Andrew Carey in the Church of England Newspaper, bemoans the dearth of journalists covering the Primates’ Meeting in Alexandria and the lack of lobbyists – only two, he writes, both from Changing Attitude!
At the last Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania as at the Lambeth Conference, writes Andrew, there were minders all over the place and lobbyists and journalists were kept firmly in their place. In contrast, at Alexandria there was little interest and little need for security. It’s true that there were only 7 of us in the press briefings, and Canon Julian Dobbs and Brenda Harrison were the only other people on the fringe of the meeting.
The absence of the conservatives speaks volumes about the state of the Anglican Communion, says Andrew. He blames the failure of the Anglican Communion to seriously address the Windsor Report or take disciplinary action. This has led to disillusionment and disengagement. The only process at work in the Communion is a dishonest attempt to prolong inaction until terminal boredom and frustration sets in, he claims.
This is a veiled attack on the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is always in Andrew’s sights. Andrew is quite wrong. The Archbishop of Canterbury has patiently and sensitively set out his understanding of what it means to be Christian and Anglican. He has a vision of where he wants the church to go and although not a great tactician, has allowed his own faith and intuition to be his guide. As a result, following Lambeth and the Primates meeting, the Communion finds itself more at one with itself and relationships between Primates, bishops and provinces slowly but surely being restored.
My understanding, contrary to Andrew’s negative assessment, is that the usual suspects from the conservative lobby groups, Canons and Bishops as they may be (and white and western) were told to stay away by the Global South primates (who have the authority to do so). I did not pick up a mood of disillusionment and disengagement in Alexandria. Quite the reverse was true.
There was a new optimism and a re-engagement from those primates who had boycotted Lambeth.As I’ve commented before, there is almost a programme of disinformation from some commentators, David Virtue and Andrew Carey among them. Before the ink had dried on communiqués from the past few meetings, said Andrew, the conclusions of the Primates had been flouted and abandoned. He means gay blessings, of course, which are being discussed but have not yet been approved. Meanwhile, cross-border interventions continue to take place, but they don’t count for the likes of Andrew and David, or they are justified, because they are right and we are wrong.