That’s the trouble with the wind-down: I went to the Episcopal Majority meeting last Friday. Good people, good conversation, hope in spite of hope. Great stuff! Then the incredible Investiture Service on Saturday. Bishop Katharine centered, clear, calling us up higher. Even greater stuff!
I lost my voice along the way: the dread throat bugs got the vocal cords and left me a whimpering fool. But that was OK. All was well. I came back to Delaware and was rescued from the prison of silence by the best of friends, who had spent that Saturday in silence. Sunday I preached twice, stood in silence against the War, went to several social action meetings, and collapsed in the evening a happy mortal, visions of good people, fine liturgy and a church on the move still with me.
I slept the sleep of the just. I walked on the beach this morning.
But, that was then, this is now.
It’s Monday and it is time for the watch bird to be watching again.
You remember the watch bird? This is the little fella. The watch bird is watching you, and me. And the watch bird is not thrilled with what she sees these days in the Anglican Communion.
Four Archbishops from “The Global South” are, it appears, coming to the United States to a meeting in Falls Church, Virginia. That meeting is of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, an arm of the ACN. The prelates in question are, it is reported, The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies, The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya, and The Most Rev. Justice Akrofi, Primate of West Africa. They have invited dioceses seeking Alternative Primatial Oversight or whatever to meet with them. It is not yet clear that representatives of those dioceses will do so.
Given that they are going to be here, they have been invited by the Presiding Bishop to visit her in New York.
Now it is reported by Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent of the Telegraph, that “a group of conservative archbishops, including the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, will meet Dr Williams at Lambeth Palace to discuss the creation of a parallel body for conservatives in America.” Given the flight paths from Africa to the US by way of London it would make some sense to suppose that the two groups are the same.
It remains to be seen if the four will indeed meet with Bishop Katharine.
The watchbird would do well to watch this crowd. If they first meet with members of the Anglican Communion Network and its related group, the Common Cause Partners and then move on to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury it looks more and more like a coup d’eglise on the make.
Ah, there is nothing like a coup to catch the inattentive unawares! No time for walking the dogs or basking in a fine weekend just past.
The attempt to bring down the Episcopal Church and raise in its place a “parallel body for conservatives in America” is well underway. This business of a “parallel body,” like the notion of a second province in America, or “constitutant” and “associate” membership in the Anglican Communion or “Alternative Primatial Oversight,” is all a sham. This is all a rouse, something to occupy our time while the Global South is raising up a second head just in time to propose chopping the first head off.
It is time to be watchful.
If the Four will not meet with the Presiding Bishop and particularly if Archbishop Gomez will not meet with her, then as I have suggested before, it is time for him to step down as the Chair of the Covenant Design Group.
If the meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury really is to discuss the Global South proposal to put in place a “parallel body,” it is time for a serious conversation with the ABC about the door he may be opening.
When they come knocking, gently knocking at his chamber door, who will be there to claim the Church of England is part of the Anglican Communion and keep the executioner at bay? It will come ‘round.