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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book is a result of some ten months of fieldwork conducted in Uganda and in the southeastern part of the United States. The research, carried out by the author while she was a graduate and then PhD student at the University of North Carolina, constituted approximately 130 field interviews in addition to critical reading of textual sources dealing with Episcopal Church, Church of Uganda, and Anglican Communion Politics. Those interviewed included a number of African bishops, many parishioners in Uganda and the USA, and Episcopal dissident groups in the United States. The core argument of the book is this: the increasing involvement of Southern Anglicans in the Episcopal Church and the global significance now widely ascribed to Episcopal Church events results primarily from the cooperative globalizing work of American Conservative. This assertion stands in contrast to the tendency among conservatives and liberals alike to explain the increased global activism of Southern church leaders as part of a long-term global historical shift in the center of gravity of world Christianity to the global Southâ¿¿a theory expounded by scholar of religion Philip Jenkins and widely invoked by observers of the current Anglican scene. The book is broken up into eight chapters. Chapter one describes the history, character, and current concerns in the Church of Uganda and the Episcopal Church in the United States. Chapter two presents an account of the development of conservative Episcopaliansâ¿¿ globalist discourses and projects, in cooperation with Southern Anglican leaders. The third chapter speaks of the Northern hegemony. Chapter four recounts the ways in which the Lambeth Conference of 1998 was experienced and portrayed as a North/South battle. The fifth chapter begins with a brief account of the founding of the transnational dissident organization Anglican Missions in America (AmiA) and then describes several other globalizing projects that parallel AmiA. Chapter six examines discourses used to explain and justify transnational Anglican relationships, especially images of the churches of the global North and South. Chapter seven addresses the topic of money, power, and influence. The last chapter returns to the North/South conflict and the global-shift thesis, particularly to the ways that Philip Jenkinsâ¿¿s work has been taken up by conservatives in the Episcopal Church as a description and justification of current developments in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The audience that would be best served by this group are attendees of both the Lambeth 2008 conference and the opposing GAFCON 2008 Jerusalem conference. Those attendees include bishops, Anglican bible students, church leaders and parishioners alike. As regards the goal of the book and whether it has been attained, the research, the interviews conducted, the literature cited, do corroborate the authorâ¿¿s assertion that the new transnational alliances are best understood not as by-products of a global moral shift but as the work of particular people and groups.

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