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth, who repeatedly sought out and befriended outcasts and those regarded as sinners. They were the hated tax collector, the officer of an occupying army, an outcast woman alone at the well from whom he requested water, or even an adulterous woman who by law deserved to be stoned to death. His telling of the Good Samaritan had its point in the fact that the respected leaders of the town went past, while a despised outsider gave sustenance to the injured man. We know also that at the pivotal points of Jesus' life; his birth, his death and his resurrection, it was women who were present and to whom he revealed himself.
Culture cannot be allowed to divide any church that follows such a leader. Our fixation on sex whether it be sexual orientation, ordaining women, or having multiple wives differs in different parts of the world. Our cultures may be in conflict but the church dare not allow itself to be torn apart over such differences.
To divide the Anglican Communion over the issues raised is too great a cost to pay and a profound insult to him who gave his life for reconciliation between all people. It is time now for the church to unite in its real work: poverty, health, education and the environment.
International Anglican Women's Network (Canada)
Richmond Hill, Ont.
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|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2006|
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