My Thoughts on the Anglican Primates' Meeting

It’s just about over, and the Primates meeting in Canterbury have made their official statement, such as it is.  Here are some observations:

  1. I’ve always felt that it was unrealistic to expect the current Archbishop of Canterbury to allow TEC and ACoC to get the boot.  In that context what happened, i.e., TEC being put in the “penalty box” for three years, was more than I expected, especially in view of the manipulative way Welby handled the meeting.
  2. I was also surprised that the gathering “upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union.”  Obviously most of the primates gathered believe that; getting an Anglican group to be that plain about saying it is another matter altogether.  Evidently the GAFCON primates, along with a growing group from some of the other provinces, are having some impact.
  3. Officially, ACNA got nothing out of this.  I am sure that Canterbury aficionados in the ACNA felt the thrill up their leg at Archbishop Foley’s presence at this meeting, but it really doesn’t amount to much.  Welby has always tipped his hat to ACNA without really giving them what they’re looking for, i.e., designation as the “official” Anglican church in the U.S., the TEC itself getting the boot.
  4. Evidently TEC Presiding Bishop Curry is reverting to good old Episcopal “mealymouth” in taking the Primates’ decision in stride.  He knows that GC will not back down on same-sex marriages, so nothing will change in TEC.  Given TEC’s current membership erosion and financial woes, Curry may have been handed a nice excuse to cut back on their contribution to the Anglican Communion Office; he’s got more pressing problems right at the moment.
  5. The omission of the Canadians in the penalty box can only be described as bizarre.
  6. I still think that Welby is in a tight place at home with officiating same-sex marriages; sooner or later the CoE will be forced to, if it does not capitulate in advance.  That would be a game changer that the ACNA, and to a lesser extent GAFCON, aren’t quite ready to effectively deal with.

All this being the case, I still think that the GAFCON provinces and their allies need to make other arrangements.  What happened this week only drags things out.  The Anglican Communion, like Brunei, is a good place to watch the grass grow.

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