Monday, May 12, 2008

Canterbury's Letter to the Bishops

Due to a comment made by Bp. Wright last month, there has been some speculation regarding Dr. Williams sending out a letter to certain Bishops in which he would insist that they agree to engage "the Windsor Process" if they planned to attend the Lambeth Conference. The reason that such a possible letter was deemed "newsworthy" in some circles is that one of the demands made by some of the Bishops who have been threatening to boycott Lambeth was that those North Americans with whom they disagreed on some matters must be un-invited by Canterbury. Some imagined that the letter mentioned by Bp. Wright might be the first step towards the withdrawl of invitations to Lambeth.

A letter from Canterbury has now been released. It was sent to all the Bishops of the Anglican Communion. Episcopal Life provides us with the text of the May 12 letter from Dr. Rowan Williams. Here is part of it:

...As I noted when I wrote to you in Advent, this makes it all the more essential that those who come to Lambeth will arrive genuinely willing to engage fully in that growth towards closer unity that the Windsor Report and the Covenant Process envisage. We hope that people will not come so wedded to their own agenda and their local priorities that they cannot listen to those from other cultural backgrounds. As you may have gathered, in circumstances where there has been divisive or controversial action, I have been discussing privately with some bishops the need to be wholeheartedly part of a shared vision and process in our time together...
Unless, of course, you are the Bishop of New Hampshire, who not only has been denied his rightful place in this "shared vision and process," but has been informed by Canterbury that he is not to preside or preach while in England. Obviously, in Dr. Williams' mind, there is no need for any further "discussion," private or otherwise, with Bp. Robinson, as he has made his judgment on that matter.

We know little about these "private discussions," but if the criteria for being the recipient of such a discussion is those Bishops who have initiated "divisive or controversial actions," one would hope that Abp. Peter Akinola and Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables will be on Canterbury's list.


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