A question for the Windsor bishops: what are your plans?

The Anglican Communion Institute (the name chosen by six academics with a Web site because Six Academics with a Web site lacks the gravity to which this prolix bunch aspires) has published an analysis of the sub-committee’s evaluation of the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report.

The part that concerns me today is here:

“In conclusion, even on the basis of this seriously flawed Report, the real challenge now is how, given the ‘considerable diversity of opinion within the Episcopal Church’, the Communion can fulfil its duty ‘to nourish and encourage all those within the Episcopal Church who wish to embrace our common and interdependent life’. Here (unless and until TEC’s House of Bishops as a whole both fully and clearly accepts TWR and Dromantine and takes necessary action to put its own province in order faced with those within TEC who continue to disregard Communion teaching and TWR) the Camp Allen Windsor bishops, and the proposal that they be recognised by the Communion as a ‘college of bishops’, provide the best way forward for the Communion as it seeks to ‘develop a unified and coherent response as a Communion to the situation as it is developing.”

This passage reiterates the ACI’s position, which has been embraced by Bishops N. T. Wright and Michael Scott-Joynt of the Church of England. And it has been forwarded to the House of Bishops and Deputies list serve with a warm recommendation by a deputy from Bishop Edward Little’s Diocese of Northern Indiana.

All this has got me wondering, aside from the Network bishops, Duncan, Iker, et. al., are there really a crop of Episcopal bishops out there waiting for word from a gathering of foreign primates to seize—that’s the only word that’s accurate—power in our Church that neither the nature of their office nor the General Convention of our Church has bestowed upon them? Is that what these Camp Allen meetings hosted by Bishop Don Wimberly of Texas were about? (for coverage and commentary on those meetings see here and here.)

I ask because Scott-Joynt attended both of those meetings, Wright and Don Armstrong attended one each, and their organizations (Fulcrum and the ACT) seem to be the brains behind this proposal.

The peculiar thing is that, to this point, none of the Episcopal bishops who would belong to the “college” have spoken up. Are they willing to claim an authority that neither the nature of their office nor the constitution of our Church bestows upon them at the behest of primates who exercise no authority in our province?

Among the bishops who attended the second of these gatherings, at which Don Armstrong was present, were Bishops Wimberly and Little as well as Bishop Bruce MacPherson, who is now president of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice, and Bishops Charles Jenkins of Louisiana, Henry Parsley of Alabama and Duncan Gray of Mississippi..

I’d like to give these bishops the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they’ve been put in an uncomfortable position by overzealous friends. Perhaps not. I think we’d all be greateful if they informed us of their intentions towards the Church.

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