Thinking Anglicans

Dublin primates meeting in doubt

Updated Friday morning

According to a report by George Conger due to appear in the Church of England Newspaper tomorrow:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has proposed suspending the Primates Meeting—the fourth ‘instrument of unity’ in the Anglican Communion—in favour of holding multiple small group gatherings of like minded archbishops.

In a letter to the primates dated Oct 7, Dr. Rowan Williams suggested that given the “number of difficult conversations” and the threat of a boycott of its meetings, a regime of separate but equal facilitated small groups sessions might better serve the primates’ “diverse” perspectives and forestall the substantial “damage” to the communion a full-fledged boycott would entail.

Dr. Williams also called for a reform of the structure of the meetings, suggesting that an elected standing committee be created and the powers and responsibility of the meeting of the communion’s 38 archbishops, presiding bishops and moderators be delineated…

Read the whole article here.

Episcopal Café has drawn attention here to some corroborative reports:

ACNS reported that at the CAPA Primates meeting on 8 November, Indian Ocean Primate Archbishop Ian Ernest said:

As regards the Primates Meeting hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury due to take place early next year, we shall be able to express ourselves but the decision to attend rests solely on the individual Archbishop.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited me in my capacity of CAPA Chairman to be part of a preparatory committee. He is also anxious that a small group of primates meet with him. I would like to have your opinion and thoughts about it….

And back on 26 October, the Canadian Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz was reported by the Anglican Journal as saying:

“There is a lot of tension within the group,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz said last Sunday in his address to the Oct. 22-25 joint meeting of the Anglican House of Bishops and the Lutheran Conference of Bishops in Montreal. Some primates seem “unwilling to come to the table with everyone present,” he said. This suggests that some primates strongly opposed to same-sex marriages would not be willing to attend with primates of more favourable or nuanced views.

Archbishop Hiltz said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams may try to deal with this problem by arranging prior meetings of smaller groups of like-minded primates.

Update

The Anglican Communion Office has issued this statement via Twitter commenting directly on the original story from the CEN:

@churchnewspaper Am afraid this story is not accurate. Communion Sec. Gen. Canon Kearon adamant: never any plans to cancel Primates’ Mtg.

48
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
48 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
30 Comment authors
Malcolm+crsPat O'NeillSimon SarmientoSusan Snook Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
David G
Guest
David G

Separate but equal didn’t work in the U.S. and it won’t work elsewhere!!

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Is “separate but equal” the choice of words of George Conger, who should know better, or of Rowan Williams, who maybe doesn’t?

Lister Tonge
Guest
Lister Tonge

Of course, maybe we’re praying that something good and God-given will emerge from what is looking like a train-wreck. Or maybe we’re really and truly hoping that it will be a train-wreck and we can be smug and find other reasons to kick ++Rowan.

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

I’m going to share the concerns of David and Lapin. “Separate but equal” has a very bad connotation in the USA, reminiscent of Jim Crow (mandated segregation) laws in the Southeastern USA where accomodations, restaurants, transportation, commercial enterprises offered segregated services to black folks that were definitely separate from the services offered to white folks, but hardly equal to them. Years ago, when I was part of facilitated discussions among a group of very diverse people, we agreed on the principle of “assume positive intent”. In that vein, I wonder whether what was meant was separate discussions by small groups… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Note to Editor: references to “the Anglican Communion” should ONLY be in the *past tense* (supplemented by the “future possible”, if you’re filled w/ Christian Hope)

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

It is appalling that Rowan Williams would actually cooperate in the program of turning the primates’ meeting into an instrument of disunity.

Does the man have no strategic sense?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“In a letter to the primates dated Oct 7, Dr. Rowan Williams suggested that given the “number of difficult conversations” and the threat of a boycott of its meetings, a regime of separate but equal facilitated small groups sessions might better serve the primates’ “diverse” perspectives and forestall the substantial “damage” to the communion a full-fledged boycott would entail.”

Because heaven forfend we should be forced to listen to people with whom we disagree. Over on this side of the pond, that’s why we have Fox News.

rjb
Guest
rjb

So…. how exactly does this operate as an “instrument of unity”?

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Is “separate but equal” the choice of words of George Conger, who should know better, or of Rowan Williams, who maybe doesn’t?”

Both should know better, but my bet is that the ABC is either blissfully unaware of the evil in that phrase or knows its history and doesn’t care.

But my bet for the ABC would be the first. It’s after all, part of history in a distant former colony.

