I am very grateful to the Center for Anglican Communion Studies, at Virginia Theological Seminary, and to the Compass Rose Society, for the invitation to attend General Convention and to speak today.
I look forward to the responses from the three Primates here: of Korea, Paul Keun-Sang Kim; of Pakistan, Samuel Robert Azariah; and of Brazil, Francisco De Assis Da Silva; for I have been given an impossibly wide-ranging title!
…Justin Welby, with his wife, Caroline, has visited all 38 Provinces of the Communion in his first 18 months, staying with the Primates and listening attentively to them.
He has written a significant Foreword to the 2014 book, Living Reconciliation by Phil Groves and Angharad Parry Jones. It is entitled ”˜Reconciliation is the Heart of the Gospel’, and is worthy of an extended quotation:
We agree on these [five] marks [of mission]. Yet in so many other things, we disagree. Given our transparent and open structures, we often do so loudly. But we do so as part of a family which, however much it falls out, remains linked. We have to deal with the reality that, no matter how strained our relationships may become at times, we belong to each other”¦
I am not arguing that we should resist making decisions until the whole Anglican Communion (let alone the universal Church) is in total and unanimous agreement. That would be a legalistic and regulatory response to a problem that is relational and missional.
Rather, I am eager to encourage each of us to take full account of the way in which decisions in one province echo around the world. We do not have a volume button that can limit or determine how our voices are heard beyond our own country or region. The impact of their echoes is something to which we must listen in the process of our decision-making, if we are not to narrow our horizons and reject the breadth of our global family. That process requires extensive conversation and prolonged engagement ”“ an honest reinforcement of the bonds of the relationship ”“ amidst the confusing and costly work of common discernment.
Justin Welby, ”˜Foreword: Reconciliation is the Heart of the Gospel’ in Phil Groves and Angharad Parry Jones, Living Reconciliation (London: SPCK, 2014), p. x and xi.
Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the new Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, will be commissioned in September 2015. His long term work of mission and dialogue with Muslims in Nigeria, and on the Network for Inter Faith Concerns of the Anglican Communion, is remarkable.
Frank Griswold, the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, has known him since 1998. He told the Episcopal News Service in April:
Josiah is, above all, a man of communion, a careful listener, and a respecter of the different ways in which we are called to articulate and live the good news of God in Jesus Christ.
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