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Some traits in world Anglican Communion are beginning to look slightly Black and White — GetReligion

There was nothing uncommon about Nigerian Archbishop Henry Ndukuba main the 2021 dedication rites for Holy Trinity Cathedral Church, which was full of Nigerian Anglicans and a dozen or so bishops.

However this historic service was held in Houston and the cathedral just isn’t a part of the Diocese of Texas or the U.S. Episcopal Church. Some clergy at this Church of Nigeria North American Mission occasion had been acknowledged as Anglicans by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Some weren’t.

This puzzle turned extra difficult not too long ago throughout Lambeth 2022, which Nigeria boycotted, together with the church buildings of Uganda and Rwanda. Different International South bishops, throughout Lambeth standoffs with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby over the standing of doctrines on marriage and intercourse, declined to obtain Holy Communion with overtly homosexual and lesbian bishops.

“There’s a profound uneven high quality to the Anglican Communion, the place the voice of the majority of its membership is both absent or muted,” mentioned the Rev. David Goodhew of St. Barnabas Church in Middlesborough, England. He’s the author of a series of articles about African Anglicanism for Covenant, the weblog of The Residing Church, an independent Anglican publication founded in 1878.

“If one provides up the variety of bishops who did not share Holy Communion at Lambeth … that may be a very massive quantity,” he mentioned. “I’ve been startled by the variety of descriptions that mentioned this Lambeth was successful. I do not understand how one makes that declare when it could seem the majority of the Anglican Communion’s bishops could not come collectively to obtain Communion. That appears like a catastrophe.”

Backside line: International South Anglicans are experiencing a “volcano of development” and stay “at loggerheads” with the shrinking church buildings of the UK, North America and different western nations. Whereas most International South bishops serve rising flocks — roughly 75% of lively worshipers within the 77-million-member Anglican Communion — many western bishops lead what Goodhew known as “micro-dioceses” with underneath 1,000 lively members or “mini-dioceses” with fewer than 5,000.

The Church of Nigeria, in the meantime, claims 17 million members and the Heart for International Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, close to Boston, estimates lively individuals at 22 million. The opposite church buildings skipping Lambeth 2022 had been Uganda, with 10 million members, and Rwanda, with 1 million members.

The Church of England stays Anglicanism’s energy hub. It has 26 million members, however 2019 weekly attendance was about 679,000 — earlier than the COVID-19 disaster. The U.S. Episcopal Church reported 1.57 million members in 2020, with weekly attendance falling to 458,179.

Lambeth officers mentioned 650 bishops attended, however Canterbury declined to launch a listing of individuals — making it unattainable to check the variety of western bishops with these from the International South, a lot of whom struggled to acquire visas because of lingering journey problems.

In a Covenant essay — “Lambeth 2022: Is White Privilege Making the Calls?” — Goodhew dared Anglicans to ponder the rising doctrinal and monetary tensions between the International South and the colonial powers that when despatched them missionaries.

“Sure, a bishop’s episcopal charism doesn’t rely upon the variety of worshipers of their see. However when virtually all of the micro-dioceses are within the west, and when western bishops are disproportionately current at Lambeth 2022, that is white privilege in motion,” he wrote. “Lambeth 2022 is happening although the bishops of half of African Anglicans have refused to return. Their dioceses represent a 3rd of the whole Anglican Communion. Western bishops could say ‘it was their selection to not come.’ However this isn’t look.”

Thus, he argued: “The Anglican Communion has created the equal of the ‘rotten boroughs’ of 18th century England, the place tiny numbers of electors might ship folks to parliament, while hundreds of thousands had been disenfranchised. In Anglicanism, each bishop is equal — however some are rather more equal than others.”

One query looms forward: What about Lambeth 2032?

“The elephant within the room is simply going to get larger,” mentioned Goodhew. “There, clearly, are a major variety of Western dioceses which aren’t of significant dimension. The chance is that in 10 years’ time that quantity goes to be bigger, fairly probably quite a bit bigger. …

“It is fairly potential the constructions of Anglicanism will look fairly completely different by then. It is a signal of insanity to hold on doing the identical factor, whereas anticipating to get completely different outcomes.”

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