Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Archbishop Eames

Robin Eames, Archbishop of Ireland, is retiring at age 69, having spent most of his working life as a bishop in the Church of England. He was named bishop when he was only 38 years old. He has been Archbishop of Ireland since 1986, twenty years. He has spent twenty years dealing with the strife between the Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, twenty years of watching people he loved and respected die in violence, twenty years of working with youth to create greater acceptance of those who are different. I can imagine he is very tired.

In addition to all that, he has been chair of the committee to prepare the Windsor Report, the document about the Anglican Communion, a document precipitated by the consecration of a gay bishop in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in Canada. His doctorate is in ecclesiastic law, a fitting degree for the work he did on the Windsor Report. He listened to those from every sphere of the Anglican Communion, read thousands of documents, and coordinated the deliberations of the committee which produced the document. What a challenge!

More recently, he visited the United States and addresses faculty and students at two seminaries; he spoke about the communion and what has held it together in the past and the challenges it faces. They were wonderfully insightful for me.

He said that the challenges are deciding what does and should hold the Anglican Communion together as well as what role the interpretation of scripture plays in being in communion. The world-wide Anglican Communion includes churches which interpret scripture very literally and churches which allow a wide range of interpretations of scripture. Even the basic tenets of Christianity are debated in some places, and in others debaters are marked as heretics.

I applaud his work as a bishop and as an emissary of the Anglican Communion, and I wish him well in his retirement.

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