Friday 16 May 2008

Hello, It's Rowan

Finally we have come to the end of this little sub-plot of the story. Wright was indeed wrong. The Living Church News Service says, and as highlighted at Thinking Anglicans (of course I remember the business of the letters: I read the lecture and noticed the 'I'm close to Rowan' bit about letters going out!), that Rowan chatted on the phone.

The report includes:

A spokesman said Archbishop Williams had modified his plan to write to bishops whose stated positions ran contrary to the collegial gathering of equals he envisions for Lambeth. Instead, Archbishop Williams has been in telephone contact with a number of bishops, asking that they honour the integrity of the meeting, the spokesman told The Church of England Newspaper. [spellings altered]

Actually, the Advent Letter did not promise letters as such, and I have made that point already, but this came to be the accepted wisdom about the method of communication along with the Wright revelation that never was. Ruth Gledhill then spun on the view that the Pentecost Letter must have been the letters Wright meant, but that seemed wrong.

All through this I have remained a sceptic about this contact. Now we have this, to repeat:

...has been in telephone contact with a number of bishops, asking that they honour the integrity of the meeting

I therefore suggest again that this is a considerable watering down of the Advent Letter. This is not even asking people to sign on to the agenda, particularly. It accepts that they are against the restrictive purposes of the Covenant. They still come to join in (the new emphasis) and they just honour the integrity of the meeting.

I have been to meetings like that. The meeting has an agenda. You find yourself opposed to the agenda. You realise what the meeting is for, and you let it go on of course - but there comes a point where you put your contrary point of view. And sometimes, because it is the better argument, the meeting turns a corner.

Let's put it like this: the Covenant, as it was envisaged, for the purposes intended, hasn't got a cat in hell's chance. It can only get through by defective intention, if autonomous churches stop looking at what they are doing. Given, for example, the latest from Ireland, it ain't going to happen. It just goes against the grain of too many Anglican Churches.

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