Schori will go to Tanzania – but will she stay?
David Virtue is reporting that a leaked letter from ++Canterbury to Phillip Aspinall, the Primate of Australia, shows that Katherine Jefferts Schori will be invited to Tanzania to join the Primates in February. Of course, some of the his readers are absolutely apoplectic at the thought, but a careful reading of the letter shows that TEC is not in a safe place at all.
The key passages of the letter are as follows:
This meeting will be, of course, an important and difficult and important encounter, with several moments of discernment and decision to be faced, and a good deal of work to be done on our hopes for the Lambeth Conference, and on the nature and shape of the Covenant that we hope will assist us in strengthening our unity as a Communion.
Unlike some of the commentators on Virtue’s post, I think Rowan gets it. He knows that Tanzania will be make or break. It is the “important encounter”. That’s why, before the main session begins:
I am also proposing to invite two or three other contributors from that Province for a session to take place before the rest of our formal business, in which the situation may be reviewed, and I am currently consulting as to how this is best organised.
Virtue guesses that the others will include Bob Duncan, Jack Iker and John-David Schofield. That’s a good start, but I reckon that’s not a complete list. Add to the list Peter Akinola, Henry Orombi and you start to see the kind of meeting that will actually happen. This “pre-meeting” is going to be the one which decides whether Schori gets to sit at the table. If it was a done deal already then there wouldn’t need to be a meeting. That is the reason why Schori is being “given a chance both to hear and to speak and to discuss face to face the problems we are confronting together”, so she can sit down, hear that 25 or more Primates are unwilling to let her into the main sessions unless she does a complete volte-face, and then make her choice.
And don’t be confused by phrases from Rowan such as “The Episcopal Church is not in any way a monochrome body and we need to be aware of the full range of conviction within it.” They’re followed by the magnificent paragraph:
I am sure that other Primates, like myself, will welcome the clear declarations by several bishops and diocesan conventions (including those dioceses represented at the Camp Allen meeting earlier this year) of their unequivocal support for the process and recommendations of the Windsor Report. There is much to build upon here. There are many in TEC who are deeply concerned as to how they should secure their relationships with the rest of the Communion; I hope we can listen patiently to these anxieties.
The question of invitations to Lambeth has been raised several times, in relation to the status of TEC, and indeed other Provinces. I shall seek the advice of the meeting on this.
When was the last time ++Canterbury sought advice on who to invite to Lambeth? In Tanzania who will be giving the advice? It’s the 37 Primates who will share the meeting with Rowan. So for all those who are continually crying “Rowan doesn’t get it, I suggest you start reading what Rowan actually writes, not what you think he’s written. Because when I read what he has written, I think he really, really, gets it.
Katherine Jefferts Schori will definitely be going to Tanzania, but when she flies back home is the big question.