Hallo again to all.
For at least ten years, perhaps longer, Anglicans have been in conflict over the issue of whether or not differing opinions about homosexuality warrant a schism. Those who believe a schism can be justified and those who do not have been at loggerheads seemingly forever. At times the dispute has been so rancorous that observers have commented that some people actually wanted a schism. Recently a schism began in the Episcopal Church in the USA. Presumably those who started it see it as the first wave of a huge movement, and presumably those opposed to starting it see it as a fringe movement.
It seems to us that it is pointless to argue about what might happen or what will happen 'if'. It seems to us that the only sensible course is for people who want to leave ECUSA, to go, and for people who want to stay, to stay. Then we can see what happens. Perhaps those leaving are right and perhaps wrong. Only time and perspective will tell. But if nothing else, there will probably be less arguing about it now that the schism has happened. Perhaps what is perceived to be the 'liberal ECUSA' will die; perhaps it will not. Perhaps what is perceived to be the 'conservative splinter group' will die; perhaps it will grow and thrive.
We surmise that almost no lay Anglican could explain the theological basis for the Great East-West Schism a thousand years ago. At least this new North-South schism (thank you, Andrew) is over reasons comprehensible to the ordinary churchgoer.
A small but keen regret of ours in all this: one ECUSA-leaving parish in Destin, Florida chose what we consider to be an inappropriate domain name for its new web site, something-or-another dot com. Devoted as we are to the online world, we are rather sensitive to issues of naming. Churches are not commercial, and should not have dot-com or dot-co-uk or co-dot-anything domain names. That's what dot-org is for. We aren't referring to dot-com names owned by internet service companies; they are indeed commercial, even when they offer free space to churches. We are talking about a church going out and paying money to get its own domain name, and getting one in dot-com. At least there's no mention of domain names in the Bible, else we should all be fighting about that a thousand years from now.
This week we welcome the Diocese of Namirembe in the Church of Uganda (be sure to have a look at the fascinating pictorial history of its cathedral). We bring to your attention parish web sites in Australia, Canada, Scotland, and the States. And we launch a new section at Anglicans Online devoted to professional exchanges. Our New This Week page summarises it all.
This week in the News Centre there are of course several items relating to the abovementioned schism. The investigation continues into the murder of the American priest in Kenya. A prayer book society argues against change to its province's prayer book. Churches devise clever new ways to attract the young. In other words, it's another week in Pentecost. And various other news stories, sacred and profane.
In the USA it is Labor Day Weekend, though our house style requires us to call it Labour Day Weekend. Summer is starting in the Land of Oz, and the Olympic Summer Games will certainly dominate the secular news for the next few weeks. Pray for the health and safety of all involved in the Gamesand all whose lives are disrupted by them.
See you next week.