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How much are we impeded in the Communion by different cultural assumptions? How might we move past them?




Our diocesan convention passed this resolution last weekend:

 

TITLE:  Anglican Consultative Council Appropriation

Resolved, the House of ______ concurring, That if the full amount
requested by the ACC is approved in the proposed budget for the
triennium 2007-2009, the amount in excess of the 2003-2006 budget be held 
in escrow until such time that the ACC members from The Episcopal Church
and the Anglican Church of Canada are reinstated as full members with
seat, voice and vote; and, be it further

Resolved, that none of the money in escrow be released for payment
until we are assured that all bishops with jurisdiction in the
Episcopal Church will be invited to attend as full and equal
participants at the Lambeth Conference.

 

EXPLANATION:

The Executive Council voted to accede to the request that the three
elected members from the Episcopal Church not participate in ACC
meetings, and therefore we believe that at least the increased
appropriation should not be met until we are once again full
participants.

 

(Submitted to GC 2006 by the Episcopal Diocese of Newark - Annual
Convention, January 28, 2006)

 

 

My friend and colleague The Rev. Dr. Isaac Ihiasota, a priest in this
diocese, disagreed with me, and we have are having ongoing
conversations about it.   He and I both agree that different cultural
assumptions make these conversations very difficult.

 

Isaac opposed this resolution openly on the floor, and I supported
it.  I even wrote part of it.  I believe that TEC should support the
Anglican Communion and should carry our share of the load for the
ACC.  I have argued repeatedly that even if we are ultimately kicked
out of the Communion we should continue to give to mission within
it.  Our money is not our money, but God's.  The need is great
throughout the world, and in no way should people be penalized
because they disagree with us. 

 

I supported the resolution because I believe we should not fund our
own exclusion. 

 

Isaac says any use of money smacks of imperialism to those in the
two-thirds world. Rather than prompt people to rethink their
attitudes towards us, this resolution will further entrench them in
these attitudes, he believes. The concept of escrow is foreign to
many of them.

 

"What could we say or do that would make sense to them and not be
imperialist?" I asked Isaac.

 

"Tell them they will not be welcome to visit us," Isaac said.  "They
would understand that."

 

I cannot imagine telling anyone not to visit us, not to be at the
table with us.  What would work in African Christian culture, would
not work for me.  Nor can I imagine General Convention ever moving to
make such a statement.

 

Maybe, just maybe, one way through the cultural impasse is for each
side to say to the other, "In this specific way of ____ you are
behaving in ways that I do not recognize as Christian."  Nigerians
and others in the two-thirds world have been very good in speaking
with that kind of clarity.   Have we?  Most of us draw back from
saying, "Bishop __, you are unchristian when you advocate for long
prison sentences and for the death penalty for Samaritans."   "Bishop
____, you are not behaving as a Christian when you fail to embrace
those whom you consider as spiritual lepers." .....  

 

Yet can we effectively argue against judgmentalism if we insist on
using it? 

 

L.

Louie Crew

Chair of the Newark Deputation.  Member of Executive Council.

 





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