David | Dah•veed
Guest
David | Dah•veed

•the powers and responsibility of the meeting of the communion’s 38 archbishops, presiding bishops and moderators be delineated•

That one is easy –

“You have no power here! Begone, before somebody drops a *church* on you, too!”

Fred Schwartz
Guest
Fred Schwartz

“Separate but equal” — Isn’t that great? Someone needs to read Brown v Board of Education and then go to Real Anglicans blog.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

This was the modus operandi of 17th century Absolutism. The Absolutist King gathered small groups of two or three Senators, some Secretaries of State and someon to take notes for a Conseille, answerable to nobody.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

It sounds right to scrap the meeting — how often can one rehearse the same barren argument in public?

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

The official line is the meeting has been “restructured”. I did mention on another earlier thread that Rowan was considering chairing meetings in different rooms – and it might mean even different places … What is important to Lambeth, ACO et al is that Rowan continues to preside over meetings of all the primates. Welsh bishops have always argued that they are in Communion with Canterbury and through him others of his choice (like a rimless wheel with the spokes joining at the centre) They have said they are not in a position to dispute with whom Canterbury chooses to… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

So now Kearon tries to walk this back. Perhaps it would be best just to release the Oct. 7 letter so that we all know what it says? And of course, how are we to read the tweet? One can decide not to “cancel a meeting,” but instead hold it in several different places at the same time. So if the issue is whether this Primates’ Meeting will happen in one place or in several places, the tweet doesn’t really settle that question, does it? What a bunch of incompetents at Lambeth Palace. Sure they’ve been dealt a bad hand,… Read more »

ettu
Guest
ettu

Is any meeting worth the time and effort that will be spent on discussing this “non-meeting? No wonder clerics are often seen as wastrels of time and accused of not “getting on” with the actions that are called for by the state of the world and by Christ’s words.

David Bieler
Guest
David Bieler

What an interesting strategy, though. Add an additional layer of planning and organization (Bureaucracy) to further insulate oneself from responsibility for decision and action.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“One can decide not to “cancel a meeting,” but instead hold it in several different places at the same time.”

When is “a” meeting not “a” meeting?

When it is two meetings? Three? How about each one of the Primates meeting serially with the ABC?

How about having a square dance, with the ABC as caller?

How about everyone saving air fares and reducing carbon footprints and have a virtual meeting using Skype? That way no girl cooties could contaminate the air around the fearful ones.

This is beyond silly. Any grownups in Lambeth Palace?

seitz
Guest
seitz

“Secondly how to reorder the election of members of the Standing Committee so that Jefferts Schori comes off. While that might not be the declared purpose – I’m sure we all realise that’s what is wanted by the majority of Primates.” Why would that be an outcome? My hunch is that the new SC would simply be properly representative. 1) ‘Americas’ would retain its single rep, and they can vote for Schori if they wish, or Hiltz, or whomever. 2) What is required for fairness is proportional representation for Africa, three reps being probably the minimum. 3) if the standing… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

I don’t post much any more — there doesn’t seem to be anything new to say — but (as I have said before) — the Anglican Communion ended at Dromantine when several Anglican primates from Africa (they are listed in the second edition of “The Church at War” by Stephen Bates — which I have not seen) refused to receive Communion from Archbishop Williams because Bishop Griswold was present — a communion without communion doesn’t work. But so what — Anglicanism is like the Orthodox — the Orthodox are never in communion with each other — doesn’t make them not… Read more »

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

This is really the Roman Catholic hierarchical model in every way except name. Secrecy. Shame on the people at Lambeth who believe this is the best way to serve the People of God. This is how the boys at the Vatican would do things. Layers of insulation so they do not have to face those who have different approaches to the way of “being Church.” Isn’t it time for some major house cleaning here? I keep having this feeling that perhaps Rowan Williams is about to convert to Roman Catholicism.

RMF
Guest
RMF

Maybe it’s time for the Primates to do a timeout and count to some very high number before meeting again.

Let the ABC issue the invites, those who come, will come. So what? If some don’t want to go, then some don’t want to go.

Otherwise, what Prior Aelred said.

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

Isn’t this precisely what some of the primates had proposed should the Presiding Bishop of TEC show her face?

