Fast-turnaround punditry is not my strength, so I may be skating on thin ice here. But what I am picking up from Jerusalem, both from readily-accessible news outlets and blogs of attendees, and more emphatically from what I consider a reliable back-channel source, GAFCON may be tilting away from the worst fears of "communion conservatives" like myself--i.e. the effective dissolution of Anglicanism. As we progress into the week, the rhetoric seems to be getting milder--not quite conciliatory, perhaps, but manifestly less bellicose.
Of course, there's a lot we don't know. Workshops and breakout sessions, I am led to understand, are not open to the credentialed press. But where there's a broadband internet connection, there are always leaks. And the leaks tend to support the notion that there will be no precipitate action taken toward the formation of an "anti-communion" that attempts to by-pass the ministry of the See of Canterbury.
Are we seeing the triumph the "communion conservatives" among the GAFCON leadership over the "federal conservatives" (see Graham Kings' graphic analysis here)? Is there a behind-the-scenes power struggle going on and is one side "winning"? This will no doubt the speculation of some members of the press, but I tend to think not. Reality is usually much more prosaic, and much more complex, than we might wish.
If this all turns out to be true, it is good news. It reinforces the point I made in my previous post about praying hopefully. Many of the people at GAFCON are those with whom I have in the past made common cause and whom I hold in high regard even as I have held that the event was conceived in too much passion and not enough strategic vision. Some, indeed, are, like me, committed to hanging in there with the Episcopal Church for the foreseeable future (the bishops of South Carolina and Western Louisiana come to mind). And some, in fact, will be at Lambeth. For this I rejoice.
Ecclesiastical politics are like Chicago weather; they can change drastically on a moment's notice. But tonight, at least, I'm a little less gloomy than I've been.