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Anthony Tyrrell Hanson (1916-1991): What does it mean to be an Anglican in a United Church?

Anthony Tyrrell Hanson (1916-1991): What does it mean to be an Anglican in a United Church?

By Joseph G Muthuraj
Special to Virtueonline
www.virtueonline.org
July 22, 2019

Following my last two essays on J.I. Packer (25 July 2016) and Bishop George Bell (6 August 2016) published in Virtueonline, we gaze at another star that sojourned in the East and reappeared in the Western galaxy with a new glitter and brightness (This essay was locked in my shelf for the last three years). He is Anthony Tyrrell Hanson, an Irish Anglican who was born little over 100 years ago. What is brought to our memory is his spending 12 productive years serving for the Church of South India, a united church whose 50% percent of members were Anglicans when it was formed.

The Church of South India was inaugurated in 1947 with about one million Christians in 14 dioceses and has now grown, with 4 million members in 24 dioceses. It marked a rare or probably the only instance of Anglicans and non-episcopalians joining together in an organic unity as one church, both ministerially and organisationally, on the basis of the Lambeth Quadrilateral, 1888. The CSI showed the way which nobody had trodden before.

It has formed a pathway for unity, the model of which was followed with minor changes in schemes of church union in Ceylon, North India, Ghana, Rhodesia, Nigeria, Tanzania and the West Indies and to some extent in the Anglican-Methodist scheme in England. Before Union, CSI churches lived and breathed in the colonial missionary era.

The constituent member churches of the CSI, Anglicans, Methodists, Congregationalists and Presbyterians have had a long history in India of being both missionary and missionaries' churches.

Anthony Tyrrell Hanson and R.P.C. Hanson (1916-1988) of the Church of Ireland, twin brothers, the former an Anglican priest and the latter an Anglican bishop. F.F. Bruce in his article on the obituary of Anthony T. Hanson paid tribute to the ample contribution Hanson made to Anglicanism from his experience of serving in the Dornakal diocese of the Church of South India.

Bruce said, "Twelve very important years (1947-59) were spent in India ... His involvement during those years in the life and work of the Church of South India has plainly influenced his theological, and especially his ecclesiological, outlook" (JSNT, 13, 1981, p. 3). Hanson put some aspects of his old self in the trash can and he now had a blank new perspective to work with. He saw certain things happening before his own eyes in a culture different from his own. He chose to deliver a jolt to his settled assumptions and fixed perspectives inherited from his parent church.

Unlike many missionaries, Hanson has shown remarkable signs of an exemplary inter-cultural experience that characterised his ministry as one of giving to and receiving from a different cultural context. The host-context in South India filled him with a new dimension of ecclesiology which he did not find in his own church in Britain. He was engaged in a two-way mission from which his missionary activity in India made him return to his own context as a converted missionary with a fresh vision and challenge. This provided a fertile soil for a new theological articulation calling for a new ecclesiastical foundation.

The old adage of 'Heathenising Christendom'?

When the first Protestant missionary to India B. Ziegenbalg (1682-1719) had prepared a manuscript for a book on Hinduism, Hermann Francke, his mentor from Germany, wrote, 'You are not sent to India to study Hinduism but to preach the Gospel'. Similar attitudes with different variations are in vogue today. The most conservative stream of missiology is that the sent-ones 'plant the seeds, and reap a spiritual harvest among the least-reached peoples of our world', while 'others stay home, working hard and praying hard to make it possible for those beautiful feet to carry the Good News of life transformation through Jesus Christ.'

More modern works stress the liberal view that the Missionaries require 'cultural flexibility, low ethnocentricism and people orientation' together with 'spiritual, physical, and psychological health'. They are expected to be task oriented in their foreign cultural context. The missionary expatriate cultural distance will be reduced, and they seek to use inter-cultural skills to work in the context of the so-called "receivers". But one very rarely finds communication happening both ways and wonders how it would look when the stream flows from the global South to global North without being disturbed by the old adage.

