Hallo again to all.
This week we welcome the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro, surely one of the most beautiful dioceses on this earth. And a clutch of parishes primarily in England and the States.
The big news this week in the Anglican world is the visit of the Queen of England to the Bishop of Rome. She is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and he is the Pope, so their visit could be construed as symbolic or historic. The News Centre has fairly extensive coverage of this visit, including commentary on the Queen's wardrobe. And we devoured the article in Fast Company magazine on California's Bishop William Swing and the United Religions Initiative; it's linked in New This Week under 'Worth Noting'.
In May of this year we reported on our visit to Ely Cathedral, at which we were struck by how ineffectual were the attempts of the King's soldiers at destroying the church by destroying its buildings. The Anglican news these last few weeks has noted a great deal of squabbling about buildings. In Canada, for nearly a year the Anglican Church of Canada has been facing the possibility of selling its church buildings to pay court-ordered damages. In the United States there are several disputes over ownership of church buildings when a parish separates from its diocese. In Australia they aren't yet to the point of arguing about buildings, but one could imagine from reading the news reports that they will get there in a few years.
If anything succeeds in killing the Anglican Communion, surely it won't be through our church buildings. Oh, buildings are splendid and stained glass is nice and history is impressive, but the church is not the buildings, it is the people who sit, sing, pray, mourn, think, laugh, love, and live in them. Our own church building is comfortable, and many people consider it to be pretty (it's a bit too stark and modern for our tastes), and we enjoy sitting in the same pew every week. But should it be taken away from us, we can always find another building. There is only one God, and only one Son of God, and only one Bible (albeit in hundreds of translations), but there are all manner of buildings. This doesn't mean that we think people should meekly allow the opposition to take or keep a church building when there is a squabble. Buildings are good, and it is quite an expensive nuisance to buy or build another one. But never confuse the loss of a building with the loss of faith or loss of a relationship with Christ.
See you next week. (God willing, your church will still be there, and you will be in it, but if not, we know we'll find you somewhere.)