(update late Tuesday PM)
…then George Conger has himself a scoop.
From the Living Church:
“Anglican primates of The Global South will propose a two-province solution to the divisions of doctrine and discipline confronting The Episcopal Church at this week’s primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.”
“In addition to current members of The Episcopal Church, the new province would include the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), and would be open to reunion with the Continuing Anglican churches in the United States.
The ecclesiastical structure of the proposed province would be governed by a college of bishops. From among their ranks, the college would nominate three candidates to be presiding bishop, one of whom would be selected as primate of the province by the primates’ meeting. This second American Presiding Bishop would have voice and vote at future primates’ meetings under the proposals worked out by the Global South coalition and their allies, sources close to the coalition told a reporter.”
Read it all.
Not long ago, the Rev. David Roseberry wrote that breakaway leaders were skeptical that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, would ever support such a plan. Writing on Stand Firm about a meeting he had with Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Roseberry said:
“He sees the need for a 39th Province but is unsure of the structure and form it should take. The primates will not (probably) be able to initiate such a structure soon, but if it gets a few hundred churches and a functioning college of bishops, the primates may bless it. But this is not something that will happen soon… not even before Lambeth. Whether or not Rowan or Lambeth will ever bless it remains to be seen, he feels.”
The plan is reminiscent, in parts, of the one first outlined by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and supportive Primates, such as Akinola, Henry Orombi of Uganda and Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, in a meeting in London in November, 2003. Duncan’s notes from that meeting surfaced in a court case, and are online here. For additional background, see part two of Follwing the Money.
There are two things to keep in mind as this story moves forward. The first is that it takes a two-thirds vote of the Primates and the assent fo the Anglican Consultative Council to change the roster of the Communion. The second is that the move being contemplated, even though it is refered to as an interim measure (all human organizations are interim measures) would establish the principle of establishing provinces on theological rather than geographic grounds. Many of the Communion’s leaders, their attitudes on human sexuality notwithstanding, consider that a dangerous move.
George also has this item, saying the Akinolists (maybe Akinolites is better) have proposed a new agenda on which the decision whether to admit Bishops Jefferts Schori and Senatamu will be item one.
It is my understanding that the Primates have only taken votes once or twice in the history of the meeting, so how the issue the Akinolites plan to raise would be resolved is something of a question in its own right.
Anyway, with this story breaking within hours of the “two province” story, it is now clear that the Akinolites are engaged in strategic leaking. Here’s a tip: when you do that sort of thing, it is best to share the wealth. Otherwise the reporter can end up looking compromised if his or her coverage slants in your general direction as the story moves forward.