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ARCHBISHOP IAN ERNEST
Photo No. : P130919-1

 
50 TH Anniversary of the TORONTO ANGLICAN CONGRESS , ADDRESS BY THE MOST REVEREND IAN ERNEST ON THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL ANGLICANISM. WYCLIFFE COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA 18th September 2013
 
MAUEN 130919-1
September 19, 2013

[Diocese of Mauritius - Indian Ocean] ADDRESS BY THE MOST REVEREND IAN ERNEST ON THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL ANGLICANISM.

WYCLIFFE COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA

18th September 2013

INTRODUCTION

As we meet to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Toronto Anglican Congress, it is good that we first remind ourselves that the notion "of mutual responsibility and interdependence in the body of Christ” emerged from it. Partners in Mission was probably a resulting child of the Congress. Consequently, a pathway for the knitting of the “bonds of affection" within the Anglican Communion was traced. This led to a change in our mindset about what we as Anglicans were to do and be in the world. But as the years went by, the dreams expressed by the Anglican Congress failed to be realised as Provinces were more preoccupied by domestic issues and part of this notion of being mutually responsible and interdependent was lost.

As we look around, we see that the world wide fellowship of autonomous Anglican Provinces finds it difficult to hold itself together as the “instruments of Unity no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together” as the Primates of the Global South declared in 2007. It is a fact that the events of the past ten years over issues of human sexuality and doctrine have affected on our life together. We have seen how the decisions made by the TEC and the Anglican Church in Canada in 2003, forty years after the Anglican Congress, have gone against the essence of what it means to hold “mutual responsibility and interdependence in the body of Christ”. This very sad situation has thus forced the Primates to admit, at their meeting held in Dar es Salaam in 2007 that the “tension was so deep that the fabric of our common life has been torn.”

As commented in the Church Times (16th August 2013) a few weeks ago, “the body of Christ seems not a reality, but an ideal hardly to be grasped”.

So, it is very appropriate after fifty years for us to go deeper in our study of the essence of what it means to be mutually responsible and interdependent in the body of Christ. Here I wish to quote the Revd Jesse Zink, author of the forthcoming book “Backpacking through the Anglican Communion” who commented in the Church Times on the Toronto Anglican Congress: “It is worth returning to the manifesto and the period that produced it. In its emphasis on the patient work of building genuine relationships across lines of difference, the importance of genuinely coming to know one another in the context in which each lives, and above all in its recognition that God is always calling us to something greater that ourselves.”



We know that following these sad events, the Lambeth Commission was established to address among “other things the legal and theological implications of the decisions of these two Anglican Provinces. This Commission then recommended that “in addition to the short - term measures, an adoption in the long term of an Anglican Covenant which would support an agreed framework for life together as members of a global family of churches."

But for now, the Anglican Covenant is not being adopted by the Provinces, so we are in Crisis.
But in the same breath we realise that the Anglican Communion has no system of Canon law and that authority is vested in each church which has its own constitutional system of Governance. To our credit, it is to be recognised that “historically the creative tension between autonomy and communion and its adaptability to serve the Gospel in a world of constant change has been one among many achievements of Anglicanism."

We are in crisis
But what is a crisis? While crisis sounds the note of impending danger it also opens to opportunities.
According to Scriptures, a Crisis is a divine opportune moment for appropriate action. This is exemplified in the Bible in the stories of Joseph and Jonah.
We are in crisis and things will never be the same again.
The emerging role of the Primates, the priority given to Theological Education, the changing shape of the Anglican Communion with the powerful voice of the Global South and of GAFCON give to us a good moment at which we can consider a new vision for world mission. In fact, there is in this moment of crisis, a moment of decision that we must be ready to meet.
The time is ripe for us to understand what kind of community the Anglican Communion is. The time is ripe for us to acknowledge the potential for transformation that we possess. This will compel us to recognise, in the midst of present tensions and challenges, that the only thing that matters is for our Church to be faithful to God’s mission, His word, which we addresses us and informs our vocation. Part of the problem in the Anglican Communion today results from the lack of clear understanding that Mission belongs to God and that the Church - The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to which we all belong – is an instrument of that Mission. This Church, as the Body of Christ, is the expression of the work of the Holy Trinity in the world. The action of the Holy Trinity can be witnessed through the visibility of the People of God. The first three centuries witnessed the flourishing of Christianity and at that time the Church consisted of scattered little groups of insignificant people, many of them slaves, persecuted and threatened on all sides. Yet, they turned “the world upside down”. So, we must not permit ourselves to think that the present crisis and difficulties that we face as a Communion is an indication of failure or defeat. Nevertheless, it is certainly a factor that we have to consider honestly if we are to play our role in God’s Mission within the Universal Church. In the Acts of the Apostles, we are given a picture of the Church as a community that makes Christ visible. We are an “apostolic” Church and we trust that the acts of the Holy Spirit among the people within the Anglican Communion who have been called together in Christ make Jesus visible. So in spite of the awareness of the problems that threaten our unity as a Communion and of the bitterness and fear that this can bring us, it is good for us to trust the Holy Spirit and to let him bring Christ into the situation to make a Christ-like difference.
At times, we are not fully aware of the potential for transformation that the Church possesses. We are therefore called to recognise that this potential is a gift from God and thus as a Church we have something to offer to the world. In the following words, Yves Congar, a Roman Catholic Theologian says:-
“To rediscover the beauty of that faith, as it was in its primitive beginnings, we have to take a deeper look at Sacred Scripture, and study the Fathers of the Church. And only then will the Church speak to the world in a language it can understand.”
This brings us to the role of the Church and Christians in the world. It is a world created by God intended for great purposes involving great risks. We may have heard it before, but it is good to remind ourselves that the Church exists for God’s mission in the world. Both the Church and the world belong to God and his designs for the Church and the world are basically the same. So, it is not advisable that the Church separates itself from the world and the whole of creation in its conception of their ultimate purposes. Because the God we serve is Creator, Redeemer and Restorer of Creation. Our responsibility as the Anglican Communion within the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is to proclaim the full Gospel, to see that all things are to be summed up in Christ and that he becomes the Lord of all life.
But why is it that people are not attracted and astonished by what God can fulfil for them? Dr. Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, has in vivid terms described the situation in one of his Bible studies delivered at the 13th Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council held in Nottingham in 2005:-

