Anglican Communion Stories

Google the words “Anglican Communion” and you’ll find plenty of news stories, usually centered on controversies about the gender or sexual orientation of a person in a leadership position.

As a journalist for much of my life, I understand why such controversies are reported and, in fact, must be reported.

But those are stories about Church as an institution.

There’s another kind of “church” story, about Church as a movement of spirit. And that’s what you’ll find with Trinity Wall Street’s Anglican Communion Stories.

The idea came here at Trinity Wall Street in the late summer of 2008, immediately following the Lambeth Conference. Lambeth brings together, every ten years, bishops from the Anglican Communion, that network of churches with a membership of eighty million people spread out over 160 countries, on every continent except, as far as I know, Antarctica.

People in the Anglican Communion don’t all look the same, they speak scores of different languages and dialects, and their religious traditions have been shaped by unique historical experiences including, in many cases, colonialism.

Yet, every day, in all those diverse places, folks are working hard at ministries designed to bring a message of Christian hope to the world.

Trinity Wall Street’s Television and New Media Department made a commitment to travel across the Anglican Communion — gradually — and use our video camera to introduce people, and tell their stories.

By the time you read this, my colleagues William Jarrett and Michael McGuinnes and I will have traveled more than forty-one thousand miles to accomplish that mission.

Already, there are seven segments available for viewing on the Trinity Wall Street website. We also plan to devote a column in each edition of Trinity News to a “behind-the-scenes” look at our journeys.

The stories come from Montevideo, Uruguay, and from the Great Plains of South Dakota; from Kumasi in the middle of Ghana to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

We’ve met five young women who are living and farming together in California. We broke bread, including the Eucharist, with folks of a congregation in Eastern Kentucky, in the region usually referred to as Appalachia, who are making their church open and welcoming to gay, lesbian, and transgendered disciples.

One of our trips took us to the ancient heartland of the Anglican Church, London, England. But the focus of the story was hardly traditional.

We profiled the only Syrian-born Anglican priest on the planet, a man who is helping British Christians to cope in a society where their faith is no longer overwhelmingly dominant.

Trinity Wall Street’s Anglican Communion Stories are only marginally about what goes on inside church buildings, although we do try to provide a sense of the unique styles that people in different locales bring to their worship.

A more important goal is to provide a glimpse of the rich culture of a community, including music, food, transportation, and how that culture helps to define its service to others.

We also seek to demonstrate the tireless commitment of people to the work of the faith that guides them. Witnessing that commitment, often from folks who live with fewer creature comforts than most of us do, is always both inspiring and humbling.

Finally, we hope those who watch the Anglican Communion Stories will see opportunities to connect, whether in prayer, with financial support, or by adopting proven models of service for their own congregations.

I think these stories will give you a sense of excitement. I hope they also leave you with a feeling of solidarity with the people we introduce, either as fellow believers or simply as colleagues in the work of making a better world, a more abundant life, for all of creation.

Jim Melchiorre is senior producer for Trinity Television.