Stephen Bates ends his fine article, written today, on Archbishop Akinola with these lines, "Let there be no illusions," he says to his fellow churchmen. "The Communion is broken and fragmented. The Communion will break." He and his acolytes are content to bring it on, to inaugurate the reign of the righteous. We're a long way from the Vicar of Dibley here."
So it appears. Among the late day announcements via the Living Church (who by the way I sent a gift of thanks to for their work on site), was the note that "The extra-curricular session with three bishops from The Episcopal Church has been changed from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, according to the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network. The change of date for the special session during the Anglican primates' meeting was announced last week, but was not widely publicized. No further information was available at press time." The announcement was actually in Bishop Duncan's request for a "Prayer Novena." It seems not to have been anywhere else.
The only significance of all this is that rather than the meeting with the three American wise men being at the beginning or before the other business at hand, it will be in the midst of the business at hand (whatever that now is.) It will be of considerable interest to see if things actually get to that particular "outside the regular business" session at all, or if it will become part of the agenda of the meeting per se. At stake, of course, is what seems to be the press by Archbishop Akinola and friends to change the agenda and to challenge the presence of the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of York. If that discussion takes place tomorrow (Wednesday), then the three American visitors (who have no business being there except to report in) will be in play, as they say. All sorts of negotiations can take place, most of them politically bad news and worse ecclesiological news. If for any reason the Moderator finds himself at the table other than to make his report, negotiated into the tent in one way or another, as part of a deal not to have a vote taken on excluding the Presiding Bishop, the deal should be off.
The various realignment folk are not there in Dar Es Salaam to make peace, but to make war. Let there be no illusions indeed.