Last Chance for Rowan?
Events have been moving fast in the past week in the USA…
- Â Last weekend the Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh met (the equivalent of our Diocesan Synods here in the Church of England) and passed a motion that began to remove the Diocese from being part of the Episcopal Church in the USA.
- In response, KJS, (the US Primate) sent a letter to Bob Duncan, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, basically telling him that he and the Diocese weren’t allowed to leave TEC and that she would sue the pants of him and them if they tried (or words to that effect).
- Archbishop Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, said that he, and most of Nigeria and huge chunks of Africa and beyond, may not come to Lambeth 2008 if TEC is not disciplined.
- Yesterday, Bishop Iker of Fort Worth, received his letter from KJS saying “If you leave I will be very Christian and take you to court” (or words again to that effect).
- The same day the Telegraph reported that Greg Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, had offered Primatial oversight to US dioceses that want to leave TEC. He confirmed this in a phone call.
- A whole series of English Bishops, clergy and lay members of Synod came out in support.
If I was Rowan Williams I would be worried. The orthodox in the USA are no longer saying that they’re going to take action. They now actually are. Primates of the Communion are now offering to take whole chunks of the American church under their wing, and in response 815 is fighting dirty. English Bishops are lining up (expect more in the next few days) to support Pittsburgh et al and it looks as though the Lambeth Conference is falling apart. If he doesn’t come down on the side of Bob Duncan, Iker and the rest, then he faces not just unrest abroad (with calls for a new Primates Meeting being so far ignored from Lambeth Palace) but the possibility of outright mutiny at home.
On top of that though, Rowan also has to contend with a large liberal lobby here in England who will also be highly vocal if he comes down on the side the conservatives in the USA. Does he dare upset Affirming Catholicism and Inclusive Church?
“Cometh the hour, cometh the man” is the saying. Well the hour is coming minute by minute. Is Rowan ready to be man and grasp the Anglican bull by both horns and swing it one way or the other? Or will he sit and wait for events to sort themselves out? Does he know what happens to you if you sit and do nothing when a bull charges you?