Primates to meet, bicker

The Primates of the Anglican Communion are meeting Feb 1-3 in Alexandria, Egypt. We have been relatively quiet in advance of this meeting, because a) we don’t know much about what will occur and b) what little is known suggests the meeting may not be particularly consequential. For an excellent preview, visit Mark Harris.

It seems likely that some of the conservative Primates in the Communion, led by Akinola of Nigeria, Orombi of Uganda and Venables of Argentina will make the case for recognizing the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA)–which is composed in part of parishes and parts of dioceses that have broken away from the Episcopal and Canadian churches–as a fourth North American province. Their arguments are unlikely to succeed in any official sense, in part because Akinola, et al., lack the 2/3 majority necessary to send the matter on to the Anglican Consultative Council when it meets this spring, and in part because the Anglican Communion office has made clear that ACNA has followed none of the procedures necessary to attain provincial status.

That said, ACNA’s leaders may nonetheless declare victory, stating that Primates “representing” the great majority of the Communion now “recognize” their endeavor. This recognition, while not official, gives them a way to claim that they are an Anglican endeavor, and not simply another small American religious movement.

The result, one suspects, will be further arguments about who is really Anglican and who isn’t. And you all know how riveting that can be.

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