Updated Friday morning and again Friday evening
Ruth Gledhill has a blog entry today that is mostly about the Recife situation. While not wishing to minimize the significance of that topic, I did find the second part of her article even more interesting:
…The Anglican Communion is in deep crisis. The General Convention in the US could see the ratification of the election of a gay or lesbian Bishop of California. Convention will also debate where Ecusa goes now in response to the Windsor Report. The outcome will determine whether Gene Robinson and the bishops who consecrated him are invited to Lambeth 2008. My guess is that when the invitations go out later this year, some of the US bishops and suffragans might be invited with observer status only, rather as the Ecusa delegates attended the ACC meeting in Nottingham. But beyond not inviting people and issuing public rebukes, there is very little Dr Williams can do with respect to Ecusa if the North Americans do decide to follow their liberal consience, as seems likely.
Meanwhile, work is going on to examine the ACC constitution for a way forward. The constitution is framed to allow new members to be elected into the Anglican Communion but there is no mechanism for expelling anyone or inviting them to leave.
It is to debate issues such as this that Dr Williams has convened a meeting at Lambeth Palace on 24 April to examine the ‘options and scenarios’ for the ‘post-General Convention period’ in the Anglican Communion. Those invited include the Bishops of Durham, Winchester, Exeter, Manchester, Norwich, Bristol and the Dean of St Paul’s as well as representatives from the Church’s mission agencies and Anglican Mainstream. They will discuss the implications for the Church of England and how the ‘Instruments of Unity’ should respond to whatever happens in Ecusa this summer.
In his letter of invitation, leaked to me, Dr Williams’ head of staff Chris Smith says the roundtable discussion concerns the ‘next critical months’ in the life of the Anglican Communion. ‘This is too important a set of issues to allow events to overtake us,’ he says.
My source, who is not one of those invited, interprets it this way: ‘The wording of the invitation makes it fairly clear that Lambeth is expecting no backtrack from Ecusa and is therefore working out how to manage the oncoming schism.’ …
The Bishop of Exeter was present at the recent ECUSA House of Bishops meeting, as noted here. No doubt the July General Synod meeting will be hearing more about all this. (General Convention dates are 13-21 June, General Synod dates are 7-11 July.)
Update 1 The Living Church has also noticed Ruth’s report, see Bishop of Exeter Represents Canterbury at House of Bishops Retreat.
Ruth Gledhill has published more, see Schism looms, Exeter warns US bishops
On Saturday, The Times had this short piece Archbishop holds talks over fear of a schism.