“Because in fact, we are slipping back fast into something like the ancient world. We are slipping back towards a world of narrow tunnel vision of religions and superstitious practice, a world where lots and lots of people have their lords and God, their practices and their mysticisms, that do not really relate to each other. We are slipping away from the idea that there might be a faith that would bring all human beings together. We are slipping back socially and internationally into the assumption that there really are such differences in human beings that we can forget about God’s universal righteousness.
We men and women of all generations can thus be overpowered by what we most want to possess. We become unreasonably passionate by threats to our survival, our possessions and over our basic needs. This may lead to divisive, irrational and destructive situations. These can also penetrate the human-made structures governing our lives. Evil then emerges and surrounds us. This can also happen in our Christian circle when Mission becomes simply what the Church as an institution does and not what God intends to do though the Church. So, we are called to constantly discern for what and where the Holy Spirit is leading us. Words of warning are given to us by Bishop Hugh Montefiore, former Bishop of Birmingham, in his book “Man and Nature” –
“There comes a point at which evils become so entrenched in society that they acquire a life and momentum of their own which may be called demonic” There are superhuman dimensions of evil which neither individual men nor society as a whole seem able to control them. Wars escalate… the arms race has got out of control and the less desirable aspects of technology proliferate in spite of us.”
This, being said, it should not reduce our human responsibilities as it may lead us to place the blame for our failings and sins upon external forces.
Nor should this prevent the Church in fulfilling the mission that God has entrusted to her and to set itself the prophetic task that is crucial to its role in the world to-day.
Seeing ourselves as a Communion in God’s Mission, it becomes our responsibility to intensify the recovery of a biblical world view in the Church and a sense of apostolicity. Unless we see that sin overshadows the full potential of the charisms of creation and the glory of God, it will be impossible to give a sense of purpose to this world we live in. We must recognise the deconstructive effect of secularisation and materialism and how elements of Paganism infiltrate our way of thinking and our standards of living. The Church in this process of recovery proclaims that God is Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier of our world and that there is a new creation given by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit. When the church is preoccupied with its internal agendas, it fails in its mission to proclaim God as all-embracing and it fails in extending opportunities for us men and women of this age to change, to be open to a greater view of life that is biblical. There is to-day a need in our Communion for repentance in all areas of our lives. But this call is not to be limited or restricted to personal and family issues; it should also address structural, economic, political and social sins of our own making which we take for granted. We therefore need to recapture our love for and confidence in God’s Word. And this is to be transmitted to future generations.
So, one of the great responsibilities that we have to-day in this world-context is to call people to a totally new way of life, a new world view and a reformed mind set. It is the only way to our becoming stand-ins for Christ and living a God - centred life style. The Church has to dare to recover its authority and thus Bishops are called to exercise their role as teachers and senders. In the New Testament, the principal word for authority, “exousia”, means “strength of character” and not “an official position”. So, the Leaders of the Communion have to teach the people that we are all called to hold an authority that acts as an Alter Christus, a Christic presence to others. That is, people who are imbued with a desire to become truthful, prayerful and self-giving servants of God. This is what we Christians pray to become. One of the Eucharistic rites used by many of us, round the Communion, describes this at its best:-
“Fill us with your grace and heavenly blessing; nourish us with the body and blood of your Son that we may grow in his likeness”.
As Christian mission reveals the yearning of God to embrace humanity in love, it is an imperative, in the light of the present context to offer a fresh vision of mission in the challenging environment of a globalised world. The Anglican Communion is itself a fruit of a vision for world mission. Although the Decade of Evangelism (1990-2000) in the Anglican Communion was a mixture of success and failure, it drew attention to this founding perspective which is still to-day encouraging Churches of the Communion to explore what Mission and Evangelism might mean for a new era. We are indeed witnessing growth and development in many parts of the Communion and more particularly in the Global South. This is influencing the nature of the Communion at large. Consequently, we are a family of Churches who find our “Communion in Mission”. This Communion in Mission is well described in the words of the Primate of the Anglican Church in Kenya, the Most Revd Eluid Wabukala:-
“We must act out of our God-given identity, we must be true to ourselves as we are in Christ crucified, redeemed through the cross where God’s Justice and Mercy meet. This is what it means to act with authenticity. It is not a matter of following our subjective dreams and feelings, but being true to the one who has risen from the dead, so that we might live not for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again for us.”
As a Communion in Mission, it is also appropriate to give due consideration to “the patterns and traditions of our past”, but also to affirm that they are developing as they are being transformed in Christ.
Facing the challenging issues of today, it is not easy to indicate where we are heading as a Church. The Communion faces an historical challenge: to express our unity, we have to define the resources that we have inherited and reform them if necessary. Our heritage and the tradition of our particular culture and context are not entirely adequate for the challenge. A process of Reformation would strengthen our identity. These reformed resources would strengthen our identity as a Communion. As a Communion in Mission, we need to sharpen our identity and our understanding of God’s mission in order to address the needs of our fellow human beings as we are doing already in many parts of the world. In so far that we try to do this, I am convinced that we will be able to contribute to the future of both the world and of the world-wide Anglican Communion. To enable this contribution to bear fruit, it is essential that we have a clear understanding of our identity in Christ which can only come from a doctrinal foundation.
This question comes again and again:
“What is the nature of Anglicanism?” Is it true, as has often been noted, that we lack doctrinal integrity?”
This is of profound importance to us in the Province of the Indian Ocean, so what as Anglicans do we stand for?
Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, one of my predecessor as Archbishop of the Indian Ocean answers this question:
“..In order to find out what characterises Anglican doctrine, the simplest way is to look at Anglican worship and to deduce Anglican doctrine to it.’



