Stephen Marsden discovers the logic of the Anglican Communion
Now, let me see if I’ve got this straight. America is that enormous land mass the other side of the pond. Starting at the top, or the north, as I think it’s often called, you have Canada or, as the Anglican Communion calls it, The Anglican Church of Canada. So far, so good. Now let’s move south.
Next, you have the United States of America, all of which, apart from a bit of California centred on the city of Fresno, is in The Episcopal Church. I know that there’s a bit of the United States and TEC called Alaska which looks as if it ought to be part of Canada, but let’s not go there. Let’s keep going south – to Mexico next, or La Iglesia Anglikana de Mexico, as it’s known at Lambeth Palace.
So far, so pedestrian: three sovereign states, three autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion. Let us move south again, into what is generally known as Central America. First up is Belize. Belize, a former British Colony, is in the Province of the West Indies, and who can blame it? To the south and west of Belize is Guatemala, which is in a new province, Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America. Moving on, there is Honduras – which is, logically (sic) enough, in The Episcopal Church (ECUSA as was). Next to Honduras is El Salvador which takes us back into Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, as do the next three: Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
By now, you may have got out an atlas in order to try and keep up. If so, you’ll be wondering what on earth Honduras is doing in TEC. Don’t. For there is more. Let’s move on to South America.
Mainland South America comprises thirteen countries and it will help us if we dispose of three of them first. Brazil, the largest, is in its own province of the Communion – Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. Given what has gone before, this might seem almost eccentric, but more eccentric is the position of French Guiana and Surinam, both of which seem not to be in any province of the Anglican Communion at all (how on earth do they cope?). Next to Surinam is Guyana which,
probably for the same reason as Belize, is in the Province of the West Indies. West of Guyana is Venezuela which, being a sovereign state in South America, is of course a diocese of The Episcopal Church. West of Venezuela is Colombia; it adjoins Panama in Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America so naturally it is also a part of The Episcopal Church, as is its neighbour, Ecuador.
South of Ecuador, we find Peru, and we enter the Province of the Southern Cone. From here on, it’s all quite straightforward: Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, not forgetting San Joaquin, that bit of California centred on the city of Fresno, which Mrs Jefferts Schori insists cannot be anywhere other than in The Episcopal Church. And she’s got a point. After all, the Province of the Southern Cone being in California would be as ridiculous as the Diocese of Taiwan (you know, that island off the coast of China which we all used to call Formosa) being in The Episcopal Church. Which, needless to say, it is.