We've just been handed the text of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference. Here's an excerpt:
"At Dar-es-Salaam, the primates tried to find a way of inviting different groups to take a step forward simultaneously towards each other. It didn’t happen, and each group was content to blame the other. But the last 18 months don’t suggest that this was a good outcome. Can this Conference now put the same kind of challenge? To the innovator, can we say, ‘Don’t isolate yourself; don’t create facts on the ground that make the invitation to debate ring a bit hollow’? Can we say to the traditionalist, ‘Don’t invest everything in a church of pure and likeminded souls; try to understand the pastoral and human and theological issues that are urgent for those you are opposing, even if you think them deeply wrong’?"
"At the moment, we seem often to be threatening death to each other, not offering life. What some see as confused or reckless innovation in some provinces is felt as a body-blow to the integrity of mission and a matter of literal physical risk to Christians. The reaction to this is in turn felt as an annihilating judgement on a whole local church, undermining its legitimacy and pouring scorn on its witness. We need to speak life to each other; and that means change. I’ve made no secret of what I think that change should be - a Covenant that recognizes the need to grow towards each other (and also recognizes that not all may choose that way). I find it hard at present to see another way forward that would avoid further disintegration. But whatever your views on this, at least ask the question : ‘Having heard the other person, the other group, as fully and fairly as I can, what generous initiative can I take to break through into a new and transformed relation of communion in Christ?’
Why does he think that the Episcopal Church is going to stand down? Hasn't he heard what they've said - consistently, now for years? They believe that the Spirit is doing a new thing, the Spirit is the author of these innovations imposed on the Episcopal Church what have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion. But it is not their idea - they believe most sincerely that it's God idea. To hold back on those innovations is to hold back on God, to marginalize people for the sake of keeping together a colonial structure that is long gone with the wind.
More later - my ride up the hill is now departing ...