Several days ago I posted a comment on the promised summer conference sponsered by ACI Inc and Wycliffe Hall, titled, "FOLLOWING CHRIST THE LORD IN COMMUNION, COVENANT & MISSION to be held at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, Monday July 2nd – Thursday July 5th, 2007.
Two of Wycliffe Hall's teaching staff are part of the five person Institute. They are Peter Walker and Andrew Goddard. They give the ACI Inc, a certain zip, as only the word "Oxford" can bring to American academics and Anglicans in general. Oxford does it.
Well, Stephen Bates, writing for the Guardian has just written a column titled, "Unholy row at Oxford's college for clergy amid staff exodus and claims of bullying" Bullying is almost as strong a word as Oxford, but for different reasons. It means in this context harassment. Either way it is considered less than ideal for Oxford, or anywhere else for that matter.
It would appear that the announcement of the upcoming event might be either premature or will take place in the midst of an academic environment in turmoil. The ACI, Inc has had some hard times. The Rev. Donald Armstrong believes its time is over, but then again, what does he know, except that it appears he didn't keep very good accounts. Members of the ACI reorganized as ACI Inc, got themselves a treasurer, and while admitting that the ACI exists primarily as a connector among a group of Anglican / Episcopal theologians and not as an organization per say, they are trying to get their act together. Members have written several essays in the past few weeks showing that they are still here and still at it. But Dr. Ephraim Radner, a writer of some considerable skill, by many accounts bombed out at the House of Bishops. Dean Philip Turner is interim dean at the Seminary of the Southwest whose relation to The Episcopal Church is strong enough to warrant giving the Presiding Bishop an honorary degree. He is leaving that post. Christopher Seitz is up to good things in Scotland. So Dr. Radner is a parish priest and writing. I hope he continues to do so. Dr. Turner is moving on. The other three members are not in The Episcopal Church mess, but two at least have messes of their own. The ACI, Inc is coming into a rough patch, as they say.
Perhaps now is not the right time for ACI, Inc and Wycliffe Hall to be announcing a joint endeavor this summer. Many of its members are likely to be, let us say, a bit preoccupied. Then again, many of us are.