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Hallo again to all.

Not so many months ago we were in a different country than than the one we live in. Often such places are referred to as 'foreign countries', but the word 'foreign' carries so much baggage. It was actually quite familiar, not foreign at all (give or take the local currency and the weather). Universal global communications certainly makes the world more homogeneous, doesn't it?

Since our stay there was going to include two Sundays, we needed to find a church to attend. We wanted to attend an Anglican church because, as strangers in a 'foreign' land, we were hoping to find the comfort of familiarity. The city we were staying in had a dozen or more Anglican churches, but we knew from experience (we travel frequently) that not all of them would be familiar and not all of them would be comforting.

We suppose that even the quest for something comforting restricted our search. While the fire-and-brimstone 'perdition awaits' style of worship mostly faded away before the arrival of the twentieth century, there are still plenty of churches whose worship style presents a version of God who makes more threats than promises. We tend not to be comforted by threats, and we remain unconvinced that God actually makes threats.

Ultimately on that trip we spent several hours sifting through parish websites to get a sense of the worship experience at each of the parishes that was simple to reach by public transit. We probably could have learned what we wanted to learn much more quickly, but we are always fascinated by parish websites and spend more time than we need to reading and enjoying them.

Perhaps in a perfect world, walking into an Anglican church we would know what to expect in terms of doctrine, belief, liturgy, politics, or churchmanship. It's more likely that would be too rigid to be perfection. So we muddle on.

This week the Archbishop of Canterbury invited all of the primates of the Anglican Communion to attend a meeting in Canterbury next January*. The stated purpose of the meeting is to discuss and explore the possibility of redefining the Anglican Communion so that it is more tractable, and Archbishop Welby has said that he will let the primates (of which he is one) set the agenda.

Not much information about this meeting has yet been released, but there has been plenty of speculation and there will certainly be much more speculation as time passes. Some of our friends and colleagues are worried that any change to loosen the ties will be damaging enough to the common nature of Anglican worship that finding beliefs and liturgies and worship styles that are unified across provinces will become impossible.

Based on our experience, this is a paper tiger. Today it is already impossible. We usually need to work hard to find a compatible church in a distant city, even in the same country. We therefore are not letting ourselves get stirred up by fears of what might happen at this Primates' meeting. We're reasonably confident that it has already happened.
We would like to implore journalists and columnists and pundits to review their maths from school. If 'in communion with' is any form of equivalence relationship then it is (like all equivalence relationships) transitive and reflexive. People will expect it to be and will act as though it is, so it doesn't matter a whit what the spin doctors say.

See you next week.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

20 September 2015

*You can of course find the details in our News Centre.



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