Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Rwanda Walks - a Significant Move

The news is that Rwanda has made a vital step in walking from the Lambeth Conference in 2008, and done so for reasons consistent with Nigeria and Uganda surely doing the same. This is the lack of invitation to its bishops that double up on Anglican provision already provided by The Episcopal Church in the United States, which is in violation of Anglican ecclesiastical order. Nigeria and Uganda also have their own bishops in the USA.

It goes further than this. It is also consistent with pre-planning to set up interventions and, subsequently, it seems, an alternative geographical centre for Anglicanism that is consistent with their view of orthodoxy, which is basically a form of biblical literalism.

The Covenant is thus made redundant. It was not designed for the parties in the Global North to stay together, necessarily, but to keep North and South attached. At the same time a certain Archbishop Jensen in the diocese of Sydney, Australia, is making noises that might send him and a few under him and like him off in that direction too. He is known for favouring lay presidents at the eucharist. There is no point to a Covenant should others follow Rwanda and co-operate between themselves. It is now becoming clear that many Liberals are opposed to this Covenant, so there would not be much point in Liberals having a Covenant with others when they favour more flexible and informal methods of co-operation and not a new Law. As for Conservative Evangelicals, some of these are plotting anyway, including against Open Evangelicals, as with Wycliffe Hall, so who knows with which geographical centre they could end up allying themselves. Open Evangelicals may still favour a Covenant, but it could hardly be with a party that does not want one like Liberals.

Lambeth 2008 was being set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury for non-compulsive (in terms of outcome) continuing discussions with legitimately selected bishops from both sides of the argument about inclusivity of gay and lesbian people, this well after September 30th (a deadline for TEC agreeing to the outcome of Dar Es Salaam Communique demanding agreement to restrictions on consecrating active gay bishops and same-sex celebrations), and probably no one was going to be pushed out for refusing to accept the Communique, and yet Rwanda has decided it does not want to discuss anyway.

The question always, in a split, was who was going first. Would TEC leave, unable to come under any discipline, or would the Global South selective literalists leave, wanting what the more tolerant Anglican Communion could not give? Discipline seemed unlikely (or at least disciplinary action to exclude), given the ongoing discussions, but with Rwanda walking it does mean that the Anglican Communion is likely to end up with TEC in it, more inclusive, and tolerant.

No comments: