Another straw in the wind?

Bob Duncan in the Church Times

Paul Handley's Church Times report of the GAFCON press conference tells us very little.

Jim Naughton, however, picked up the most significant point: Paul Handley was the only journalist present and the conservatives need press coverage to survive.

In media terms, the American branch of the schism is entirely parasitical. As soon as Martyn Minns, Robert Duncan, etc, are no longer the scourges of the Episcopal Church, they are nothing more than the leaders of a very small American denomination that may have more bishops per square congregant than any church in Christendom. What then? The same may hold true for Peter Akinola and Henry Orombi. If they aren't fighting the western dragon, the media will ignore them, they will become less useful to the Western conservatives who now support them, and that support will gradually dry up.

To pick up another comment in Handley's report:

As well as being united, Bishop Duncan had told the Primates, his Church was “ready”, having prepared a constitution and canons “that look recognisably Anglican” and which he had amended after consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Presumably the earlier draft had not been recognisably Anglican, or at least not sufficiently. But what is the Archbishop of Canterbury playing at? Is he really assisting and supporting ACNA? Claims have been made and denied before now for the level of endorsement which the ABC has given to Bob Duncan and his acolytes. But nonetheless to step from siding consisently with the conservatives to giving active support and encouragement to a minority schismatic group is quite out of order. So much for the ABC acting as a focus for global unity.

But perhaps it's too little too late for the conservatives. The absence of journalists is another straw in the wind: the seccession has happened; the secessession has run out of steam.

And maybe the last ditch game plan is this - to sneak ACNA back into the Anglican Communion through an ambiguity of language in the Covenant.

Ephraim Radner, a member of the Covenant Design Group, has suggested that the word "Church" was used in the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant rather than the word "province" to provide for the possibility that schismatic churches and individual dioceses could "request recognition and participation" in the covenant.

That would, of course, provide a template for any dissentient faction in any province, and on any grounds, to hive themself off from their parent body and to call themselves a 'Church'. Why should any province vote to adopt the Covenant to give any internal minority such a big lever over it (the threat of departure and return in another guise)?

If this little scheme to reincorporate ACNA is the case then, as I have argued earlier but without this degree of precision, this Covenant is not designed to unify the Communion but to divide it up far more extensively than merely expelling TEC and ACoC.

But I prefer to hope, and increasingly to believe, that the tide has turned and the beach belongs again to the moderate minded majority.


1 comment:

  1. 'But I prefer to hope, and increasingly to believe, that the tide has turned and the beach belongs again to the moderate minded majority.'

    Yes - good point and probably true, let's hope Lambeth doesn't mess it up by recognising them.