The Watch Bird is watching: Back to Work.

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.


  1. Hi Mark

    In the GUARDIAN today


    we are once again reminded that we are talking about 8 bishops out of 110 who don't accept Katharine's authority. You could literally ignore 8 out of 110 and eventually they would either go away or climb on board. It really is not a major rebellion (imagine how wonderful it would be if you were a parish priest where less than 8% of the congregation disagreed with you).

    So the question is, why the overwhelming desire of the ABC to accommadate the rebels at the expense of the vast majority? What on earth is the agenda being pursued here. You could guess if it was still Carey in charge but we are talking about Rowan Williams backed by, what is still, basically, a liberal House of Bishops.

    Strange days, in deed.

  2. Bill Carroll7/11/06 7:59 AM

    Archbishop Williams should say strongly and unequivocally that, while he has no authority to command any of these archbishops not to do what they are doing, that there actions are highly destructive and contrary to Anglican tradition and that he wishes they would stop. But he won't.

  3. "Archbishop Williams should say strongly and unequivocally that, while he has no authority to command any of these archbishops not to do what they are doing, that there actions are highly destructive and contrary to Anglican tradition and that he wishes they would stop. But he won't." Bill Carroll

    I don't know, it may be his final opportunity to save the Anglican Communion from a attempted rape/mutilation from fancy dressed "old birds" who are actually buzzards in desguise.

  4. Lee of the Left Coast7/11/06 2:08 PM

    Mark, I can't begin to say what a joy it was to be at the Friday gathering at St. Colomba and to participate in the Compass Rose and Matrix workshop. While, as I told you, I'm a talker not a writer I'm going to try to shift the balance. The joy of Friday was magnified both on Saturday and Sunday, where I stayed for the seating, almost the same service in terms of processions, living water dancers, asperges, and multiple communion stations, St Thomas Gospel Choir, the SOL musicians, the service felt much more intimate, much more a loving family gathering, nearly as many people, much laughing and weeping, and unauthorized picture taking. All that is bye the bye, probably a "comment" more appropriate on your Saturday post and my next is much more appropriate to the Anglicans Online post but I was still in DC on Sunday and in Philadelphia on Monday.
    I've been mulling the business of MY church, OUR church, YOUR church, THEIR church and the idea of this church being taken away and realized that the church is MINE, OURS, YOURS, THEIRS only in that I, WE, YOU, THEY belong to the Church, never that the Church belongs to me or to you or to us or to them. The Church can never be "taken away from us" as it has never been "ours to be taken away from", though we can take ourselves away from the Church. It's more than time we all lived out that fact and that while Christ is in us and we in Christ, Christ is never a thing we can encompass or define.
    Now, a comment appropriate to today's post. I do believe that we should all be watchbirds watching the malcontents, I think we should all be shouting the good news that THEY are NOT the majority but rather a very small fraction of the whole, as noted by madpriest, barely 8%. Surely we should get in people's faces (especially newspeople's) and announce again and again that the dissonant minority is a very tiny minority, and that the Episcopal Church is alive and very well in Christ.
    Much gratitude for your blog which I do consult faithfully and for your wisdom embodied in it.
    a devoted fan

  5. Of course they would try to force this issue before they came to the United States. Without some effort to gain a mandate, or at least some presumption of one, what would they have to offer their American fellow-travelers?

    Please God, Canterbury will continue to proclaim his limits, including being unable to sanction such a profound violation of the integrity of the Episcopal Church, and of the traditions of the Anglican Communion. Having asked the Presiding Bishop and her predecessor to sit down with Network bishops in an attempt to settle this within this Province, how can he set a new standard by condoning action from outside this Province?

  6. Hey MadPriest, you may think that 8 out of a 110 is pretty insignificant, until you realize that the Gay Population in this country is 3%, and look at the tremendous amount of chaos they have caused not only in this country, but especially in the Episcopal Church, and even the entire Anglican Communion world wide. They have even managed to protect with federal legislation the only federally protected disease in this country, HIV and AIDS. How do you go about eradicating a disease when it is federally protected. What can stop it's spread?


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