4/17/2007

The End Game: The Archbishop, Pressure Time, and lots of visitors.

Good News: The Archbishop of Canterbury will accept the invitation to visit the US House of Bishops. They invited, he responded.

Medium News: The ABC will bring members of the Standing Committee of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council. The Anglican Communion News Service reported, "Dr Williams said he would undertake the visit together with members of the Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council."

The invitation from the House of Bishop stated, "We invite the Archbishop and members of the Primates' Standing Committee to join us at our expense for three days of prayer and conversation regarding these important matters."

Which is it? The Primates Standing Committee (all big cheese) or the Joint Committee… (includes some smaller cheeses)? Well, never mind. The House of Bishops invited the ABC and the whole of some group to attend at our expense. The reason why this is medium news only is that the greater the group the less possible it will be to actually engage the Archbishop of Canterbury rather than listen to a variety of voices, the greater the number the less the need for real engagement with the "Focus of Unity." Oh well.

Bad News: The meeting will be at the fall meeting of the House of Bishops in New Orleans, sometime between September 20th to 25th. That is, between five and ten days before the September 30th deadline for a response from the House of Bishops to the requests made of it in the Primates Communiqué of March 2007. It puts the Archbishop's presence in the context of a last minute push to get some acceptable response from the HoB to the Primates. This has all the makings of a mess.

Even with all this I am glad he is coming, glad he is bringing folk of whom at least some may be lay persons or clergy other than bishops, glad he is meeting. But it may be that the Archbishop will need to be prepared to talk with the US Bishops about what to do after the dance is over, for it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no room on our dance card for the Primates, at least not for those that interest them.



6 comments:

  1. perhaps if Canada steps up to the plate re blessing of same sex marriages then the HOB will be more likely to find their spines and tell Rowan, in a very charitable but firm way, NO.

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  2. Mark - You might want to take a look at the transcript of the entire press conference with the ABC.

    http://www.anglicanplanet.net/TAPIntern0705a.html

    It seems pretty clear to me from reading it in total that he views the Communique as just that a communique. That the Primates are trying to dialogue about the extent of the problem and come up with a solution that is satisfactory.

    With regard to who's coming: he says

    "It’s taken a few weeks to put together all the details with a number of members of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council." So it appears little cheese are coming.

    With regard to the PV Scheme: he says

    "I’m still waiting to see what the Episcopal Church will come up with as an alternative. The reaction from the Episcopal Church was a very strongly worded protest against what was seen as interference, although that wasn’t the intention of the primatial Communiqué. So the next question is “If not that, then what?” Is there another possibility on the table? I’ve spoken privately to people in the United States and am waiting to see what opens up."

    Viewed in this way - The deadline is a deadline by which to give a response to the "recommendations" as part of a larger dialogue.

    Now, Akinola may not see it that way. But clearly, the ABC thinks a majority of the Primates do.

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  3. Bill Carroll18/4/07 3:11 PM

    The HOB should restate that they cannot act on the ultimatums without the Deputies, which they seem to have every intention of doing (and which the Constitution and Canons is quite clear they must do), and reoffer the original primatial visitor scheme (without the Pastoral Council), which they have the authority to do. They should also make it clear to Rowan Williams that they as a house have no intention of complying with the other ultimatums, which I hope is true, because that would be morally wrong and a pastoral and evangelical disaster. In other words, they should make the process clear and follow it but not hide behind it. They should let Rowan know that they as a body don't support the provisions of the communique.

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  4. I seriously doubt that Canada's Synod will make any significant moves one way or another this summer. The Toronto Star is predicting the church will allow a local option but most people I know think they will find a way to put it off.

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  5. obadiahslope18/4/07 8:31 PM

    c.b.
    It is possible that you are right. I hope an alternative proposal is being dveloped. But a real response is required, not a "Can't we leave this until general convention in 2009?". And a response that offers something to meet the primates concerns.
    I rather doubt that that will happen, sadly. Rather those of us neither in TEC or the Global South will watch as two groups

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  6. More bad news. Sept. 20-25 is at the peak of hurricane season. If a storm appears anywhere near the Gulf, all those bishops and supporting cast will have to evacuate to Baton Rouge.

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