John had a sense that it would all play out, and indeed it will.
That is the sense I have of the past few days. The bits and pieces of the puzzle concerning the struggles in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are beginning to fall into place. I begin to have a sense that it will all become clear soon. Here are a few pieces of the puzzle:
(i) The President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, wrote a gentle but firm letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Panel of Reference to put them on the right path and to urge them to reconsider the findings on the Diocese of Fort Worth. This letter was the practical slam dunk on the broader comments of the Bishop of
(ii) The Bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee and the Executive Committee of the Diocese seem finally to have reached their limit. The church members who have left the Episcopal Church now are being made to realize that their vestries have abandoned the Episcopal Church and therefore they have no standing as vestries, and the churches, far from being “theirs” are still part of the missionary resources of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church. The churches have been abandoned, says the Bishop, and the time has come to establish new leadership, gather the remaining Episcopal Church congregants and get on with the mission of the church. The Diocese wrote on the matter, he wrote on the matter, and damn near everyone else in the blogsphere wrote. The Daily Episcopalian had THIS to say about the release from the Diocese of Virginia, and this to say in praise of Peter Lee. Now there are two, a lay person and a bishop, to join the third, the Presiding Bishop and Primate, who has begun letting bishops know the limits of their office as well.
(iii) David Virtue has posted the Archbishop attendees at the American Mission in America meeting in
(update from first comment below: the list seems now to be Nizimbi - Kenya, Kolini - Rwanda, Mtetemela - Tanzania, Dirokpa -Congo,Yong - S.E. Asia (retired primate),Tay - S.E. Asia (retired primate), Akrofi - West Africa, Ernest - Indian Ocean, Malango - Central Africa, Ntahoturi - Burundi. That being the case there are eight active Primates in attendance.
The only comment in Virtue’s article that drew my real interest, aside from his odd way of counting, was this: “One U.S. conservative leader present at the Winter Conference suggested that conservative global South Primates believe they have been "played" on this issue and that a head of steam is building which he believes will boil over at the Dar es Salaam, Tanzanian meeting.” Again, The Primates Meeting.
(iv) Perhaps the prize for putting the skunk on the table goes to The Rev. Penelope Duckworth who wrote for the San Jose Mercury News, and said, “With the consecration of The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, there was suddenly no man who had more authority, and so sexism was flushed from its cover. Like many schismatics, the authors (of a Jan. 10 opinion piece - the Rev. John Yates and Os Guinness) claim to represent the true church. But, in fact, they are objecting to decisions made democratically by duly elected representatives.” The men who gather in
In 1999 I wrote an article for Louie Crew’s Anglican Pages titled, “No Jurisdiction in this realm: On the matter of intervention and autonomy in the Anglican Communion.” In it I said, “If those in our Church who cannot reconcile themselves to a polity that does or will make decisions contrary to their own best sense of God’s will, then they have every business leaving. There is an honorable history of convinced Christians doing so. But it must be clearly understood that any effort by them to wrest from this church its mission, people, name, churches, funds or agencies will be met with authoritative, clear and resounding resistance.”
Well, now in 2007, only eight years later, the “authoritative, clear and resounding resistance” is at last being heard.
At the Primates Meeting everyone will come and live out their parts. Special guests will perhaps be heard, some Primates will posture, the Committee will report to whoever is still at the table. No matter who is there the Primates will ultimately have to deal with the reality that they have no mandate except to share with one another. In this the Archbishop of
I cannot imagine it will be a good time, this fellowship. But perhaps the book is not sealed yet.