By One Spirit: Reconciliation and Renewal in Anglican Life, by Lorraine Cavanagh. Reviewed by Malcolm Grundy
By One Spirit: Reconciliation and Renewal in Anglican Life, by Lorraine Cavanagh.
Peter Lang, 2009, 273 pages, ISBN 978-3-03911-389-7, £35.00.
Reviewed by Malcolm Grundy
What is it that can save the Anglican Communion from complete disintegration? This searching book by Lorraine Cavanagh offers an essential way forward. She defines the problem as the inability to make room for the diversity which has been a fundamental characteristic of Anglicanism.
Cavanagh’s argument is that reconciliation can come only after a considerable length of time when the members of the Communion have rediscovered a spirituality which both listens to and is open to the diverse views of others. This process is facilitated by a consequent sense of hospitality developed among members of the various Provinces.
This method of attaining hospitality and then toleration is through the rediscovery of a type of classical Anglicanism which may have been forgotten. Cavanagh uses Richard Hooker and F.D. Maurice as her principal sources. The possibility of relating the work of these two theologians to present day concerns is done though an examination of the texts produced for the Lambeth Conference in 2008 and the papers produced beforehand through what is called the Windsor Process.
This well-produced book, with particularly attractive page design, needs to be a first contribution among many. At £35 it is expensive, but an essential library addition: one to be borrowed if not purchased. Cavanagh does not make anything of the fact that all those who attended the Lambeth Conference were bishops. As such they have a particular responsibility not just to meet together, talk and pray, but to offer leadership. If leadership is there in this book it is implicit. The whole concept of episkope or oversight, which is at the heart of the office of bishop, is not explored. It is this episcopal leadership we need to experience.
Ven. Malcolm Grundy is the author of several books on church leadership, chair of the TEAL Trust, a partner in Live-Wires Associates, and Founder Director of the Foundation for Church Leadership.
This review first appeared in MODEM Matters Issue 11 in May 2010.