Skip to comments.Dar Es Salaami
Posted on 02/17/2007 5:47:47 PM PST by sionnsar
What's going on in Tanzania? Nobody knows which is probably a good thing. After all, as Bismarck once observed, "To retain respect for sausages and Anglican covenants, one must not watch them in the making." No one will know much of anything until the Primates issue their communique.
But the signs are not good. For one thing, Mrs. Schori is still there. For another, the Communion Sub-Group's "LA, LA, LA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!" deliberate attempt to ignore the obvious does not bode well for any meaningful discipline of errant Anglican churches either now or in the future. This would seem to make the whole "Anglican covenant" idea a complete waste of time despite Craig Uffman's too-clever-by-half effort to spin the report as a conservative victory.
What should happen? Apparently, a parallel Anglican province in America is still a possibility:
The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at a critical Anglican summit yesterday looking increasingly likely to back a "parallel" Church for conservatives, a move that will appal liberals.
He will come under pressure from the conservative Global South leaders to discipline the liberal American Episcopal Church for consecrating Anglicanisms first openly gay bishop in 2003, in breach of official policy. The conservatives have also drawn up a blueprint for a new parallel "ecclesial body" to accommodate conservative American Anglicans who reject the leadership of their liberal Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.
Seven conservative American bishops have so far indicated that they want to come under an alternative leader.
About another dozen or so are expected to follow suit if Dr Williams gives the plan his blessing.
According to insiders, the Global South group is proposing that the new body will consist of a "college" of bishops that will minister to dioceses and parishes across America that affiliate with it.
The college would choose three moderators from within its ranks, one of whom would be selected by the primates and given powers equivalent to those exercised by the Presiding Bishop, the American equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dr Williams is understood to be prepared to countenance a version of this arrangement. But he is likely to argue for a significantly watered down variation in the hope that a less radical plan might be reluctantly accepted by the liberal leadership of the Episcopal Church in return for remaining within the worldwide Communion.
I think this idea is a non-starter for three reasons. The Episcopal left would never countenance Bob Duncan as an American primate and would never forgive the insult to Schori. TEC would, of course, plead canons and polity which means that it would GenCon 2009 before this notion could be implemented and the idea that this would make it through a TEC General Convention is too stupid an idea to keep in one's head.
Most importantly, since TEC is all about the Benjamins, agreeing to a parallel province seems like it would cut the ground out from under 815's various legal cases and permanently alienate vast swathes of real estate in one stroke. If St. Jack Iker's Episcopal Church removes itself from its bishop's jurisdiction and affiliates with the new province, how can TEC plausibly claim that St. Jack's has removed itself from the Episcopal Church when St. Jack's merely availed itself of an arrangement that TEC itself signed?
So I don't see it happening. Which leaves a formal split. Will it happen? I don't know. But the alternative is a dramatic increase in the bleeding. More and more Episcopalians who have spent the last four years in TEC soldiering on for the Gospel, who have taken more than their share of abuse for it and have struggled to hang on won't wait much longer and are already glancing in the direction of the exits. Brad Drell:
I think it is safe to say that Anglicanism has basically accepted open homosexuality as not objectionable enough to cause a schism or even require discipline within the church. The elephant in the living room is not homosexuality. It is fidelity to the Christian faith. Anglicanism will need to define whether it will use discipline to achieve unity and fidelity, or not. That is the purpose of the covenant. Anglicanism saw a need for a covenant at the first Lambeth conference. It seems now that this may actually happen.
The question for me, at this point, after this topsy turvy day, is whether I want to wait around for it. Whether I want to continue to be a part of this Anglican experiment. For to do so, for me, would require me to stay in the Episcopal Church. If I were to leave the Episcopal Church, that would require me to abandon my post, as it were, as a General Convention Deputy and member of the Standing Committee. If I am going to do that, it wont be to join another Anglican entity in the hopes that some day the Episcopal Church might be replaced with some or all of the elements of the Anglican alphabet soup out there. Not that I blame anyone for wanting to do that. It just isnt what I will do.
The institutional solidarity of the Anglican Communion makes us no never mind. The Gospel of Jesus Christ does. If the Communion is quite willing to let its most spiritually vigorous element walk away because it is too Laodicean to take a stand for the Lord, then it deserves to die and the sooner the better.
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