Sunday 6 January 2008

Keep Up!

Some of the detail of this GAFCON business is slipping past me in all the quantity of comment here and there and, indeed, in having a life other than being attached to the two keyboards. So it is a few days old, this, but significant, and needs some comment without being lost (or at least lost on this side of the widening Anglican Ocean).

There was, apparently, George Conger’s report in the Church of England Newspaper that seems to have no web existence except in a report on Anglican Mainstream. Here was the Archbishop of Canterbury on an uncited national radio broadcast on December 19th 2007 where he stated that he:
wanted to encourage bishops around the world to come to the Lambeth conference because I think that it is better to meet face to face and talk about these things rather than dealing with them at right angles or through other people or through slogans.
And also the Advent Letter, said Dr Williams:
set out what I thought were the basic minimum conditions for staying in a close relationship as a world wide church. I wanted to suggest some practical steps in the next few months to make some conversation happen and get some facilitated meeting moving among the Anglican Communion’s disparate factions.
It's as if such "minimum conditions" can be held in isolation. They can't! He was saying there is but one way to read the Bible to be a legitimate Anglican Church according to the expectations of other Anglican churches. But this just is not true - as in part his own contribution to the Church of England response to the Draft Covenant is concerned, about different ways Anglicans read the Bible! This inconsistency just beggars belief; it is ridiculous.

However, the best bit that made me laugh instantly (I'm afraid) was this:
Plans to hold a pre-Lambeth meeting for conservatives did not signal disloyalty, Dr Williams said, as such a meeting ‘would not have any official status as far as the Communion is concerned.’
All these are from the Anglican Mainstream reproduction of the Church of England Newpaper report.

This latter comment is nothing but naive in the extreme. No, it has no official status as far as the Communion is concerned because it is launching a new one! Where is the nearest ostrich that pushes its head into the sand?

[Update - the interview is of course the Simon Mayo one on Radio Five Live. Go to about 19 minutes in. The Archbishop says also that approaching three quarters of bishops have registered with the Lambeth Conference 2008]

Then there is the business of Michael Poon, the conservative South East Asia theologian who has criticised GAFCON and who, he says, received a rough correspondence from a primate where the metadata suggested it came from a new American bishop. Now we have this:
Dear Graham, JPM and Malcom+

Regarding your comments above, Archbishop Peter Akinola will like you and others so inclined to know that he has not been in conversation written or otherwise with Dr Poon concerning GAFCON.

I however believe Dr. Poon knows how to reach the Archbishop if he wants to.

Posted by: Tunde on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 5:04pm GMT
This one is simple, and unfortunately out of Nigeria is not unusual: someone is lying. Why would Michael Poon say what he did, about getting verbally thumped, if there was no correspondence?

The GAFCON story is turning bizarre, at both ends.

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