frgavin on August 18th, 2008

Inside and Outside: The Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton

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The Rev. Cn. Daryl FentonTo do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. That being the case, it would be hard for an outside observer to come to any other conclusion than that we conservative Anglicans are just a bit nuts.

For at least thirty years now, we have all been better at alienating each other than building a united Anglican future in North America. Today, there are multiple parallel reform movements working within the Episcopal Church, and more than 40 parallel, and sometimes competing, church groupings outside.

Understandable or not, it isn’t doing any of us any good.

How do we keep such deep conservative Anglican divisions from happening this time? Of course, we aren’t the whole answer, but we at the Network are doing our best to break this cycle. Common Cause, which we staff and wholeheartedly support, is bringing Anglicans back together again for the first time in decades. The fact that nine organizations and jurisdictions are ready to be recognized as a single province of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) movement is a fresh sign of God’s blessing of that unifying work. We are also maintaining our connections to our affiliates and others, such as those involved in the Communion Partners Initiative, dedicated to continued renewal work solely within The Episcopal Church. While the Network majority, humanly speaking, no longer has confidence that The Episcopal Church can be renewed from within, we know the “reformers” are our brothers and sisters and deserve our prayers, support and fellowship.

As the Network moves forward in Common Cause, we continue to keep “insiders” and “outsiders” connected in very practical ways. We have launched evangelism, church planting, and children and youth ministry initiatives, as well as the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. These ministries serve everyone. We find that parishes and dioceses both inside and outside take advantage of our Ministry Development Program [ordination] and the legal assistance we offer through our chancellor. Our system of convocations keep orthodox Anglicans inside and outside The Episcopal Church in fellowship and ministry together.

There is, of course, more that we all can do. My hope is that first and foremost we can pray for each other over the next few months, particularly as several Network dioceses prepare for votes on realigning to another province of the Anglican Communion. Also, our intent here at the Network is to bless those focused on finding a way to continue indefinitely as orthodox witnesses within The Episcopal Church. At the end of the day, we share “one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism,” whatever our tactical choices in these difficult times.

Will this be enough to break the cycle of orthodox Anglican division? We don’t know the answer to that yet. But we at the Network know we need to do our part.

Posted on 2008-07-31 10:50:49

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