Most of the inter-cultural studies courses and programmes offered in Western universities are based on the one-way pattern of equipping a candidate professionally to be able to work in diversified and multi-cultural world contexts. Even when the aspect of a two-way process is mentioned it is conceived as an idealised and idealising notion of enriching one another, transcending ethnic boundaries. It is rarely recognised that there is a painful and an explosive side to it.

There are questions, criticisms and uncomfortable things to say about the age-long entrenched and venerable traditions of one's own native soil in the light of the vision acquired in another soil. Therefore, a collision is rather probable than possible. Anyone who keeps himself/herself aloof from this school of hard learning and resist a re-warping orientation process of his/her commitment to the Church cannot be called a 'missionary'. Persons might have spent decades working in another culture but end up never attending that school, and they return to their own soil showing very little learning or do nothing but harp on about a big list of proud achievements. Some missionaries come back with loads of negative experience with misconceptions and prejudices about the host churches grown stronger than before. They graciously admit at times that there were some good things in the host country!

Speaking of the Host Church in the first person plural to the Home Church. It reflects a mature missionary outlook to speak in terms of 'we' -- i.e. a missionary talks about himself coupled with the people of the church in a foreign context, not speaking or acting on behalf of them. Hanson's works are full of such expressions that whenever he spoke about the nature and the work of the CSI, he wrote, "We in CSI", with a strong inclusive 'we'. In the first paragraph of his book The Church of the Servant (1962, 'CS'), he narrates a cultural habit of a washer-man in south India who would talk to each of his customers whose clothes he washes in the first person plural as 'our shirts' 'our towels' etc., which sounded a very strange kind of politeness but 'the polite implication was that he was a member of the patron's household' (CS, p. 11). Hanson's argument in the book is to stress the servant role of a missionary in the specific context he serves and to write the history of the host church in narratives with first person plural. It does imply that the missionary is not alienated from the hosts and that the servant nature of the missionary service is honoured here. He wrote, "It is true that countless missionaries have in fact given deeply sacrificial service to Asia and Africa, but the missionary on the whole has not appeared in the guise of a servant to those among whom he has worked" (CS, p. 116). He added, "The truth is that if you are a source of free monetary aid, it is extremely difficult to maintain the role of a servant. Quite apart from the fact that the ownership of money inevitably means the possession of power, money creates vested interests and sub-Christian legal relationships" (CS, p. 118).

Hanson's The Pioneer Ministry (1961): a product of Indian experience A.T. Hanson wrote several works of great value to the Church, and they are monuments for a well-cultivated and a re-born Anglican experience which emerged out of the context of a united church. Bruce added, "Not long after returning from India he wrote The Pioneer Ministry (1961, 'PM'), which was largely the product of his Indian experience and partly a critical response to the views expressed in The Apostolic Ministry (1946) edited by K. E. Kirk (representing the 'High Church' Anglican view)." Kirk's Review of PM observed, "He (Hanson) has produced a book which is at once vital, challenging, and disturbing, -- one which serious students of the ministry and the coming great church cannot afford to miss."

Hanson affirmed, "If there is anything like an undivided Church in the future, episcopacy no doubt ... will be a very personal and pastoral form of episcopacy ... and not magnified into an hierarchical body on which the Church depends for its very existence ... it does not need to be buttressed by doubtful historical and theological theories" (PM, p. 168, italics mine). This reflects more or less the view of episcopacy in the CSI.

Hanson was a Tractarian when he landed in south India but later found that 'such a theory failed to fit the facts of experience' of serving for some years in the Church of South India. How High-Churchism was altered in his life in a short frame of time! Incidentally, he re-read the New Testament not to find his own theory vindicated there but to discover that the theory of apostolic succession, the unbroken chain of ministry of bishops, is not found in the New Testament, where it was understood in terms of ministry passed from Congregation to Congregation represented by bishops.

On his views on apostolate of the Church and the nature of the ministry he admitted, '... we have gained in the course of our ten years' experience in the Church of South India' (PM, p. 13). He maintained, "In a missionary situation such as one finds in Asia and Africa today it is much more obvious that the apostolate belongs to the whole Church and therefore must be exercised by every individual Christian as well as by the ministry" (PM, p.146). His major criticism of the important book The Apostolic Ministry (1946) is that the authors 'wholly fail to convince us that they believe in an apostolic Church at all.

