Thursday, November 11, 2010

Anglican Primates Meeting may be suspended

The Church of England Newspaper is reporting that Rowan Williams has written to the Anglican Primates proposing that the Primates Meeting be suspended.

This ifollowing signals from Anglican primates alarmed that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church will be invited to attend the now-scheduled January meeting in Ireland, even though she presided over the consecration of Mary Glasspool in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Rowan Williams called the consecration "regrettable" and that it could "further threaten the unity of the Anglican Communion."

During his visit to India last month, Rowan Williams spoke about the deepening divisions in the Anglican Communion:
"I feel that we may yet have to face the possibility of deeper divisions," Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams told The Hindu newspaper in an interview, released Wednesday.

The comment was made after he pointed out the complications posed by the recent ordination of a partnered lesbian in Los Angeles.

Though Anglican leaders were making progress in dialogue over the past couple of years, he said, "The decision of the American Church to go forward, as it has, with the ordination of a lesbian bishop has, I think, set us back."
Today The Church of England Newspaper now reports via email that the Archbishop of Canterbury is seriously considering suspending the Primates Meeting now scheduled for January:
The Archbishop of Canterbury has proposed suspending the Primates’ Meeting – the fourth ‘instrument of unity’ in the Anglican Communion – in favour of holding multiple small group gatherings of like- minded archbishops.

In a letter to the primates dated October 7, Dr Rowan Williams suggested that given the “number of difficult conversations” and the threat of a boycott of its meetings, a regime of separate but equal facilitated small groups sessions might better serve the primates’ “diverse” perspectives and forestall the substantial “dam- age” to the Communion a full- fledged boycott would entail.

Dr Williams also called for a reform of the structure of the meetings, suggesting that an elected standing committee be created and the powers and responsibility of the meeting of the Communion’s 38 archbishops, presiding bishops and moderators be delineated.

Lambeth Palace did not respond to a request for clarification about the October 7 letter, while a spokesman for the Anglican Consultative Council said it could not address the question of a potential boycott as “the content of correspondence between the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury is private.”
Meanwhile, CAPA Chairman Archbiship Ian Ernest, said in his opening remarks at a gathering of the African Primates this week that the decision to attend the January Primates meeting  "rests solely on the individual Archbishop."  However he went on to tell the gathered primates that "The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited me in my capacity of CAPA Chairman to be part of a preparatory committee. He is also anxious that a small group of primates meet with him. I would like to have your opinion and thoughts about it."

The method of forming these "preparatory committees" can be seen as an American-style lobbying tool (as we saw so clearly in the Anglican Covenant Design Committee).  By making public the invitation to join such a "preparatory committee" and solicit advice, Archbishop Ernest places himself in more of a representative role for the African primates than as one particular primate being singled out from the rest of the group. 

The invitation to participate in such a new "preparatory committee" follows the resignation or withdrawal of CAPA Primates from the newly-renamed "Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion" (formerly the Joint Standing Committee) when it became clear that the Episcopal Church would not be held accountable for communion-breaking activities.

As we think on this, a song comes to mind:




UPDATE: George Conger has posted his article here.

20 comments:

Daniel Weir said...

So, now the solution to divisions is to talk only with like-minded Anglicans?

Annie Patterson Rothgeb said...

Divide. And conquer.

Anonymous said...

If one was really interested in talking to orthodox Anglicans, one should not have started deposing and suing them, for starters. Or ignored adequate alternative oversight or the Dar es Salaam communique, for that matter.

But did Williams' letter really say the Gobal South primates would get a "separate but equal" meeting? Really? That is most unfortunate.

Kevin said...

I agree Anon, it is a most unfortunate choice of words, with loaded connotations. I fear +Williams may not be aware of how unfortunate is his phrasing or the consequences therein.

St. Nikao said...

That's OK - the real Primates will meet anyway. An word or invitation from the ABC has been so greatly devalued in the last seven or so years as to be practically worthless and meaningless.

Pageantmaster said...

The full CEN article is posted on George Conger's blog here.

My thoughts are here et seq. fwiw.


We seem fated to be led round and round and round in much the same way as you would break a colt when it finally gives up.

Pageantmaster said...

Oh, and I love that song - thank you BB.

DeeBee said...

Ain't [strikeout]the Delphi Technique[/strikeout] [strikeout]Divide and Conquer, as above[/strikeout] Indaba just GREAT?

Lapinbizarre said...

So let St Nikao's "real Primates" meet anyway, and they can stomp off to form their own "real" Communion. Then we'll all be happy, won't we?

Of course, I keep forgetting that in reality it's a "brand name" thing - who's to hold the prestigious, high-end "Anglican" trade mark - isn't it?

stringsinger said...

So, now R.W. wants to implement his "two tiers" strategy with separate meetings of "like-minded" archbishops? Forgive my incredulity that a "separate but equal" status would be anything but. That phrase has always been used to placate the marginalized!

TJ McMahon said...

It occurs to me that the best outcome from the point of view of the Church would be for the orthodox Primates to meet en masse, with or without Dr. Williams, and certainly without his "facilitators"- who are there to intentionally misinterpret everything the orthodox Primates say- ala Lambeth.
Then let him meet with the small group of primates representing the church of the standing committee, if he wants to.
The whole point of breaking into small groups is to further destroy the influence of the Primates, and to remove them altogether as an "Instrument", and to continue to allow the standing committee to overrule them.
Of course, Dr. Williams would never allow a mass meeting of orthodox Primates because, given a choice of one meeting or the other, the vast majority will attend the orthodox meeting, and it will be obvious that the revisionists don't actually represent more than 10 million people of the Communion's 80 million.

Rod said...

"Separate but equal" I realize that doesn't have the same evocative power across the pond that it does here, but.... wow.

The Lakeland Two said...

Delphi technique.

Anonymous said...

Divide and rule? It might be separate but it cannot be equal.... the GS has millions of Anglicans in church on a Sunday.... TEC cannot even get 1m in a country of 350m people..... perhaps that is why TEC is so keen to keep a global platform (nobody at home is listening much any more)....

Lapinbizarre said...

"....GS has millions of Anglicans in church on a Sunday". So it claims. We only have their word for it, of course.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the rabbit could undertake a globe trotting headcount? We would of course have to trust his word...

Anonymous said...

Rabbit! You clearly want to believe that TEC gets a healthy and growing proportion of the US population on a Sunday....and o all ages..... TEC nos show fewer than 1 in 400 Americans turn up on a Sunday to hear abotu 'ubuntu' and whatever else....and the average age? Revisionists reaching America? Gotta adapt to reach the context eh? The context is telling revisionists something..... but I notice Rick Warren is not struggling to attract Americans of all ages..... why look so far away.... I notice Truro church attracts a lot of Americans....great to see that.....and they do not need an old building to reach those people, however nice it is and even if it is theirs

Daniel Weir said...

If heterosexist pastors attract crowds in the US, does that mean they are right?

Wilf said...

I can answer your question without fully understanding it, Daniel - obviously the answer is "no" - but I suppose to understand your question, I would need to know: which pastors are you describing as "heterosexist," and why? And out of curiosity: do you consider any persons to be homosexist?

Anonymous said...

Just trying to understand words here. If a sexist makes judgments based on sex (as in male or female), than a heterosexist maks judgments based on heterosex (as in having it or not)? I realize we are well past George Orwells "1984" but notice the similarities. The language is being changed to control thought. "homophobe" puts the error onto those who are not disordered in their sexuality. "heterosexist" attempts the same thing. George, it seems, was a bit of a prophet, only he didn't realize it would all be about normalizing abnormal sexuality. And yet it is about control.