The Common Cause Partnership (CCP) has just announced its intent to petition the Primates of GAFCON (the Primates Council) to accept CCP as a new North American Province.
"The intention of the CCP Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primates Council." That is, CCP is asking to be the North American Province that the Jerusalem Statement of GAFCON asked the GAFCON Primates to initiate, and with Bishop Duncan as Primate.
On June 28th I wrote this:
"GAFCON (the Global Anglican Future Conference) is calling for the Primates of GAFCON to recognize a new North American Province made up of the Common Cause Partnership federation. The CCP has a Moderator, Bishop Robert Duncan, and we might suppose he will be the Primatial figure for this new Province.
The question is, what is this new North American Province a province OF? It will not be a Province of the Anglican Communion. It will be a Province created by and accountable (one supposes) to the Primates Council of GAFCON (which will probably be renamed shortly to reflect an alternative world wide Anglican community)."
So now ducks are in order: GAFCON calls on the Primates to recognize a new North American Province, made up of CCP. CCP now will petition the Primates to do so. Bishop Duncan will become Archbishop Duncan (or Moderator if he goes with the South India model). The question of what this North American Province will be a Province OF is answered in the phrase, "Province of GAFCON." It will not be a Province of the Anglican Communion, rather it will be a Province recognized by GAFCON Primates.
Pretty much as I surmised in my earlier statement.
However it turns out, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, also the Moderator of the CCP, will have a job, at least for a while.
If he is deposed by The Episcopal Church he will still be recognized by the Primates of GAFCON. If he is not, he will be Bishop of Pittsburgh at least until the Diocese decides to leave for points south.
If he remains as Bishop of Pittsburgh (TEC) and wants also to be the Primate of GAFCON's NA Province, it will be necessary for the Executive Council or General Convention to specify that no Bishop of this Church may at the same time be Primate or have Primatial functions over a body whose jurisdiction overlaps with that of the Episcopal Church. That is, if the Bishop of Pittsburgh accepts the call, as Moderator of CCP, to sit on the Primatial Council of GAFCON, he forfeits his position as Bishop of Pittsburgh. My sense is this is an extension of the meaning of the canons as they now stand.
The Bishop of Pittsburgh said he was only intending to be at Lambeth for part of the time. We might want to look carefully at how he plans to spend his next few weeks. I would not be surprised if the petition will be delivered and acted on by the GAFCON Primates by email. The consolidation of the CCP is already in the plans for the early fall. Perhaps by the time the House of Bishops meets it will already be a done deal. But surely, following Pittsburgh's own diocesan convention the flood gates will open to the future in North America: Three Provinces: One recognized by GAFCON folk, two (TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) recognized by the Anglican Communion.
These are busy times and usurpation takes a lot of work. But the work is of no avail IF the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada simply get on with the Gospel.
The GAFCON Province of North America will be what it is - a product of some Provinces of the Anglican Communion - Provinces which are not in communion with the Episcopal Church. Meanwhile, TEC and the ACoC, members of that fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church called the Anglican Communion will continue to be what they are, autonomous but hopeful of life with others in bonds of affection rather than imprisoned in the bondage of condemnation.