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

@Prior Aelred: This present moment, though, does seem to be the one at which the split in the Communion becomes public, final, and irrevocable. @Davis d’Ambly: Yes, and that is why the split is now public, final, and irrevocable. @seitz: “it is hard to imagine the PB simply being treated as Reynolds states it.” Not hard at all. That is the way she, and my church, have been treated for quite some time now. This is very serious, but, as I have been saying for some time, we in TEC need to do our work of mourning and move on.… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Let´s see, ¨seperate but equal¨ Would this mean Archbishop John of York will meet with the Gafcon/GS schismatic gents and simultaneously Archbishop Rowan of Canterbury would meet with the more mellow crowd? True, it may be time to reorganize the ¨listening process¨ amongst the despised, the marginalized, the outcasts, the bigots, the cowards and the thieves and see if anyone can figure out some true, and of course Biblical, approach to shutting up and ¨listening¨ for the Holy Spirit with genuine humility. Why don´t the Primates all meet-up together and NOT SAY ONE WORD and then silently abandon themselves to… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

But Charlotte — we are not the ones threatening to boycott (as we didn’t boycott Lambeth).

seitz
Guest
seitz

Charlotte–you missed the local point. If the ‘Americas’ continue to have a rep (why wouldn’t they), then it would be up to them to elect. This is a tiny region, in point of fact, including Anglican Church of Canada, TEC, Southern Cone, West Indies. Could such a tiny region re-elect Schori? Of course they could, and probably will. My point was different, that a fairer representation would inevitably, and justly, mean a dimunition of ‘Americas’ in the overall representation as it is out of balance in the light of Anglican Christians worldwide. Not by ‘eliminating Schori’, but by appropriate augmentation.… Read more »

Savi H
Guest
Savi H

Charlotte, as is apparent from some of the other articles recently posted on TA, many of us in the C of E would by no means want to be part of a centralised Anglican Church founded on exclusion. But I believe many of our fellow-members are not yet fully aware of the risks of the policy being pursued by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“But the Primates Meeting as we have known it – is DEAD.”

Martin, do we want to hear any more from meetings like the one held in Tanzania some years back? If these meetings are dominated by homophobic bullies, is it not better that the minority of sane people retire to a separate room where they can hopefully use the time in a constructive way?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

The word ‘Apart-heid’ was once something no self-respecting Anglican wanted anything to do with. The sad thing about the possibility of ‘separate Primatial Meetings’ is that we have a not-too-dissimilar ethic at work – except that the party most keen to remain separate from the others happens to include all of those who have already declared their intention not to associate with the others – whom they judge to be heretical. With the decision of certain Primates to separate out from TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, the rot was beginning to set in. Then with the emergence of… Read more »

Savi H
Guest
Savi H

Father Ron Smith, I do not think the gap which has emerged is between those who greatly value Scripture and Tradition and those who are more open to fresh revelation. I wish those seeking to dominate the Anglican Communion and turn it into a narrow sect spent more time examining the Bible and tradition in all their complexity, including giving a hearing to scholars whose views are different from their own!

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

No, Fr Joe, I would not want another Dar es Salaam.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

You know, looking at this sow’s ear again, I wonder whether it might be a silk purse in disguise. Or at least whether it may be an unintended gift to liberal opponents of the Covenant. In brief: How can anyone justify entering into any Covenant relationship with people who won’t even meet with the other side? If in early 2011 the refusal of certain primates to meet with others lays bare, once again, the reality that the Anglican Communion has indeed sundered, then why should anyone make any sacrifice to prevent what will have already occurred? Why close the stable… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

@seitz: Yes, the “Americas” can elect anyone they wish, if that is your “local point,” but I think I did not miss the larger point, which is that the purpose of these maneuverings is to reconstitute the Standing Committee, so that moderates, institutionalists, and believers in inclusion will be permanently in the minority. At that point, at long last, the radical right will be in charge. They will then proceed to the rest of the agenda: remove TEC from the Communion, recognize ACNA in its place… The threat of a boycott is being used as a means to this end.… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Yes. The larger point is, fair representation is, well, fair. Would you dispute that a Standing Committee that does not represent the global reality of Anglicanism is unfair, if not even racist? The local point was merely that a fair Standing Committee might well contain Schori, given the size of the ‘Americas’. So it was not a given that she would be excluded, as you implied, or that that was an intention. Let the fair SC decide what the Primates Meeting agendas will be, and how TEC will be treated. Is there something unjust about this? I would think rather… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

How clever of you to fight along the lines that the current membership of the Standing Committee is not “proportional” and therefore “unfair,” Christopher Seitz!

