The hour of reckoning has arrived. How the Archbishop of Canterbury responds will determine much. Early signs are not good. Whether the views of the Archbishop or his staff, the official Lambeth statement about the meeting tomorrow between six archbishops is terse if not defiant.
Ruth Gledhill writes, TimesonLine “Today Lambeth Palace, although not the Archbishop of Canterbury in person, has at last made a comment on this, and the comment at first glance seems to make it clear that this new province will not receive formal recognition any time soon. In fact it appears pretty brutal in its dismissal of the Common Cause initiative. Hong Kong, don’t forget, was recognised extremely fast once its three dioceses decided to seek independence.
Lambeth Palace says: ‘There are clear guidelines set out in the Anglican Consultative Council Reports, notably ACC 10 in 1996 (resolution 12), detailing the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces. ‘Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete. In relation to the recent announcement from the meeting of the Common Cause Partnership in Chicago, no such process has begun. This comes as the five Gafcon primates, Archbishops Akinola, Venables, Nzimbi, Kolini and Orombi, fly into London this afternoon and prepare to travel to Canterbury tomorrow, Friday, to meet Dr Williams to discuss the new province among other things.’
The meeting has been arranged at the request of the five primates. Next month, I understand, the Gafcon primates will then meet with the primates of the Joint Standing Committee, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori of TEC and Archbishops Morgan of Wales, Aspinall of Australia, Orombi of Uganda, Anis of Egypt and Dr Williams. At this meeting they will present the plan formally to the primates for consideration at the Primates Meeting which begins in Alexandria, Egypt the following day. But it is not at all clear whether this presentation will incorporate a formal request for recognition or not.
Apparently, the big question that is being asked inside the power structures of the Anglican Communion is: ‘Do they want recognition?’ Is there a desire to maintain unity or not? This is not at all clear, and so far the guidance from both sides on this is a bit fuzzy.
With Archbishops Akinola, Venables, Nzimbi, Kolini and Orombi riding into town, it is literally high noon at the OK Corral. The fact is the Arcbishop and his staff do not determine who is, or who is not, recognised in the Anglican Communion. Let me explain what is going to happen next, although I make no claim to the gift of prophecy.
1. Conservative Evangelical organisations such as Anglican Mainstream, SAMS, Church Society, the Fellowship of Word and Spirit, Crosslinks, New Wine, REFORM, and probably Forward in Faith, CMS and the CEEC, will all recognise the new Anglican Province of North America, either immediately, or in the next few weeks. They are already working together with Common Cause partners, formally or informally, within the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. This Fellowship already includes whole Provinces, Dioceses, Bishops, clergy and laity. What representatives or Bishops within the Church of England have to say or threaten is now really quite irrelevant. After Gene Robinson was consecrated the die was cast. The showdown in Canterbury tomorrow became inevitable.
2. A majority of the Primates meeting in Alexandria in February (who thankfully are still orthodox) will recognise the new Province of North America. No question.
3. The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) will be tasked with completing the administrative processes necessary to give the recognition that is already there, legal status. Liberals on the ACC and Jefferts Schori especially, will do everything they can to stall or circumvent the will of the Primates, but time, history and the majority of Anglicans worldwide are not on their side.
4. TEC will be expelled from the Anglican Communion. OK, that was not prophecy just wishful thinking on my part.
“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” (1 John 2:18-20)