7/21/2007

See what happens when you leave town…things go to pot.

So: away for a brief time with family in Amsterdam and Bucharest and what happens? Things go to pot.

The Global South Steering Committee (GSSC), which by the way does not represent either the Global South or necessarily the actual church decision makers in their several provinces, but primarily themselves as Primates of the Anglican Communion, decides with their latest message, titled This is a Critical TIme to try to trump the following:

The September 30th so called "deadline" of the Dar Es Salaam Communiqué

The meeting between the Archbishop of Canterbury and some (but not all) members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC with the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (mid September).

The work on an Anglican Covenant, reactions to a draft of which are expected by the end of the year.

The Lambeth Conference itself.

The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

While they give lip service to the September 30th deadline idea, they have already jumped the gun assuming that no acceptable assurances from The Episcopal Church will be forthcoming, and that the matter of "consequences must be taken up immediately by a called for meeting of the Primates. They believe the ABC/HoB meeting in September is a sham, and "undermines the integrity of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué." They kiss the idea of an Anglican Covenant, but then suppose that perhaps there will be a "new ecclesiastical structure" in the US to respond positively to such a Covenant. They are not willing to attend Lambeth unless there is change in the invitation list and the content of the meeting. "It is impossible for us to see how, without discipline in the Communion and without the reconciliation that we urge, we can participate in the proposed conference; to be present but unable to participate in sacramental fellowship would all the more painfully demonstrate our brokenness. The polarization surrounding the Lambeth meeting has been exacerbated because we are also unable to take part in an event from which a number of our own bishops have been arbitrarily excluded while those whose actions have precipitated our current crisis are included." They make no mention of the ACC, except to note its engagement in the September HoB meeting. They threaten new interventions in Canada. They present an alternative to Lambeth that excludes a large part of the Anglican Communion, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, who after all is not from the Global South nor from a church that is orthodox.


The body of men pulling this off this latest effort at an overthrow of the Anglican Communion is comprised of the following: (From the Global South webpages)

"President: Most Rev'd Peter J. Akinola, Nigeria
General Secretary: Most Rev'd John Chew, Southeast Asia
Treasurer: Most Rev'd Mouneer Anis, Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Most Rev'd Emmanuel Kolini, Rwanda
Most Rev'd Drexel Gomez, West Indies
Most Rev'd Bernard Malango, Central Africa
Most Rev'd Gregory Venables, Southern Cone

Secretariat:
Assoc Secretary: Bishop Martyn Minns
Asst Secretaries: Canon Wong Tak Meng, Canon Terry Wong

Other Global South Primates do participate in some of the meetings as and when the need arises. The Most Revd Henry Orombi (Uganda) participated in the recent meeting in London."

Of the persons present at the London meeting the six Primates who are regular members include three whose Provinces have intervened in the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church explicitly against the wishes of dioceses in whose jurisdictions the interventions took place. The other invited Primate (Orombi of Uganda) has done so and will do so again in ordaining US clergy for mission in the US as part of the Church of Uganda. The Associate Secretary Bishop Martyn Minns is, of course, a bishop in the Church of Nigeria resident in the US as a missionary.

So this statement comes from a group more than half of which have already written off various urgings of the Windsor Report, putting the lie to what they state in the statement, "We in the Global South remain committed to the underlying principles and recommendations of the Windsor Report…"

They are now clear in their write off of most of the Anglican Communion processes and decision making mechanisms in place. Having decided that this is a critical time, they are not about to miss the possibilities of the moment.

So expect the following to happen, most of which the Statement of the GSSC suggests, some of which we can make conjectures: The upcoming ordinations of bishops for the US and possibly one or several for the Anglican Church of Canada; the Common Cause Partnership move to form a council of bishops who will indeed begin the process of forming a new church that will give its input to an Anglican Covenant based on the existing draft but with some interesting "evangelical" overlays; the dismissal of any actions by the ABC/HoB as too late and too little; the pull back from the Lambeth Conference unless the will of the Archbishop of Canterbury completely collapses; a Fourth Meeting of the Global South "orthodox" and the claim that that is the first meeting of a new and improved Anglican Communion of the high growth, high energy, Gospel oriented REAL Anglicans. The stars will be out and they will include Minns in the ascendant, Duncan in the descendant, and Orombe claiming higher ground still.