The Lambeth Conference of 1978, stressed this;-
“The recent adoption by almost all Anglican Provinces of new forms of liturgy which clearly resemble each other in their main outlines, in fact brings into prominence aspects of doctrine not previously given particular stress. Among these might be mentioned the congregation’s part in celebrating the Eucharist, the responsibility of ministry laid on all Christians, and the setting of the death of Christ within the whole context of the creation, history of salvation, incarnation, resurrection, ascension, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
So from our heritage it is clear that we do possess an abundance of riches on which to build our togetherness in faith and the worship of the “One Lord of the one, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”. Is this sufficient for our work of mission and evangelism?
Not entirely! As in the movement of reform which swept the western world in the sixteenth century and touched many in the centuries which followed, a renewed confidence in the claims that in Christ all things find their meaning and purpose is something we should reach out for.
To-day, we are compelled to acknowledge our human inter-dependence for any event in any part of the world has an immediate impact on every other part. But in this globalised world, there are deep and wide divisions, there is indeed an indisputable drift to alienation and separation between nations and men. This state of alienation undermines stability and we have seen during the past years how human beings have today the power to destroy. It is because of this that our “Anglican Communion” which forms part of the “Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” cannot and must not, retreat into itself, in spite of prevailing tensions that seem to undermine its unity. It is because of this that we Anglican Christians must proclaim the “Good News”, that our world is God’s world and that He so loved it as to send His Son to share its life and in sharing it – to save it.
We as a Communion to-day have much to be proud of. We have had Saints and Martyrs who have been its missionaries and evangelists and we have had prophets of their time. People like Wilberforce, William Temple and Desmond Tutu who fought the dreadful social evils of their day have been those who not only proclaimed a “social Gospel” but by their actions lived it.
The challenges of discrimination, of lack of opportunities for the vulnerable, of prejudice, of abuse of power take various patterns in different nations and in distinct generations. All of them destroy human dignity. All are an insult to man and woman made “in the image of God”. This is indeed a challenge to our faith. Even though in some parts of the world, as my own country Mauritius, this challenge does not present itself in such unyielding forms, we dare not be complacent. An overriding priority for the Anglican Communion worldwide is that we sustain a powerful witness to the Christian faith, as formed in the particular crucible that we call Anglicanism in the world to-day. As we are aware, in spite of its origins, Anglican Christianity still depicts a particular and distinct kind of Christian faith. It stresses the benevolent care of God towards human society, and focuses upon the incarnation of the Son of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of that discernment in God’s providential presence in society, this particular and distinct expression of Christian faith is one of engagement in society which in itself is God’s mission.

The Anglican particularity and distinctiveness
The issues that are to-day pervading the unity of our communion and causing a crisis, are indeed provoking us to see opportunities for the development of a new way of being “Church” in face of a “post-modern and globalised world”. It is time for us to know what we must perpetuate, what we must retain and what we must seek to transform. Is it the heritage from the Church of England that makes us who we are? I am here referring to the collective belief and received tradition which we people of the colonies have uncritically accepted and used to justify who we are and what we do. Not entirely. The last fifty years have seen the development of the Global South and many attempts have been made at nation building, often in stark contradiction with the colonial past. The values of pre-colonial cultures are being resurrected.
However, the liturgy has for four centuries proved a unifying factor and English values have long influenced the Anglican Communion although the emergence of strong expressions of Anglicanism in other parts of the world is leading to a shift in the centre of gravity of our Communion. As new nations struggle to come to terms with their individual histories, identities and values, how does the Anglican Communion face a post-colonial world and, retain a sense of worldwide unity, faith and fellowship? Are we ready to live with each others’ differences, to live with diversity? Not to tolerate differences, but to respect them? Or should we curtail our differences in order to retain some form of uniformity? Can we do it? The challenge of a Global Church is to deal with the differences within itself.
Conversely however the insight of Toronto 1963 was that it is the mission of the Anglican Communion that defines our vocation, what we ought to become. If this is the case, then the issue of our integrity is bound up in recognising with honesty and Christian boldness that it is not the past which determines our identity but rather the mission that we have received from God which leads us into the future.
In his book, Highways and Hedges, Bishop John Howe had this to say about the development of Anglicanism:-
“The Anglican Communion grows, growth is not uniform. For those parts of the world which for years have been aware of a decline, and therefore aware of all the problems and discouragements that go with that situation, there is encouragement in the knowledge that by lifting their eyes, they perceive that they are members of a Communion that grows,”…..
“The measure is the Scripture and the Church that sprang from what Jesus
did and said. The Fatherhood of God is universal. God is the Catholic Creator of heaven and earth. The cross is for all, not some. So the growth is according to the divine mind, it is development….”

The distinctive marks which we share in common as Anglicans are such that they provide us with an identity which surpasses over many historical realities.

So, it is time for us in this generation to face the daunting task of reinvention according to our inherited values as a Church as reformed by our experience of a Christ who transforms all things. We are to-day consciously part of the wider community of the world, rather than belonging to the British Empire. Our situation is that we are to-day as a world-wide Church, a Communion of autonomous provinces and our interactions are not always effective. Our capacity to understand other cultures and their competence to understand ours is not yet a reality. Yet, such understanding of ourselves and others is an essential part of the task of discerning an identity and a role for ourselves in a globalised world. We, as Anglicans, ought, if we are to be a “Communion in Mission”, to be able to think of ourselves as Christians who have a particular theological and religious heritage rather than “imitating an English way of being the Church”.
One of the things that I would like to emphasise is that our inheritance offers us “a church model to work with”. This model is about our presence in society.
Out of the theological tradition of Anglicanism, emerges a “Church model” which gives to the incarnation its rightful place. This model of Church surely springs out of the historical experience of English Christianity but is by no means limited to the English experience. In this Anglican tradition, it is the most essential way by which we can express the bountiful mercy of God.
So, out of this model arise six fundamental issues which we Anglicans have to address during the course of the next twenty years.

