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Hallo again to all.

Out of communion iris
Not in the communion?

Last week we were enjoying the company of Marilyn Haskel, now an executive at Church Publishing but once an organist in an urban parish. Over tea, she told us that once whilst she was rehearsing a certain piece, a man walked up behind her to listen, and when she finished, he correctly identified the piece and struck up a conversation. He told her that he was an Anglican bishop, revealed that he did not have a permanent home, and indicated his bishopric was not part of the USA Episcopal church. Further conversation determined that he was part of some small splinter group. Since her goal was to practise organ music, not to build a taxonomy of the Anglican world, she didn't give it much further thought.

Building a taxonomy of the Anglican world is part of our role here at AO. But for hundreds of years our church seems to have avoided the need for precision in determining what is or is not Anglican. The notion of being in communion with the See of Canterbury more or less solved the problem to date, but there are lively bunches of faithful people who are every bit as Anglican as my bishop, save that in general they are not in the Communion. At the moment everyone seems stymied by just how to categorise one such group, the Anglican Mission in America, though we suppose that if that organisation achieves its goal of replacing ECUSA that it will be easy to categorise. We note that the famous American Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

'We must use the popular category, as we do by the Linnaean classification, for convenience, and not as exact and final. Otherwise, we are presently confounded, when the best settled traits of one race are claimed by some new ethnologist as precisely characteristic of the rival tribe'.

Possibly because of this effort to produce and maintain a categorisation of the Anglican world, we receive a lot of email asking questions about things Anglican. The three most common questions are: 'What is the difference between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church?', 'Where can I find good educational resources for my children?', and 'What is the position of the Anglican Church on such-and-such a topic?' We do our best to answer all enquiries, even if they are puzzlers and even if they are peculiar. This week we have a question for you: How would you classify the Anglican Mission in America, and why? Our classification scheme is in the left-hand column of this page, and you are surely familiar with it. Is AMiA in communion? Not in communion? If a parish leaves its original ECUSA diocese and becomes 'an AMiA parish', should it be listed in the USA listings? Rwanda listings? Something else? We'd really like to know what you think and how you arrived at your conclusion.

This week we have a number of new parish web sites, with the States and England vying for the most entries, all gathered in New This Week. We delighted in the statement 'To be an Anglican means...' on the web site of the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro (now online with an English version in addition to the Portuguese). You'll note that it is credited to a poster displayed at the 1988* Lambeth Conference. Does anyone have a clue about the author? We happily mark the resurrection of St Ann's Church in Nashville, Tennessee, which, three years ago, was utterly destroyed by a tornado. Speaking of natural disasters, we join our prayers to yours for the victims of the tragic earthquake in India.

See you next week.

Cynthia McFarland's signature
  Brian Reid's signature
Cynthia McFarland
  Brian Reid

Last updated: 28 January 2001

*Possibly 1998?