The Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold has issued via ENS a statement concerning the meeting announced by the ACO last week: Comment from the Presiding Bishop on September meeting. The main part of what he says is this:
I have become aware of a great deal of speculation regarding a meeting that will take place in New York in mid-September. I would like, therefore, to offer a few clarifying words on what has been conceived as an opportunity for those of differing perspectives to come together in a spirit of mutual respect to exchange views.
Shortly after the General Convention, Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, shared with me some conversations he had had with the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the whole notion of “alternative primatial oversight” and the difficulty in making a response. Though application for the same had been made to the Archbishop, it was clear in our conversation that the Archbishop, though symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, has no direct authority over the internal life of the Provinces that make up the Communion. Canon Kearon’s point was that such requests needed to be discussed and a resolution be sought within the Episcopal Church itself. We agreed that the most helpful next step might be to have a candid conversation to include the Presiding Bishop-elect and me together with bishops who have expressed a need for “alternative primatial oversight,” and to have Canon Kearon join with us in the conversations. Bishops Duncan and Iker were then asked to be participants. We also agreed that the group might be expanded by other bishops to be chosen by the participants themselves. Bishops Duncan and Iker invited Bishops Salmon, Stanton and Wimberly to take part. I have asked Bishops Henderson, O’Neill and Sisk. This is the genesis of the meeting now set for mid-September. Bishop Peter Lee was asked to serve as convener and he in turn thought it would be helpful were he joined by a bishop known to have views different from his own. Accordingly, Bishop John Lipscomb was also asked to serve as convener. Whether or not this is the first in a series or in fact a one-time conversation will be decided by the group itself…
Jim Naughton has commented about this at Daily Episcopalian in The Guest List.
I don’t know whether it is significant that none of the bishops who opposed the “manner of life” resolution — passed on the last day of General Convention and meant to insure our ongoing involvement in conversations regarding the future of the Anglican Communion — have been invited. But any meeting which requires a conservative counterweight to the resolutely centerist Peter Lee of Virginia (see the statement) is weighted heavily to one side.
My hunch is that the composition of this group will give momentum to an argument/fear already abroad in liberal circles: that when push comes our elected episcopal leadership may well betray the convictions of the majorities that elected them for the sake of what they perceive to be our institutional viability.
I am not suggesting that a betrayal is in the works, but this matter continues to be handled on both sides of the ocean in a way certain to demoralize the Church’s left/center majority.
I would feel a lot better about this meeting if some lay people, such as Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, were involved.
The Living Church has reported the statement here.
Update In an email published here, Gregory Cameron has written:
…The meeting in September to which you refer has been convened precisely so that bishops who are asking for alternative primatial oversight can meet with their current primate and his successor to determine from within the Episcopal Church the best way forward. While the Archbishop of Canterbury had a role in establishing this meeting, and will be represented at it by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, it is intended to allow the Episcopal Church to reach its own conclusions, and does not represent any independent action by the Archbishop of Canterbury at all…
G K Cameron
Deputy Secretary General
Anglican Communion Office
This was in reply to an email which is reproduced here.
George Conger has a report in the CEN New York summit to bridge American divide.