1. The Legacy from the Past
Our origin is based as a Church in the faith once given to the saints. It is therefore an imperative to build this apostolic succession in a way which highlights the priorities of:- Justice, Mutual Respect, Harmonious and Pacific Co-existence in a Pluralistic Society, the Kingdom of God on Earth, the redistribution of resources and the alleviation of poverty, and the eradication of hatred, violence and disease. We are thus called to make these notions concrete realities. It is not for us to devote ourselves to the consolidation of irrelevant memories. There should be an urge for creativity and development.
2. A sustainable Liturgy
One of the most important aspects of our life together is our Liturgical life. The Book of Common Prayer of 1662, as a vehicle of Liturgy, has given to Anglicanism a most invaluable and significant basis. It has been a criterion for expressing and sustaining a sound doctrine in faith. It has also conveyed a symbol of unity. Because of this, our Liturgy does attract many non-Anglicans to our congregations. But it is time in our quest for “Communion in Mission” to see how best we can translate it into our daily lives in the world. We have to build up spaces for imaginative and creative religious experiences, liturgy that can nurture our world in need of unity within diversity. Creativity is an essential element in a liturgical renewal that can speak to the souls of people in particular contexts.
3. An intense sensitivity to Mission
There is no time to waste in finding models for missions. We have to discern what God wants of us. I wish here to quote Bishop Goodridge who emphasises this in his book “By Word and Deed, 1992”
“It is the Spirit that regenerates, liberates and empowers for total ministry and mission. When we are hemmed in by various strictures and structures the Spirit modifies and reorientates our lives that we may have new horizons and new paths. We have a new awareness of the Spirit who stimulates and strengthens us, who makes us grow to maturity and emboldens us to witness. When this is experienced in the local Church, the Church-in-mission is realised”
One of the greatest challenges that we face as Anglican Christians in this post-modern and globalised world, is how to enhance the quality of our Christian Calling in Society. A sense of direction will be given for a strategy in mission if it is set about in conditions of the continuity with humanity which is implied in the doctrine of the Incarnation. In our strategy for mission, our provinces are to be encouraged to be concerned and fully engaged in the society of which they are part. They must be disposed to take seriously their civic and political duties. We cannot afford to be content only with a concern for our own, limited ecclesiastical affairs. Trevor Huddleston, Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean from 1978 to 1983 wrote in a Synodical Charge:-
“Christians are called to be “The Salt to the World”: and the purpose of salt is to preserve meat from going rotten, not to preserve itself. So the Church’s role is to preserve society: not to withdraw from it. The fact that Anglicans are such a small minority in many parts of the world cannot excuse them from this responsibility”
We must carry the deep conviction of who we are and what we can be for the Universal Church as well as for our respective societies. We have a duty to the world as Stewards of God. Through our integrity, we will be able to proclaim the true face of Christ to the world. The future will not be easy but the richness of our tradition and its ability to federate different schools of thought is a sure source of hope and opportunity. Not of utopian hope, but of a hope that takes God as its foundation – a God who provides for us in the midst of change and tribulation. To be a Communion in Mission, we have to envisage a Church without walls.
4. Lay Vocation
The mission with which God has entrusted his Church is not the exclusive business of the bishop and his clergy. Whether we are ordained or not, we are called to work together, each according to his or her calling, to bear witness to the Spirit of Unity that Christ’s mission is spreading throughout the world. We are all little more than instruments, which the Church can use and organise in a coherent way in order to achieve Christ’s mission in the lives of men and women in today’s world. Thus, the mission which Jesus Christ has entrusted to his Church is the responsibility of all those who have been baptised, each according to their respective role and calling. In 1988, Pope Jean Paul II published an encyclical, Christifideles Laici – in which he elaborates on the calling of the Laity. “In giving a response to the question who are the lay faithful, the Second Vatican Council opened itself to a decidedly positive vision and displayed a basic intention of asserting the full belonging of the lay faithful to the Church and to its mystery. At the same time it insisted on the unique character of their vocation, which is in a special way, to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God. Vocation of the lay faithful to holiness implies that life according to the Spirit expresses itself in a particular way in their involvement in temporal affairs and in their participation in earthly activities”..
And twenty-five years previously that is precisely what the Toronto Congress sought to model! It is good to note that along with this Anglican insight, the Pope affirms what Saint Paul affirmed, that is, that God calls all Christians. When we consider the central importance of the People of God, the Laos, they are the ones whose vocation is engagement in the realities of social life. The focus is not on the Bishop or the Clergy but on the responsibility we share, a united commitment for Transformation. For this to happen, we need to define a theological curriculum that declares unambiguously that we start from Revelation, a sense of the prevenient presence of God in the institutions of the society we belong to and out of which it is possible to identify the theology of God to which we can all assent. It is only then that the Trinitarian character of God’s existence will prove to be most useful.
5. Evangelism: Our fears must be overcome
Mission loses of its authenticity without Evangelism. This aspect cannot be marginalised in the life and the identity of the Church. It exists for all Christians, for every ministry and for every function within the Church. Even though Mission means more than just evangelism, mission without evangelism is incomplete. Too often, we have been shy and afraid to be faithful to the imperatives of the mandate from Jesus Christ. Our Anglican integrity demands that we hold ourselves accountable to our duty as Christians to declare our faith, “in season and out of season”. . The bringing in of new believers gives rise to new experiences and thus new gifts to the life of the Church. The Church, in return, is challenged to engage in theological reflection and public witness.
6. Catalyst for Inter-faith dialogue n an all embracing, multi-faith/cultural context
The example of Mauritius, in this context, is precious. It is a small nation, unheard of by many, with few natural resources. What it does have, however, is the deep-rooted respect of its inhabitants for a diversity of beliefs. There are occasional frictions and disgruntlements. However, for the past 45 years of independent life, the Mauritian nation has succeeded in embracing its internal differences, and using them as a force for development. In this, it has emulated no-one. The strength of this unity shows that it comes from humanity’s inherent thirst for one-ness. In the words of M.M Thomes, a lay theologian, “Mission is Humanisation” Do not believe those who say that people are meant for division. As man and wife are one, and as we are one with God, our Anglican Communion is our very strength.
Conclusion:
We are a people called by God to be his servants, his disciples. May he bless us as we embark on the reformation arising from the divine opportune moment which the present crisis offers us. May he guide us in our quest, illuminate our understanding and inspire our teaching for his honour and glory.
So, in ending I wish to refer to an address given by Robert Blair Kaiser on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council: “When Jesus addressed the multitude on that hillside overlooking the lake, he did not enlighten their minds by reading them the Ten Commandments. He enkindled their hearts by telling them what would make them happy. They set a new style of thinking about ourselves as followers of the guy who told us how we could have life and have it more abundantly.”
We surely cannot tell how God will use the Anglican Communion in the years ahead but what we know is that we can be confident that “God cares” and he only asks of us that we live out what we pray:
“Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
All over the earth
As it is surely done in heaven”
ADDRESS BY THE MOST REVEREND IAN ERNEST ON THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL ANGLICANISM.

