By David Virtue, VOL
The installation is over. He is the new king of the Anglican castle. His agony has only just begun.
Rowan Williams left before his time because of irreconcilable differences in the Anglican Communion that he could not resolve. A decade of bitter infighting between orthodox Global South archbishops and pro-gay Western pan Anglican archbishops did him in.
Now we have an evangelical on the throne of Canterbury and at the helm of 77 million Anglicans. But it will not be an easy ride; in fact it could turn out to be the worst ride of his life despite saying all the right things, appointing a Director of Reconciliation, and hoping, presumably against hope, that he can make it all work.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, said Shakespeare.
Almost immediately following his consecration, Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council wrote a compassionate but hard hitting column asking Welby why other North Americans, including the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the Primate of the ACoC, the Rector of Truro, and others were invited to the enthronement – but not the Archbishop of the ACNA (Robert Duncan)? What signal does that send to the members of the ACNA and to the leadership of the GAFCON Anglican Churches, who represent a majority of Anglicans in the worldwide Communion, and who recognize the ACNA?
Making it very clear that he was imputing the best of motives, Ashey honed in by asking, "Help me understand why there has been, apparently, no meaningful engagement with the leadership of the ACNA, given that they are one of the parties to the 'Anglican wars?' Clearly you are engaging publicly with the leaders of TEC and ACoC. How does the lack of engagement with the leadership of ACNA square with the processes of "reconciliation-as-detoxification?"
Ashey concluded by saying that it is precisely this faith that has been undermined and challenged by the unilateral actions of North American leaders from The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) by, among other things, consecrating actively practicing homosexual and lesbian bishops and authorizing same-sex blessings – contrary to the Bible, apostolic and catholic teaching, and the teaching of the Anglican Communion on human sexuality, marriage and holy orders (Lambeth Resolution 1.10 1998).