The ministry has monopolized the apostolate of the Church' (PM, p. 146). He further argued that the Creed, Liturgies and Canon cannot be traced to apostolic origin. All these he considered to be experiments in and responses to a particular situation in history. The classical view on episcopacy was inverted by Hanson. He believed that episcopate was not 'an evolution upwards' but 'a devolution downwards' from the presbyterate. There is this peculiar view, Hanson contended, that Anglicans alone understood episcopacy. Therefore, any scheme of union was met with distrust from some sections among the Anglicans.

Hanson attacked the most central aspect of the Church of England, namely episcopate. He commended that the spirit of CSI episcopacy drawn from the early church period of the first three centuries should 'flourish' better than in the Church of England where episcopacy is built on a Constantinian model tied with the authority of the State. He writes that 'the episcopate in the Church of England is ... illogical and theologically indefensible'. In this connection, Hanson was highly critical of the system whereby bishops are not selected by the people of the Church. He stressed that the Church should have the right to choose its own bishops so that they are responsible to the people.

He noted, "The truth is that the episcopate in the Church of England has never undergone a deliberate reformation such as was carried out in other areas of the Church's life" (Beyond Anglicanism 'BA', p. 11). Hanson says, "Probably nowhere else in the Anglican Communion is it possible for a bishop to be so removed from, and largely unknown to, his clergy as it is in England." (BA, p. 10) The laity involvement is also stressed if the Church of England is to be a model church believing in the priesthood of all Christians. He observed at a time different from the twenty-first century that episcopacy had 'worked splendidly in South India' and, within few years of its introduction, the non-episcopal men 'were appreciating it for its own sake' (BA, p. 160). The non-episcopal traditions "have added to our knowledge of what episcopacy can be. They have added to its value, found new value in it, not taken away from it or reduced it." Hanson was quite confident that the Free Church traditions that are part of Union 'can enhance the value of episcopacy' freeing it from using the term 'My Lord'.

"Episcopacy is a splendid instrument for the right ordering of the Church, and it has worked splendidly in South India," observed Hanson (BA, p. 160). He considered it a strength that the CSI had the reality of episcopacy but no doctrine of it and also he was convinced that the bishops of the CSI have added to the Anglican knowledge of 'what episcopacy can be' (BA, p. 160). According to him, the non-episcopal churches which are part of the CSI union have 'added to its value, found new values in it, not taken away from it or reduced it ... In practice the insights that come from the Free Church traditions can enhance the value of episcopacy' (BA, p. 160). It was his experience that he found that bishops brought up in non-episcopal traditions made 'good bishops'. Secondly he believed that men drawn from the 'depressed and underprivileged people [make] fine bishops' (BA, p. 163). CSI was like a free vast library of different traditions and therefore 'there was a willingness to examine what others have to offer, and an openness to experiment, that is a great addition to their office' (BA, p. 163).

Hanson rejected E. L. Mascall's (Recovery of Unity: A Theological Approach) thesis that the episcopate in the Church of South India would show 'all the abuses with which it has become infected' in the course of history. Hanson vehemently opposed this view by arguing that the reverse was true in the united churches, particularly in the CSI. He cited two examples to support his objection: 1) the Church of North India bishops were trying to remove the label that the bishops were Indian Civil Service officials of the British Raj period, and 2) the CSI episcopate was trying to free itself from the image of a top executive in an American Business Firm.

In a similar vein, Barry Till viewed CSI episcopacy with praise and appreciation. He wrote that even Anglo-Catholic visitors who went to south India found bishops 'nearer to their idea of true "fathers in God"' than the bishops in England. They saw the CSI bishops "relieved of the trappings of prelacy ... and of the crippling administrative burdens of huge dioceses and endless committees, they were able to fulfil their functions as chief teachers and chief shepherds in unmistakeable ways whether they were 'ex-Anglican', 'ex-Methodist'... This church was in many ways more truly episcopal than the Church of England" (The Churches Search for Unity, 1972, p. 308).