WYCLIFFE COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA

18th September 2013

INTRODUCTION

As we meet to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Toronto Anglican Congress, it is good that we first remind ourselves that the notion "of mutual responsibility and interdependence in the body of Christ” emerged from it. Partners in Mission was probably a resulting child of the Congress. Consequently, a pathway for the knitting of the “bonds of affection" within the Anglican Communion was traced. This led to a change in our mindset about what we as Anglicans were to do and be in the world. But as the years went by, the dreams expressed by the Anglican Congress failed to be realised as Provinces were more preoccupied by domestic issues and part of this notion of being mutually responsible and interdependent was lost.

As we look around, we see that the world wide fellowship of autonomous Anglican Provinces finds it difficult to hold itself together as the “instruments of Unity no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together” as the Primates of the Global South declared in 2007. It is a fact that the events of the past ten years over issues of human sexuality and doctrine have affected on our life together. We have seen how the decisions made by the TEC and the Anglican Church in Canada in 2003, forty years after the Anglican Congress, have gone against the essence of what it means to hold “mutual responsibility and interdependence in the body of Christ”. This very sad situation has thus forced the Primates to admit, at their meeting held in Dar es Salaam in 2007 that the “tension was so deep that the fabric of our common life has been torn.”

As commented in the Church Times (16th August 2013) a few weeks ago, “the body of Christ seems not a reality, but an ideal hardly to be grasped”.

So, it is very appropriate after fifty years for us to go deeper in our study of the essence of what it means to be mutually responsible and interdependent in the body of Christ. Here I wish to quote the Revd Jesse Zink, author of the forthcoming book “Backpacking through the Anglican Communion” who commented in the Church Times on the Toronto Anglican Congress: “It is worth returning to the manifesto and the period that produced it. In its emphasis on the patient work of building genuine relationships across lines of difference, the importance of genuinely coming to know one another in the context in which each lives, and above all in its recognition that God is always calling us to something greater that ourselves.”



We know that following these sad events, the Lambeth Commission was established to address among “other things the legal and theological implications of the decisions of these two Anglican Provinces. This Commission then recommended that “in addition to the short - term measures, an adoption in the long term of an Anglican Covenant which would support an agreed framework for life together as members of a global family of churches."

But for now, the Anglican Covenant is not being adopted by the Provinces, so we are in Crisis.
But in the same breath we realise that the Anglican Communion has no system of Canon law and that authority is vested in each church which has its own constitutional system of Governance. To our credit, it is to be recognised that “historically the creative tension between autonomy and communion and its adaptability to serve the Gospel in a world of constant change has been one among many achievements of Anglicanism."

We are in crisis
But what is a crisis? While crisis sounds the note of impending danger it also opens to opportunities.
According to Scriptures, a Crisis is a divine opportune moment for appropriate action. This is exemplified in the Bible in the stories of Joseph and Jonah.
We are in crisis and things will never be the same again.
The emerging role of the Primates, the priority given to Theological Education, the changing shape of the Anglican Communion with the powerful voice of the Global South and of GAFCON give to us a good moment at which we can consider a new vision for world mission. In fact, there is in this moment of crisis, a moment of decision that we must be ready to meet.
The time is ripe for us to understand what kind of community the Anglican Communion is. The time is ripe for us to acknowledge the potential for transformation that we possess. This will compel us to recognise, in the midst of present tensions and challenges, that the only thing that matters is for our Church to be faithful to God’s mission, His word, which we addresses us and informs our vocation. Part of the problem in the Anglican Communion today results from the lack of clear understanding that Mission belongs to God and that the Church - The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to which we all belong – is an instrument of that Mission. This Church, as the Body of Christ, is the expression of the work of the Holy Trinity in the world. The action of the Holy Trinity can be witnessed through the visibility of the People of God. The first three centuries witnessed the flourishing of Christianity and at that time the Church consisted of scattered little groups of insignificant people, many of them slaves, persecuted and threatened on all sides. Yet, they turned “the world upside down”. So, we must not permit ourselves to think that the present crisis and difficulties that we face as a Communion is an indication of failure or defeat. Nevertheless, it is certainly a factor that we have to consider honestly if we are to play our role in God’s Mission within the Universal Church. In the Acts of the Apostles, we are given a picture of the Church as a community that makes Christ visible. We are an “apostolic” Church and we trust that the acts of the Holy Spirit among the people within the Anglican Communion who have been called together in Christ make Jesus visible. So in spite of the awareness of the problems that threaten our unity as a Communion and of the bitterness and fear that this can bring us, it is good for us to trust the Holy Spirit and to let him bring Christ into the situation to make a Christ-like difference.
At times, we are not fully aware of the potential for transformation that the Church possesses. We are therefore called to recognise that this potential is a gift from God and thus as a Church we have something to offer to the world. In the following words, Yves Congar, a Roman Catholic Theologian says:-
“To rediscover the beauty of that faith, as it was in its primitive beginnings, we have to take a deeper look at Sacred Scripture, and study the Fathers of the Church. And only then will the Church speak to the world in a language it can understand.”
This brings us to the role of the Church and Christians in the world. It is a world created by God intended for great purposes involving great risks. We may have heard it before, but it is good to remind ourselves that the Church exists for God’s mission in the world. Both the Church and the world belong to God and his designs for the Church and the world are basically the same. So, it is not advisable that the Church separates itself from the world and the whole of creation in its conception of their ultimate purposes. Because the God we serve is Creator, Redeemer and Restorer of Creation. Our responsibility as the Anglican Communion within the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is to proclaim the full Gospel, to see that all things are to be summed up in Christ and that he becomes the Lord of all life.
But why is it that people are not attracted and astonished by what God can fulfil for them? Dr. Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, has in vivid terms described the situation in one of his Bible studies delivered at the 13th Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council held in Nottingham in 2005:-

