This cannot be said in a few words. What is really going on in the Anglican Communion? Is there more going on than meets the eye? The answer is shocking and disappointing. A number of events are coming together to change the fundamental character of the Communion and re-establish the hegemony of the spiritually revisionist West.
Why has Rowan Williams overlooked the facts given him and welcomed the Episcopal Church to Lambeth anyway? The AAC provided Archbishop Williams with comprehensive documentation of the Episcopal Church’s words and actions relating to compliance with Dar es Salaam, usually in their own words, in direct quotes, with sources footnoted and internet weblinks. Did he bother to read it? Some pundits and commentators expected the Archbishop of Canterbury to actually review the facts, weigh the facts fairly and accurately, and properly discipline the current official branch of American Anglicanism, TEC.
Williams not only came to New Orleans with a closed mind to the provable facts, he came with a plan to swiftly undercut the orthodox Global South and those orthodox Americans whom they have supported. Within days, the optimistic pundits and commentators who thought that Dr. Williams cared about the morality and integrity of the Communion, cared about the Windsor Report, cared about the Dromantine and Dar es Salaam Communiques, were shown to be mistaken. What Dr. Williams cares about is holding onto American financial support, holding onto the revisionist provinces of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and allowing the pantheistic and homosexual agendas to continue their unfolding and flourishing.
Dr. Williams took two important actions upon leaving New Orleans: launching the Joint Standing Committee Report (very likely written before New Orleans by the Rev. Canon Dr. Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office); and immediately commencing a telephone campaign, phoning Anglican Primates to ask (read convince or coerce) their agreement that the Episcopal Church had substantially met the standards of the Dar es Salaam Communique.
With ears carefully turned to Lambeth, we find that Rowan Williams is determined that Lambeth 2008 will absolutely take place, and on his terms.
The AAC has been advised from trustworthy sources that Dr. Williams is already obligated for Lambeth Conference costs in Canterbury next summer, which means that if he cancels it, he is still responsible for most of the costs of the conference anyway. In order to secure their booking for the University of Kent, which is the venue for the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, one deposit of Â£440,000 (about $880,000 USD) was due on October 1, with a second payment for the same amount due on December 1. Did he receive the amount of money needed for the first payment in time to meet the October 1 deadline? Was this why his actions to secure a blessing for TEC were so frantic?
Perhaps he already had the down payment in hand for the October 1 installment, but he knows that the next deadline is December 1 when he will need another Â£440,000 (or $880,000 USD). Where will he acquire such enormous funds? If TEC is neither invited to Lambeth nor given a passing grade, the Lambeth Conference would be in as much trouble financially as a well known bank in the UK which had to be suddenly rescued. Who will rescue Lambeth and Rowan Williams? Would TEC put the envelope in the mail if they were treated favorably? The New Orleans Statement pressed for an invitation to Lambeth for Bishop Gene Robinson and offered to help the Archbishop of Canterbury achieve that. What might this help be? Stressors and motivations like these, though unseen by the public, are constant factors in the relationship between Canterbury and TEC. Sadly, that relationship is determining the direction and focus of a 77 million member church.
His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury, contacted the Primates quietly and individually, ostensibly to gather their views on whether TEC had passed the test. It is imperative to Dr. Williams that a substantial number of the Primates, no matter how small their province, agree that TEC has at least tried hard enough for a further chance. Dromantine and Dar es Salaam were unanimous, and he knows his best chance is to keep the Primates separated and unable to confer together in a meeting. We note that several members of the Joint Standing Committee did not attach their names in agreement to the railroaded text, and the AAC applauds the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis (President Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East and a member of the Primates Standing Committee) for his courageous and accurate minority opinion to the JSC report, as well as his cogent observations based on his experience in New Orleans.
Let’s watch the news carefully over the next eight weeks. Will Dr. Williams coerce a slight majority of Primates to agree favorably towards TEC? Will Dr. Williams find the Â£440,000 for the next installment due December 1 and save both face and the Lambeth Conference – at least until the next installment is due? Follow the money and watch for updates as answers to these questions become available. Watch for the official announcement from Dr. Williams that TEC is OK, and then later, that Gene Robinson is coming to Lambeth. Am I wrong on this analysis? I believe I am spot on, but I am willing to issue a challenge to Lambeth Palace: prove me wrong.
The Williams/Jefferts Schori theory for pacification of the Anglican troubles bears some comparison with France during the Occupation. During the Second World War, French leaders who wanted to “save” France from further German destruction used well-meaning and even heroic figures to form the Vichy government. Although it may have saved Paris from destruction, it wound up sending most of France’s Jews to the death camps. According to the Jefferts Schori plan, which is a major downgrading of the Dar es Salaam plan, a few American orthodox bishops would agree to partner with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and her Vichy-style accommodation, and all the churches which have left TEC would be forced back into TEC under their pastoral care. I do not believe that any parish, vestry member, clergy or diocese that has been personally sued by TEC, had their health insurance jerked out from under them, had their property confiscated, their pensions lost or frozen, and publicly deposed when they had already announced they had left, would ever forget why they left and why they can not go back. The current Episcopal Church cannot and will not repent. The AAC would caution any orthodox TEC bishops who might consider such an arrangement that they would be putting themselves on the wrong side of history. Such a plan will fail because the parishes which have left TEC will not go back to TEC, not even to a collaborationist accommodation. If forced hard enough they will leave Canterbury Anglicanism, but they will not go back. Does Rowan Williams not care?
One can easily imagine a divided Anglicanism with the revisionist provinces centered upon Dr. Williams and Canterbury, complete with those who are pantheistic and support the pro-homosexual agenda, as well as those who just want to linger on the sidelines and benefit from the financial bread that falls from the table. The other side of a divided Anglicanism might be the orthodox Anglicans from all over the world, based in the Global South, free from both Canterbury and York, and looking to the Christian essentials of what Anglicanism is really about.
Elsewhere in the Communion, Christ Church in Savannah, Georgia (USA) has announced they have left the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and TEC. This parish is known as the Mother Church of Georgia because it is the first Christian Church in what was then the new English colony of Georgia, founded in 1733. They predate the state of Georgia, the Diocese of Georgia and the Episcopal Church itself, and they are resolutely orthodox. Their former bishop, Henry Louttit, has already begun the official Episcopal Church mantra, “Individuals can leave TEC but parishes and diocese can’t leave.” Since the new rules out of Episcopal Church headquarters insist on no negotiation over property, there will undoubtedly be a legal attack leveled against the faithful congregation of Christ Church. Pray for them.
An interesting exception to the “no negotiation” rule is that if a church leaves and agrees NOT to affiliate with any other Anglican entity, and does not CLAIM to be Anglican, we are told that negotiation is then possible. This is about more than property; this is TEC trying to protect their formerly exclusive franchise of being the only authentically Anglican province in the USA.
One instance of a revisionist TEC diocese trying to be honorable and charitable with congregations departing TEC was Olympia and former bishop Warner. A new bishop has just been elected and installed, and now all agreements, even those in “dry ink” are to be looked over. At its annual convention this year, the Diocese of Olympia will take up resolutions reconfirming its trust ownership of all property on behalf of “This Church” (Title 1.7.4), ask its leaders to examine all congregational titles for canonical compliance, and begin the process of recovering “alienated property” in Oak Harbor and Poulsbo. And this is TEC Anglicanism!!
Not only orthodox Anglicanism, but the Christian faith itself is under attack from those who would reshape it to be something completely different, something of the world and not of God. Let us stand together to preach and live the true faith of the Christian Gospel.
Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,
Bishop-elect David C. Anderson
President & CEO of the AAC