Here is the way it works:
You claim to be the best new thing on the block.
You claim that is true because powerful people take you seriously.
You claim it is true because the media says so.
You claim it is true because powerful people in their club talk about you.
You claim it is true because your status is being considered by people with status.
And one day you announce you are the best new thing.
And everyone says, "yes, it must be true."
Even though it was just your claim.
The Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership aka the Archbishop in waiting of the Anglican Church in North America was to have delivered a speech at the Mere Anglicans Conference in South Carolina. This worthy is the chief bishop of a collection of ecclesial entities, none of which have standing in the Anglican Communion. They claim to be the new improved Anglican thing in North America, here to replace the worn out and used up Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada. He believes the ACNA is the best thing on the block.
He didn't make the speech down there in South Carolina. The Living Church reports that he is now busy working with friendly primates who are putting together a case statement for this new entity and its case for being an alternative province. Supposedly the Archbishop of Canterbury requested such a paper.
The Moderator says the paper is to come to the Primates when they meet in Alexandria, Egypt, an from there will get to the Anglican Consultative Council.
See, powerful people are taking them seriously. That's why he can't stay and make the speech. There are important matters afoot and February 1 (the beginning of the Primates meeting) is close at hand. See how seriously he is taking their being serious. They must indeed be serious.
It appears the press says people of importance take the new best thing seriously.
But the press didn't exactly say that the matter would come up at the Primate's meeting. They reported that Duncan said it would. The Living Church reported,
"Archbishop Williams had asked that a paper be prepared setting out the situation and the hopes for a new structure. The Archbishop invited the primates to forward the case to the Anglican Consultative Council along with their comments.
Bishop Duncan said the GAFCON primates will present the paper and make the case for an alternate province during the primates’ meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, next month."
It is unclear if the paper will be presented and the case made at the Primates meeting. But the press lets it dangle. It's not their fault that it can be read to mean that the Primates WILL have a go at the paper when they meet. But the inference is clear: Moderator Duncan is a busy man, too busy to give a speech. He is working on the presentation with the GAFCON Bishops for the Primates Meeting. Otherwise, why would the press be on this now?
OK. So now we know that important people are taking ACNA seriously, and so is the press, and so possibly will the Primates club.
Reading the tea leaves gets to be difficult at this point. Some wonder why it is of any importance that the more or less official listing on the Anglican Communion website lists or doesn't list Iker, Duncan, Ackerman or Schofield as bishops in the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin. In trying to read the tea leaves it takes on some importance, particularly this close to the Primates meeting. Perhaps it is a signal that on whatever basis shallow or deep the Anglican Communion office understands that these men are not the bishops of those dioceses.
But the trick is not to allow mere realities to get in the way.
It will be interesting to know just how the Primates might react to the possibility of a new Anglican Province all of whose bishops are either (i) deposed in a Province of the Anglican Communion, (ii) never part of the Anglican Communion at all, or (iii) ordained by Provinces in ways clearly contrary to any attempt to "mend the fabric" of the Communion.
But never mind: keep the claim coming. When the club meets, make sure it is brought up seriously by serious members of the club. Make the conversation about the matter of status -- as if the Province already existed and matter was only about it's status. Do not under any circumstances allow anyone to question just why this new improved Anglican Church in North America is a province at all. What it is is a church in formation. It is not clear its use of "Anglican" denotes anything at all about its being part of the Anglican Communion. But arguing about the "status" of ACNA gives it status.
At the moment ACNA is not yet a reality and its bishops are a mixture of the deposed, out of communion and irregularly appointed bishops. At the moment ACNA has no status as an Anglican anything. It has clear supporters among the GAFCON Primates, yes, but even they did not unilaterally declare ACNA a province of anything at all, much less the Anglican Communion.
But never mind, says the Moderator. Watch me:
We are the best new thing on the block.
We claim that is true because powerful people take us seriously.
We claim it is true because the media says so.
We claim it is true because powerful people in their club talk about us.
We claim it is true because our status is being considered by people with status.
We announce we are the best new thing.
And we bet
everyone says, "yes, it must be true."
Even though it was just our claim.
The thing is, however, that it has become serious long before it has become real. If ACNA wants to compete for souls or find new ones, if it wants to be the true church or the beloved church of some Provinces overseas, fine. If it wants to save members of TEC from leadership and church life that is dangerous to souls, fine. Let it be real and we will take it seriously.
But just because you say you are the best new thing doesn't make it so. And there is considerable clarity by some of us that the matter of ACNA's status is a simple one: ACNA is a church in formation in North America that is held together by the great negative belief that TEC and ACiC are wrongly led, poor in faith and discipline and damned in fact. Its status is that of agent of a hostile takeover.