Seven Bishops meeting with Canterbury, and....?

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


  1. D. Bruce McPherson of Western Louisiana is there.

  2. Bp Ed Little (Northern IN) mentioned that he, Bps Stanton and Howe would visit the ABC when he toured his diocese last month. Unsure who the others are. +Ed told us how important it was to stay part of the Anglican Communion.

    Frankly, I found him to be genuine and honest, but maintaining this nebulous Anglican unity by oppressing gays seems to me to be a bit idolatrous.

  3. I would like to make two comments:

    First, Father Martins, a former member of the diocese of San Joaquin is usually in the know until he changes his mind. Father Martins is usually right, until he changes his mind. Father Martins usually wins or runs.

    Second, what happened to working within TEC? The communion partners have always said they are workingwithin TEC. Now, they run to the Archbishop with the news that they want to play along with ACNA, GAFCON, CANA, AMiA and the likes. Why would the ARchbishop of Canterbury even meet with them? They represent no one except a disaffected few who cannot seem to live withih the bounds of their vows.

  4. Well said, Mark.

    I have posted some comments on the Covenant site wher Fr. Martins posted his blog entry.

  5. I don't quite get the certainty that the meeting is about getting on the right track of an about-to-be-established two-track relationship.

    An obvious alternative is that the Bishops are asking the ABC for some guaranteed mechanism by which they and their dioceses could remain one-hundred-percent within the Anglican Communion while disconnecting themselves from TEC.

  6. The question is, what will the seven bishops come away with from the meeting?

    This is all so Through the Looking Glass, making decisions on a Covenant which is not yet complete, deciding 3 years ahead of time what the vote in GC12 will be. Is it a certainty that the Church of England will be able to sign the Covenant? Not to mention the meddling in the affairs of TEC.

  7. I am reminded of the old Christmas song, "The 12 Days of Christmas" -
    7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments.

    I never realize the meaning of this verse until I Google it today. Or is it just a round number? Something Biblical?

    Is that why they chose 7 bishops?

    Fr. Maxwell Smart

  8. So let's take a lesson from Luke 14 and take the initiative to sit in the "lowest" position, willingly taking on the mantle of second class citizens that the Axis salivates over for us and in the process honor our Lord and God by siding with those less fortunate (and in the process, also take a lesson from the burning coals of Romans 12!)

  9. ¨First, Father Martins, a former member of the diocese of San Joaquin is usually in the know until he changes his mind. Father Martins is usually right, until he changes his mind. Father Martins usually wins or runs.¨ Fred Schwartz

    Exactly. It´s a wonderment that the always ¨in¨ on any ¨formative¨ and pressing issues of any Episcopal Church day also is a person that resides in the world of what is called grandstanding for a contact ¨high¨ with bigshotism...always leaving a trail of spiritual negativity and litter in his path. Stay tuned, he´s certain to have another ¨inside story¨ so all will know he´s in the know.

  10. According to Fr. Martin in the comments to his post, the seven bishops are Little, Lawrence, McPherson, Stanton, Lillibridge, Smith (N.D.), and Love.

  11. First, I have a compulsive need to point out things like this, so forgive me:

    It's gnashing, not knashing.

    Second, Fr. Martins always reads like Stalin's and Kruschev's speech writers: "The glorious revolution is upon us and the decadent West will be swept away into the dustbin of history!" I keep waiting for Duncan to pound the table with his shoe, whenever Martins starts his propaganda mill!

    Makes you wonder what kind of NKVD ACNA has in mind for its internal security.

  12. Wow, the Fr. Martins' bashing here is worse than any bashing I've seen of him on the HOBD list. I didn't think this would be the blog where I saw that happen. Attack the messenger, I guess.

  13. An orthodite complaining about someone being attacked for what they said!

    Now, see, that's comedy!


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.