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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Anglican Ultimatum.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams listens to his tablemates May 4 during a short discussion of the process for the Anglican Consultative Council to use concerning action on a proposed Anglican covenant during the 12-day meeting in Kingston, Jamaica. Williams is president of the ACC. Suzanne Lawson, lay representative from the Anglican Church of Canada, is in the foreground. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg

The Anglican Consultative Council is meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, May 2 - 12. The reports all week have been "mostly sunny with chance of rain and thunder storms."

The first rumble came yesterday in the form of this report from ENS reporter, Mary Frances Schjonberg. You can find it here, but I quote, in part, these excerpts:

"After a 40-minute presentation May 4 by retired Province of the West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, who headed the covenant drafting group, the representatives were given a draft resolution to guide their private discussions between now and May 8, when they are due to decide on a course of action. The resolution calls for sending the covenant out for adoption and asks provinces to report by December 2014 "on the progress made in the processes of adoption and response to the covenant."

Gomez told the representatives that "the communion is close to the point of breaking up … The chance that the covenant offers to give something to the communion as a description of what Anglicans care about … won't last much longer."

Gomez linked the urgency of that timeframe to the July 8-17 meeting of the Episcopal Church's General Convention and the recognition by conservative Anglican leaders and former Episcopalians of a proposed new Anglican entity in North America. He also said that "a number of primates" had told him that their governing bodies "are beginning to become impatient with the communion's life if the communion can't say something clear at this stage of its life."

If the ACC does not agree to send the covenant out to the provinces for their approval, Gomez predicted, "there will be clear breaks in the communion after this meeting."

Well, looks like "the boys upstairs" (Radner, Gomez, et. al.) are now working in overdrive to get this particular version of this sucker passed.

Please note this about the ACC:
The Anglican Communion is made up of around 77 million members in 44 regional and national churches around the globe in 164 countries.

The ACC is the Anglican Communion's most representative decision-making body and includes bishops, clergy and laity. While it has no jurisdiction over the provinces of the communion, it makes policy, approves the Anglican Communion Office's budget and encourages the communion's members to engage together in mission and ministry

The original intent of "The Windsor Report" (paragraphs 113-120) and "The Covenant Design Group", of course, were created to retaliate, humiliate and punish USA for the consent to the election of +V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in particular, and the US and Canada for its 'revisionist' ways in general.

My personal take after reading Gomez's presentation to the ACC (follow the link embedded in the story to a Word Perfect version) is that, after three years and three drafts, this group is embarrassed (especially Gomez and Radner) because GAFCON has turned its nose up at it, our PB has said we won't discuss it at GC in July, and the question has been raised as to whether or not even the CofE can legally sign on to it.

That's why, in this version, Radner, et. al, did the 'end run' of allowing any 'church' (as opposed to entire provinces) to sign on.

I now hear Anglican Communion Secretary General Kenneth Kearon saying, "Well, boys, let's let her set sail and see how she fares on the high seas of Anglicanism."

However, there are now primatial murmurings about how this version might pass quickly in certain provinces and how a majority could easily be won. This stands in conflict with Kearon's statement on May 2nd that

"the adoption process is not envisioned as one that would require "some sort of substantial majority [of provinces to sign onto the covenant] by which time it applies to everyone." Kearon added that the covenant "would only apply to those churches of the communion which decide to covenant."

Hmmm . . . the plot thickens.

Actually, Canon Kearon, in political terms, this is called "trying to get 'traction'". I mean, when even Ruth Gledhill says this thing is 'dead in the water', they gotta do something.

It's the Anglican Ultimatum, learned lo these past eight years of careful study of Dick Chenney and the Bush Administration. You remember. 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'. 'The Evil Axis of Power.' 'The War on Terrorism.' 'The End of the World as We Now Know It.'

First, you create a climate of fear and then you can start to take away people's civil rights, one by one. Indeed, some will gladly hand it over to you, all in the name of "Homeland Security" (why do I always think of Nazi Germany when I hear 'Homeland'?).

It will be interesting to see how effective the lobbying of folks like Jenny Te Paa and Cathy Roskham and some of the Canadians will be in convincing folks not to give into this fear mongering and allow 'the Windsor process' to play out.

Will they be able to convince the rest of the ACC that they should not sign onto this 'Ridley' draft of The Covenant; that they best thing to do would be to send those boys back to the drawing board until they get it right?

What will +Rowan do? What kind of leadership will he manifest in refusing to allow such anxiety to be injected into the system?

I know. I'm not holding my breath waiting for leadership from that bloke.

One would hope that mature, adult Christian leaders would know by now that inciting fear and giving ultimatums are just part of what it means to be a bully.

Moving in quickly to 'seal the deal' is part of the 'bum's rush' of a door-to-door Insurance Salesman ("What will happen to you or your children if you or your loved one died tomorrow?") or a Late Night TV Commercial ("This offer won't last long. Buy now while supplies last!").

Here's the ironic thing to me, anyway: Gomez reported that, "'a number of primates' had told him that their governing bodies 'are beginning to become impatient with the communion's life if the communion can't say something clear at this stage of its life.'"

Impatient, is it? The boys are getting 'impatient'? How fascinating! I'll bet these are the same boys who, when a woman presents herself for ordination, say, "Tut, tut and there, there! The ordination of women is an innovation in the Anglican Communion. Yes, we know, The Episcopal Church and other revisionists have been ordaining women for over 30 years. But when you put 30 into the context of THOUSANDS OF YEARS of scriptural heritage, you see that this is merely a recent innovation. You must be patient with the process, dear woman."

It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds over the next few days. It's not as exciting as the Bourne Ultimatum, but it never fails to be as entertaining.


Muthah+ said...

Preach it, sistah! I am so tired of the scare tactics that the ultra right has been passing around as truth for the past 15 years.

I am always suspicious of the religious who use scare tactics--If one is faithful... If one understands the love of God why would anyone be afraid?

Utah Savage said...

All of this is why I hole up in my little bunker and only listen to MSNBC. Yes, it's a very small life, but at least it doesn't make me want to murder a cleric.

Caminante said...

The whole thing makes me so mad I can't even formulate a coherent sentence or reaction. Would that we could consign it to the dustbin of history yesterday.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Muthah - I am convinced that the only way to operate in the church as a woman is with a hermeneutic of suspicion.

Utah Savage - BBC and MSNBC are the only two news stations I listen to anymore. Please don't murder a cleric. Most of us aren't worth the jail time you'd spend.

Caminante - My jaw has begun to hurt from gritting my teeth.

Song in my Heart said...

I don't have a good background understanding of the politics or the theology. But I suspect that our human definitions of what constitutes one holy, catholic and apostolic church are not, ultimately, all that relevant. The best anyone can do is try to make decisions with care and faith, and trust that others do the same.

Which is a way of saying, people can issue ultimatums over membership in human clubs, but God alone can judge who is part of God's church. And I wish more people were concerned with how to be better members of God's church and less concerned with whethers might be doing it wrong.

I don't know where that leaves me when someone else's apparently faithful decision results in something i can only call injustice.

the cajun said...

Mine head is schpinning. Does anyone remember the teachings of Jesus in all this?
I think not. My head hurts.