The 'historic episcopate' accepted by the CSI was accepted without subscribing to any postulated theories of later times in history, but it took them back to the time of the early church of the apostles. The CSI goes a little further back from the second century church from which the Apostolic Succession theory proceeded and thereon further expounded. Hanson thus explained, "It would therefore be quite absurd to make it (apostolic succession) compulsory in CSI" (BA, p. 150).

Again being critical of Mascall, Hanson argued that an aura of 'eternity is mixed with church authorities and not connected with the Church itself. There are certain exaggerated claims of episcopacy in Britain which, for Hanson, 'out-Romanize Rome'.

CSI now out-Romanizes Rome

The twenty-first century episcopacy in the CSI brings embarrassing moments for Hanson: Already a discussion is initiated through my earlier essay, 'Office of the Church of South India Turns Pontifical' in VOL (June 2016). Hanson criticised episcopacy in the West as having 'an aura of medievalism'. As an opposite reality, he believed, 'Church in South India today is much closer to that of the church of first three centuries. And therefore 'it is not really surprising that a primitive sort of episcopacy should flourish' (BA, p. 163). This thought has vanished and a new situation has now emerged, I am afraid, Prof. Hanson! The CSI episcopacy has tilted away from the 'Historic Episcopate in Constitutional Form' and moved towards 'Ahistorical Episcopate in Unscriptural Form'.

The comments and predictions made by E.L. Mascall (a leading theologian and priest in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England.), whom Hanson criticised heavily in his works, seem to have proven true in south India. Mascall said, "To accept historic Episcopate without insisting on any theory about it can, in practice, ... destroy all hopes of correcting the abuses with which it has become infected" (PA, p. 149, italics mine). CSI bishops should resist a patriarchal or papal role assumed by the Moderator and the oft-quoted statement from Lord Carey who said, "They (the bishops) can steer, push, and lead, but they can't rule."

Mascall foresaw better than Hanson the present deterioration of episcopal office in the CSI and posited a kind of episcopal leadership that trusts in power, control and eliminating all rivals. It confined the people of the church to eternal ignorance and isolated rural Christians from knowing and deciding on the matters of the Church. The leaders of the CSI hierarchy at present are worse than the oppressive Mughal rulers. Mascall is right on what he forewarned: "Furthermore, it should be recognised that it is only in the light of some theory about it that episcopacy can ever be rescued from the corrupt conditions into which, in the history of the Church, through human frailty and sin, it falls from time to time" (Mascall, RU, p. 160, italics mine).

The present generation of the CSI acutely realizes the fact that there was insufficient theological and ethical content given to CSI episcopacy, and that it is the right time that CSI should do it, i.e. repack episcopacy with theological and moral content derived from the Bible and history so that it is not swept away by models of tyranny and autocracy borrowed from the secular world, calling bishops CEOs, Managing Directors, Trustees, Attorney Generals of properties of the Church, Presidents of Committees/boards. The pastoral dimensions of Father-in-God, evangelist, teacher, have been renounced and the notion of episcopate as 'divine office' is debased. 'Historic Episcopate' could not prevent the distortions and perversions of episcopacy. It is good to remember what Daniel Jenkins noted, "And it is sure that the historic episcopate does not safeguard the Church against some of the dangers, notably those of clericalism and ecclesiastical self-righteousness, which have darkened the life of the Church throughout its history" (The Protestant Ministry, p. 72).

This elevated estimation of non-episcopal contribution to CSI episcopacy did not prove Hanson right as in the whole history of the CSI out of 18 Moderators only two ex-Anglican bishops became Moderators: Michael Hollis and P. Solomon. Each of these was an exemplary man of godly character and each served as Moderator three terms with a total of six years. The remaining 16 Moderators came from non-episcopal traditions and most of them proved corrupt and were involved in scandals and caught in multiple court cases, some of them criminal ones.

The last two Moderators, one from the Congregational region and the other from the Methodist region outdid their predecessors in figuring in record-breaking First Investigation Reports filed by Police on account of various criminal charges. They are taking the CSI to a darker and murkier territory by enforcing new amendments to the Constitution uncharacteristic of the united church and its basis of union.

