Leveraging Lambeth

Is the agenda for Lambeth in play? Archbishop Rowan Williams has said Lambeth 2008 will not be a business meeting, but a gathering to build relationships.

The other day Archbishop Akinola once again used the ‘we’-may-not-come-to-Lambeth-2008 card: ‘Akinola said there was no need to go there for “jamboree.”’ This after Akinola and Minns failed to convince CAPA to come out in favor of a Lambeth boycott. Earlier several of Akinola’s bishops had made it plain they were prepared to attend.

Two American dioceses show that more than one can play this strategic game. The first to move was Utah:

Delegates overwhelmingly approved Tanner Irish’s letter to Jefferts Schori urging the presiding bishop to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to cancel the Lambeth Conference planned for 2008.

Irish’s letter said that the Anglican Communion is in “disarray” over “irregularly consecrated” bishops and that the Episcopal church is “leery about using” Lambeth “to present a covenant that is exclusionary, that centralizes authority, or adds to the core doctrine of our faith.”

Her letter also cites the cost of Lambeth and suggests that proceeding with the conference “under the present circumstances is disproportionate to its benefits.”

Over the weekend Olympia followed suit:

Convention delegates in the Diocese of Olympia said they are “leery” of the presentation of an “exclusionary” Anglican Covenant at the 2008 Lambeth Conference and approved a resolution calling for postponement of next year’s conference of bishops.

By a vote of 299-79, clergy and lay delegates voted to approve an amended resolution calling for the 2008 Lambeth Conference to be postponed “until the listening process is more complete.”

This resolution was submitted by Bishop Suffragan Nedi Rivera after convention began. The wording of the resolution will comprise the text of a letter sent to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori over the signature of bishops Greg Rickel and Rivera.

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