So who were these Primates? Let the most prominent member of this rather elite crew be representative; Peter Akinola, Archbishop and Primate of
...The Church affirms our commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity and encourages the National Assembly to ratify the Bill prohibiting the legality of homosexuality since it is incongruent with the teachings of the Bible, Quran and the basic African traditional values...The Nigerian solution to this "perversion"? Lock them all up. Let those who claim that the extremists within Anglicanism don't reject gays, but only their actions, try to explain this.
I suspect Peter's crusade to cage all icky critters is going to backfire. It is estimated that there are over 500,000 gays and lesbians currently worshipping in Anglican churches in Nigeria. If he is sincere about "loving the sinner," he's going to need to recruit a whole lot of prison chaplains.
So what did these Primates have to say? Rather than go through it all, I'd rather just refer you to various articles written over the last few years that have spelled out pretty clearly what was going on. A small group of extremists, primarily bishops and priests, have been quietly working to replace the Episcopal Church as the only Anglican presence in North America. What we are witnessing is "Stage Two" of the Chapman plan finally being unfurled for all the world to see:
...Stage 2 will launch at some yet to be determined moment, probably in 2004. During this phase, we will seek, under the guidance of the Primates, negotiated settlements in matters of property, jurisdiction, pastoral succession and communion, If adequate settlements are not within reach, a faithful disobedience of canon law on a widespread basis may be necessary...Consequently, there's no real surprises in this latest statement, but I suppose we should take a closer look anyway, if for no other reason than to more fully perceive the web they weave:
...We are grateful therefore, that one sign of promise is the widespread support for the development of an Anglican Covenant. We are delighted to affirm the extraordinary progress made by the Global South task group on developing an Anglican Covenant. For the past year they have labored on this important task and we look forward to submitting the result of their labor to the rest of the Communion...I suspect that the development of a Covenant was not forseen in the early planning stages of the coup. So, what is being done is a quick draft is being prepared by this elite group, so that their version will be the first to be on the table. No doubt Marty Minns, the new Assistant General Secretary of this gang, and former AAC/Network operative, will leave his mark on the finished product. So much for Dr. Williams' suggestion of a 6 to 8 year process. Now the GS will claim that their Covenant is THE Covenant.
...We grieve that, because of the doctrinal conflict in parts of our Communion, there is now a growing number of congregations and dioceses in the USA and Canada who believe that their Anglican identity is at risk and are appealing to us so that they might remain faithful members of the Communion. As leaders of that Communion we will work together to recognize the Anglican identity of all who receive, hold and maintain the Scriptures as the Word of God written and who seek to live in godly fellowship within our historic ordering...It is their "Christian duty" to declare North America the new mission field. Expect to see many more pillaging pirates on the horizon.
...We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to meet with the leadership of the dioceses requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Network and the ‘Windsor Dioceses’, to investigate their appeal in greater detail and to develop a proposal identifying the ways by which the requested Primatial oversight can be adequately provided...Akinola is drooling when imagining he might pick up not just a parish here and there, but entire dioceses. If AlPO ever becomes a reality, I hope that Peter is given the job. As Stephen Bates has pointed out, it would be a match made in heaven.
...At the next meeting of the Primates in February 2007 some of us will not be able to recognize Katharine Jefferts Schori as a Primate at the table with us. Others will be in impaired communion with her as a representative of The Episcopal Church. Since she cannot represent those dioceses and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion we propose that another bishop, chosen by these dioceses, be present at the meeting so that we might listen to their voices during our deliberations...The hubris of this boy's club seems to have no bounds. Now they want to tell us who our Primate is going to be. It's not going to happen, fellas. Wannabe Archbishop Bob might show up, but he'll still go down in history as the Pretender he has always been.
At least we finally understand why so many of the extremist bishops voted for Bp. Jefferts Schori. This was the plan all along. Get someone who they can reject, and maybe Bob can get a loftier title.
...We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to develop such a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion. We understand the serious implications of this determination. We believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith...And there it is, ladies and gentlemen; the dream launched 30 years ago by those who started getting nervous about all the riffraff coming in the door of the Church; a place they can call their own; an exclusive club where they can pretend "those people" don't exist.
God is shaking things up. No matter what storms we find ourselves in the midst, or how many pirates we discover swarming onto our decks, we must never let go of the fact that, whatever is happening, it's all glory. If we stay true to our convictions, if we never back away from proclaiming to a desperate world the radically inclusive love of God made known to us through Jesus Christ, all will be redeemed one day.
Let us keep in mind the words Paul wrote to the Church in Rome:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Or, if you prefer, find solace in these thoughts from the Moody Blues:
There you go man,J.
keep as cool as you can.
It riles them to believe
that you perceive
the web they weave
And keep on thinking free.