My sense is that the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America are backwater, as are churches related to the Province of the Southern Cone and Egypt. South East Asia is a bit out of the running these days and Archbishop Gomez is moving on to retirement and the gentleman's role of keeper of the flame of reasonableness. The various churches in the Anglican Communion Network are biding their time until this "new ecclesiastical structure" emerges and the law suits give them a read on their futures. But at the moment there is profound silence for some and a move to the middle by others in the Network.

That leaves some of the Churches in Africa, or more specifically some of the leaders of some of the churches in Africa. This move to purify the Anglican Communion is finally an attempt by some Anglican church leaders in Africa, with the help of evangelicals in England and the US, to apply on a world-wide level the experience and results of the East Africa Revival. It will involve an attempt to form an entity in North America in which there is an Episcopal Church with evangelical roots cut loose from the "Englishness" of the past and open to revival in the moment and in the future; in doing so there will be the attempt to create a new Anglican Communion.

This mess is more of the same: they say, "we decry, we lament, we are saddened"… what they mean is "we are ready to take over." The GSSC has shown their true feelings: This is a critical time. But what they will get is not the Anglican Communion. They will get something else, maybe better, maybe worse.

But at the core is this: These folk are not interested in the Anglican Communion. They are interested in something else. Fine. But don't spit in the soup we eat. Sup from your own bowls.

16 comments:

  1. I don't understand how Archbishop Gomez can continue in his dual role as chair and chief author of the draft Anglican Covenant, and member of a body, the Global South Steering Committee, which seeks to set up a rival Communion. He must publicly renounce his membership in the Steering Committee, or else his membership will be construed as prima facie reason to reject the Covenant he has drafted.

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  2. obadiahslope22/7/07 2:54 AM

    Mark,
    you state
    "While they give lip service to the September 30th deadline idea, they have already jumped the gun assuming that no acceptable assurances from The Episcopal Church will be forthcoming"
    Do you believe that TEC will offer "acceptable assurances" before the September 30the deadline. Should it offer any assuances? What might it want to say?

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  3. Per charlotte: "I don't understand how Archbishop Gomez can continue in his dual role"

    Cuts right to it, charlotte -- very well put. His continued participation, even if only as a name on a list, is a *clear* conflict of interest. It will be interxxx, boring to see how the ABC responds (or more probably fails to) to this.

    Bill

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  4. These people are orchestrating a putsch, Charlotte - decency and propriety have nothing to do with it. More disturbing to me than Gomez's gymnastics is the presence of Martyn Minns in an obviously powerful role, particularly given Rowan Williams' flat-out rejection of his legitimacy as a bishop of Anglican Communion. The Akinola/Minns axis, which pulled strings to such effect at Dar es Salaam, is still very much in business. Be interesting to know where Chris Sugden was during these deliberations.

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  5. PS .... Why does this remind me of the old story of someone who kills his parents and then whines because he's an orphan? These are the folks who have ORCHESTRATED the schism they are now bewailing.

    Hard to see how they get to have it both ways!

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  6. They keep talking about discipline, but they once again are showing their considerable skill in self-deception and co-opting language. One meaning of the word "discipline" is imposing punitive measures for aberrant behavior. But in the normal sense of the word as used in our tradition, "discipline" doesn't have anything to do with the kind of punitive measures they are hell-bent on imposing. Rather, it means how we live our common life (e.g. as in the processes of the Instruments of Communion.) If they want the kind of discipline they are talking about, the Romans would love to have them; it just isn't the kind of discipline we have ever talked about or needed. It is, as Mark said, something other than Anglican.

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  7. Brilliant post, Mark.

    So, we can soon expect the "Anglican Communion of the Global South" to take shape, with Akinola as Archbishop, Abuja as headquarters - and Minns as successor. I hope he keeps his shots current.

    But whatever will they do about women's ordination?

    And candles on the altar, or even altars themselves? Priests, confessions, the 39 Articles, the 1662 Prayer Book? How will they accomodate ANGLO-Catholic practice and the demand for Calvinism?

    I can't wait till the Reformed Episcopalians get invaded by a bunch of hand-waving tongues-speakers and African dancers.

    It's going to be hard to pay for all the global meetings where they hash these things out. Ahmanson is going to have to pony up bigtime.

