Wednesday 4 February 2009

Primates meeting Day 4 – Will the Communion hold?

The Primates have been told to be cautious of the media and lobbyists who are here, and I respect the privacy of their discussions. I also know what it feels like to have people intruding on your personal space with their personal agendas. As at previous meetings, this means that the secular press (sole representative Riazat Butt) are denied the stories that might spice up their reports.

Nevertheless, I have had conversations every day with Primates, some of whom are well known and good friends, others whom I am meeting for the first time. These conversations confirm my impression of hope, that the atmosphere at this meeting is radically different from Dar es Salaam and dramatically different from Dromantine. One Primate for whom Dromantine was his first meeting wondered what he had walked into – and assumed the dysfunctional model to be normal for a Primates’ meeting. At Alexandria, the mood is far more relaxed and healthy.

The dynamic here is totally different, even amongst the Global South Primates who boycotted Lambeth, though they have to some extent been playing catch-up with those who were at Lambeth. There are apparently times when reactions and stances are less mature and a more infantile model of behaviour momentarily raises its head, but generally, the relationships inside the meeting are far more honest and far more respectful of each other’s integrity.

I’ve asked whether any of the Global South Primates are raising the issue of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) in the meeting and requesting that it be put formally on the agenda. The answer to the second question is no, but the issue has been raised in the context of other discussions – the Covenant, for example.

The comment from one Primate was – the centre, the Communion holds. Another was less sanguine about the future, as are other reporters on the Anglican scene, who believe a split or schism is inevitable.

The question people are inevitably asking is, will the ACNA proposal be formally tabled at this Primates’ meeting? There are just two days left. It may be that the person with the greatest interest in the ACNA question being put is not one of the Global South Primates but the author of VirtueOnline, David Virtue himself. Some examples of the comments made by David’s supporters show the constituency he is writing for and pandering to:
“The week is not yet done, although it is all over for our Communion. GAFCON will not stand for this. They have an understanding of Mortal Sin, even if these play-actors do not.”

“Please excuse me for saying so but koinonia, relationships and bonds of affection are pure nonsense when trying to establish discipline in an organization.”

“TEC is a gnostic organization and needs to be purged from Anglicanism. If this is not done, the entire Anglican communion will collapse within 50 years or less.”

“Another waste of time and money. This cannot be fixed unless the heretics repent which they will never do. They only thing left to do is walk apart. All this blabbering is useless!”

“Stand, bow your head, and thank God. We are observing the final act in the destruction of the Communion. That which Schori and her homosexual gang have purchased, God will dispose of by the administration of His Wrath!”

“One can only hope that eventually the GAFCON Primates open their mouths and take some action. So far the silence is deafening.”

If ++Aspinall truly speaks for the Primates, then all is lost. The "so called" Anglican "Communion" is no longer Catholic nor Christian. GAFCON rise up, it is our last chance.”

David has a huge vested interest in provoking division in the Communion and attends every Anglican event to lobby conservative Primates to this effect. Some of the GAFCON Primates present here may be planning to demand recognition of ACNA. That isn’t what the Primates I have spoken with expect to happen.

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