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February 16, 2007

Troubling news from Tanzania

Up popped the headline in my e-mail inbox: U.S. Anglican Leader Met With Boycott. It was news of the meeting of the worldwide Anglican Communion taking place in Tanzania. Troubling news. Disagreement over ordination of gays and blessing same-sex unions among the bishops representing various global churches was expected. Discussion of those issues was a prime reasons for the week-long gathering. But then, seven bishops from the Global South group of conservatives refused to take communion with their U.S. counterpart, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. A rift, indeed.

Jim Naughton of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., offers this reflection: “When you don’t attend a Eucharist because you disagree with the views of the people who are attending with you, you make it seem that the Eucharist is about you. It is not about you. It is about God.”

Barbara Crafton, also an Episcopal priest and essayist, writes in her e-mail reflection about this meeting coming as the church prepares to hear Luke’s story of the Transfiguration: “We have been anxious and fearful about our common life for so long now that we can hardly think of it without a sense of impending doom. This is what is so striking about our new presiding bishop: she seems to be missing her sense of doom! Bp. Katharine stands without anxiety in a consistent state of matter-of-fact hope. Whatever happens, God will be in it and we will be able to find God and God will lead us toward the healing of the world. ...Stay awake, and you will see the glory.”

We can only wait and watch and pray with these fellow Christians, even as we grapple with the same issues within the ELCA and within the Lutheran World Federation.

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