But wait... here is a news report that says that Bishops Robinson and Minns are not invited, Robinson might come as a guest, Minns not.
" Two bishops at the heart of the U.S. Episcopal Church's divisions over sexuality and scripture will not be invited to next year's global gathering of Anglican prelates, the archbishop of Canterbury's office said Tuesday.
Bishops V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and Martyn Minns of the breakaway Convocation of Anglicans in North America were not among more than 850 bishops invited, said Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary-general of the Anglican Communion."
"Robinson may be invited to attend the Lambeth Conference as a guest, but Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is not contemplating inviting Minns, Kearon said."
The Archbishop could have taken good advice, and while I am sure he didn't consult PRELUDIUM it is the advice that has come from here as well - the advice to invite everybody and if someone can't or won't attend, that is their problem. But it appears that at least two are not going to be invited. The Archbishop's letter held this possibility out and it seems to have been taken:
" At this point, and with the recommendations of the Windsor Report particularly in mind, I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion. Indeed there are currently one or two cases on which I am seeking further advice. I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognises and honours the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this. Such trust is a great deal harder to sustain if there are some involved who are generally seen as fundamentally compromising the efforts towards a credible and cohesive resolution."
Let us hope that the Archbishop thinks better of it all and on further advice allows the chips to fall where they may. The sacrifice of the one in this case will not be for the good of the many. However this thing cuts the end result will be some who will stay away. The Archbishop might have done a good thing: invite and have done with it. It appears he has waffled once again to the cost of hospitality and good order both.
Not inviting is shunning, pure and simple.
Other interesting things stand out in the Archbishop's letter:
"The Conference is a place where our experience of living out God’s mission can be shared. It is a place where we may be renewed for effective ministry. And it is a place where we can try and get more clarity about the limits of our diversity and the means of deepening our Communion, so we can speak together with conviction and clarity to the world. It is an occasion when the Archbishop of Canterbury exercises his privilege of calling his colleagues together, not to legislate but to discover and define something more about our common identity through prayer, listening to God’s Word and shared reflection. It is an occasion to rediscover the reality of the Church itself as a worldwide community united by the call and grace of Christ.
But the Lambeth Conference has no ‘constitution’ or formal powers; it is not a formal Synod or Council of the bishops of the Communion, which would require us to be absolutely clear about the standing of all the participants. An invitation to participate in the Conference has not in the past been a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy. Coming to the Lambeth Conference does not commit you to accepting the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.
At a time when our common identity seems less clear that it once did, the temptation is to move further away from each other into those circles where we only related to those who completely agree with us. But the depth and seriousness of the issues that face us require us to discuss as fully and freely as we can, and no other forum offers the same opportunities for all to hear and consider, in the context of a common waiting on the Holy Spirit.I have said, and repeat here, that coming to the Conference does not commit you to accepting every position held by other bishops as equally legitimate or true. But I hope it does commit us all to striving together for a more effective and coherent worldwide body, working for God’s glory and Christ’s Kingdom. The Instruments of Communion have offered for this purpose a set of resources and processes, focused on the Windsor Report and the Covenant proposals. My hope is that as we gather we can trust that your acceptance of the invitation carries a willingness to work with these tools to shape our future. I urge you all most strongly to strive during the intervening period to strengthen confidence and understanding between our provinces and not to undermine it."
So the Lambeth Conference is not signal of orthodoxy, it is not a Synod. On the other hand the Windsor Report and the Covenant proposals are highlighted as the 'focus' of discussion. The Windsor Report and its assumption of the doctrinal validity of Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 has become the sacred stone that will be a millstone around the neck of the Communion. The Covenant Proposals (note the plural) will, it would appear, include more than the Draft Covenant Proposal.
So there is darkness and light both: The Windsor Report, which was after all the report of a committee, has become an idol, and like all idols a bottomless pit of confusion for those seeking the Truth. The Covenant conversation is still early enough in formation to be turned from the punitive and curial mix of the draft.
But first, invite or don't but don't hold bishops hostage to the displeasure of other bishops. The Archbishop needs to reconsider both rejections. Robinson is a Bishop in The Episcopal Church and Minns a bishop in the Church of Nigeria. Some may not like the fact that Bishop Robinson is bishop of New Hampshire and some may think Bishop Minns does not have a legitamate appointment, but this is part of our peculiar time. Either invite them both or not. But not to invite them invites a worse madness.