The Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address at General Synod 2009

This is only one example of what people do not want to lose in the life of the Communion. And it is a good Pauline principle, if you read II Corinthians, that we should be glad of the honour of being able to support other churches in their need. Who knows whether some other structure than the Communion as we know it might make this possible? But the bare fact is that what now, specifically, makes it possible is the Communion we have, and that is not something to let go of lightly. Hence the difficult but unavoidable search for the forms of agreed self-restraint that will allow us to keep conversation alive ”“ the moratoria advised by Lambeth, very imperfectly observed yet still urged by the Primates as a token of our willingness not to behave as if debates had been settled that are still in their early stages at best.

The Communion we have: it is indeed a very imperfect thing at the moment. It is still true that not every Primate feels able to communicate at the Lord’s Table alongside every other, and this is indeed a tragedy. Yet last week, all the Primates who had attended GAFCON were present, every one of them took part in daily prayer and Bible study alongside the Primates of North America and every one of them spoke in discussion. In a way that I have come to recognise as very typical of these meetings, when talk of replacing Communion with federation of some kind was heard, nearly everyone reacted by saying that this was not something they could think about choosing. We may have imperfect communion, but we unmistakably want to find a way of holding on to what we have and ‘intensifying’ it ”“ to use the language I used last summer about the proposed Anglican Covenant. Somehow, the biblical call to be involved with one another at a level deeper than that of mere affinity and good will is still heard loud and clear. No-one wants to rest content with the breach in sacramental fellowship, and everyone acknowledges that this breach means we are less than we are called to be. But the fact that we recognise this and that we still gather around the Word is no small thing; without this, we should not even be able to hope for the full restoration of fellowship at the Eucharist.

Read it carefully and read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Eucharist, Lambeth 2008, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Sacramental Theology, Theology

2 comments on “The Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address at General Synod 2009

  1. Virginia Anglican says:

    Excuse the 1980’s reference, but I believe Rowan Williams is in “his own private Idaho.”

  2. Fr. Dale says:

    As an individual who came from construction to became a professor in a university setting I was amazed at how cloistered the thinking was that I encountered. I was a plumber and a heavy equipment operator and got my news from Paul Harvey for 17 years. When I became a professor, my colleges in the university got their news from the Chronicles of Higher Education. Many had never been out of the educational process. They had gone from being a student to teaching. They used to tell me how hard it was being a professor. I found this to be amusing. I looked at the ABCs Biography from two different sources today. What real world experience has he had. He was a past Bishop and Archbishop. How did things go under his leadership? I would like to hear from someone who knows.