All the positive things about the CSI episcopacy were admirably stated and defended by Hanson. Many waters have passed under the bridge since he wrote about the bold experiments in CSI; the trappings of prelacy are clearly witnessed in the CSI today. CSI episcopacy is now sitting on an ugly state of things, submerged in fraudulent and corrupt activities. These have attracted the attention of the Indian administrative and legal machineries. Please refer to my earlier article, "Are Devils Lurking in the Church of South India Account Books?" (VOL. 2, July 2016).

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) of the Home Ministry of the Government of India is waiting for court's injunction for continuing investigation (it is 'stayed' for the last three years) on the financial affairs of the Church of South India Trust Association which will tighten the noose around those who committed fraud and forgery, selling properties of the church illegally or well-below the market value and maintaining no or false accounts of income and expenditure. It is interesting to read a letter of urgency honestly written by a CSI bishop to all Presbyters, Deacons and heads of educational institutions on 5 August 2016: "I am sure you will acknowledge that this is a grave matter and non-compliance on the part of the diocese to furnish this information would have very serious repercussions. It is imperative that the details requested for by the SFIO are submitted ... May I once again impress upon you the seriousness of the matter and I urge you to extend your co-operation to the Diocese at this critical juncture of the life of the Church." Another bishop conversing with me over the phone made a bold assertion that SFIO has no power to order a diocese to submit accounts. Already piles of documents have been submitted to the SFIO by various individuals who were in possession of irrefutable evidence for corrupt dealings. The crucial phase will be taking steps closer to the identification of persons including lay leaders, bishops and Moderators who have indulged in performing various activities of corruption and fraud.

'Both Anglican, and also more than Anglican' -- a story told in Beyond Anglicanism (1965)

Another significant piece of work which stands as a monument for an inter-cultural and ecclesiastical cross-fertilisation is Hanson's Beyond Anglicanism(1965 'BA') which presented forthright criticisms on Anglicanism made from the perspective of Church union in south India that gave birth to a new ecclesiology.

He was sharing some of his experiences as an Anglican in a united church and 'the rather painful things that we Anglicans learned about ourselves as a result of union" (BA, p. 152). He said, "I was there for the first twelve years; more than five years have passed since I left; but I believe that my experience is still relevant" (BA, p. 149). The passage of time back in his home country did not sink the experience gained in just twelve years. The experience in India kept speaking to his ecclesiology-firm context. That taught him what Anglicans had not fully realised before, namely 'transcending Anglicanism not abolishing it'.

The book was written soon after his return from India and in the context of very limited communion maintained with the CSI by the Anglican Communion. Although the Lambeth Conference 1930 had expressed a strong desire that, "as soon as negotiations (for a united church in south India) are successfully completed, the venture should be made and the union inaugurated", in the Lambeth Conference 1948 a 'substantial minority' represented by five Anglican churches including the Church of England objected to CSI, a fait accompli, continuing in the Anglican Communion because of its new form of ministry shared with the non-episcopal churches. The objection was reiterated by the LC 1958, which did not allow the bishops of the CSI even to attend as observers, with the following final remark as in LC 1948 Report, "[We] look forward hopefully and with longing to the day when there shall be full communion between the Church of South India and the Churches of the Anglican Communion".

One should read the last sentence of this Report which, though it began with showering appreciation and compliments giving the impression of a happy ending, it ended with an anti-climax reflecting the true nature of the Anglican Communion which Hanson describes thus: "We tend ... to discourage them (local unions in Asia and Africa) in effect, while often praising them in principle" (The Church of the Servant, "CS' 1962, p. 121). The door was shut for a period of thirty years until the ministry in CSI became fully episcopal.

The Anglican Cycle of Prayer, introduced to strengthen relationships within the Anglican Communion, rejected prayers for CSI dioceses. No delegates from the CSI were found among the two Anglican Congresses in 1954 and 1963. All these negative measures were resented by Hanson by arguing that 'the very English nature, ... the peculiar Constitution (or the lack of constitution) which distinguishes the Church of England means that Church finds it very difficult, perhaps impossible, to speak clearly on the great issue of faith and order which re-union inevitably brings up" (CS, p. 25).

