It seems that some bishops may see global Christian koinonia as essential to their episcopal office, and there is something to be said for such relationships constituting proper episcopal function. Granting the premise, however, it does not follow that membership in the 78 million-or-so member Anglican Communion is necessary for maintaining a catholic episcopate. It is, up to a point, convenient. But remember we are talking about koinonia falling short of being one church; we are in effect talking about being in full communion. That is a pretty low bar, and it is scandalous that so many Christian churches find developing full communion on an international scale so difficult. Nevertheless, consider where we already are.
We are in full-communion right now with the ELCA, which is part of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The LWF has some 66 million members spread over 78 countries, including state churches in Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Before you get all snitty about sacraments up in here, remember the LWF is a signatory to the '99 Joint Declaration with the Roman Catholic Church.
And, we are in full communion with the Mar Thoma Church, which retains an historic episcopate and has about a million members centered in India, but spread internationally as well across New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, et al.
We're also in full communion with the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.
Were we to enter into full communion with the United Methodist Church, we might consider entering into a close relationship with the World Methodist Council, comprising 75 million members across 132 countries. Our Methodist brothers and sisters sprang from Anglican stock not all that long ago, after all.
And imagine full communion with the Presbyterians (USA), who are members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, with about 75 million members over 107 countries, including congregationalists among their number.
Full communion with Baptists? Heavens forfend? Well, the Baptist World Alliance has 47 million members in around 200 countries, including 18 million here in the BWA's local arm, the North American Baptist Fellowship (they do not seem to include the Southern Baptists in their number).
Point? Well, just how far can the local adaptation of the historic episcopate be stretched? Is there any point to our seeing ourselves as a bridge church establishing an international, cross-denominational koinonia? Should we aim to have this form a basis for our episcopacy's full being rather than membership in the Anglican Communion? We have established with the Communique that our polity is, after all, up for grabs--at least temporarily. As long as flexibility is a given, we might ask these sorts of questions seriously.