The bad joke that is the Anglican Consultative Council meeting helps bring an issue more into focus, an issue about which not much has been said: do we in the Anglican Church in North America really want to join the Anglican Communion?
Granted, it is unlikely we can join the Anglican Communion in the near future. When it counts, the current Archbishop of Canterbury is in the pocket of the Episcopal Church and will not recognize the ACNA as a province. And several other primates are of a similar mindset. Much more likely is that the GAFCON provinces and a scattering of other orthodox provinces and bishops will recognize the ACNA.
But what if the ACNA can actually be recognized by the Anglican Communion as a whole and can thereby join it. Do we really want to do so?
I think it’s doable. Being in the Anglican Communion does not require one to be in full or even partial communion with everyone in the same. A number of provinces are out of communion with The Episcopal Church for example.
But if one’s communion is impaired even with the Archbishop of Canterbury and cannot conscientiously be full and unimpaired with him (as is the case with me), then joining the Anglican Communion might be just slightly awkward.
And there are more than a few in the ANCA who want little to nothing to do with Canterbury. At the same time, many others have placed their hopes in the ANCA as a way to stay in the Anglican Communion outside the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. Can both sides be pleased?
I do not presume to have an easy answer to this issue. And – let there be no mistake – I am no poor-mouther of the ANCA and fervently desire for it to work. But whether we in the ANCA really want to be in the Anglican Communion is an issue we will have to address at some point in time. And that time could be difficult to work through indeed.