Have you been paying attention? There is armed conflict within the jurisdictions of the Episcopal Church. What, you hadn’t noticed?
This past weekend soldiers from Colombia crossed the border with Ecuador to attack and kill a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In reaction both Ecuador to the southwest and Venezuela to the northeast have mobilized their armed forces along the borders. President Chavez of Venezuela has made vague threats, while Colombian forces report they captured a laptop computer with information suggesting that Chavez has been bankrolling the FARC to some extent. Ecuador has in any case known for some time that the FARC bases were there.
One thing we need to consider as we listen to this from across the Caribbean is that Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela are part of the Episcopal Church. Specifically, there are dioceses of Province IX of the Episcopal Church. Indeed, only last month the Executive Council of the Church met in Ecuador. This is one of the consequences of the reality that the Episcopal Church is not only the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The Anglicans in those South American nations are part of our Anglican province, and not of another.
Most news sources say that actual military conflict is unlikely. We can pray that it won’t happen – among those things the world needs no more of is another armed conflict. At the same time, we need to appreciate that those involved include not only our brothers and sisters in Christ but our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church. Pray for peace in the region, and for our Episcopal brothers and sisters in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Pray, and reflect that their troubles are not so far from us after all.