The Living Church is reporting that the Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, Bishop Duncan, has been invited to meet with the Primates early on at the meeting in Dar es Salaam. The date is set for February 14th. There is another Episcopal Church bishop supposedly being invited but who that is is as yet unknown. (It's 11 PM here on the East Coast). One presumes from the Living Church article that other persons will be heard from as well.
Well, there it is. Valentine's Day. A day of broken hearts. In the Windy City it is remembered as a day of blood on the floor.
The Duncan memo stated it an objective of the ACN that the Moderator be invited to meetings whenever the Presiding Bishop is invited. The November meeting of the Global South Steering Committee asked for a single spokesperson for the realignment community an the Moderator was chosen. And now the Archbishop has invited the Moderator to the Primates Meeting. Of course the Archbishop wants to hear from the realignment community. Who else? But to have that person be the Moderator raises the question. So I'll ask it: Who is playing into whose agenda?
The Agenda is not yet out, but two things seem clear:
(i) The Moderator is present supposedly for the first part of the meeting only, in order to report to the Primates the concerns of the realignment community, but that could change. The Living Church noted, "In recent years, the primates have become less beholden to the agenda initially proposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The agenda for the February 2005 meeting in Northern Ireland, for example, was changed significantly once the meeting began."
(ii) It seems that some of the Primates are in no mood to let the Agenda move on until the question of membership in the group is clarified, and that clarification will involve a challenge to the Presiding Bishop's presence.
The Moderator is now waiting in the wings.
What is the Archbishop thinking?
It doesn't matter who else he brings into the conversation. The fact is the Moderator is in the building. If the Primates were to decide to invite someone not the Primate of the Episcopal Church to sit with them as an American Anglican presence what would there be to prevent them? If they decide to disinvite the Presiding Bishop, what then?
Well, perhaps it won't come to that. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail. Perhaps the so called Global South Primates do not have a majority. Perhaps some of them are not all that interested in having a showdown right now. Perhaps there is still an acknowledgment of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his agenda.
It is of course fine that the Archbishop invites persons to talk to the Primates. But when the talking is over it is vital that the visitors be shown the door.