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by Christopher Wells

It was not clear to me whether Lionel Deimel was serious when he mused in his paper, “Saving Anglicanism,” that “perhaps the salvation of the Anglican Communion lies in less communication, less consultation, and less caring for one another” (p. 13). Since Christian love begins at home, it is hard to see how we could follow this suggestion and at the same time be true to Deimel’s useful précis of Anglicanism as “an approach to Christianity that fosters unity while encouraging advances in Christian understanding” (p. 6).

Perhaps the bottom line, therefore, in terms of reasonable response to Deimel would simply say: granting that some conservatives have regularly asked for more than Windsor, this does not mean that all conservatives “will not be satisfied irrespective of what General Convention does” (p. 11). For many of us—along with most Episcopalians?—hold a much more modest hope that a minimum offering of conciliation and restraint, in the reasonable terms of Windsor, is what is needed, and is easily graspable by General Convention. In this case, of course, Deimel’s either/or between proper progressives and “militant traditionalists” would give way to a genuine third option for the Episcopal Church, namely, the opportunity to grow, for the first time, into a more articulately catholic and evangelical way of being church—precisely in communion with other Anglican churches, gathered around the historic See of Canterbury, and with a view to wider ecumenical usefulness and faithfulness. Such a development would be consistent, as well, with the historical “genius” of Anglicanism as a means to an end—in the Church, in Christ.


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