Primates Communique

The whole thing is here. [Editor’s note: this link broken. We apologize for the inconvenience.]

The Primates have endorsed the Windsor Report including the call for stregthening the instruments of unity and the establsihment of an Anglican Covenant which they advise will be take a process of its own. They have pretty clearly opted for N.T. Wright’s fireproofing of the house. This is a very hopeful sign.

They have committed themselves to personally lobby against unilateral actions that will exacerbate the situation both by boundry crossing or by the election of another gay candidate or public rites of same sex blessing until the American and Canadian Church can respond to Windsor via their conventions. In the meantime they urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to set up a sort of appeals court for parishes or dioceses that feel they are being harrassed. This is the major practical item to come out of the meeting and it could really help. The threat of appeal is a major force in keeping lower courts honest. It could work in this case.

I know many people will find it disappointing that there is not a definitive resolution until after the national synods of the offending churches. Hostage negotiators know that the longer you can keep the negotiations going the more likely you are to get the hostages back alive. I think that the Primates have seconded the line drawn by Windsor in a charitable manner and signaled that the treatment of dissidents in the offending churches will receive close scrutiny. They have shown respect for the inner process of ECUSA and the Anglican Church Of Canada. I view these proceedings through the lens of just war theory and one principle is that all legal processes must be exhausted. The communique allows for that while sending the strong message that Windosr is the standard and the North American churches must agree to that in the end or be out.

I think it just possible that having had time to live with the real costs of GC 2003 in both dollars and impaired mission that the American house of bishops may decide that this should not be church defining for either ECUSA or the communion and take the way out offered by Windsor. This of course does not solve all problems or cure the deep theological sickness of our church but it does save thousands of parishes from being reduced to inviability and give time for God to do His providential work and we must not doubt that our God is a God of surprises.

In the meantime we are learning something about the cross and about depending on God day by day and perhaps we should resist the temptation to gather two days worth of mana at a time but trust this day for our daily bread.


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