May 5 Blog
The other challenging matter dropped on us today with the presentation of the recommendations from the Windsor Continuation Report. The Archbishop of Canterbury took on the task of providing us with the background as to why this group was constituted…a good reminder of the sequence of events that could easily be forgotten. He then took us through the various recommendations (there are eight), saying that these are “provisional ways of containing the chaos” we find ourselves in as Anglicans. Then, in helping to explain the term “ecclesial deficit” which emerged in the Report, he made the sharp distinction that we must face…do we want to be a church where we are dispersed across the globe but considered by ourselves and others as a kind of union, or do we see ourselves as a “vague global cluster” of churches. He challenged all of us, each “side” if you like (and I don’t, but it gets said anyway by many although not the Archbishop), to be open to engaging in an honest conversation with those whom we disagree “before we say goodbye to each other”. “We owe this to the Lord of the church to have these conversations!” was his last word in the presentation.
See what I mean about being loaded down with the responsibility of this role!!
In the plenary and the Discernment Group that followed, there was talk about forgiveness…when can you forgive others who have hurt you and what you believe to be true. Rowan reminded us of the same question asked by Peter, and we all know the answer Jesus gave. And he then quoted a Welsh poet (I don’t think he mentioned the name) who writes: “Forgiveness is cutting your way through a bank of thorns to stand beside your enemy”.
We have two more Discernment Group meetings tomorrow on the two main topics we must face. These are times of frank and honest talk, of some laughter, of pushing boundaries, altogether emotionally draining. But we are trying, each of us, I think, to hear each other. The governance wonk in me says that this debate/decision-making/discussion might have been handled better over the years if we weren’t always a changing group of people in the ACC. But, the time is past for that. It might have been wise to suspend changes in membership for at least one extra session. But then I wouldn’t be here!
We went through our first resolutions this afternoon rather quickly. They were from the networks, well written, not too controversial (at least the ones we dealt with). But it felt good to get some of the parliamentary stuff moving at this point.
A very sad note which we just heard of at Evening Prayer today: the 19-year-old son of one of our members from India was killed in a motor vehicle accident. What a terrible thing to happen to any family, but especially when the father is so far away from home, and unable to leave in any hurry because of complicated and infrequent plane schedules. We feel paralysed at his grief. Life in all its terrible complexities does not stop for meetings in Jamaica.
Tomorrow we have a “cultural evening” with the Governor General at his home, so there may not be much communication from me after we finish the festivities.
Did I tell you that the local TV cable system in the hotel gives me the CBC and CITY-TV? I know about the traffic tie-up at Dundas and Bathurst this morning and see Peter Mansbridge whenever hockey is over. And, a station from China too!