Monday, May 11, 2009

Anglican Covenant now back in the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury

Sarah Hey muses on things she wishes the Orthodox Primates Would Do, including that they should:
"take the Ridley draft of the Covenant, modify it appropriately [deleting the JSC as an arbiter, for starters, and adding in real consequences, such that the Ridley draft isn't a fraud], and affirm it as a unified group."
She describes the Orthodox Primates specifically as "the 22 who have declared themselves out of communion with TEC—so that would exclude Williams as a part of that group, since he has done no such thing." Not yet, anyway.

In addition, there is this recommendation:
Let Rowan Williams know that they'll be creating their own Primates Meeting, Lambeth Conference, and ACC meetings, and that they'd love for him to be a part of them - -but they won't be attending the shams and disgraces that have been going on for the past five years of these same meetings.
There are those who say that Rowan Williams is no leader, but I am inclined to disagree. I saw his mastery at the Lambeth Conference. I don't agree that he is no leader - but his methods confound Americans who consistently try to trick him. I still believe there is no love lost between Schori's gang and the Lambeth gang. In fact, they are looking more and more like gangs every day and the confusion we saw on Friday could very well be gang warfare between TEC and Lambeth.

Ian Douglas took a presumptive move, it now seems, one that Rowan Williams objected to. Then - amidst much confusion - the agenda of the day, to divorce Section IV from the Covenant, was achieved, but not by TEC's original intention, that is to strike it from the record. Instead, it's now (safely?) back in the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The wrinkle is that blasted Joint Standing Committee.

That being said, Rowan's gone around them before (and Orombi still isn't showing up for meetings, but he's meeting personally with Rowan Williams), by creating the Windsor Continuation Group. If he was serious about the Joint Standing Committee, he'd have orchestrated that the Joint Standing Committee create the Windsor's Continuation Group and then have it report directly to the JSC for adoption and recommendation, not to the ACC as a whole. He did the same thing with the Covenant - he went around the Joint Standing Committee and took it to the ACC as a whole.

Now goes to the Joint Standing Committee, only Rowan Williams gets to create the committee that will actually study Section IV, so he's gone around them again. We can see this as manuevering to stall the process into infinity and beyond, but we can also see it as a way of keeping it away from The Episcopal Church's attempts to obliterate it.

We know that the Anglican Covenant was going no where in The Episcopal Church - Schori and Bonnie Anderson have ruled out that it would not see the light of day as long as they are in office. Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali also found that Section IV did not have the mechinism to enforce anything, the document had improved on theology and weakened on implentation. The Anglican Covenant is now back in the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury

The question now is - what is he going to do with it? Sarah Hey thinks he'll do just as he's done for the past six years.
Rowan Williams has accomplished what he desired -- he has led, and led well. He needed a delay in action with the Covenant, and a yet further watering down of Section Four to please his TECusa allies. And he got it, all the while giving his "impassioned" speech "supporting" the Covenant.
But it's not clear to me that The Episcopal Church accomplished what they want - the defeat of the Anglican Covenant. That's where the orthodox need to be careful. I think Sarah is correct when she writes, as I posted earlier but will post again:
let Rowan Williams know that they'll be creating their own Primates Meeting, Lambeth Conference, and ACC meetings, and that they'd love for him to be a part of them - -but they won't be attending the shams and disgraces that have been going on for the past five years of these same meetings.
Orombi turns out to be the hero behind the scenes of the last week. Sarah is correct when she lauds Archbishop Henry Orombi, who found other things to do then pay attention to the ACC this past week:

Orombi was absolutely right -- he needed to focus on something worthy, and real, and honorable, and that was not the ACC meeting. In fact -- contrary to those attempting to blame the outcome of the latest ACC meeting on one single man -- Orombi has been proven correct.

Sarah then writes:
It really is pointless to attend these meetings, since the ABC will do as he wishes when he wishes.
The question, though, is why? Why is he allowing this to go on - especially after we did see his mastery at pulling together allies at Lambeth. Certainly the events plaid out live on television on Friday show that the schism is widening beyond control.

This week we learn from a conference in England that Michael Nazir-Ali is reported by the London Times as saying that all Anglicans should look to the Pope for unity. What Bishop Nazir-Ali actually said, though, was this, "What we need is first of all to recognise that there is a proper universal ministry for unity, that it is the Bishop of Rome that exercises that historic ministry for today, and to find a way for all Christians to accept that ministry." He called Benedict the Bishop of Rome, not the Pope which is an important detail coming from an Anglo-Catholic point of view. It's not in his capacity as Pope that there is unity, but as the Bishop of Rome.

Bishop Nazir-Ali is reminding the audience, both local and abroad, that there is a an historic ministry among bishops, and particular bishops - including, oh yes, dear ones, the Bishop of Rome. That can fall on deaf ears to those of us who are low church-evangelicals, perhaps, but for other Anglo-Catholics like even the more liberal-minded but still theological orthodox Rowan Williams there is a distinct warning there, a reminder, yes a warning that he is not after all the historic focus of unity in the Apostolic Succession. Not historically. Rome is, as is Constantinople. If the Anglicans are going to remain at the table, something is going to have to come down.

The Episcopal Church is so far from that kind of unity, it is just a memory. Does Rowan cast his lot with 815 and it's prophetic stances that could only increase in severity this summer at General Convention, or does he cast his eyes to those who desperately want to remain Anglican, who are eager to sign up, who will put it all on the line - there lives, their riches, their honor, who will endure litigation to remain aligned as Anglicans with the hope of unity?

I would agree that any more meetings that include The Episcopal Church's national leadership led by Bishop Schori are a sham. My personal attention now turns to the Communion Partners as the real voice of what remains of The Episcopal Church, for they do share the vision that was clarified at Lambeth.

