Whether it is viewed with sympathy or suspicion, there is no doubt that the new Anglican Church in North America changes the Anglican map. To be more accurate, it lays a new map (a relief map, perhaps?) on top of the old one, so that in his otherwise factual article the new Archbishop, the Most Revd Bob Duncan, can say artlessly that the charge of boundary-crossing, condemned by the Windsor report, “is most effectively and completely addressed by general acceptance of the new province”. Although territorial confusion matters less where a church is defined more by congregational membership than place of abode, the parish ideal is none the less strong.
When a new state declares independence, the international community decides whether or not to recognise it by measuring it against a set of standards. In this instance, does the new Church have integrity? On the subject of territorial disÂtinctiveness, as we have seen, the jury is still out. Is it Christian? Undoubtedly: it is as faithful a realisation of Christ’s will as any Church manages to be. Is it Anglican? Yes and no: its worship is, but its formation without any reference to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council, or the Primates’ Meeting suggests otherwise.