To some in the Anglican tradition it would appear that the communion that we hold is strained to a breaking point, indeed perhaps a “break glass” moment. All sorts of fractures and rifts appear to have been revealed—and perhaps even exacerbated by COVID—some of which threaten the identity of the church.
However, at the same time the breadth of our communion presents a distinct theological vision of a redeemed community. Imperfect as it may be. But this is often obscured when observing matters from inside our own churches and environments.
My own approach to Anglicanism came out of a strongly congregationalist movement, which was beset by division and discord—and indeed, ungodly dissent. In contrast the breadth of my initial experience of the Church of England, simultaneously spread between St. Paul’s Cathedral, London and All Souls Langham Place, showed that theological vision. A vision of a breadth of the church, not always in agreement on many items, but determined to reach the City of London with the gospel.
While the clarity of this vision has waxed and waned over my years as a lay and then ordained Anglican, it is still sorely needed. Perhaps even more so in Australia where the breadth of our ecclesiological expression is more heavily separated.
Therefore this edition strives to reflect on the breadth of our church, and the vision it espouses. Chris Swann muses on the question of the disappearing church and the pandemic. Jack Lindsay describes his own journey as an Anglo-Catholic. Pete Greenwood and Breanna Mills highlight new approaches to missional opportunity. Michael Bird considers the often divisive issue of social engagement. Andy Pearce considers his move from a large contemporary church plant in Melbourne to a local church in Perth. The book reviews also consider this, as Rhys Bezzant considers the end of Christendom, Steve Boxwell reviews church planting in Birmingham, and Karen Winsemius reviews the things that make for a redeemed church.
CHRIS PORTER, EDITOR