One is amazed at the depth of his inner experience which led him to a new understanding of Churchmanship. Hanson questioned the Lambeth Conference of bishops being seen as one of the instruments of Anglican unity. He suggested that the Conference itself 'either abolished or planned on new lines' (CS, p. 47), because "Lambeth is now forced into even a parasynodical attitude (and this is less infrequent as the years go on) the response of the churches is likely to be increasingly negative."

Hanson had the courage to criticise the fact that the Lambeth Quadrilateral, the central pillar of Anglicanism, is a Victorian document which ignores the people of the Church. He wrote, 'We have Scriptures, Creeds, Sacraments, and Ministry, but no people. They are in fact taken for granted, and this is indeed the trouble with the ecclesiology of the Victorian age and of many earlier ages also" (CS, p.57). LQ represented Victorian theology embedded in the Tractarian movement 'concerned with questions of validity and succession, with hierarchy and formal authority." He then completes his argument by saying, 'A Church which consisted entirely of clergy and had no laity at all could formally fulfil all the conditions of the Quadrilateral" (CS, p. 57). Similar criticism is found with Bishop Newbigin who pointed out that there is no reference to the mission of the Church in the LQ as it is meant for maintaining a static church.

Honed through inter-cultural experience and as a result of his immersion putting questions for reform to his insular mother culture, the Church of England as the mother church was acknowledged by Hanson but he stressed that criticisms from the daughter churches should be heeded and that 'the best way in which the daughters can help the mother is by urging her to reform herself' (CS, p. 26). It was his contention that the CSI should not have been expelled from Anglican Communion in 1948.

The formal excommunication of the CSI by some provinces 'was that of comic opera rather than dignified churchmanship' (CS, p. 216). The church, he was proud to say, lost the name 'Anglican' which is not a big loss but they have gained much as a result of Church Union. On revisiting the subjects of doctrine, worship, organisation, evangelism and spirituality, almost all his examples come from the experience in south India. He says, "I make no apology for this" (CS, p. 188).

The subject of unity is old but not obsolete. It was also a time when conversations between the Church of England and the Methodists in the UK were in full swing to achieve unity, the challenge to Anglicanism from Hanson came in the form of the following question: "But how can the Anglican Communion ever learn anything from the other traditions represented in C. S. I. if it proceeds to sterilise itself from contact with (it)? This is the negation of unity. This sterile, self-absorbed Anglicanism, an Anglicanism which exists for its own sake, and is not open to the world" (CS, p. 46). There is a lot of truth in what A. Atherstone observed: "Anglicans in practice chased unity with unreformed episcopal denominations (like Roman Catholics, Old Catholics and Eastern Orthodox) while giving a cold shoulder to reformed non-episcopal denominations." ("Redefining Anglicanism? An Evangelical Critique of the Proposed Anglican Covenant")

The Meaning of Mutuality and Interdependence

Hanson's Beyond Anglicanism has a section on Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence, a scheme launched at the Toronto Congress, 1963. For Hanson, 'it carries a Pan-Anglican appeal, and it has been hailed as the most significant thing that has happened in Anglicanism for many years' (BA, p. 75). It is erasing the 'giver' and 'receiver' relationship among churches as he quotes from Dean Wood's letter (1964) which said, 'The whole conception of Mutual Responsibility is to prevent the continuation of giving areas and receiving areas; the situation at present is that the West has much to receive from Africa and the east, and vice versa" (BA, p. 79).

When Bishop Stephen Bayne, the first Executive Officer of the Anglican Communion, was reflecting on 'what mutual Responsibility will mean or ought to mean in the lives of our several Churches', he remarked, 'I do not have a clue as to what used to be called the "younger" or "receiving" Churches will concentrate on. I suppose, since they have for a long time been regarded as somebody to be helped, and have often so considered themselves, that their first job might be to begin thinking of their own richness, and of what other Churches need which they can supply. I know at least one Church whose clergy would be immeasurably helped, humbled, purified, and strengthened by the example and companionship of priests from Asia or Africa, who are not yet caught in the middle class image of the professional parson" (Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ, pp. 65-66). Hanson wished that the brethren from Asia and Africa could help the evangelistic activities in the West and they indeed 'will have their own peculiar treasures to bring to the Catholic heritage of the Church' (BA, p. 98).

