And now, first prize for a really bad idea goes to the HoB, Nigeria!

The House of Bishops, Church of Nigeria proposes that the Archbishop of Canterbury, "As a matter of utmost urgency, call a special session of the Primates Meeting."

Here are two reasons this is a really bad idea:

(i) The Primates Meeting has only ascribed power - that is power is ascribed to it by those who want it to become a more prominent body in the Anglican Communion. It has no power of position or personal rights, unlike the Anglican Consultative Council whose power, limited as it is, is by agreement by the signatories to its constitution, or the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose ascribed power as "first among equals" is backed up by his personal power to invite to Lambeth, chair its meetings, appoint persons to councils and committees. Calling a special meeting of the Primates and giving them the decision making power to determine who has and has not fulfilled Windsor, etc., means the demise of the real power of the ACC and the ABC. The first really bad reason for calling such a meeting is that it affirms what many already suspect - that the Primates Meeting is taking on a juridical role never agreed to by the Provinces.

(ii) The urgency issue is false and misleading. The Primates Meetings have shown themselves to be highly politicized and subject to influences from "outside" their deliberations. At this point there is no possibility of such a meeting being other than a focus for the debates and discussions that should take place in the full light of day, at say, Lambeth or the next ACC meeting. Claiming urgency is part of the scheme to claim that this is an emergency. It is a false claim.

Regrettably calling a special meeting of the Primates at this point is all about realignment of power in the Anglican Communion. Nothing prevents the Primates from trying to move the agenda from advisory to juridical and from urging the Archbishop to take its advice to trying to elect its own chair, replacing the Archbishop in that role, and then proclaiming its decisions as binding. My sense is they would fail to get the votes to do any of this unless the emergency lights went off and people got addled. If adequately addled we could kiss the Anglican Communion as a fellowship of churches goodbye.

The "special meeting" idea is a really bad idea.

Don't take my word for it. Take a look at what happened last time they met.


  1. To me, this sounds like desperation. They need to get together NOW before the competition for power tears their little alliance apart. Perhaps +++Williams took his sabbatical with the knowledge or hope that this would happen if nobody was interfering?

  2. Why are they asking for this delay? Given Resolution 10-d at Nottingham as a response to Dromantine, the Canadians and Americans have voluntarily absented themselves from the ACC until the next Lambeth. Therefore they can play no role in attempts to add members to the ACC, change its constitution, etc. In addition, the North Americans could play no role in discussions of the covenant in that forum should it decide to review the draft there any make recommendations that it be adopted as written at Lambeth. The stated pretense of the letter is simply a ruse. These brave men who have faced far greater risk than the possible pamphleteers in England in their own countries. And, if there was really a concern for safety, why propose a primate's meting where the primates would be at risk. No this a delaying tactic to sideline the Canadians and Americans ala Dromatine/Nottingham. +Cantuar isn't going to buy in. Fool me once, etc. Hopefully the other primates and bishops will recognize this ruse to protect their "safety" as what it is. EPfizH

  3. This decision, like the currend Draft Covenant it would seek to establish according to the open letter, is, as I have said before, a bad expediency based on a false urgency. The only reason for the Primates to meet, as for a delay of Lambeth, is to create an opportunity to railroad their position through the rest of the Communion.

  4. I rather suspect that someone (Bp. Minns, that most political of priests?) has done some nose counting. Lambeth is a problem because the bullies do not have the votes and without closed doors, cannot bully either the ABC or PBp Katherine.

    Because ABC Williams and PB Katherine seem unable to resist bullies in private, they want an issolated place. Dar es Salam was such a place. Political bishops with their cell phones, pressure that was done in the enforced darkness of private meetings only private to those foolish enough to obey the rules, a perfect place for conspiracy.

    I simply dunno. As I have written elsewhere and asked on my blog, why should we expect firmness and resolve from our leaders? They have not shown it (B033, Dar es Salam, Nottingham, the road of betrayals) why now are we to think the leaders might actually lead?