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  8. Colleague obadiah:

    You raise an interesting question - well, really, more than one. First, is there any response from the Episcopal House of Bishops, valid within the Constitution and Canons as they have already affirmed them, that these particular primates would accept? Even accepting a Primatial Vicar, chosen from and in consultation with the identified "Windsor Bishops," but not accountable beyond General Convention (that is, to a Primatial Council), would not be "acceptable" to these primates.

    Second, are there an primates to whom assurances might be acceptable (not these, but among the remaining 32 or so), and what might be acceptable to them? And if acceptable to, say, 22 (an arbitrary number, but a majority of the Communion as we know it), would these particular accept that majority?

    Personally, I don't think these primates are prepared to accept anything less than a new conciliar church, with all meaningful authority established in the Primates' Meetings. I think the Episcopal Bishops will certainly offer responses, including some assurances of desire to remain in the Anglican Communion and to continue in communion for mission. I don't think they could offer anything to satisfy these primates. I think they will spend some time thinking through who they can speak to.

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  9. I'm interested to know which way Southern Africa will go especially with an election of our new primate in September.
    Derek in Cape Town

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  10. Brian MacIntyre23/7/07 9:12 AM

    "These are the folks who have ORCHESTRATED the schism they are now bewailing."

    True, but they will insist it is the rest of us who are "walking apart" and so they won't see it that way. They really believe their own doublethink. Note whose legs are moving, however - a subtle yet telling clue as to who is actually doing the walking.

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  11. top2 and lapinbizarre: the participation of Archbishop Gomez on the Global South Steering Committee is actually very helpful, as we can say to the Archbishop of Canterbury when he visits us in September: "We can and will commit in principle to an Anglican Covenant process. However, with the Archbishop of Armagh and many others, we find the present Draft Covenant unacceptable without major revisions. Furthermore, we question whether Archbishop Drexel Gomez can continue as chair and lead author of the Covenant drafting committee, given the recent statements of the Global South Steering Committee, of which he is an active member."

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  12. "ORCHESTRATED the schism" Susan? That's not how I remember it. I do remember standing the circle with the reporters, though, when you announced that Gene Robinson's election was "Easter Day" for the Episcopal Church. That was a pretty signficant moment for the Anglican Communion - I'm not sure how you can say anyone else "orchestrated the schism." As I recall, things didn't go as planned in Denver and the prophetic spirit was on the move so that New Hampshire's election was timed so that General Convention (rather than Standing Committees) in Minneapolis would vote on Gene Robinson. That looked pretty darn orchestrated to me.

    You know, the funny thing is, Susan - you actually taught the conservatives what we eventually learned. I don't suppose you know that, but you did. You are very good at what you do - and I mean that sincerely, even though obviously I don't agree with your goals - I do admire your tenacity and your dedication - and you don't give up. You are a true believer, and not just propping up the institution for its own sake.

    But I would be careful about throwing the word "orchestrated" around. We could also make a strong case that the timing of New Hampshire was orchestrated - because it was.

    So when did the schism begin - with the action or the response to the actions? I guess it depends on when you think the schism began. I say it began about August 3, 2003.

    bb

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  13. Badman reports over at Thinking Anglicans (no source cited) that three of the Global South primates on the committee - Malango of Central Africa, Venables, and Gomez - did not attend the meeting.

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  14. I would very much like to know if +Gomez signed this thing. Apparently he was not at the steering comm. meeting and had to return to the West Indies early. According to Ephraim Radner, he had told the steering committee so, but did he affirm it by e-mail or other communication. The implication is that he supported this document but this would not be the first time that the GS published documents that did not have the support of all those whose names appeared. It would seem that +Gomez and all the those whose assent is implied, should inform the Archbishop of Canterbury and the rest of the primates if, in fact they did so. If he did assent to this document, it would seem his position as Chair of the Covenant design group is somewhat compromised. +Orombi has made it clear that the measure of compliance is not Windsor. The measure of compliance is the CAPA "Road to Lambeth" or Uganda will not come to Lambeth. Is this a bluff? He has stated that he will not attend the HofB meeting in Camp Allen. This is being touted by some (Matt Kennedy at Stand Firm)as a plan to undermine Dar es Salaam and the primate's demands.--- The GS July 13 communique an attempt to circumvent this alleged strategy. Poor +Howe is taking somewhat of a beating in all this....the implication being that he was part of such a TEC strategy. i thought he was just continuing the constant request of TEC to visit with ++Rowan as Network and CANA bishops had done. EPfizH

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