“Because in fact, we are slipping back fast into something like the ancient world. We are slipping back towards a world of narrow tunnel vision of religions and superstitious practice, a world where lots and lots of people have their lords and God, their practices and their mysticisms, that do not really relate to each other. We are slipping away from the idea that there might be a faith that would bring all human beings together. We are slipping back socially and internationally into the assumption that there really are such differences in human beings that we can forget about God’s universal righteousness.
We men and women of all generations can thus be overpowered by what we most want to possess. We become unreasonably passionate by threats to our survival, our possessions and over our basic needs. This may lead to divisive, irrational and destructive situations. These can also penetrate the human-made structures governing our lives. Evil then emerges and surrounds us. This can also happen in our Christian circle when Mission becomes simply what the Church as an institution does and not what God intends to do though the Church. So, we are called to constantly discern for what and where the Holy Spirit is leading us. Words of warning are given to us by Bishop Hugh Montefiore, former Bishop of Birmingham, in his book “Man and Nature” –
“There comes a point at which evils become so entrenched in society that they acquire a life and momentum of their own which may be called demonic” There are superhuman dimensions of evil which neither individual men nor society as a whole seem able to control them. Wars escalate… the arms race has got out of control and the less desirable aspects of technology proliferate in spite of us.”
This, being said, it should not reduce our human responsibilities as it may lead us to place the blame for our failings and sins upon external forces.
Nor should this prevent the Church in fulfilling the mission that God has entrusted to her and to set itself the prophetic task that is crucial to its role in the world to-day.
Seeing ourselves as a Communion in God’s Mission, it becomes our responsibility to intensify the recovery of a biblical world view in the Church and a sense of apostolicity. Unless we see that sin overshadows the full potential of the charisms of creation and the glory of God, it will be impossible to give a sense of purpose to this world we live in. We must recognise the deconstructive effect of secularisation and materialism and how elements of Paganism infiltrate our way of thinking and our standards of living. The Church in this process of recovery proclaims that God is Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier of our world and that there is a new creation given by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit. When the church is preoccupied with its internal agendas, it fails in its mission to proclaim God as all-embracing and it fails in extending opportunities for us men and women of this age to change, to be open to a greater view of life that is biblical. There is to-day a need in our Communion for repentance in all areas of our lives. But this call is not to be limited or restricted to personal and family issues; it should also address structural, economic, political and social sins of our own making which we take for granted. We therefore need to recapture our love for and confidence in God’s Word. And this is to be transmitted to future generations.
So, one of the great responsibilities that we have to-day in this world-context is to call people to a totally new way of life, a new world view and a reformed mind set. It is the only way to our becoming stand-ins for Christ and living a God - centred life style. The Church has to dare to recover its authority and thus Bishops are called to exercise their role as teachers and senders. In the New Testament, the principal word for authority, “exousia”, means “strength of character” and not “an official position”. So, the Leaders of the Communion have to teach the people that we are all called to hold an authority that acts as an Alter Christus, a Christic presence to others. That is, people who are imbued with a desire to become truthful, prayerful and self-giving servants of God. This is what we Christians pray to become. One of the Eucharistic rites used by many of us, round the Communion, describes this at its best:-
“Fill us with your grace and heavenly blessing; nourish us with the body and blood of your Son that we may grow in his likeness”.
As Christian mission reveals the yearning of God to embrace humanity in love, it is an imperative, in the light of the present context to offer a fresh vision of mission in the challenging environment of a globalised world. The Anglican Communion is itself a fruit of a vision for world mission. Although the Decade of Evangelism (1990-2000) in the Anglican Communion was a mixture of success and failure, it drew attention to this founding perspective which is still to-day encouraging Churches of the Communion to explore what Mission and Evangelism might mean for a new era. We are indeed witnessing growth and development in many parts of the Communion and more particularly in the Global South. This is influencing the nature of the Communion at large. Consequently, we are a family of Churches who find our “Communion in Mission”. This Communion in Mission is well described in the words of the Primate of the Anglican Church in Kenya, the Most Revd Eluid Wabukala:-
“We must act out of our God-given identity, we must be true to ourselves as we are in Christ crucified, redeemed through the cross where God’s Justice and Mercy meet. This is what it means to act with authenticity. It is not a matter of following our subjective dreams and feelings, but being true to the one who has risen from the dead, so that we might live not for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again for us.”
As a Communion in Mission, it is also appropriate to give due consideration to “the patterns and traditions of our past”, but also to affirm that they are developing as they are being transformed in Christ.
Facing the challenging issues of today, it is not easy to indicate where we are heading as a Church. The Communion faces an historical challenge: to express our unity, we have to define the resources that we have inherited and reform them if necessary. Our heritage and the tradition of our particular culture and context are not entirely adequate for the challenge. A process of Reformation would strengthen our identity. These reformed resources would strengthen our identity as a Communion. As a Communion in Mission, we need to sharpen our identity and our understanding of God’s mission in order to address the needs of our fellow human beings as we are doing already in many parts of the world. In so far that we try to do this, I am convinced that we will be able to contribute to the future of both the world and of the world-wide Anglican Communion. To enable this contribution to bear fruit, it is essential that we have a clear understanding of our identity in Christ which can only come from a doctrinal foundation.
This question comes again and again:
“What is the nature of Anglicanism?” Is it true, as has often been noted, that we lack doctrinal integrity?”
This is of profound importance to us in the Province of the Indian Ocean, so what as Anglicans do we stand for?
Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, one of my predecessor as Archbishop of the Indian Ocean answers this question:
“..In order to find out what characterises Anglican doctrine, the simplest way is to look at Anglican worship and to deduce Anglican doctrine to it.’



