Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mark Sisk and the crisis of the communion

From The Spectator-

Before meeting the Episcopal bishop of New York I nose around the massive cathedral. On a wall, between two side chapels, is a brass plaque, inscribed in copper-plate with some august words of sacred scripture: When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands, blah blah blah, We declare these truths to be self-evident, and so on. Maybe the Declaration of Independence should be more prominently displayed, for this Church has recently got in touch with its revolutionary side. In a sense the whole crisis in the Anglican Communion originates in its awkward propensity for democracy (bishops are elected).

Mark Sisk doesn’t look like a revolutionary. He looks like an older thinner Bill Bryson: round specs, light beard and genial smile. He has no lordly airs: my pompometer stirs not. His hobby, appropriately for a follower of Jesus, is carpentry: he has built himself a house in the Catskills. He is seen as an old-fashioned liberal, a pragmatist.

He was raised in the Episcopal Church, ‘from the ground up’, and ordained in 1967, the time of Vietnam and civil rights. Did the Church get too closely involved in these trendy political causes, and alienate a lot of its members? For wasn’t it at this time that attendance started falling? ‘Attendance began to fall in many denominations at that time, and not all were equally involved in those issues. What I would say is that the Church at that time was less articulate about its motives than it might have been. I think the concern for civil rights and for peace came out of Christian understandings, but it was too often assumed people knew about that. The Church was at fault for failing to articulate the Christian motivations for those concerns.’

More here-

No comments: