Traditionalists in the Anglican Church are afraid the clock is running out.
Quoting the NYT story (link in post title above):
“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.”I don't see the covenant holding "wayward churches" in check unless there is a trigger that works as effectively as the shot clock in basketball. If I were advising the conservatives, I'd say that at this point a covenant is a shot clock, but there's not enough time until the end of the game for that to make a difference. Because traditionalists have been defining winning as flushing liberals from the levers of power, and thus driving those with liberal views to other homes of worship. The numbers simply are not in their favor unless the institutions of the Anglican Communion do the flushing. And that isn't going to happen.
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.
A draft covenant presented at the conclave on Friday could step up the pressure. Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, who was chairman of the drafting committee, said Friday that once approved, the covenant would provide a way to hold wayward churches in check.
Reasserters in The Episcopal Church are trying to hold back a tide that will eventually prevent their tradition from surviving within the Episcopal Church. That's why they will push for a two-province solution so that their traditional tradition can stay alive in the US and remain within the Anglican Communion. (Of course CANA claims that has been achieved de facto.)
The messy part of such a divorce of the parties in TEC will be the fight over the property. And I am not referring to waste measured in lawyer fees. Read on.
One of the things that Anglicanism has been good at is staying in communion / conversation / tension so that we learn from each other in our congregations, dioceses, and national churchs. That is a defining feature of Anglicanism. The organizational barrier to schism (divorce of those bound geographically) is what creates that potential for spiritual growth within the body. Thus, even an amicable division of the property may come at great cost. We will all of us be less Anglican.
And that's why the Primates meeting in Tanzania should not consider the two-province solution.
A closing note of correction from the Associated Press:
In a Feb. 15 story about the Anglican conference, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said a parallel church within the United States was contrary to Episcopal teachings.If the ABC had said that to the press at this juncture it would be big news.
That statement was from Robert Williams, an aide to U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. "The canons and the written laws of the Episcopal church do not provide for any sort of parallel structure," Robert Williams said. The corrected version appears below.