Well the Church Times has done it, eh? See "Software suggests Minns rewrote Akinola’s letter"by Pat Ashworth. A nifty bit of detective work and presto: The Archbishop's speech writing is discovered to involve a small gagle of folk, Bishop Martyn Minns in particular. It is a very good article. See it HERE. The Archbishop's journey just got all the more agonizing.
Fr. Jake, Daily Episcopalian. The Episcopal Majority and Thinking Anglicans all have important things to say on all this.
I would be surprised if the Archbishop did not have speech writers, letter writers, etc. He is a busy person, what with being the Lion, etc. Let us not begrudge him a bit of help in getting things written and out to the world.
Of course, now that we know something of the sources for the letter supposedly to his bishops and synod, but actually for the whole blinking Anglican Communion (or the small part of that communion that gives a fig for such matters), let's think on this a bit:
(i) The Archbishop is down on the North and West (meaning England, the US, Canada) and speaks as an African and a member of the Global South community (whatever that is.) If his letter is written in large part by people not African, not Global South (except by adoption and grace) where is the "authentic" voice of the Global South in all this? It is common scuttlebutt that Bishop Minns in his former capacity as general managerial lackey for the Archbishop was in constant contact with him throughout the Dar Es Salaam meeting. Some thought Minns put the words in the Archbishop's mouth. Well, perhaps he was not lackey but more like the party whip. Now perhaps he is more than whip. Now he appears as the voice behind the throne.
(ii) Where does the master leave off and the servant begin? In Nigeria, no question. The Archbishop is a Lion. But it would appear that some in Africa are beginning to wonder just what is going on. The Church Times has this:
"The Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Revd Trevor Musonda Mwamba, has expressed reservations about the tone and style of pronouncements in the past, which have purportedly come from African bishops. Speaking at the Ecclesiastical Law Society conference in Liverpool (News, 2 February ), he said: “Up till now the loud voices in Africa have threatened the Anglican Communion with schism, insisting that some provinces be expelled from our worldwide fellowship. Yet such voices, because of the very diversity and strength of the Anglican Church in Africa, could be playing a reconciling role.” The voice of the majority of Africa’s 37 million Anglicans had been “eclipsed by the intensity of sounds on opposing sides of the debate”.
(iii) If the Archbishop's words are a mirror to the the realignment folk and dissenters in the US the circle is closed: The script noted in my previous posting is then augmented by a script with much longer preparation behind it: the script that says the whole of the Global South, all of Africa, and most of the Communion is full of life because they hold to the faith once delivered of the saints, biblical morality and sound doctrine, that the Northern churches are corrupted by rotten theology and worse morals, etc. If there is an outside script (touted as the 'voice' of the Communion,) and an inside script (touted as the voice of pain and suffering in TEC) the noise gets louder, but the source gets smaller.
(iv) If Minns and Duncan (or is it Anderson?) are the operators out and inside scripting away and planning the brave new reformation of the whole communion, nay the whole church universal, we might wish to see just what is behind the new face of Anglicanism sometimes touted as the Archbishop of Nigeria sometimes as the Moderator. Perhaps it is time to let Toto loose in the throne room. Perhaps it is time to pay attention to the man (or men) behind the curtain.
Time, like an everflowing stream, is bearing these sons away.