Among follks following the Anglican Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam via blogs and email correspondence, I think there has been a growing sense that something is happening there that hasn’t been clearly articulated in the mainstream press. But in this story, Sharon LaFraniere and Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times put the unspoken consensus in print:
“By Friday, conservative Anglicans said they were starting to despair that the meeting here would produce neither of their goals: a condemnation and marginalizing of the Episcopal Church, or a new church structure for American conservatives who want to leave the Episcopal Church but remain within the Anglican Communion.
‘Conservatives are very disappointed,’ said Timothy Shah, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in Washington. ‘They have the feeling that the policy of the archbishop of Canterbury and the leadership of the Episcopal Church is one of indefinite delay in the hopes that aging conservative primates will retire and eventually be replaced by people who are more open to a negotiated settlement.’
Liberal Episcopalians, on the other hand, were encouraged that the number of primates — the term for the leaders of Anglican provinces — who refused to take Communion at this meeting was only seven, about half the number who refused two years ago.”
Read John B. Chilton’s insightful analysis of the story here. (First person to tell the joke about Dean Smith’s visit to heaven in the comments section gets their name in lights.)
Here’s a link to a transcript of the pre-Q and A portion of yesterday’s media briefing, courtesy of Anglican Communion News Service.
Note the new timetable for the covenant articulated by Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Australia: “The kind of time-line we’re looking at: the covenant design group is hoping for initial responses from around the Communion over the next twelve months, with a view to a revised version of the covenant going to the Lambeth Conference in 2008. It’s anticipated that the Lambeth Conference itself will revise the covenant further and that that further revision will then be submitted to the churches of the Communion for final adoption or ratification following the Lambeth Conference in 2008.”
The Australian Broadcasting Company portrays Aspinall as playing down the split over homosexuality.
Retuers, meanwhile, has filed a story about Davis Mac-Iyalla of Changing Attitude/Nigeria:
“Davis Mac-Iyalla, Nigerian gay activist and Anglican lay preacher, has faced death threats, condemnation from church leaders and a push by his parliament to criminalise homosexuality.
However, the 35-year-old has kept the faith, even when someone threatened to attack him with acid in a letter delivered anonymously by hand.
‘It weakens me and puts fear in me, but yet it still has not stopped me,’ he told Reuters in an interview.”
In the blogs, Mark Harris notes another instance of the Akinolytes distorting the faith to make a political point. Scott Gunn says not much is happening in Dar. And Colin Coward of Changing Attitude has this report:
Tomorrow we go by ferry to Zanzibar for a service in the Cathedral, built on the site of a slave market. The bishops have today and Monday to complete their business and resolve their differences over the response of the Episcopal Church. So far, none of the outcomes predicted by the Global South secessionists has come to pass. Katherine Jefferts Schori and John Sentamu have participated from the start. No one has walked out. A second Province in the USA has not been formed.
We LGBT Anglicans are not yet in sight of the Promised Land, however. The implications of the TEC response to Windsor are almost certainly that progress towards a church fully inclusive of LGBT people may be slowed in the USA, Canada and England. The ability to elect or select a lesbian or gay priest, partnered or not, as a bishop, may be restricted. The ability of priests to bless the loving relationships of LGBT church members may similarly be compromised in certain dioceses or Provinces.
Inclusive Church, with partners Changing Attitude and Integrity, will continue to work and pray for full the inclusion of all, and especially those who for whatever reason are marginalized or treated in some way as less than welcome in the world-wide Anglican Church.