What then shall we do? The most immediate answer is to provide an alternative to the shallow account of the Christian Gospel and the nature and mission of church now proposed by the liberal rump. As the Windsor Report suggests, a robust account of “communion” will go a long way toward meeting that goal. Nevertheless, such an account will not appear apart from work yet to be done. If not done, the politics of compromise and deal making will take over the dissidents as it has their progressive opponents. In that case, the counter example of what it is to be the Anglican Communion will not appear, and we will be left with only fragments.
This is the moment the Global South has asked and waited for. This is their time to call the Anglican Communion back to its roots in Holy Scripture and the fathers of the church. It is their time to show us what communion is all about. That effort will require of all of us not only great theological effort but also all the graces Paul places at the foundation of Christian unity””lowliness, meekness, patience, forbearance in love, eagerness for unity along with kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness. Much will be asked of everyone, but it is these, my brothers and sisters in the Global South, who, in our time, will bear the heat of battle. Those of us in provinces controlled by the liberal rump of what once was our communion, though we may help in this enterprise if asked, now in large measure are called upon to wait, watch and pray rather than control. One thing we should wait, watch and pray for is a rigorous account of what it means when Anglicans claim to be a communion of churches. We understand that meetings are now being planned within the Global South to arrive at ways to move forward despite the terrible divisions we face. I pray that a meeting soon will take place. I pray also that it will appoint a body from throughout the Communion to forge a common vision of what the Anglican Communion is called to be. Finally, I pray that those who now resist the direction manifest in Dublin will prayerfully move forward and embrace a Communion ecclesiology that gives glory to God, who has so richly blessed the missionary extension of the Gospel throughout the world. This should be a time of fresh hope in that same Gospel and its Lord.
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