May 5, 2009
So the fourteenth meeting of the Anglican consultative council is underway. Two things seem to have happened thus far. One is that Henry Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda has attempted to seat the chief operating officer of the American Anglican Council, the Rev’d J. Philip Ashey, as a delegate from Uganda. (The AAC for those who get confused by the acronyms and initials is one of the conservative groups in America who leaders appear to be based in Atlanta when not on airplanes.) I was in at least two small clergy groups at various conferences in the Diocese of Virginia with Philip Ashey who was then serving at the Church of the Apostles in Fairfax, VA, which is now part of the CANA group of churches. I remember him as engaging and thoughtful. He received some (mostly negative) press recently when he compared the AAC to the American special forces who go behind enemy lines and blow things up, quickly pointing out that what he is blowing up are ‘principalities and powers’. (http://www.livingchurch.org/news/news-updates/2009/4/3/aac-official-canterburys-recognition-unlikely) The ACC, through the Secretary-General has declined to support this move by Archbishop Orombi and his friends.
The opening matter of substance has been the introduction of the Ridley (“best possible”) draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant (http://www.aco.org/commission/covenant/ridley_cambridge/draft_text.cfm) which is being introduced with a resolution that it be sent to the provinces for response. The chair of the committee producing the document is Archbishop Drexel Gomez who has said that it is “now or never” for the Anglican Communion. There has apparently been some debate about how long it will take for provinces to respond. Those who see the covenant as a way of reining in provinces that are moving toward the full inclusion of GLBT people would like to see something approved soon. Others (such as The Episcopal Church) would like a proper amount of time to consider and respond to the proposal through General Convention. That means either crafting some kind of rather hurried response that will not have been digested by the province as a whole this summer, or waiting until the next convention three years from now. Apparently some other provinces would like even more time. I support our Presiding Bishop in her thinking that doing something this summer will not reflect the broad consideration of the church in the form of classes and discussions at parochial and diocesan meetings.