November 24, 2008
How will the proposed new anti-gay province play out internationally? It is unlikely to win a large measure of formal approval. Even in the unlikely event that a majority of primates wanted to support the new province, they would be making a recommendation to the Anglican Consultative Council who would only be able to recognize said province with a two thirds majority.
More possible is something like this: some primates (the usual culprits) declare themselves in communion with the new province. The Archbishop of Canterbury remains silent and keeps putting his eggs in the covenant basket. Some kind of covenant is widely approved in the communion that has some element of centralized control to it and The Episcopal Church (along with a few others) declines to consent. The main C of E lawyer, The Rev’d Canon Gregory Cameron has floated the idea that individual dioceses may be able to sign on to the covenant even if their province does not. (I’m still looking for that reference –can anyone help?) and so some of those who wish to remain Anglican at any price sign on bringing a further disintegration of the Episcopal Church in particular and Anglican polity in general. Eventually Anglicanism is redefined or realigned in some way and TEC is left looking for its own network. Goodness knows what happens to the C of E in all this.
I hope that will not happen but am not sanguine. What is an alternative picture? The idea that the ABC might simply declare GAFCON and the new province out of order, the GAFCON crew formally depart and start something like ‘Africanism’ or ‘Sydneyism’ is, I fear, a fantasy coming from my notion of broad and traditional Anglicanism.