The BBC reports that two prominent Episcopal (Anglican to the Brits) Churches have left the Episcopal Church of America over the furore about the appointment of gay clergy. In and of itself, there is nothing startling about this – though these are two prominent churches. The disagreements between more conservative and more liberal churches go back a long way. What is very significant here is that the Truro Church and the Falls Church have voted to place themselves under the authority of the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola. Think about it, two rich, powerful and influential North American churches have said declared that a third world archbishop is to be their leader.
We have long thought of the Western world, The US and Europe as being the centre of the Christian religion, but numerically the African, Latin American and Asian churches already outnumber the church in the traditional centres. Now, little by little we will see the Southern church start to take leadership in world Christian affairs. I suspect that Church historians in two hundred years (if such things there be) will look back at this event as a tipping point in the relationships between southern Christians and the North. You can read a more detailed analysis of this trend in my essay here.