Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Day Thou Gavest

As I write on the American west coast, winding down toward retiring for the night (Wednesday), it's a little past 9 AM Thursday in Dar es Salaam. All the action is going to take place while I'm asleep. Or maybe it's already getting started. Maybe at this very hour the three extraordinary episcopal guests (Duncan, McPherson, Epting) have begun their presentations to the assembled Primates and are preparing to field questions. I'm reminded of the line from what is probably my favorite evening hymn (the verse regrettably omitted from Hymnal 1982): "The sun that bids us rest is waking our breth'ren 'neath the western sky."

There was not a a lot of hard news on Wednesday. I'm assuming that most everybody who might glance at this third-tier blog has other sources for actual news; I've hardly ever presumed to fill that role. And by the time anybody reads this, my summary reflections will be...well...yesterday's news. So it's an exercise in synthesis more or less for my own benefit. Anyway, part of the fun--if it can be called fun--of times like this is to look back on what has been written and judge it either prescient or woefully mistaken.

So what do we know so far?
  • We know that volleys have been exchanged in the battle over whether TEC's Presiding Bishop finishes the meeting in the same chair in which she begins it, but that the question remains open. Archbishop Williams, through his spokesman Canon Rosenthal, has said, in effect, "She's here; she's staying." But I do not expect Archbishop Akinola to suddenly become all demure and deferential. There will undoubtedly be a procedural move against KJS once the formal meeting gets going (perhaps as I write).
  • We may expect with virtual certainty that the Global South Primates will advance the commitment they made last fall in Kigali and attempt to birth an interim ecclesial body in America that will be "province-like" in nature and will move with all deliberate speed toward positioning itself to take over for TEC when GC '09 elects not to opt in to the Anglican Covenant. There seems to be a reasonable expectation across ideological lines that +Rowan will back some form of this plan. It would be consistent with the two-tier constituent/associate schema he put forward last summer in the wake of General Convention. The most telling detail will be how broadly it is structured. Will it appeal only to those dioceses that have already requested an alternate primatial relationship? to the dioceses and parishes of the ACN? to the "Windsor/Camp Allen" bishops? If the latter, it has a solid chance of picking up enough traction to reach a very interesting tipping point. If I were part of the '815' apparatus I would be nervous. Very nervous.

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