The Lambeth Conference of 1978, stressed this;-
“The recent adoption by almost all Anglican Provinces of new forms of liturgy which clearly resemble each other in their main outlines, in fact brings into prominence aspects of doctrine not previously given particular stress. Among these might be mentioned the congregation’s part in celebrating the Eucharist, the responsibility of ministry laid on all Christians, and the setting of the death of Christ within the whole context of the creation, history of salvation, incarnation, resurrection, ascension, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
So from our heritage it is clear that we do possess an abundance of riches on which to build our togetherness in faith and the worship of the “One Lord of the one, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”. Is this sufficient for our work of mission and evangelism?
Not entirely! As in the movement of reform which swept the western world in the sixteenth century and touched many in the centuries which followed, a renewed confidence in the claims that in Christ all things find their meaning and purpose is something we should reach out for.
To-day, we are compelled to acknowledge our human inter-dependence for any event in any part of the world has an immediate impact on every other part. But in this globalised world, there are deep and wide divisions, there is indeed an indisputable drift to alienation and separation between nations and men. This state of alienation undermines stability and we have seen during the past years how human beings have today the power to destroy. It is because of this that our “Anglican Communion” which forms part of the “Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” cannot and must not, retreat into itself, in spite of prevailing tensions that seem to undermine its unity. It is because of this that we Anglican Christians must proclaim the “Good News”, that our world is God’s world and that He so loved it as to send His Son to share its life and in sharing it – to save it.
We as a Communion to-day have much to be proud of. We have had Saints and Martyrs who have been its missionaries and evangelists and we have had prophets of their time. People like Wilberforce, William Temple and Desmond Tutu who fought the dreadful social evils of their day have been those who not only proclaimed a “social Gospel” but by their actions lived it.
The challenges of discrimination, of lack of opportunities for the vulnerable, of prejudice, of abuse of power take various patterns in different nations and in distinct generations. All of them destroy human dignity. All are an insult to man and woman made “in the image of God”. This is indeed a challenge to our faith. Even though in some parts of the world, as my own country Mauritius, this challenge does not present itself in such unyielding forms, we dare not be complacent. An overriding priority for the Anglican Communion worldwide is that we sustain a powerful witness to the Christian faith, as formed in the particular crucible that we call Anglicanism in the world to-day. As we are aware, in spite of its origins, Anglican Christianity still depicts a particular and distinct kind of Christian faith. It stresses the benevolent care of God towards human society, and focuses upon the incarnation of the Son of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of that discernment in God’s providential presence in society, this particular and distinct expression of Christian faith is one of engagement in society which in itself is God’s mission.

The Anglican particularity and distinctiveness
The issues that are to-day pervading the unity of our communion and causing a crisis, are indeed provoking us to see opportunities for the development of a new way of being “Church” in face of a “post-modern and globalised world”. It is time for us to know what we must perpetuate, what we must retain and what we must seek to transform. Is it the heritage from the Church of England that makes us who we are? I am here referring to the collective belief and received tradition which we people of the colonies have uncritically accepted and used to justify who we are and what we do. Not entirely. The last fifty years have seen the development of the Global South and many attempts have been made at nation building, often in stark contradiction with the colonial past. The values of pre-colonial cultures are being resurrected.
However, the liturgy has for four centuries proved a unifying factor and English values have long influenced the Anglican Communion although the emergence of strong expressions of Anglicanism in other parts of the world is leading to a shift in the centre of gravity of our Communion. As new nations struggle to come to terms with their individual histories, identities and values, how does the Anglican Communion face a post-colonial world and, retain a sense of worldwide unity, faith and fellowship? Are we ready to live with each others’ differences, to live with diversity? Not to tolerate differences, but to respect them? Or should we curtail our differences in order to retain some form of uniformity? Can we do it? The challenge of a Global Church is to deal with the differences within itself.
Conversely however the insight of Toronto 1963 was that it is the mission of the Anglican Communion that defines our vocation, what we ought to become. If this is the case, then the issue of our integrity is bound up in recognising with honesty and Christian boldness that it is not the past which determines our identity but rather the mission that we have received from God which leads us into the future.
In his book, Highways and Hedges, Bishop John Howe had this to say about the development of Anglicanism:-
“The Anglican Communion grows, growth is not uniform. For those parts of the world which for years have been aware of a decline, and therefore aware of all the problems and discouragements that go with that situation, there is encouragement in the knowledge that by lifting their eyes, they perceive that they are members of a Communion that grows,”…..
“The measure is the Scripture and the Church that sprang from what Jesus
did and said. The Fatherhood of God is universal. God is the Catholic Creator of heaven and earth. The cross is for all, not some. So the growth is according to the divine mind, it is development….”

The distinctive marks which we share in common as Anglicans are such that they provide us with an identity which surpasses over many historical realities.

