One down and how many to go? It appears that Moderator Duncan, the deposed bishop of Pittsburgh and the resuscitated bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone, Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership and "archbishop-designate" of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) is being invited to meet with the GAFCON Primates. Its time to garner some new support for ACNA as the new improved Anglican presence in North America.
One of those Primates, the Lion of Nigeria, Archbishop Akinola, has already determined to recognize ACNA as a province (of what we are not sure). The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has already resolved to be in full communion with ACNA as soon as it is formed and provided it stays true to the purest ideals of the Jerusalem declaration.
It was reported today that Moderator Duncan will meet in London with the GAFCON Primates April 13-18 . The Living Church reports, "GAFCON Primates Invite Bishop Duncan." The meeting occurs shortly before the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. No doubt the GAFCON crowd has much to talk about, not the lest of which is the strategy to get the ACC to go along with some scheme by which ACNA would be somehow recognized, if not as a Province of the Communion at least as an extra-Provincial entity, perhaps like a large version of the Falkland Islands, say, or the the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain.
Akinola, who is supposedly retiring in 2010 will have to roar loudly, and Moderator Duncan will have to bring all the credentials of obedience to the Jerusalem declaration, the so-called Global South Primates demands, and a monster mound of evidence that The Episcopal Church has gone round the bend morally and theologically. The mound will of course have to also show that the suffering of the true believers makes it absolutely essential to come to their aid in this time of drastic need, etc.
They will have to be ready to pull out all stops: It is the West that is the cause of all the troubles in Anglican land and that the West, in the form of TEC, is un-Christian and unworthy. In order to make the case they will have to rely upon other matters - the argument that the West that as screwed up the economy and the poor of the world and that this Anglican mess is simply another example of the rotten arrogance of Western, 20th Century thinking in a world that is increasingly non-Western and post 20th Century. The last stop to pull for full organ crescendo will be to say if it comes to it true Anglicanism does not need either TEC, the Anglican Church of Canada, or any of those other wimp Western churches, and most particularly not The Church of England or its Archbishop of Canterbury.
Time to choose partners for the next dance and the next dance hall. GAFCON may want to get the ACC to dance with them on this, dragging along a new partner, ACNA. Parties will be crashed and there will be rumbles in the streets.
But perhaps GAFCON will seriously begin to talk about a second world wide thingy, a World Wide Anglican Church, for which strangely enough they will have people willing to serve as Patriarch of the South. Archbishop Akanola could use a job after 2010. The soon to retire bishop of Rochester is young enough to take on an Alexandria based WWAC. Others wait in the wings.
The problem is, it is unclear who wants to dance and why.
GAFCON has been clear about being pure. But there are problems. Some think it impure to ordain women, others think it foolish not to allow lay persons to celebrate the Eucharist. Some believe the 1662 BCP is the standard against which all liturgy should be gauged. Others (the Southern Cone for example) allow a wide variety of use including, it appears, the dreaded BCP of TEC. Some GAFCON bishops are quite proud to proclaim their total distance from the awful West, particularly TEC and loudly proclaim that they will not take money from TEC. Others do not. And on and on. Some GAFCON bishops went to Lambeth, others stayed away. Some GAFCON Primates seem interested in the Global South, others not so interested. And of course, the Global South group, from which GAFCON arose in part, still has to decide if its membership is broader than the purists of GAFCON.
So GAFCON will need to do more than deal with Moderator Duncan and whether and how to recognize him. It will have to deal with itself. Perhaps GAFCON Primates will re-discover that they are heads of churches first and not first members of a central committee, and that they are Primates in the context of the community of churches that constitutes the Anglican Communion.
Maybe too they will decide that its not a bad idea to be churches in relation with one another, rather than branch offices of a single church.
But who knows? There are many ways to be foolish that have nothing to do with being fools for Christ.