- The ABC’s small working group on what to do with the General Convention actions will remain unnamed.
- The ABC is not at all interested in personally commenting on the ordination of Bishop Minns.
- The Covenant Drafting Group is either not appointed yet (a real possibility) or the whole idea of the Covenant is being usurped as we speak by the Global South who will write what they think is appropriate and send it on.
- No one from the US or UK went to the ordination of Bishop Minns in Nigeria, save his immediate family.
- No progressives have been consulted by the Archbishop of Canterbury since General Convention.
- No representatives of the Gay and Lesbian communities in the US or UK have been consulted by any of the “reflection” groups of bishops being pulled together.
Still, I am always hoping for some light on any of the questions raised on my page Sniffing Hounds, Dog Days, the Trail Grows Cold. If I am wrong on any of the above, based on receiving no answer at all, so be it. I will be glad to know differently.
Several years ago I thought it useful to get the precise date and attendance at the conversation in which the Archbishop took up the topic of the formation of a Network. I published my query and a follow up on Louie Crew’s pages.
What I wrote was this:
“I draw your attention to an article by Martyn Minns, titled "Is the Anglican Communion Network the best way forward" -- posted by Dr. Kendall Harmon.
In that article Fr. Minns states,
‘The Network was formed last year to support and encourage the life and ministry of those alienated by the actions of General Convention. The original suggestion came from a meeting that David Anderson, President of the AAC, and I had with Archbishop Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace on September 18th, 2003. We had been invited to give a first hand report on the state of the Episcopal Church after Minneapolis. We shared something of our struggles and it was at that conversation that he suggested the need for a Network. He called it a Network of Confessing Dioceses and Parishes. He wanted to be sure that we used a positive name and not be identified as dissenters. He was also very deliberate in using the word "Confessing" because that would connect it with the "Confessing Christian" movement that stood for the orthodox faith in Germany at a time when the official Christian bodies were being manipulated and co-opted by the government of Nazi Germany. The name subsequently became the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (or Anglican Communion Network or ACN).’”
I was called a busybody for taking important people away from their more important tasks to answer my question. Now, these years later, it is perhaps of some historical and ecclesial interest to note that Canon Minns, who has been active in the Network these three years, is now Bishop Minns whose missionary device is CANA, a part of the Church of Nigeria. Bishop Minns has been well placed these several years.
The Archbishop’s office stepped back three years ago from the reference to the Confessing Church, but not from the Archbishop having been part of the conversation. Now the Archbishops Office has stepped back from support of the consecration of Bishop Minns, but no word has been heard from the Archbishop personally to distance himself from the Church of Nigeria’s actions.
Perhaps I am still just a busybody, but I still hope that someone sees the reason for the questions: Too much seemingly is being done without any interchange (listening is a word that comes to mind) with those affected – the Episcopal Church, Gay and Lesbian Anglicans, etc. The voices of the Global South are heard, as are the moans of the realignment folk, and even the voices of the moderate in the Episcopal Church, but not the voices of progressives who believe that the claims of the baptized trump claims of tradition or purity codes. And should there be found such considerations of the progressive stance, it seems little when compared to the serious invitation to persons and organizations whose positions require no change from past tradition and ancient purity.
In all of this a pattern emerges: the mirror of subsidiarity, the notion that things get handled at the lowest possible ecclesial level, is the notion of the patriarch, who with other personages of high station make the decisions in secret and for others of lower station. Both understandings of authority and decision making are profoundly dismissive of the prophet who comes before the king and the common people, who are given common tasks but not consulted on greater ones.
The result of lack of consultation between those who claim to be authority in the church and those who by right of prayer and prophecy and search for justice are equally of authority will result in an irrelevant death of the very church that both considered home. That will be either foolishness or perhaps tragedy.
Let me be clear: my concern is not about past actions or consultations. It is about the present and future. Where are the invitations now for progressives in the development of an Anglican Communion wide covenant, in the working group on judgment on the Episcopal Church, of life in the Communion? Will there be any? And where is the criticism of the rank disregard by Primates, without any semblance of Provincial consultations within their own Provinces, of the Windsor Report?
I have come to the regrettable conclusion, given the amount of time I spent with colleagues on the matter, that the Windsor Report is for the most part dead. Perhaps something like a compact among Anglican Provinces will result, but that will be in spite of the Covenant example given as an appendix to the Report. The good theology (and there was a good bit of that) will find other venues for further discussion. But its use as a bludgeon by the realignment crowd spells its demise.
If the Primates, and in particular the Archbishop of Canterbury, do not give ear to representatives of progressive concerns, the authority they hold will be absorbed by common men and women, who seek Christ and will find and be found by Christ anyway, and regrettably perhaps elsewhere.