It is becoming obvious that the leadership of TEC means to move resolutely ahead with its mission of civil rights and inclusion, insisting that these are imperatives of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a kind of brand name for American Episcopalianism. (We leave to the side whether inclusion or civil rights are being honored or thwarted by this idea.)
In the light of the failure to respond positively to the communiqué of the Primates Meeting, the course being charted is becoming increasingly clear. Apparently the Archbishop of Canterbury is prepared to hear out the leadership of TEC on an alternative plan that will deal with the problems it has created for life in Communion. But the disconnect that will result could be palpable, not least because TEC leadership does not acknowledge that it has created a problem that requires any remedy of the kind an Instrument of Unity has recently urged, with urgency. It views the problem as ‘conservatives’ out of step with the enlightened views it holds. The recent reports of Presiding Bishop Schori’s comments make this very clear indeed. She is to be commended for her candor.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will not be accused of failing to go the extra mile in this terrible mess. It might be suspected that his chief intention is to be sure he has a grasp of the facts at close hand. Proximity will in this case surely be a bracing thing.
It is becoming clear as well that a gift is only of any value if it is given and received both. Archbishop Rowan would be forgiven for being puzzled at the failure of conservative Bishops in TEC both to applaud and embrace the communiqué of Dar es Salaam and receive warmly what has been given. Not to gaze on it from afar or speak of its virtues only, but to unwrap and open and take good care of what has been given.
Efforts to delay or to seek another form of ‘peace’ can only be seen as yet another example of American unilateralism. There is nothing wrong, uncanonical, imperial, or otherwise with the communique’s requests. The requests address with clarity and charity a problem that unilateralists in the Communion have created. There is no evidence that the Primates are seeking fresh alternatives to the communiqué they crafted, and Archbishop Rowan is going the extra mile to take the pulse up close. Sadly, the patient is not only quite ill, but in denial as well.
The Anglican Communion Institute A Visit from the Archbishop
The ACI is alive and well but note the new website URL is anglicancommunioninstitute.com