As I stated on August 26th, Fr. Tony Clavier referenced an upcoming meeting of seven bishops with the Archbishop of Canterbury. I was certain that those would be members of the Communion Partners and signers of the Anaheim Statement.
Today on his blog Fr. Dan Martins has written an entry, Taking Counsel, which confirms the meeting, says it is going on now, involves members of the Communion Partners, and names his bishop, The Rt. Rev. Edward Stuart Little, II, as one of them. Martins says, "I have had this information for some time, and was never asked to embargo it. Nonetheless, it seemed best to wait until the event was actually in progress. It now is." It would be helpful if Fr. Martins would say who is at the meeting.
Fr. Martins spells out what he thinks is the subject of the conversation. He says, "I have no inside knowledge of the subjects under discussion, but it doesn't require any eavesdropping equipment to figure out that they're talking about how Dr Williams' "two tier/two track" plan might actually get implemented. More specifically, it is a safe bet that each of the seven is interested in what steps a diocese might have to take to remain on Tier/Track One even as TEC per se is assigned (consigned?) to Tier/Track Two."
Martins then makes two predictions:
(i) The Track 1, Track 2, idea is in place:
"The Archbishop's schema is going to happen; of that I am more certain than ever. It will happen too quickly and too decisively to suit the ruling party in the Episcopal Church. It is long since past happening too slowly and too subtly to suit those in what had been TEC's conservative wing, and who are now part of the GAFCON-ACNA axis. ... He will never send the Presiding Bishop an email saying, "The tracks have been assigned. You're in #2." He will say something like, "Here's the Anglican Covenant. Churches that adopt it as their own will remain in full communion with the See of Canterbury."
(ii) The Episcopal Church will not sign on to the Anglican Covenant and will be consigned to the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"The General Convention, of course, will never do so. In time, the consequences of that decision will be seen in the form of invitations to Primates Meetings that never reach 815, and registration materials for the Anglican Consultative Council that never make it to TEC's chosen delegates. It will not come with a bang. It won't even be a whimper. It will simply be the sound of silence."
In both cases I believe Fr. Martins is too quick to judgment.
Regarding the Anglican Covenant: It is not at all clear that TEC will not sign the covenant. One of the points to the Communion Partners effort is to build support for continued relation to Canterbury. What would happen if 56 of the 110 dioceses bought on and came to convention ready to vote yes again? A reach right now, but that could change.
I am more and more convinced that we should now begin to have the serious conversations about the Draft / Final version of the Covenant, air the whole matter over the next two years and bring it to the convention. As dioceses make their decisions about how they will respond they are of course free to share that information, but it still seems to me unduly complex to have dioceses directly signal their approval to Canterbury prior to a common decision one way or another.
Regarding The Episcopal Church being consigned to Track #2, even using the processes outlined in the fourth section of the Draft the decision is not in the hands of the ABC personally. Rather, the various instruments would take the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee or some other committee and act on it as each Instrument wished. That will take some time and in some cases, particularly the Anglican Consultative Council, it is unclear if a recommendation to disinvite TEC or the Anglican Church of Canada would meet with majority approval.
People who have disliked the majority opinions of General Convention are not likely to be much concerned if there is not a majority vote at the ACC or in the Primates. They will content that they have the votes of those who represent the vast majority of Anglicans the world over.
The problem is the vast majority of Anglicans the world over don't actually have much of what all this business is about on their plate, day by day.
For them the day to day call is simpler:
Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day