The Church Times, concerning the invitational meeting called by Bishop Wimberly of Texas to which the bishops of Durham and Winchester are going as envoys of the Archbishop of Canterbury reported this (report covered by Thinking Anglicans):
“Dr Wright said on Tuesday that the group consisted of those who wanted to hold to as broad a base of Episcopalianism under the Windsor and Communion rubrics as they could, and who needed to be taught some Anglican and biblical theological pathways by which they could do so. “They need to be encouraged to extend their left arms as far as they can in one direction and their right arms in another to prevent what could otherwise be multiple fracturing and break-up,” he said. “The Bishop of Winchester and I want to see ECUSA refreshed, renewed, and full of vigour.”
The suppositions that these bishops “needed to be taught some Anglican and biblical theological pathways” is an interesting one. Arrogant, but interesting.
Bishop Wright of Durham has meddled in Episcopal Church affairs already, having produced a critique of the proposed resolutions of the Special Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion just hours before General Convention began. He has been a strict “constructionist” regarding the force of the Windsor Report, contending that compliance is what is required, not response. Bishop Wright of Durham can often be very right indeed, but not always. In this case he is about to find himself in trouble.
When The Right Reverend Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter, spoke to the March 2006 meeting of the House of Bishops concerning the Windsor Report and the Special Committee’s preliminary report his response was considered by many to be arrogant and misplaced. Exeter was sent by Canterbury, and if that is the style of engagement then we can look forward to more of the same efforts to teach “some Anglican and biblical theological pathways.” If these are the teachers, perhaps one question to ask is if the Church of England, itself on the edge of break up or breakdown, is in any position to teach anything.
Bishop Wimberly’s invitation is to those who agree want to be “compliant” with Windsor and thus qualify for full inclusion in the imaginary (or perhaps visionary) scheme the Archbishop of Canterbury proposed in his reflections. This so called two-tiered approach makes some Churches, and perhaps some Dioceses, “constituent members” of the Communion and others not. It will be a mess if it is done on less than a Provincial level. It will be a mess even then.
The envoys of the Archbishop and the self selecting bishops who are compliant will have a fine time. Having declared they are compliant in order to get in the door, they will be taught a variety of things, and if they are indeed compliant they will hear and obey the envoys.
And who gave these envoys any power at all? They represent a prince of the church who has no more power here than any foreign bishop. But there will be no way for these bishops to learn than other in the school of hard knocks. That school has its beginning training session in Texas.