Mission is paramount, says gathering

By on February 1, 2004

Douglas

Members of the Inter-Anglican Commission on Mission and Evangelism recently issued a communique stating their commitment to “living together in mission” despite serious disagreements over the issue of same-sex blessings and the ordination of the first gay bishop in the United States.

“We were saddened that the Anglican Communion is currently living with deep tensions and disagreements over certain issues in human sexuality such that there is impaired communion between some of the churches in the communion,” said the communiqué, released during a recent meeting in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. “We believe, however, that how we relate as a communion in mission offers hope and healing to this fractured family of churches.”

Ellie Johnson, director of partnerships of the Anglican Church of Canada, said that while the same-sex issue was not part of the agenda, delegates felt compelled to include a paragraph on the issue in the communiqué because “it’s like an elephant in the room; you can’t ignore it.”

The commission is made up of 22 members from as many different provinces and churches of the Anglican Communion.

Ian Douglas of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., said issuing a common statement was significant because “we were able to, even in the midst of tensions and difficulties, keep our eyes and ears focused on God’s mission to the world.”

He added that the commission “didn’t attempt to or dwell upon ways to resolve the issues; rather, we acknowledged the differences and talked openly about the pain and the hurt” before moving on to the larger agenda. Other items discussed included the experiences of parishes that face systemic violence, poverty, and disease.

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