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DROMANTINE: Williams Says Communion Is In Trouble If No Peace Is Found


By David W. Virtue

ARMAGH, Northern Ireland (2/22/2005)--Giving his broadest hint that all is not well among the 35 Primates of the Anglican Communion gathered at Dromantine to implement the Windsor Report, Dr. Rowan Williams said last night that the church over which he presides had little peace, but it should not be anxious, "a doomed piece of advice in the Anglican Communion."

Addressing a packed St. Patrick's cathedral at a choral evensong to mark the visit of the primates of the Anglican Communion, Williams, who seemed dejected, recalled Paul's letter to the Ephesians (2:13-22) and pled for peace echoing the apostle's call for "peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near."

"What is required of us that are called into his fellowship? It is Christ who has made peace we are not to be anxious. We are at an important juncture in the life of the communion. We seek God's guidance at this crucial time in our history."

Recalling the role of priests in the Old Testament, Williams said that these words, spoken to Israel were spoken to the church in the New Testament and spoken to us today.

"What is it to be called a kingdom of priests? In the OT the understanding was that the priest was the focus of everything. The priest made atonement, he made peace between God and the world, and so for us we are to be called a priestly kingdom to give thanks and make peace on behalf of the world; so we have peace between earth and heaven."

"Christ's call is the one and only true peace. He is our peace. This one great high priest calls us to be instruments of his peace. That peace has been made."

It is not for us to make peace but to inhabit the peace he has made, he said. "We are called to be instruments of Christ's peace and be a kingdom of priests."

Williams said the church is above all a place of prayer and where supplication happens. "The worship that is offered to the church is not simply what we do, it is what Christ does. What is required of us who are called into his fellowship? It is Christ who has made peace, we are not to be anxious, a doomed peace of advice in the Anglican Communion at the moment."

"Our own efforts of peacemaking should not be characterized by anxious striving and getting it all sorted right now." Jesus, he said, had made peace by the blood of his covenant.

"We are called to find that peace in the shared offering of thanksgiving. In the midst of our tensions, struggles and uncertainties let ourselves be drawn together by that pillar of fire."

"We are called upon to become a place where God is to be found," Williams pleaded. "What deep conversion is required of us?" Whatever doubts and uncertainties that are there, He will be there as promised."

Irish Archbishop Robin Eames said in welcoming the primates, other denominational leaders and guests that we [the church] needed to find a deeper union in the Son.

One observer noted that apart from the choir, the primates were the youngest people present. The place was filled with elderly white Anglo-Irish Anglicans who will, within a few years be gone. What then will become of this fine cathedral? The liberal theology of the Church of Ireland will not fill it.

Earlier in the evening the cathedral was surrounded by Police as the Irish Secretary of State made an appearance and inflammatory remarks about the Sinn Fein and IRA might have brought about a backlash. None was forthcoming.

All the Primates processed.

In this the second day of the Primates meetings talks centered on the Windsor Report and there was much heated argument, said a source. Tomorrow will be a make or break day for the communion, VirtueOnline was told.


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