My last post, "The Network, the WB's and the Pledge to the Leader" has generated a bit of attention. A number of comments were made to that post, one of which has caused me to revisit what I wrote yesterday.
Ephraim Radner has commented:
"The Camp Allen bishops signed no such letter as is here being discussed (most were not present in Chantilly). The Camp Allen bishops did not "choose" Bob Duncan as their "leader". They made no "pledges" beyond what has been made public in their statements from their meetings. They have no grand structure of leadership in place, but rather await the clarity of direction to be offered by those councils recommended by the Primates, and worked out in negotiation with the whole church. Speculation about Camp Allen bishops beyond this is utterly without foundation and quite misleading."
Dr. Radner is a person of considerable vision, a fine writer. His book, Hope Among the Fragments,(Brazos Press) is an important read. So I am taking his comment seriously. He is quite right. The "Camp Allen" Bishops have not as a group done anything other than sign off on the various statements that arose from the particular meetings they attended.
Some who have commented on my blog may have concluded or wished so. I did not so conclude or wish.
In my post I noted that the found document, which purports to be a "Response to the Global South Steering Committee," seems to be the same document referred to in Bishop Schofield's deanery talks. I have since recalled and found Bishop Schofield's address to the Diocesan Convention where he first named the bishops at the Virginia meeting: "John Chew, Archbishop of Singapore; Drexel Gomez of the West Indies and the Caribbean; Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, South America; and three Archbishops from Africa, including Peter Akinola of Nigeria as Chairman."
Bishop Schofield then states,
"These outstanding leaders took it upon themselves to meet with 10 of us dioceses in Virginia last month, and there they asked three things of us:
1) What were we prepared to give up in order to achieve unity among ourselves?
2) A single spokesman to be elected by us to speak for all the orthodox.
3) Submission to their authority and --as a demonstration of that – flexibility to allow them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to prepare a way for us to live in a separate ecclesiastical structure which would eventually provide a way home for many Anglicans who had left The Episcopal Church for conscience sake, and many individuals and parishes that had been isolated in hostile dioceses to be part of the world-wide family of the Anglican Communion."
According to Bishop Schofield 10 dioceses were represented. Who where they? The Global South report on the meeting states that eight Anglican Communion Network Dioceses were represented. So two were from the Camp Allen (round one) bishops or were otherwise "Windsor-Compliant." Of the bishops attending the first Camp Allen meeting eleven were from Network Dioceses. So half the number attending Camp Allen I were Network. (see my report on who attended HERE.)
The math then looks roughly like this: 8 of 11 Network Dioceses were at the Virginia meeting in November. Two of the 11 other Camp Allen -Windsor Bishops were there. If all the Network Dioceses were to "sign on" to the newly found document, and two more did so, the total signing on would be 13, or more than half the bishops in the Camp Allen group. If only the eight known to be at the Virginia meeting signed, it would be about 1/3 to total.
Dr. Radner is correct to challenge the notion that all the Camp Allen bishops signed on to this document. I did not suggest that. Rather I suggested that if the Network Dioceses did so, "it may be that a majority of the Camp Allen group pledged to acknowledge Bishop Duncan as 'our leader and hereby submit to his leadership without reservation.'"
Because we do not have the other signatures on this document, if any, it is impossible to know just who signed. Bishop Schofield makes it appear that they all did. If so, it would appear that at least 1/3 of the Camp Allen (round 1) bishops – those who were present in Virginia – are pledged to Bishop Duncan. If the other two did so, that's 10 of up to 25. If all the Network Bishops, present or absent, did so, the number is more than half.
Dr. Radner chids me and others who made comments to this blog to be careful in our statement. He says, "Speculation about Camp Allen bishops beyond this is utterly without foundation and quite misleading." OK.
So here is a revised statement: It would appear, from Bishop Schofield's statements and the report from the Global South regarding the Virginia meeting, that a sizable percentage of the Camp Allen attendees – which included 11 Network bishops and 11 otherwise "Windsor Compliant" bishops – have pledged to accept Bishop Duncan, the Moderator of the Network, as "as our leader and hereby submit to his leadership without reservation in building unity among us and as our representative for the present in the councils of the Anglican Communion." It is unclear how large that percentage is, but it may be a majority of Camp Allen bishops attending either or both of the two meetings.
So the conclusion still stands, but with a small correction: "If all those US Bishops present at the meeting in Virginia signed off on the document, and the absent Network Bishops who were at the Camp Allen meeting as well, it may well that a majority of the so called "Windsor Compliant" or "Camp Allen" bishops are already pledged to The Moderator as their "leader."
I thank Dr. Radner for his cautionary note, to which I will add my own. Because I cannot find a report of just who attended the meeting with the Global South Steering Committee (they did not invite press or make a listing themselves) and because the heretofore undisclosed document has been received without any notation as to the number of persons signing, it is impossible to be sure of any of this save the assurance of Bishop Schofield that those present did indeed make a pledge to this effect.
Again, remember, the interest in this document is that it confirms Bishop Schofield's report that assurances were required at the GSSC meeting, and those assurances were forthcoming.
And, to further add to the confusion of it all, who will be included in the "Windsor Compliant" or "Camp Allen" Bishops? Those who attended and signed off on the documents that are now called the "Camp Allen Principles"? or those who the Archbishop of Canterbury considers "bishops who can identify with 'the Camp Allen principles' - essentially those bishops who have publicly committed themselves to affirm the Windsor Report and its recommendations"? And who will be invited to the meeting after Easter that the Moderator has seen fit to announce, and who will do the inviting?
So, who knows. Some gaggle of bishops, probably around 25 in number, are among the elect. The Primates and the Archbishop believe they will "work as a body with the Presiding Bishop to develop a scheme…" The Moderator is leader of some of these folk. The question is, of how many? …O yes, and where is the document with signatures of all present in Virginia that day in November?