I think we need to take a hard look in the mirror and see what we are doing with the Anglican Communion; I think it is time to remember that we are a “communion” and not simply a “federation” of churches and that, therefore, we do not need a “pact.” What we do need is to deepen the communion beyond the search for power, domination, and control.
Who will hear us? Who can hear the message we have to proclaim, which some want to envelop in the concept of “orthodoxy,” when it is in fact the message of God through Jesus Christ, whose love reconciles us with life, and life in abundance? Our words have been words of division. Yet, in Brazil we sing: “The Word was not made to divide anyone; the Word is the bridge over which love comes and goes. The Word was not made to dominate; the destination of the Word is dialogue.” Who will hear the archbishops/primates, bishops, and priests of the Church?
We are seriously preparing ourselves in Brazil to participate in the 2008 Lambeth Conference because we are certain that this is the space for unity, and we know that unity does not mean uniformity. All of us bishops in Brazil and our spouses are in prayer while we await to meet and be reunited with brothers and sisters who live challenges and in different contexts from our own, knowing that we are united in God’s mission. So we are preparing to share our lives, challenges, and experience of being a Church that lives in missionary expansion. In 1998, the Province of Brazil had seven dioceses. Today, in 2008, we have nine dioceses and one missionary district. Despite the difficulties of two schisms, one in 2002 and another in 2004, we can say “thus far the LORD has helped us” (1 Sam 7:12, NRSV). We therefore desire to devote ourselves fully at the Lambeth Conference to the Bible study groups, to prayer, and to the breaking of bread (Acts 2).
How will we bear witness? Who will hear us? We are not being honest with ourselves. Could it be that we want to propose the path of disunity for the future of the Anglican Communion?
I believe The Episcopal Church of the United States has been showing all of us an example of the path to unity and reconciliation, because they have met all the requests for visits that were made and answered all the questions that were posed. They have spent time, money, and energy to meet the primates’ requests, always with generosity and openness. I think we need to keep in mind that we are Anglican. We are seeing a disregard of our richness and our ethos, that is, autonomy of the Provinces.
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