The Church of England as an institution still looks okay on the surface. Congregations may age and decline and parishes are amalgamated as clergy numbers reduce (while the bishops add to their number) but worship and parish life and the central structures continue to function. But look inside and underneath and pay close attention to events at local, national and international levels and things are not looking good. At local, national and international levels the church is lacking - the church lacks leaders with courage, prophetic vision and wisdom. The church lacks the integrity and insight to tell the story of creation and evolution and human potential revealed in the Bible and Jesus (if you know where to look).
The ‘war’ that is being fought in the Anglican Communion over human sexuality, Biblical teaching, fundamentalism and the place of LGBTI people in God’s economy is having the opposite effect to that intended by Anglican Mainstream, GAFCON and the other conservative fundamentalist pressure groups. It is having the unintended effect of making people far more interested in one another and is spreading awareness of the presence of homosexuality in the human community. The continuing development of global communications and of a common understanding of the basics of what it is to be human and living in a global community will overcome the present divisions in Christianity around homosexuality. Meanwhile, we have plenty of challenging work to do to speed the coming of that day.
Whatever disruption in the structure of the Communion occurs next week, there will be LGBTI people praying and longing, and in some cases working quietly and effectively, for our full, public, joyful inclusion in the life of the Church. The evolutionary trajectory of God in history makes this outcome inevitable. The Gafcon Primates are trying to reverse a movement which is irreversible.
In a week’s time the Primates of the Anglican Communion will gather in Canterbury for an emergency meeting designed to resolve the ruptured relationships in the Communion. Jonathan Petre has filed a very predictable report for the MailOnline. According to Jonathan’s report, the Archbishop of Canterbury wants to broker a deal to allow both sides to co-exist peacefully. I hope and pray with all my heart that he achieves his goal. To co-exist peacefully with my brothers and sisters across the globe, whatever their gender, sexuality, faith or spirituality is most profoundly and prayerfully to be desired.