On Wednesday, December 3rd, Cynthia Brust said, "The Anglican Communion has been fractured for some time. Today is the day the Anglican Communion began to be healed." Today, December 5th that healing has yet to begin. The triump felt at the service on Wednesday in which member groups in the Common Cause Partnership signed on to a provisional Provincial Constitution and took the pledge to uphold the Jerusalem Declaration has sagged a bit.
The story was that these groups would sign on and start up a new Church, get the blessing of the GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) Bishops, and start the ball rolling to become the 39th Province of the Anglican Communion. Most of the time lines suggested that the signed provisional Constitution and Jerusalem pledge would go on Thursday to the GAFCON Primates who are in London to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury. GAFCON would recognize the new province and then take that fact to the ABC for his consideration on Thursday or Friday.
The Archbishop's Office put everyone on notice, as reported by ENS, on December 4: "A spokesperson for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has responded to the Common Cause Partnership's December 3 release of a provisional constitution and canons that outline the formation of what they are calling a new Anglican province in North America.
"There are clear guidelines set out in the Anglican Consultative Council Reports, notably ACC 10 in 1996 (resolution 12), detailing the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces," the spokesperson said. "Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete. In relation to the recent announcement from the meeting of the Common Cause Partnership in Chicago, the process has not yet begun."
The ACC10 resolution is available here"
That of course slows down the process of the Anglican Church of North American becoming a Province of the Anglican Communion.
But still the hope remained that the GAFCON Primates meeting in London would recognize the ACNA as a Province on their own. Not so, it appears.
GAFCON Primates have on December 5 issued the following statement"
Primates of the GAFCON Primates' Council meeting in London have issued the following statement about the Province of the Anglican Church in North America.
We welcome the news of the North American Anglican Province in formation. We fully support this development with our prayer and blessing, since it demonstrates the determination of these faithful Christians to remain authentic Anglicans.
North American Anglicans have been tragically divided since 2003 when activities condemned by the clear teaching of Scripture and the vast majority of the Anglican Communion were publicly endorsed. This has left many Anglicans without a proper spiritual home. The steps taken to form the new Province are a necessary initiative. A new Province will draw together in unity many of those who wish to remain faithful to the teaching of God’s word, and also create the highest level of fellowship possible with the wider Anglican Communion.
Furthermore, it releases the energy of many Anglican Christians to be involved in mission, free from the difficulties of remaining in fellowship with those who have so clearly disregarded the word of God."
The careful reader will note that (i) GAFCON recognizes ACNA as a "province in formation." There is no recognition of The Anglican Church of North America, no mention of its having a provisional Archbishop or Archbishop in waiting or whatever. There is no recognition of a Province by GAFCON Primates themselves. Rather the GAFCON Primates statement essentially is an argument for such a Province. The closing paragraph is still clear about the GAFCON Primates condemnation of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. But, they could have nonetheless recognized the Church - the Anglican Church of North America - and they did not. So the end of December 5 brings no proclamation that a new Church or a new Province has been recognized. It is an "initiative."
The scenario most often mentioned was that on December 6, tomorrow, GAFCON would present the reality of a new Province in formation on the ground, one they recognized, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and push for early action on the matter. The GAFCON Primates have been meeting today with the ABC, and Ruth Gledhill is reporting that nothing has happened. She wrote, "The five primates of Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Southern Cone met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in the cathedral. They prayed, started talking at 10am, prayed, had lunch, prayed, carried on talking, prayed again and finished mid-afternoon. Discussions were pretty frank and they went over everything, from Lambeth 1:10, through 2003 to the present day. No-one blinked."
So what will happen tomorrow? Will Lambeth issue a statement about the meeting. Perhaps so. And perhaps it will say, "No one blinked."
"No one blinked" is hardly a great and massive change in the the life of the Anglican Communion.