THE RECENT PRIMATES’ gathering in Canterbury has reignited evangelical energies within the Communion. After several years of desultory news bites, pallid meetings and statements, and occasional outbursts, there was a sense among most Anglicans that Communion affairs and relationships were at best on hold, at worst winding down towards our churches’ disintegrating drift apart. Even The Episcopal Church (USA) and its summer canonical redefinition of marriage to include persons of the same sex didn’t really raise eyebrows. At this point, it surprised no one: splits among Anglicans on matters of profound human and religious significance were now a done deal. Canada’s September report from the Marriage Commission recommending similar redefinitions, to be dealt with this summer, seemed as inevitable as melting glaciers in the midst of climate change: even if you didn’t like it, there was nothing to do about it.
The real titillation around January’s gathering of Primates, announced this past September by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was whether the meeting would finally put a period to the run-on sentence of disarray and dissolution. The main debate was in the secular press, with breathless announcements of the Communion’s planned obsolescence. Anglicans themselves were looking at their shoes. Yes, evangelical energy has been at a low ebb.
As it turned out, however, prayer blossomed