Ash in the air, and the CofE in The New Yorker

Among that travelers stranded by the volcanic eruption in Iceland are the 20+ members of the St. Alban’s Cathedral Girls Choir from England. They are stuck in Miami Beach with a few chaperones, as the BBC reports here.

In other CofE news, The New Yorker has taken note of the squabble over female bishops.

There is an abstract of a piece by Jane Kramer that will run in the next edition already online. I respect Kramer’s work, and it seems as though she’s talked to all of the right people, but I think the piece contains a significant error or interpretation right from the jump:

Thousands of conservative Anglicans—priests and laymen—still refuse to take Communion from a female priest, and would certainly refuse to take it from any priest ordained by a female bishop. For the past two years, they have been threatening to leave the Church at the first sign of a woman in a bishop’s mitre. The next session of the General Synod, in July, is going to consider, and is expected to approve, the draft for a change in canon law that would open the episcopate to women. If a large number of militant conservatives do leave then, the Church of England and, with it, the churches of a worldwide Anglican Communion, will fracture.

(Emphasis added.) Does anyone else think that female bishops are a communion breaking issue for conservative Anglicans in other parts of the Communion? I see no evidence of this at all. No one has broken communion with the other provinces that have female bishops over that issue. No one has threatened to break communion with England.

As is so often the case in reporting on the controversies in the Communion, the issue is framed in a way that creates the impression that unhappy conservatives have power that they simply don’t posess. Most people who have followed the controversies in the Episcopal Church, including in The New Yorker, probably think that we have experienced a significant split when, in reality, we’ve lost something like three percent of our membership to a rival body. The Church of England may, and I emphasize may, experience significant loss of membership over the ordination of a female bishop, but it will not fracture the Communion.

Update: Cathy Grossman of USA Today has chipped in.

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