Anglican Communion in Crisis

Anglican Communion in Crisis: How Episcopal Dissidents and Their African Allies Are Reshaping Anglicanism

Miranda K. Hassett
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 320
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    Anglican Communion in Crisis
    Book Description:

    The sign outside the conservative, white church in the small southern U.S. town announces that the church is part of the Episcopal Church--of Rwanda. InAnglican Communion in Crisis, Miranda Hassett tells the fascinating story of how a new alliance between conservative American Episcopalians and African Anglicans is transforming conflicts between American Episcopalians--especially over homosexuality--into global conflicts within the Anglican church.

    In the mid-1990s, conservative American Episcopalians and Anglican leaders from Africa and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere began to forge ties in opposition to the American Episcopal Church's perceived liberalism and growing toleration of homosexuality. This resulted in dozens of American Episcopal churches submitting to the authority of African bishops.

    Based on wide research, interviews with key participants and observers, and months Hassett spent in a southern U.S. parish of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda and in Anglican communities in Uganda,Anglican Communion in Crisisis the first anthropological examination of the coalition between American Episcopalians and African Anglicans. The book challenges common views--that the relationship between the Americans and Africans is merely one of convenience or even that the Americans bought the support of the Africans. Instead, Hassett argues that their partnership is a deliberate and committed movement that has tapped the power and language of globalization in an effort to move both the American Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion to the right.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2771-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION A Communion in Crisis?
    (pp. 1-22)

    The welcoming red doors of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church face onto the main street in a small southeastern town. Arriving at the church for the first time at 11 a.m. on a Sunday in mid-2001, I join the stream of members entering the nave, receiving bulletins and warm greetings from the ushers. Sitting among the parishioners of St. Timothy’s, I observe what looks to me like a typical Episcopal congregation: some diversity in age, but largely white and middle-class. The worship service, too, is familiar to me as a cradle Episcopalian. Apart from the addition of some praise and worship...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Renewal and Conflict: The Episcopal Church and the Province of Uganda
    (pp. 23-46)

    A young adult praise team kicks off the English-language Sunday service at Mukono Cathedral, the church near our home in Uganda. Today one young man fires up the synthesizer, while another takes up a microphone and reminds us all to praise God for the day and for all our blessings. The keyboardist plays quietly behind his words and picks up the tune immediately when the man at the microphone begins to sing: “What a mighty God we serve, what a mighty God we serve . . . .” A young woman shakes a tambourine, and two little boys keep the...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Taking Africa Seriously: The Globalization of Conservative Episcopalians
    (pp. 47-70)

    One evening during our stay at Uganda Christian University, my husband and I were chatting with some campus friends and acquaintances after a Bible study meeting at a faculty member’s campus home. A dozen people, mainly senior divinity students, sat around the comfortable living room decorated with photos of relatives and plaques spelling out pious mottoes. Our friend Peter, a divinity student in his thirties and one of the many at UCU who had come to earn his master’s of divinity after spending some time serving rural parishes, had some news to share which he found quite disturbing. He had...

  8. CHAPTER THREE “White Hands Up!” Lambeth 1998 and the Global Politics of Homosexuality
    (pp. 71-101)

    The 1998 Lambeth Conference began on July 19 with a grand showing of the Communion’s multicultural colors. A British reporter described details of the opening litugy: “The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey, . . . welcomed 800 bishops and 600 spouses with a greeting in Swahili. The Epistle was in Portuguese and the service set to the Kenyan rite with a South African spiritual and Argentinian chorus.”¹ This liturgy reflected the determination of conference planners and Anglican Communion leadership to show the world an Anglican Communion unified in its diversity, celebrating its global breadth at the largest Lambeth Conference...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR From African/Asian Juggernaut to Global Orthodox Majority
    (pp. 102-129)

    The Hotel Africana is one of the most expensive hotels in Kampala. Widely used by international business travelers and other wealthy visitors, it perches on one of Kampala’s many hills, its airy balconies and lush, well-tended gardens beckoning from behind high iron gates. In these elegant surroundings, in November 1999, Anglican primates and American conservative leaders held a secret meeting to consider the fate of the Episcopal Church.

    Lambeth was over a year past and, American conservatives argued, there was no sign that the Episcopal Church would change its policies in response to the Lambeth resolution on human sexuality. These...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE “At Home in Kigali”: Transnational Relationships and Domestic Dissent
    (pp. 130-166)

    St. Timothy’s Wednesday night house church group meets in the immaculately furnished home of an elegant couple in their sixties, on the outskirts of this small southeastern town. On a warm autumn evening in 2001 I turn into the development, roll down my car window to punch in the entry code, and follow the winding tree-lined avenue back to their driveway. I’m welcomed warmly by the gathered group, thirteen besides myself. I’ve been coming regularly to this house church for weeks, intending simply to learn more about the spirituality and community of St. Timothy’s, but tonight’s conversation will bear more...

  11. CHAPTER SIX “Who Wants to Be in the Ugandan Communion?” Perceptions of African and American Christianity
    (pp. 167-207)

    Early in 2004 I witnessed a fascinating conversation on an e-mail list for dissident Episcopalians. On January 26 a listmember, “Faithful Follower,” ¹ wrote in to express pessimism about whether any acceptable solution to the Episcopal Church’s erring ways would be forthcoming from Anglican Communion leadership: “The Continuing Churches are beginning to look pretty appealing to me. . . . If [Anglican Communion leadership in] Canterbury is going to posture with no real backbone behind their words, of what use are they? And who wants to be in the Ugandan Communion? We’re Anglicans, not minions of the late Idi Amin.”...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Integrity for Sale? Money and Asymmetry in Transnational Anglican Alliances
    (pp. 208-241)

    The founding of Integrity-Uganda, the Ugandan branch of the advocacy organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Anglicans, was marked only by a press release from sibling organization Integrity-USA in mid-2000 and passed unremarked in the Ugandan press. But given the controversial character of Integrity-Uganda, it could not long operate undercover. Early in 2001, news of the organization’s existence broke in Uganda. TheMonitorandNew Visionwere kept busy through the following months with updates, commentaries, interviews, letters, and editorials about the controversial new Anglican organization. Integrity-Uganda is the only African chapter of Integrity, founded in the United States...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT The Next Anglicanism? Conclusions and Implications
    (pp. 242-260)

    The collaborative activism of American conservatives and Southern Anglican leaders has brought the Anglican Communion into the Episcopal Church to an unprecedented degree. Conflicts over doctrine and morality within the Episcopal Church have been effectively globalized, so that they are now widely seen as of global, rather than domestic, scale and significance. The Northern and Southern allies accomplished this globalization through their use of discourses asserting the relevance of the global Communion, and through projects that, by linking American dissidents with Southern leaders and churches, appear to instantiate the global relevance of Episcopal Church debates. As one observer describes it,...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 261-290)
  15. Index
    (pp. 291-295)