Nicely played, Bishop Katharine

The Presiding Bishop has written to four of her fellow primates asking them to visit with her when they are in the country later this month. The letter to Archbishops Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya and Justice Akrofi of West Africa reads:

To my esteemed brothers in Christ:

While I have not yet had the privilege and honor to meet all of you, I very much look forward to working with you in the coming years as we endeavor to lead the Body of Christ in this portion called the Anglican Communion. I deeply value the possibilities we have in the Anglican Communion for addressing the mission God has given us to reconcile the world he has created. In the spirit of Lambeth 1998, the Episcopal Church has identified the Millennium Development Goals as the framework for our missional work in the coming years. I would hope we might see the common interest we all have for seeing those Goals met, as they provide a concrete image of the Reign of God in our own day, where the hungry are fed, the thirsty watered, and the prisoners of disease and oppression set free.

I understand that you will be in the United States in mid-November for a gathering at Falls Church, Virginia. Considering the difficulty and expense of such a journey, I hope that during your visit you might be willing to pay a call on me, so that we might begin to build toward such a missional relationship. If that is a possibility, I hope you will contact this office as soon as possible. I would be more than happy to alter my schedule to accommodate you.

I look forward to hearing from you, and meeting you. May God bless your ministries and your travels.

I remain

Your servant in Christ,

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Jesus tells us to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, but it is seldom possible to fulfill both charges simultaneously. The Presiding Bishop has pulled it off. The invitation presents a particularly difficult choice for Archbishop Gomez. The other three recipients can spurn the PB at no cost to themselves beyond an enhanced reputation for churlishness, a price that Akinola long ago decided was worth paying. But Gomez, as chair of the Covenant Design committee, can expect the calls for his removal from that position to intensify if he demonstrates that he is unwilling to deal fairly with representatives of every province in the Communion.

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