Friday, November 23, 2007

Primates and ACC Respond to the House of Bishops' Statement

In September, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church issued a statement in response to the recommendations made by the Primates in the Dar es Salaam Communique.

The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion considered the House of Bishops' statement, and then issued their own report. The JSC found that the Episcopal Church had fulfilled the request for clarity made by the Primates.

Rowan Williams received the report of the JSC, and asked for responses from the 38 Primates and the 73 members of the Anglican Consultative Council. They were given one month to make their response. A summary of the responses from the Primates and the ACC has now been released. It can be found here. If you want to see the graphs, you may have to open the pdf file, found here.

The responses are not identified by Province. The specific comments that are quoted are primarily from those who disagree with the report of the JSC. That is no surprise, as those who felt the Bishops had responded sufficiently to the Primates wouldn't have much else to say except "Agree." But, if you are going to challenge the findings of the JSC, the expectation would be that you would provide an explanation for such a challenge.

By all means do read all 11 pages of this summary. But without knowing who said what, I'm not sure how helpful the document really is. However, the categorization of the numbers is certainly interesting. Here's the breakdown:

Responses from the Primates to the JSC Report (38 total):

12 - Agree
10 - Disagree
3 - Mixed Response
1 - Will Respond Later
12 - No Response

Responses from the Anglican Consultative Council to the JSC Report (73 total):

13 - Agree
2 - Disagree
2 - Mixed response
8 - JSC Member
48 - No Response

The ten Primates who disagreed were identified as being part of the "Global South."

I think the most significant thing to be seen from these numbers is that almost one third of the Primates and almost two thirds of the ACC members did not respond! Out of 111 requested responses, Canterbury received 51; less than half.

This is difficult to even imagine. The Archbishop of Canterbury made this request. They were given thirty days to accomplish this simple task. We might expect one or two excuses due to extenuating circumstances. But for over half of the respondents to simply ignore Canterbury's request is quite troubling.

Perhaps apathy has begun to set in regarding these matters? Or maybe we have placed incompetent people in these positions? Or could this be a signal that the authority of Canterbury is even weaker than we even imagined?

I suspect that the first speculation will probably be proven to be the most accurate. The members of the Communion are getting weary of all these meetings, reports, threats and counter-threats. All this fighting has become a distraction from our mission; to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. The Communion has had enough. They want to move on.

So, for what it's worth, there's the summary. Based on that information, Abp. Williams will make a final statement on this matter in his annual Advent letter. And that will be the end of the Dar es Salaam recommendations.

Maybe the denouement of this drama has finally commenced.

Thanks be to God.


No comments:

Post a Comment