So, it is time for us in this generation to face the daunting task of reinvention according to our inherited values as a Church as reformed by our experience of a Christ who transforms all things. We are to-day consciously part of the wider community of the world, rather than belonging to the British Empire. Our situation is that we are to-day as a world-wide Church, a Communion of autonomous provinces and our interactions are not always effective. Our capacity to understand other cultures and their competence to understand ours is not yet a reality. Yet, such understanding of ourselves and others is an essential part of the task of discerning an identity and a role for ourselves in a globalised world. We, as Anglicans, ought, if we are to be a “Communion in Mission”, to be able to think of ourselves as Christians who have a particular theological and religious heritage rather than “imitating an English way of being the Church”.
One of the things that I would like to emphasise is that our inheritance offers us “a church model to work with”. This model is about our presence in society.
Out of the theological tradition of Anglicanism, emerges a “Church model” which gives to the incarnation its rightful place. This model of Church surely springs out of the historical experience of English Christianity but is by no means limited to the English experience. In this Anglican tradition, it is the most essential way by which we can express the bountiful mercy of God.
So, out of this model arise six fundamental issues which we Anglicans have to address during the course of the next twenty years.

1. The Legacy from the Past
Our origin is based as a Church in the faith once given to the saints. It is therefore an imperative to build this apostolic succession in a way which highlights the priorities of:- Justice, Mutual Respect, Harmonious and Pacific Co-existence in a Pluralistic Society, the Kingdom of God on Earth, the redistribution of resources and the alleviation of poverty, and the eradication of hatred, violence and disease. We are thus called to make these notions concrete realities. It is not for us to devote ourselves to the consolidation of irrelevant memories. There should be an urge for creativity and development.
2. A sustainable Liturgy
One of the most important aspects of our life together is our Liturgical life. The Book of Common Prayer of 1662, as a vehicle of Liturgy, has given to Anglicanism a most invaluable and significant basis. It has been a criterion for expressing and sustaining a sound doctrine in faith. It has also conveyed a symbol of unity. Because of this, our Liturgy does attract many non-Anglicans to our congregations. But it is time in our quest for “Communion in Mission” to see how best we can translate it into our daily lives in the world. We have to build up spaces for imaginative and creative religious experiences, liturgy that can nurture our world in need of unity within diversity. Creativity is an essential element in a liturgical renewal that can speak to the souls of people in particular contexts.
3. An intense sensitivity to Mission
There is no time to waste in finding models for missions. We have to discern what God wants of us. I wish here to quote Bishop Goodridge who emphasises this in his book “By Word and Deed, 1992”
“It is the Spirit that regenerates, liberates and empowers for total ministry and mission. When we are hemmed in by various strictures and structures the Spirit modifies and reorientates our lives that we may have new horizons and new paths. We have a new awareness of the Spirit who stimulates and strengthens us, who makes us grow to maturity and emboldens us to witness. When this is experienced in the local Church, the Church-in-mission is realised”
One of the greatest challenges that we face as Anglican Christians in this post-modern and globalised world, is how to enhance the quality of our Christian Calling in Society. A sense of direction will be given for a strategy in mission if it is set about in conditions of the continuity with humanity which is implied in the doctrine of the Incarnation. In our strategy for mission, our provinces are to be encouraged to be concerned and fully engaged in the society of which they are part. They must be disposed to take seriously their civic and political duties. We cannot afford to be content only with a concern for our own, limited ecclesiastical affairs. Trevor Huddleston, Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean from 1978 to 1983 wrote in a Synodical Charge:-
“Christians are called to be “The Salt to the World”: and the purpose of salt is to preserve meat from going rotten, not to preserve itself. So the Church’s role is to preserve society: not to withdraw from it. The fact that Anglicans are such a small minority in many parts of the world cannot excuse them from this responsibility”
We must carry the deep conviction of who we are and what we can be for the Universal Church as well as for our respective societies. We have a duty to the world as Stewards of God. Through our integrity, we will be able to proclaim the true face of Christ to the world. The future will not be easy but the richness of our tradition and its ability to federate different schools of thought is a sure source of hope and opportunity. Not of utopian hope, but of a hope that takes God as its foundation – a God who provides for us in the midst of change and tribulation. To be a Communion in Mission, we have to envisage a Church without walls.
4. Lay Vocation
The mission with which God has entrusted his Church is not the exclusive business of the bishop and his clergy. Whether we are ordained or not, we are called to work together, each according to his or her calling, to bear witness to the Spirit of Unity that Christ’s mission is spreading throughout the world. We are all little more than instruments, which the Church can use and organise in a coherent way in order to achieve Christ’s mission in the lives of men and women in today’s world. Thus, the mission which Jesus Christ has entrusted to his Church is the responsibility of all those who have been baptised, each according to their respective role and calling. In 1988, Pope Jean Paul II published an encyclical, Christifideles Laici – in which he elaborates on the calling of the Laity. “In giving a response to the question who are the lay faithful, the Second Vatican Council opened itself to a decidedly positive vision and displayed a basic intention of asserting the full belonging of the lay faithful to the Church and to its mystery. At the same time it insisted on the unique character of their vocation, which is in a special way, to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God. Vocation of the lay faithful to holiness implies that life according to the Spirit expresses itself in a particular way in their involvement in temporal affairs and in their participation in earthly activities”..
And twenty-five years previously that is precisely what the Toronto Congress sought to model! It is good to note that along with this Anglican insight, the Pope affirms what Saint Paul affirmed, that is, that God calls all Christians. When we consider the central importance of the People of God, the Laos, they are the ones whose vocation is engagement in the realities of social life. The focus is not on the Bishop or the Clergy but on the responsibility we share, a united commitment for Transformation. For this to happen, we need to define a theological curriculum that declares unambiguously that we start from Revelation, a sense of the prevenient presence of God in the institutions of the society we belong to and out of which it is possible to identify the theology of God to which we can all assent. It is only then that the Trinitarian character of God’s existence will prove to be most useful.
5. Evangelism: Our fears must be overcome
Mission loses of its authenticity without Evangelism. .... TO BE CONTINUED ..SEE PART II ...