Meetings, Gatherings, Sanctions, and other Primatial stuff. (updated)

A quick note on Thursday morning, Eastern US.  Reports are now coming from the meeting of Primates at Canterbury.  Primarily reported by writers for the conservative press and fueled by unnamed but apparently GAFCON like sources, the basic outline of the work of the Primates meeting seems to be as follows:

First, there is the matter of this being a meeting or a gathering. It is not a meeting, in that its agenda is managed for specific ends, namely getting people to sit in the same room long enough to hear one another.  As a managed gathering it is not a Primates Meeting with agenda set by the whole. What it all seems to mean is this: if it is not a meeting then walk-outs loose their force.   Supposedly no decision are made for which a walk-out would be in order. Rather it is a conversation in which being present is a matter of patience, not principle. 

So the Primates are gathered.

Almost all of what follows is based on the report (as yet unconfirmed) that the Primates have MET, and done something. If the reports are wrong, these reflections are of no use at all.

Yet, if the reports are true, the Primates have indeed decided something by some sort of majority, namely to sanction The Episcopal Church.

So the Primates have had a meeting, that is a gathering in which decisions are made by some sort of vote or pressure.

When they moved from being a gathering to being a meeting (if indeed the reports are true) they became a Primates Meeting.  

I would hope that at that point the Primate of ACNA would have excused himself from the discussion and or vote, and perhaps even the "meeting" itself.  Reports are that otherwise ACNA has been part of the gathering all the way through the week.

Apparently GAFCON folk have not walked out, meaning one supposes, that the decision reportedly taken, namely to sanction TEC,  were sufficient, or at least tolerable, to GAFCON sensibilities.

So we have sanctions... what sort of things are these sanctions?  Removal of voice and vote at various meetings?  Disallowing participation in (and I suppose funding of) Anglican Communion activities?  Standing in the corner? Who knows.  But sanctions were assumed in the Anglican Covenant section 4, and many of us believed they were the undoing of the Covenant, and low and behold here they are being involked. Sanctions will be the undoing of the Primates gathering/ meeting as well.

We will have to see the statement supposedly coming out at the close of the meeting to get a real sense of what is going on, but given the early reports it appears that the Primates morphed from gathering to meeting and made a decision to "do something."  How do they propose to carry out whatever sanctions they invoke?  The Primates cannot dictate what any member church does, nor can they demand that the Anglican Consultative Council do anything. They have a strong voice but carry a very small range of sticks.  The pastoral staff can indeed poke or prod, but it cannot beat so well, particularly flocks other than their master's own. 

No, the Primates gathering was precisely that... and for that matter the Primates Meetings are precisely that: gatherings for mutual consultation.   They are not well suited for whipping people or churches into shape. 

As for sanctions, the Anglican Communion has tried this before. How well did that work?

Update:  The Archbishop of Uganda has left the gathering / meeting. He makes no reference to a decision having been made at the gathering / meeting.  Who knows what it means?  


  1. Fine, if they are going to "sanction" the Episcopal Church for three years, then I say that we Episcopalians decline to fund the Anglican Communion for that period of time. In fact, if the TEC leadership does not withhold such funds, I and many others I'm sure, will have to review our contributions to Episcopal Church projects as well. Whatever percentage TEC gives the AC I will withhold from my pledges. Human rights violators in Africa and elsewhere should not get off scott free while human rights supporters are "sanctioned." No money for the AC for the period of "sanctions"!

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

  2. Time to move on. Stop funding evil acts. It's clear that, by remaining in the Anglican Communion, we are giving it and the violence, hate and power-lust that moves it. By our tolerance of this wave of evil intent, we have helped to endanger people in the Global South - gays, Muslims, women - and that is not our right.

    We have to grow up, take our leadership role, and leave the dead to bury one another, and the Anglican Communion has long been dead. This was never about "good faith" on any part but ours.

  3. Yes, how the "gathering" morphed into a "meeting"...and then a policy making meeting apart from the ACC is consequential. But, from a parochial USA perspective... Foley Beach is being touted hete as in the meeting and fully participating...what are the facts and what do they imply for communion presence here? Second, what does the recent, what would you call it, rapprochement between the CofE and the Scottish national church imply for the Episcopal Church in Scotland. I can't recall I think if it is Episcopal or Anglican in name. In any event, it seems that it was not taken into consider. The Episcopal Church USA derives it's apostolic succession from it. DO any or all of these things reflect a stronger evangelical theological emphasis...shades of the ABC'S reference to his own conversion through the east African revival? EmilyH

  4. I believe it is irresponsible and plain dangerous (to the well being of almost everybody other than this immature/emotionally challenged puritanlike cult of Gafcon goons) to continue associating with and/or funding the Anglican Communion.

    ++Justin has now engineered a complete manipulation of *opportunities* within the ACC and the Anglican Communion to underscore deadly radical leadership at Church. There are no soft words to be conjured up (to make us feel better/more forgiving) that will allow us to escape the responsibility to STOP enabling this HATE MOVEMENT at church.

    What is truly amazing to me is that ++Welby has been such a devious operator under the pretense of solid mediator and skilled former business man...I see now that his version of HOLY, aka good business, includes the tormenting, exclusion and continued persecution and punishment of LGBTI Anglicans throughout the Anglican Communion. The man has lost any degree of esteem I may have held for him...he has become another puffed up zealot on the prowl in my estimation. A coward, a smoozer, a operative for those who exclude others at the Anglican Communion. Lord have mercy on the suffering LGBTI Anglicans/others throughout the various BIGOT LED provinces of the Anglican Communion.

    These men seem way beyond deranged to me as decades of their hate/fear has be exhibited for all to see. We MUST NOT try and buy them off or buy a place at future meet-ups to appear tolerant of the harm done. Validating wrong? No more, please. We ought NOT become codependent accomplices to the torment and even MURDER of LGBTI Anglicans/others at the Anglican Communion. We will find a healthier way to help ALL human beings survive bigotry and hate...but, first, we must say NO MORE to the demonizing of LGBTI people/others at Church. Period.


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.