Jonathan Petrie, writing for the Observer, made this comment today in an article titled, "Ring of steel around the archbishops."
"The burgeoning bunker mentality (of the Primates Meeting) can, perhaps, be explained by the palpable anxiety of the organizers that the meeting could be derailed before it has even started by the powerful conservative group of Global South primates, who are determined to seize control of events.
They have set up their own headquarters a hundred yards up the road in the Beachcomber hotel, where they are holding strategy meetings before moving en masse to the White Sands for the official five-day meeting beginning on Thursday, where a bloody showdown is looming.
When I mentioned to one of the conservative primates that there was consternation among Anglican Communion staff about what is effectively an alternative headquarters, he replied: "This isn't the alternative headquarters. It is THE headquarters." With that sort of attitude to contend with, Dr Williams will have his work cut out."
(Here is THE Headquarters... nice digs, eh?)
The Archbishop of Canterbury is coming in on Tuesday afternoon. Folks in THE headquarters are meeting already. What a mess.
Ruth Gledhill, writing about this in her Timesonline article, "The Anglican Communion's 'Via Dolorosa' had this to say:
" I have a little son of five called Arthur. He's just started school. …Sometimes he comes home upset because one particular boy or girl won't sit at the same table as him. Or won't let him play football. I dry his tears and tell him that this is how little children behave and it will all be better when he's grown-up.
But will it?...
Sometimes I just wish the Anglican hierarchy could step back and consider for a minute how all this looks to the outside world.
…it looks no better than the politics of the playground. … Yet these are not children but Anglican bishops and archbishops we are talking about."
In a piece written today (Monday February 12) she writes, "As the local paper in Dar es Salaam reports, the media is not being given any official access to the main meeting. But you can bet there will be access to the conservatives next door. At Lambeth 1998, there was access but it was tightly controlled. There also, the conservatives set up their own operation, in the Franciscan Centre just off the Kent University campus. So guess where we got all our stories from, and guess who won the media battle, and partly as a result of this, the war over sexuality? You'ld have thought they would have learned, but no. It is happening all over again. And you can be pretty certain, that once again, the conservatives will win both the media battle and the bigger war, and it will be partly because of this. I once believed the Anglican Communion would survive this crisis, but now am not so sure."
So on Monday things look a bit bleak. THE Headquarters seems next door and they are getting all the press. The politics of the playground is unseemly and infantile.
Now Stephen Bates, whose writings I respect very much, has chimed in with this, on Blathering Bishops.
"They (the bishops of Winchester, Rochester and Durham, et.al.) should know by now that there is nothing that gets Americans' backs up more than being told what to do in lofty tones by a Brit: it brings out all the spikiest memories of the Boston Tea Party, King George III and British dentistry and is therefore entirely counter-productive. Even in Christian circles…
The notion that the US Church - one of the longest established in America, an offshoot of the Church of England and the church of most presidents since George Washington - is not Christian is so bizarrely overblown as to be risible. They may not share the Bishop of Winchester's cramped, disapproving and drably censorious, dessicated Anglicanism, but they certainly have a clearly motivated Christian belief system, based on faith, hope and charity, the old nostrums that Scott-Joynt may once, dimly, have read about in college. He may not like their Christianity, but he can't say they don't believe in Christ."
The whole thing is indeed like getting teeth pulled…
Why we should subject ourselves to this sort of thing is beyond me. We have a wonderful Presiding Bishop and work to do. The stew being brewed up in Tanzania is unworthy of her and a distraction from the doing.