Aiming to define Anglican Communion? "Don't!" says Bishop Bayne.

Nowadays, pressing issues submerging MRI (Mutual Responsibility of Interdependence) have stridden to the centre stage. The saddest part of this is that the churches in the Global South are judged from the perspective of the cultural problems of the West. Overseas financial grants given to the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) are spent on western agendas tagged to them. Recently, at the United Theological College, Bangalore a one-day seminar was organised by the College and the NCCI on the theme of homophobia for which theological students were made to sit and listen under coercion and compulsion. Every other academic seminar is held in a hall atmosphere but this particular seminar was held at the chapel!

The vocabularies 'progressive', 'revisionist' and 'traditionalist', words associated with same-sex relationships, do not make sense to me. I am an illiterate on sexuality matters and therefore I might be considered as incapable to speaking and acting with political correctness. I need to look to Google for explanation every time I come across LGBT ... and then seek meaning for each of those words. I see that new words are being added, and Google shows that it now stands with 11 letters or more (LGBTQQIP2SAA community).

When I first came across the word 'homophobia' I thought that it referred to dealing with phobias experienced at home. I might be branded as the most backward among the advanced intellectuals of the West for not being well-versed and well informed in these matters. I remember what L. Sanneh commented once, 'At the general convention in Minneapolis in August 2003, the liberal leaders of the American Episcopal Church, reacting to the conflict over its confirmation of an Episcopal gay bishop, dismissed the dissenting Third World bishops as backward, misguided, and ill informed" (The Changing Face of Christianity, p. 213, italics mine). Unfortunately, B. Kaye sees homosexuality as 'an institutional crisis facing the world-wide Anglicanism'. The drive to globalising the problem bewilders the Indian sub-continent of the global South. This does not mean, however, that the Global South should withdraw from encountering a problem which is affecting a section of the Anglican family.

Are the United Churches 'Oddities' in Anglican Communion?

It is very sad to note that there still exists a great deal of ignorance about united churches in Asia and their place within the members of Anglican Communion (AC) even among learned individuals with experience of attending ecumenical meetings. In an article on contemporary Anglican Communion written for the book Beyond Colonial Anglicanism (2001) by an author who had served for ten years as the Mission Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean and who was the Director of the Ecumenical Affairs of the AC and participated in many international ecumenical conversations, after counting the heads of the AC members, writes the following remarks about the churches of North India, Ceylon, South India and Bangladesh.

He considers them qualified to have found a place in the list of membership of AC since they fulfil important criteria. "Yet, in terms of global Christianity, we have the anomaly that these churches may also appear in lists of the Methodist or Reformed families. Ecumenically, this anomaly is good news, but ecumenical progress can cause confusion as communions seek to complete membership figures for their own family. Despite the ambiguities involved, Anglicans officially include these four churches in the list of Anglican provinces, bringing the total to 38" (Beyond Colonial Anglicanism, p. 75). The united churches are still seen as anomalies strictly speaking, not as members of the Anglican 'family', and they just help to make up the total number of AC member churches to 40. The author fails to see other reasons for their being part of the AC. It is for such individuals that this little piece on Anthony Tyrrell Hanson is written!

I have presented only a portion of what A.T. Hanson perceived and experienced as an Anglican living and serving among members of the united church in South India. He has an enormous contribution to make as his mind was open and sharp to bring together theology and churchmanship growing out of two different habitats. Such a trait can be witnessed only in a very few missionaries who worked in south India. Hanson admitted that he gained new experience in India, and no underlining is needed for the fact that the critique of his own inherited faith in Anglicanism came from India. As a global Anglican, he was not ashamed of it!

The Rev. Dr. Joseph G Muthuraj is a Presbyter of the Church of South India and he taught New Testament at the United Theological College, Bangalore, South India. He has written several books and articles on the history and problems of Anglican-CSI Episcopacy. He is a regular contributor to VOL.

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