Remember, Schori stood with her arms folded in defiance when the Archbishop of Canterbury received a standing ovation at the end of his final Presidential Address at the Lambeth Conference last summer, and she did nothing to stop her fellow progressive Episcopal bishops from walking out.

So now the question remains - do the Communion Partners sit down with Schori - or with Duncan? This is a question that is very much on my heart.

Where a door closes, another door opens. We serve a God of grace. If we envision even an informal alliance between the Communion Partners of the ACNA and the Common Cause Partners of TEC - how many North American Anglicans does that now represent? Is it now time for old friends to sit down and find that we are all in the same boat now?

The next generation is watching.

10 comments:

Sibyl said...

BB - I believe you have this reversed:
"If we envision even an informal alliance between the Communion Partners of the ACNA and the Common Cause Partners of TEC..."

It's the CCP of ACNA and the CP of TEC.

Otherwise, BRAVO! Especially that last paragraph. And this:
"I would agree that any more meetings that include The Episcopal Church's national leadership led by Bishop Schori are a sham."


As usual, your analysis is right on.

Anonymous said...

The key is no longer what ++Rowan says, but what ++Rowan does. And he no longer has years or even months, it is really a matter of hours. If he is appointing a group to revise section IV, then he needs to do that this afternoon. And the membership of that group, and not what he says about its mandate, will tell us whether he is serious or not. Likewise, the Pastoral Forum, although a long, long way from the Council we were promised at Dar. Who is on it makes all the difference. We already know it will have no power, but at least it could have some people capable of giving us pastoral guidance that goes beyond "leave the Communion immediately, and leave the keys on the table before you go."
Anything less than immediate and forthright action leads to the conclusion that those who think that ++Rowan got exactly the outcome he wanted are correct.

Pageantmaster said...

There were 3 options given to ACC: to affirm or reject the Ridley Draft as a whole or to send it back to CDG. Instead Williams has gutted it of Section 4 and intends to give it to another committee of his chums under the oversight of the hopelessly liberal JSC. Don't play his game BB.

BabyBlue said...

But wasn't the Windsor Continuation Group also to report to the JSC, but it still got the Fourth Moritoria through - I'm not sure who created the ACC's resolution that mysteriously left it out (Gregory Cameron when asked what happened to it said "I don't know"). I don't think anyone of note is going to pay any more attention to the ACC. It's a farce.

It will be interesting to see what Rowan signals (or refuses to signal) in his address this evening which should start at 7:00 p.m. EST (6:00 p.m. Central). Stay tuned.

bb

Pageantmaster said...

BB

I no longer care what Rowan signals or refuses to signal, what hints he drops, what tantalising prospects he leave hanging in the air or what promises of this or that. I am only interested in actions: following through on sorting out the misvote on Friday, or perhaps the non-vote would be a better term in the few remaining hours of the ACC meeting.

The JSC are not an instrument. The next major meeting is of the Primates due in 2010 [and this was fixed at Alexandria because Rowan cannot be trusted to call meetings]. The CDG does not report to the JSC.

I am not sure I can be bothered to wait up to midnight to listen to the twister.

Dale Matson said...

bb,
What you have said is interesting and enticing but I believe the ABC has a very powerful relationship with KJS. I'm not talking about money or anything untoward. I believe she can be as charming as she is ruthless. I think you underestimate this particular bond and how this will affect the outcome. I do not think he can go against anything she wants. How's that for a different spin on things? He can't resist the siren call to the rocky shores.

Observer said...

Dale - there is no siren-like power....it is very simple....the ABC has said in print (in "The Body's Grace!") and still thinks that Lambeth 1.10 is wrong in his view....he AGREES with TECUSA re its revisionist views on morality....... what is weird is that any evangelicals think that he is on their side...... he is not, he obviously wants the AC to talk until it agrees with him and Gene re Lambeth 1.10.

Publius said...

Hi BB,

While it is accurate to distinguish between the positions taken by TEC (kill the Covenant outright) and the ABC (return the Covenant to a working group the ABC controls) I don't see the practical difference for TEC: TEC is now free to take whatever "prophetic" actions it likes at GC this summer. There is no draft Covenant on the table that could, however weakly, restrain TEC.

As time has passed I have come to see the ABC not as a ditherer but as a firm and strong leader. At each stage of the crisis since 2003, he has intervened decisively to protect TEC. The draft Covenant itself was used to divide the "Gafcon" conservatives from those conservatives who want to use the Instruments to discipline TEC. And now that the Covenant is finally ready, the ABC has sabotaged it to generate years of additional delay. These are not the actions of an honest broker.

In my view, the ABC's power since 2003 has been the hope among "Communion", non-Gafcon conservatives that, in the end, he would lead the existing Instruments to protect the Communion against TEC. Instead, the ABC has thwarted those Instruments, one by one, when they were ready to act.

So after ACC-14, what Communion conservatives will believe Rowan's hints of discipline to come? Judging by the ACI's reaction, Rowan has lost that constituency. To TEC, Rowan's value has been to shield TEC from the "Communion" conservatives and to help TEC divide them from the "Gafcon" conservatives. If Rowan can't do that any longer, his utility to TEC is over.

Perhaps something like the foregoing relections were in Rowan's mind during his Presidential address. That might explain his melancholy, which you note nearby.

BabyBlue said...

It's interesting to think about who's lost who's constituency - have you noticed how quiet some folks are lately? ;-)

bb

Dale Matson said...

"It's interesting to think about who's lost who's constituency - have you noticed how quiet some folks are lately? ;-)"
bb OK, could you unpack this statement for those of us who are a little dense?
Thanks,