I feel duped

I went to church this morning and heard the announcement that all of the legal things surrounding the separation of Christ Church from the Kansas City diocese are now over and that Christ Church as of today is officially no longer Christ Church Episcopal. I have been prepared for this for the last few weeks, so this announcement came as no suprise. But, then I also heard that Christ Church was now officially a part of the Ugandan Anglican Church as a member of the Kampala diocese, which is headed by the archbishop of Uganda himself. What? I never knew that our separation from the Episcopal church meant a joining of another diocese. I feel like we were misled. Or, did I miss something here? I have two serious issues with this move.

First, as I stated earlier, I feel misled. To my knowledge, the official move to be a part of the Ugandan diocese was never discussed. We went on for weeks about the separation from the KC diocese, with letters and postcards being mailed to all parish members. But, not once did we discuss, as a church body, the move to another diocese. I realize that Christ Church has a long relationship with the Ugandan church and I do not doubt the godliness of the leadership there, but it says something about what kind of church we are going to be when decisions like this are made without input from the parish members. The more I think about it the angrier I get. We might have ended up at the very same place we are now, namely as a part of the Kampala diocese, but I would have appreciated the community's involvement in that decision. So my first problem is the lack of community involvement, the lack of communication, and the lack of information about what this means for us.

Second, as far as I can tell the Primates' Communique which came out in February had recommended to the Archbishop of Canterbury that he appoint a panel to supervise churches and/or dioceses that were in similar positions as Christ Church. Also the primates did not encourage cross-boundary intervention. This is especially made clear in paragraph 15 of the communique:

15. In order to protect the integrity and legitimate needs of groups in serious theological dispute with their diocesan bishop, or dioceses in dispute with their Provinces, we recommend that the Archbishop of Canterbury appoint, as a matter of urgency, a panel of reference to supervise the adequacy of pastoral provisions made by any churches for such members in line with the recommendation in the Primates’ Statement of October 2003. Equally, during this period we commit ourselves neither to encourage nor to initiate cross-boundary interventions.

So, while Christ Church and others vehemently condemned the ECUSA for its maverick move of promoting a homosexual to bishop, Christ Church seems to have acted in just such a maverick fashion by initiating a cross-boundary membership in the Ugandan diocese. The ECUSA was rightly condemned for moving ahead without input from the wider Anglican Communion. But, I believe Christ Church's leadership has moved against the Primates' recommendations and have not allowed the mechanisms suggested by the wider Anglican Communion to be implemented. So my second problem is that Christ Church has not solicited input from the wider Anglican Communion they claim to be a part of and whose tenets they claim to uphold by separating from the Episcopal Church.

Am I being too hard on the community of which I am a part? I don't know. I feel like I don't have all the information, and that is part of the problem. I feel as if the only information distributed is that which will further the agenda of a smaller group.

I am hurt more by this than by the move to separate from the KC diocese. At least with that decision the church members were involved. I want to be a part of the worldwide Anglican Church and I like the people with whom I have become friends at Christ Church.

No comments: