"Hopeful" Anglicans Will Avoid Schism

“We Will Survive,” Says Williams

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Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams remains “hopeful” the International Communion can survive their protracted culture wars, he says in Time‘s new issue, which hits streets on Friday.

As we all know, the Anglicans have been duking it out over the ever-contentious place of the queer. Tensions have become increasingly thick since the 2004 ascension of New Hampshire Bishop and professed gay, Gene Robinson‘s. Robinson’s religious rise led Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola and his conservative comrades to take on the American Anglican branch, The Episcopal Church.

Akinola’s gone so far as to defy Anglican laws to lure a number of American churches to the dark side. The holy war’s led some people to wonder if the Anglicans can survive. While Williams acknowledges these are difficult times, he’s confident they’ll survive:

I don’t think schism is inevitable. The task I’ve got is to try and maintain as long as possible the space in which people can have constructive disagreements, learn from each other, and try and hold that within an agreed framework of discipline and practice… I’m hopeful.

He went on to describe “hopeful” as a “safer” word than “optimistic”. Safer, huh? How about “desperate”?

Meanwhile, Williams grabbed some ink last month after announcing he may exclude Robinson and Nikola’s American underling, Reverend Martyn Minns, from the forthcoming Lambeth Conference. Williams has since decided that both men will not be included, a decision he explains to Time:

The mode of their appointment in the face of substantial protest simply means their bishoping is going to be under question in large parts of the Anglican world.

Regarding Robinson, one thing I’ve tried to make clear is that my worry about his election was that the Episcopal Church hadn’t made a general principled decision about the blessing of same-sex unions or the ordination of people in public same-sex partnerships.

I would think it better had the church actually taken a view on that before moving to the individual case. As it is, someone living in a relationship not theologically officially approved by the church is elected to a bishop. I find that bizarre and puzzling.

That sounds like a polite way of saying, “I don’t approve.”