I've just come across a word that's new to me: extispicy -  'the inspection of the entrails of sacrificial victims for the purpose of divination; haruspicy' OED. I guess there's going to be a lot of extispicy in the next few days. Some in public and much behind closed doors.

Members of the No Anglican Covenant Campaign (and blog) generally believe that as the Covenant has failed in England it will deal a serious, possibly fatal blow to the whole programme.

We hear very little about the progress of debate in other provinces. We can't be sure what's happening unless ACNS tell us.

GAFCON in London
But we may not have long to wait. Next month, in London, we may find out a lot more.

According to a GAFCON press release more than 200 delegates from 30 Anglican provinces and 20 countries will meet to "help turn the present crisis moment into a visionary future".
“We are committed to building networks and partnerships of orthodox Anglicans, strong in their witness to Jesus Christ and the transforming power of His Spirit, to face the challenge of mission around the world” said the Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council.
The Communion will undoubtedly continue its tectonically slow process of realignment.  Some of that will be experienced as walking away, some as drawing together - and both judgments depend on where you stand.

The Covenant will not hold
But it seems fairly clear that the Covenant-based programme for restructuring the Anglican Communion is at the very least stalled. Some will undoubtedly want to keep it going. Others will know they need to start again. How many provinces wish to continue as part of the conversation will probably depend more on the GAFCON churches than any other.

It's impossible to know just what turned voters against it. My guess would be a combination of autocracy, punitiveness, centralisation and a complete failure to bring the majority of members of the Church of England on board before putting it to the vote. The arrogant assumption that if leaders said as little as possible it would be waved through on a nod from the bishops proved a disastrous miscalculation.

command, control and moving backwards
Lessons in leadership
I suggest that one lesson is that, in the days of internet and instant communication, an introspective and insulated leadership is wholly inappropriate and, now visibly, ineffective. The Spirit does not merely move through the hierarchy and God's call is not heard solely by those in mitres.

In the words of the Book of Common Prayer, the Church is 'the blessed company of all faithful people'. I believe that this should be in the front of the minds of all Anglican leaders internationally, nationally and locally.

Work from where people are already
In effect members of the Church of England were asked to 'receive' the Covenant and a majority declined to do so. Reception of change has always been a weakness of Anglican ecclesiology. Perhaps that too is starting to change. (But you can't build an ecclesiology out of one straw in the wind.)

From the Botswana - Diocese of Newcastle upon Tyne
companion link
What we can do as a starting point of leadership is to hear and value the views of the very many members of the Church of England who have had wonderful experiences of links across the Communion - personal, parish, diocesan, interest groups and other.

Let's share these stories and reflections - and use the narrative of difference and commonality to begin to build new working relationships.

But however it's done what's clear is that leaders must lead from the front - but if they leave their followers behind they're not leading at all.

1 comment:

  1. When I read the title of your post I thought it might have something to do with vindaloo. ;-)

    You make a good point about the need to build relationships. That's what will make the Communion.