And how kind of you to refuse to refer to our Presiding Bishop by the name she herself uses…

Grace and peace to you, too, and may it be meted out in the same measure with which you mete it out to others.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Oh, and one more thing regarding the Rev. Mr. Seitz’s proposals. I’d like to see an actual head count of Anglican church membership in the GAFCON/CAPA nations before granting their churches rulership of the Anglican Communion, under the guise of “proportional” representation. I have heard many claims of huge numbers of church members, always emanating from those who have an interest in making such claims. On what basis are these claims of huge numbers made? Is it Pledge & Plate, ASA, or what? What records of church membership are actually being kept? How are they kept? Where? How are they… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Jeremy, I think you are right. The Communion has already fractured. But for his own reasons, Rowan is still trying to maintain the fiction that it is still together. Separate primates’ meetings is just one more illusion. Or one more way to say that he didn’t preside over the break-up of the Communion. And of course, by his sitting on the fence, steadfastly remaining in communion with both sides (well, almost, since there was one omission from the guest list at Lambeth), he does ensure that neither side walks away. They just grow farther apart — and he himself is… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

I wouldn’t conclude that a call for fairness is an effort to be ‘clever’. And, I’m sorry you are angered. Let’s say that the figures given for Christians in places like Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, et al are correct (Philip Jenkins is hardly a stooge), could you explain why they oughtn’t to be properly represented? TEC has about 700K in worship on Sunday, and 2M total. Southern Cone is small, as is Mexico, West Indies and Canada. Fine, they have 1 rep. But are you saying that Africa, which is exponentially larger, needs the same representation, and that is fair?

Tobias Haller
Guest

Proportional representation in terms of number has not been a historic part of church polity so far as I can see. Or in many other polities, for that matter. (The United Nations, for instance). I don’t consider it to be “unfair” or even “racist”(!) Each province or church has one Primate, more or less by definition. In fact things did become a bit more “proportional” when former large Provinces, such as West Africa and parts of Latin America, were subdivided into “national” churches. If the Southern Cone were to do the same they might have more seats at the Primates’… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

@seitz: Yes, I see that Pennsylvania State University professor Philip Jenkins published an article in The Atlantic in 2003 lauding the millions upon millions of new African Christians as the future of the Church. It was an excerpt from a book he published the same year. So is that where you have gotten all your figures? But how did Philip Jenkins get them? Again, how were they gathered? How were they vetted? How was a church member defined? Were the church rolls ever purged, and if so, when and why? I have seen the radical right make many claims regarding… Read more »

Susan Snook
Guest
Susan Snook

Holding separate meetings with tiny groups of people who can spend their time complaining about the people in the other rooms sounds like a great idea to me. Such a “meeting” couldn’t possibly restructure, delineate powers, or achieve any coherence whatsoever. I’m all for it! Let’s discourage the Primates from achieving anything at all! The Primate of some other national church has no business meddling with my church or expressing any opinion about its internal affairs anyway.

Malcolm+
Guest

Dr. Seitz, I note that you have ignored Charlotte’s further comment about your deliberate altering of the Presiding Bishop’s name. I realize that mis-stating her name is all de rigeur on the websites of the Anglican far right, but it merely makes you look petty and childish.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

It’s not so much the name she uses, surely it is her actual surname: two words. I mean nobody refers to the contemporary English Conservative politician as Ian Smith, his name really is Ian Duncan Smith. Mr Duncan Smith. That’s his surname. Simples.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Simon:

Ahhh, but you see, Mr. Duncan-Smith came by his hyphenated name the right way, inherited from his dad. Bishop Jefferts-Schori came by hers by marriage, combining her maiden name with that of her husband. To the right wing, that is anathema…she should accept her lord and master’s name as her own, without alteration.

Malcolm+
Guest

Then I presume Mr. Seitz et all must insist that the name of the Royal House is not Windsor any longer, but Mountbatten.

In which case, as a resident of Canada, Mr. Seitz may be guilty of some sort of petty treason for defying the Queen.

crs
Guest
crs

I gave this no thought whatsoever — rather like not caring how I am addressed on blogs. Let her be “Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori” in all of the above. My sincere apologies to TA.

Malcolm+
Guest

Well done, Christopher. Some of your comrades on your side of the aisle could do to learn from your example here.

Of course, the issue is not honest errors about her name, but rather the deliberate and malicious altering of her name which really is endemic on the websites of the Anglican far right.

Not sure what your closing remark is about. Mr. Seitz is entirely correct as a form of address for a clergyman surnamed Seitz.