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Scenarios For The Anglican Communion
All Too Common ^ | 2/09/2007 | The Rev. Stephen Noll

Posted on 02/09/2007 5:58:31 PM PST by sionnsar

Main Entry: pri'mate
Etymology: Middle English primat, from Old French, from Medieval Latin primat-, primas archbishop, from Latin, leader, from primus
Date: 13th century
1 often capitalized : a bishop who has precedence in a province, group of provinces, or a nation
2 archaic : one first in authority or rank : LEADER

3 [New Latin Primates, from Latin, plural of primat-, primas] : any of an order (Primates) of mammals comprising humans, apes, monkeys, and related forms (as lemurs and tarsiers)
-pri'mate-ship \-*ship\ noun
--pri-ma'tial \pr*-*m*-sh*l\ adjective

Many commentators see the February 2007 Primates’ Meeting in Dar Es Salaam as decisive in setting the direction for the future of the Anglican Communion. I am one of them. In my opinion, the Lambeth Conference itself will be less significant for the history of Anglicanism than the upcoming Primates’ Meeting because decisive questions of constituency will have been already made de facto if not de jure. Put another way, only the Primates, and the Primates from the Global South (GS) in particular, can change the direction which that Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC) has set out for the future of the Communion. The future identity and direction of The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) and Common Cause churches hangs in the balance.

Scenario A: The ABC’s Anglican Way
If the ABC (along with the Anglican Communion Office) has his way, the Primates’ meeting will seat PB Schori and continue to recognize TEC as the official representative of Anglicanism in the USA. At best, alternate voices like that of Bp. Duncan will be solicited, but they will be seen to have no official authority. While it is possible that TEC will continue on probationary status all the way to Lambeth 2008, this status will be seen rather as a face-saving sop to the GS churches than as a reality In fact, it will be business as usual in London and New York.

I do not see any for biblical Christians, unless it leads to a new Communion (see Scenario D).


1. The GS Primates will be seen as paper tigers, to be coddled but at the end of the day to be tamed by the ABC and ACO.

2. The Primates’ Council itself will be seen as subservient to the ABC and ACO and talk of “enhanced authority” will be a sham.

3. The ACN churches and clergy will be seen to have lost and will have a harder time in litigation. Many of their members will depart, seeing the loss as a last straw.

4. The Common Cause churches will realize they have no future in the Anglican Communion.

5. Lambeth 2008 will go forward as planned with TEC represented and Resolution 1.10 being seen as a dead letter.

Scenario B: The Global South Consensus

In this scenario, the Global South Primates form a unified block and force the exclusion of TEC from the Communion and Lambeth 2008, accompanied by at least partial recognition of ACN as the heir. This decision will be forced on the ABC as he has to choose between one church or many.

1. This action opens the door to genuine reform. To be sure, such reform will not be full or automatic, because there will be continuing revisionist influence at high levels. However, the exclusion of TEC will lead to voluntary departures of some other Provinces (e.g, Brazil and South Africa) realigning themselves in the parallel “The Episcopal Communion.”

2. This scenario puts teeth and reality into the Windsor Report and Dromantine Communiqué. In other words, the Primates (esp. the GS Primates) actually mean what they say. TEC has in fact chosen to walk apart and is cut loose. NOTE: I think it might be a nice coup de gras to employ PB Schori’s own words about Episcopalians who “leave” TEC to the departure of TEC from the Communion.

3. The Primates will now emerge as the executive body of the Communion, with the ABC as presiding officer and the ACO as staff under the Primates.

I don’t see many, except that the CofE will remain a problem there will be challenges as to how the “Instruments” are to function in the new alignment.

Scenario C: The Muddled Middle Pseudo-Consensus
In this scenario, neither scenario A or B takes place, but instead the Primates’ meeting is inconclusive and comes out with a muddled “consensus” statement similar to or worse than the Windsor Report and Dromantine Communiqué. All sides claim victory. The “Windsor Process” marches on, and the bishops slouch toward Lambeth, which is no longer seen to have any real purpose or authority. Meanwhile the realignment within the Communion and with North American Anglicanism continues unofficially.

While this is not a clean scenario, it will lead to the eventual division of the Communion, as the revisionists carry on their agenda and the traditionalists continue to build relationships among themselves.

1. The Anglican Communion will be seen as an incoherent Christian body with no real contribution to make ecumenically.

2. The Global South will be under continual temptation (financially and theologically) to compromise the Gospel.

3. ACN churches will be disadvantaged in litigation and will lose members. However, they may continue to work with Common Cause partners to form an alternate structure in the USA and Canada, in partnership with GS churches.

Scenario D: The Global South Anglican Communion
In the case that Scenarios A occurs (or possibly Scenario C), the Global South Primates or some bloc of them determine to go independent of the ABC and the Lambeth Conference and set up an alternative structure, which includes “dissidents” from those Provinces which remain aligned with Canterbury. It is possible that such a scenario could be put on the table in advance of the Primates’ meeting or that it will emerge after the meeting, when GS Primates realize that they have been thwarted.

1. This will lead to a true reform of the Communion without needing to coddle the ABC and other revisionist leaders. A meaningful Communion Covenant will be possible.

2. It will lead to the most coherent missionary expansion of all the scenarios.

3. For the ACN, it will have mixed effects. It will harm their prospects of litigation and will scare off fence-sitters, but it will retain and attract “Canterbury trail” evangelicals.

1. It will dilute the worldwide scope of the Communion and lead to charges of schism.

2. It will divide some of the GS churches against one another.

3. It might fail to develop proper authority structures and lead to further fragmentation.

Fr. Stephen Noll
Scenarios For The Anglican Communion

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 02/09/2007 5:58:31 PM PST by sionnsar
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2 posted on 02/09/2007 5:59:06 PM PST by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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