    The third reason the idea is a bad one: the leaders who would attend a primate's meeting are way to likely to cave.


  5. as for the alleged powers inherent to the Primates Meeting, see http://episcopalmajority.blogspot.com/2007/09/archbishop-peers-on-primates-and-acc.html

  6. "Take a look at what happened last time they met?" Exactly. They did a great job. If their handiwork will still be heeded, many problems will be avoided.

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  8. The constitution of the ACC states that the Primates vote to admit new provinces. Logically, they could exclude a province as well.

    Brad Drell

  9. Hi Brad...glad to see you have been here.

    What the Constitution of the ACC says is, "The Council shall be constituted with a membership according to the schedule hereto. With the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the council may alter or add to the schedule. "Primates," for the purposes of this article, shall mean the principle Archbishop, bishop, or Primates of each of the bodies listed in paragraphs b,c and d of the schedule of membership."

    As I read it, the council may alter or add to the schedule, and that becomes effective when 2/3 of the Primates have assented. This does not mean that the Primates in a meeting could decide unilaterally to vote a province in or out.

    At least that is how I read it.

  10. But, here is the rub. Following on Resolution 10d from Nottingham, made as a result of Dromantine, the Americans and Canadians have agreed to VOLUNTARILY ABSENT THEMSELVES from VOTING until the NEXT LAMBETH. Given the delay requested, wouldn't the GS and US dissidents use this opportunity to change the ACC constutution, (I do not recall if the current one was ever properly ratified), or change the rules to pack it with members, (based for example on Anglican population of country) or "inform" and "educate" its members etc.? To me the "delay" is to give a very well organized minority the same opportunities by cell phone, drafting room upstairs etc. to do the same thing as was done at Dromantine and Tanzania. These tactics were successful there, and the ACC may be the next target taking advantage of the Canadians and Americans in "time-out" and non-voting until the "NEXT" Lambeth EPfizH

  11. Then, there is more to it:

    Article 2(c): To advise on inter-Anglican, provincial, and diocesan relationships, including the division of provinces, the formation of new provinces and of regional councils, and the problems of extra - provincial dioceses.

    It says advise, so someone else makes that decision. That leaves either the Primates or the ABC.

    Based on this, the ACC passed resolutions requesting that Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, and Korea be added to the list of member churches of the Anglican Communion BY THE PRIMATES.

  12. These are Brad Drell's words. He is a conservative attorney:

    "The ACC Constitution states that it is the Primates who determines who are member provinces of the Anglican Communion. This, of course, has played out in practice when the ACC has passed resolutions requesting the Primates to add Provinces to the Anglican Communion. The ACC can only recommend admission to new provinces. Further, as the paper recognizes,(yesterday's Doss/Sauls report) membership on the ACC is not the same as membership in the Communion. The Primates can admit a new Province, but another process is followed for adding a province to the ACC’s Constitution so they get a vote in the governance of the charitable trust. It also needs to be understood that membership on the ACC does not imply equal votes among provinces; some provinces have more representation than others.

    The paper’s most grievous error is ignoring the recognition by the ACC of the power of the Primates to admit new Provinces to Communion, and the fact that, yes, the Primates do have the power to remove TEC from the fellowship of the Anglican Communion based on that provision, communion being mediated through bishops of particular churches, and by analogy to international relations regarding recognition among nation-states."

    From this, it can be argued that the ACC will be a point of attack It could be the creation of many new provinces in Africa and packing the ACC in the absence of
    Canada and the US. It could be a resolution in the ACC to affirm exactly what Drell is suggesting, that the power to admit and dismiss from the Communion rests with the primates. All this while the Americans and Canadians are in time-out waiting 'til they can vote for a delayed "Next Lambeth" Pretty slick? EPfizH

  13. Unless the ABC is going to completely cave to the bullies, there will be a Lambeth and there wont be a chimps meeting.


  14. One of the ironclad principles in power politics is this: "If you're winning, vote now. If you're losing, put off the vote."

    Nigeria clearly realizes they are losing.


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