Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Did the Joint Standing Committee Receive a Statement?

A couple of items being reported by Steve Warring of The Living Church yesterday are worth noting.

First, Monday afternoon there was this report:

The joint steering committee of the primates and the Anglican Consultative Council is scheduled to depart early tomorrow. They have been meeting in private session all day on their own, attempting to prepare a report for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Their report is expected to help Archbishop Williams and the other primates determine whether The Episcopal Church has satisfactorily responded to the requests made by the primates. Without an approved document from the bishops Monday, it will be difficult for the joint steering committee to complete its work...
In the press conference held later that afternoon, Bp. Alexander made this comment:

..."There is no draft at this point," Alexander said emphatically. "We've made enormous progress today in building a very strong and broad consensus in the House of Bishops but we still have work to do"...
Does that mean the JSC did not receive a statement from the bishops, and so could not complete their work? Not according to a later report from the Living Church:

...The document released Monday morning is no longer a draft being revised. It has been replaced, Bishop Bruno said during the briefing. The new working draft was developed from this document and one submitted by Bishop Bruno and Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana. During the private session, the bishops discussed the two documents simultaneously for an extended period without coming to any consensus.

Finally Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori proposed an eight-paragraph summary which she had written. An overwhelming majority of bishops agreed her proposal captured many of the salient points in both of the draft documents under debate.

After receiving approval, Bishop Jefferts Schori briefed members of the joint steering committee of the primates and the Anglican Consultative Council so that they could complete their report to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. The members of the steering committee were under a deadline because many are scheduled to depart New Orleans Tuesday morning. The writing committee will present final draft language for approval by bishops in the morning...
If this is accurate, it means that after a few attempts, and a shuffling of the members of the writing committee, and then an attempt to synthesize two very different proposals, our Presiding Bishop presented a summary that she had personally written.

Did the briefing Bishop Jefferts Schori gave to the JSC include the eight-paragraph summary? If so, that will be the document on which they will make their recommendations to Dr. Williams, who will then confer with the Primates before making a statement.

And, one might speculate that this same summary will be the basis for the statement we hear later today.

A minor detail, perhaps, but one that I didn't want to miss.


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