28 July 2008

The last Lambeth Conference?

One of the things that you can bet on today, and win, is that bloggers are going to be glued to the web looking for any bit of news coming from Lambeth Conference. So, it’s highly probable that today will see me posting twice depending upon what we learn about 4 p.m. GMT, 8 a.m. Pacific time. If I do post twice today, this post will go the way of the Dodo Bird.

It is always nice to have one’s opinion validated. In today’s Telegraph, Damian Thompson agrees with my three-communion Anglican world hypothesis.

I like the way he describes the possible trinity split

Despite the Lambeth Conference’s Soviet-style attempts to keep the media in the dark, news is leaking out of battles by the three factions – conservatives, liberals and Rowan’s dwindling band of loyalists – to seize the imitative by the end of he conference next weekend. [Emphasis added.]

Supporters of he Archbishop of Canterbury are trying to create an “alternative Global South” movement of moderate conservatives who think Gafcon went too far. Up to 200 bishops favour this move according to [an evangelical website], which is predictable furious at what it regards as a Lambeth plot to subvert and split Gafcon.

I love the wee dig at the Gafcon supporters. But at the same time, I think a Laurel and Hardy quote is applicable here, "Well [Rowan] this is another fine mess you've gotten us into."

Thompson makes an interesting observation about the “covenant,” too

Well, anything is worth a try, particularly since the much-heralded "covenant" to tie together the Anglican Communion has turned into one of the conference's standing jokes. As far as I can work out, the covenant will be little more than a glorified "indaba" – the Zulu-style pow-wows into which the poor bishops have been herded. Likewise, the toothless code of canon law being drawn up to try to hold things together

I think I have to agree with Thompson. There is no way any province except the Gafconites will accept proscription on what the can or cannot do. That’s just not Anglican. It is one of the reasons the split between the Roman and English churches took place. (Remember that the rift was there at the time of William the Conquer.)

Thompson gives us an interesting quote supposedly by our Presiding Bishop

Meanwhile, what of the liberals? Here's an interesting rumour. Bishop Jefferts Schori, leader of the American Episcopal Church, has apparently said that its initials "TEC" could equally stand for The Episcopal Communion – that is, a communion of gay-friendly provinces that ordain women bishops.

So that would make three Anglican Communions: the official one meeting (for the last time) at Lambeth, Gafcon and TEC – and that's not counting the breakaway communions that have left the official structures of Anglicanism.

Yet hope springs eternal in the Anglican breast. The official line is still that by the end of the week delegates are expected to reach consensus on tricky issues such as homosexuality. We shall see.

I really like the bit “Yet hope springs eternal in the Anglican breast.” I really, really like that because it is so true. And why is it true, because Jesus goes before us and we follow in his steps.

The sad thing, though, is that Thompson, a Roman Catholic, and most of the press do not realize that this is not over sexuality or even gender: it is over power, who wields it (abuses it), and who is abused by it.

I wonder, is this the last Lambeth Conference?

The Most Rev'd. Katherine Jefferts Shori and her husband. Photo (c) 2008 Susan Russell