Thinking Anglicans

Rowan Williams writes to ECUSA/Canadian bishops

It’s worth noting another letter that has been part-published. In the Anglican Journal report on the Canadian bishops’ statement, the following also appears:

Archbishop Williams… also sent a letter to the joint meeting of the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) which began April 28 – to which he had earlier been invited to attend but which he declined attending citing previous engagements.
In his letter, which the Canadian primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, read aloud, Archbishop Williams said he remained “hopeful” that the Anglican Communion, deeply divided over the issue of homosexuality, could still move forward together.
“The recent primates’ statement has, I know, been hard for many to hear. But what it represents is an attempt to hold some space for us all to decide where our future lies in regard to the (Anglican) Communion; to think about how we act with the goal of allowing our relations in Christ to develop, not to cut off the possibilities of moving together,” he wrote. “It undoubtedly challenges people on different sides of the current debate; essentially we are trying to find a way of moving forward as a church, not as a collection of interest groups of ‘left’ or ‘right.’”
He added that the primates’ statement “also represents a deep reluctance all round to move hastily in the direction of separation.”
The Anglican Communion’s present situation, he added, “is in some ways nothing new: we are always living between testimony to God’s overwhelming and unsurpassable gift and our own countertestimony of confusion or faithlessness.”
Archbishop Williams said he could not offer “an easy solution to our tensions,” adding, “that would be presumptuous.” But he added, “I can only send my greetings and prayers as a brother in this confused environment, and urge you all to look to the Lord of the church for patience, mercy and renewal.”
Canadian and American bishops welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter, which had come as a surprise. Archbishop Hutchison had earlier admitted to being stung by Archbishop Williams’ decision not to attend the joint meeting, saying he took it to mean the Archbishop of Canterbury did not wish to be associated with the beleaguered Canadian and American Anglicans.

The Living Church has reported that:

Over 40 American bishops and the secretary general of the ACC, Canon Kenneth Kearon, joined the Canadian bishops at dinner on April 27. Originally scheduled to attend the joint meeting of American and Canadian bishops, Archbishop Rowan Williams withdrew from the dinner following the primates’ meeting in Dromantine, saying it would be inappropriate for him to attend given the present estrangement between the North American Churches and the rest of the Anglican Communion. (TLC, March 27)

I can find no public record of Rowan Williams saying anything like this, not even in TLC’s own report.

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I would suggest, if it turns out as fact that the ABC made a decision not to join the North American bishops for reasons of finding it inappropriate in the face of opposition to attend said gathering, that it is the most appropriate thing to do for the ABC to attend such meetings. If the office of ABC exists to serve and guide Christ’s people, especially in view of the new more institutional and hierarchically minded “instruments of unity” (Whatever happened to our original “instruments of unity”, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral? Bravo for the Anglican House of Bishops reminding us of… Read more »