Tomorrow’s Brits today!

Well, not all of them. Just Stephen Bates, actually. (Updated, Jonathan Petre, too.) His scene setter for the Primates Meeting is here.

It includes this bit about how the Akinolites attend to procede: A letter signed by Archbishop Akinola on their behalf was presented to Dr Williams as he arrived, outlining their demands, thought to include an insistence that their new agenda be adopted, dealing with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, before anything else is agreed.

His profile of Archbishop Akinola is here.

It includes this bit, which reminds us that while the archbishop is formidible in some ways, he is out of his depth in others:

“When George Bush was re-elected in 2004, it was Akinola who bestowed on him a message of congratulations for standing firm against the revisionist agenda of the liberal Episcopal Church of the president’s childhood: “By your electoral victory . . . these ordained men and women will feel rebuked and forced to repent of this grievous sin.”

This is the George Bush whose parents are still Episcopalians, and whose father recently gave the keynote at the dinner to launch one of our parish’s into its capital campaign. It is the George Bush who frequently attends St. John’s Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square, maintains a friendship with the church’s rector, the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon, and who honored the Rev. Leon by asking him to give the invocation at his second inauguration.

A very gentle sort of rebuke, I guess?

As for Jonathan Petre’s story, it seems rather speculative to me.

He writes: “The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at a critical Anglican summit yesterday looking increasingly likely to back a “parallel” Church for conservatives, a move that will appal liberals.”

But there is no support for the lead within the story. No source, named or unnamed who is giving us Williams’ thinking on this point. Petre is a good reporter, and may know something we don’t, but, for the moment, I am not sold.

My other problem with this story is this section:

“Seven conservative American bishops have so far indicated that they want to come under an alternative leader.

About another dozen or so are expected to follow suit if Dr Williams gives the plan his blessing.”

This is certainly the hope of conservatives, but I have no idea whose headcounting this is based on, and I am not sure who is doing the “expecting” in that last sentence. I would be very surprised if more than one or two dioceses, aside from those already in the Network, would make this kind of jump.

The rest of the story is peculiar in that Petre seems to accept the fiction that the Primates actually have the authority to set up a second province in the first place. Even with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s support, a second province woudl still need two-thirds of the Primates’ votes, and subsequent ratifiication by the Anglican Consultative Council. And there are no existing provisions for the creation of interim provinces. So basically, this would be creation by fiat of a meeting with no authority to create.

That said, who knows what these folks will get up to. But no matter what occurs, if the Episcopal Church chooses not to accept an interim second province in the United States, then we will head to court. (I hope.) That won’t be a happy outcome for us, but I think in the long run it will be an even less happy outcome for the Network.

Meanwhile, the Living Church is reporting that Bishops Duncan, Epting and McPherson’s presentations are off until Thursday.

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