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.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 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."
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.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."
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.”
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.