Mere Anglicanism

Blackout in Canterbury

No news to report at the close of the third day

Exhaustion appears to have set in amongst the participants of the January primates gathering in Canterbury by the close of the third day. Hard news from the gathering continues to be unavailable, while the flow of chatter from our sources in the meeting has slowed. As of Wednesday night, the reporting from Canterbury has become an Anglican version of Kremlinology — divining meaning by who stands next to whom on the podium as the primates take the salute for the May Day Parade.

All of the primates appeared to have attended the service of Evening prayer in Canterbury Cathedral, though the tense and dispirited air of Tuesday has changed to a grim determination, tinged with exhaustion. A walk out by conservatives appears to be off the table, while the removal of the Americans — Michael Curry or Foley Beach also appears moot at the midpoint.

What can be reported is Anglican Church in North America primate Foley Beach has become a de facto primate of the communion, at this point in the meeting. He has participated fully in the gathering and contrary to assertions made by Lambeth Palace staffers and some primates in the weeks before the meeting, he has not been asked to withdraw after the first day, nor shunted to one corner to be talked about — AI’s sources are unanimous in saying the ACNA archbishop is a full participant.

And, the momentum of the meeting through Wednesday was favorable towards the GAFCON faction. Several undecided primates are now known to have cast their lot with the conservatives — one writing to his bishops that he had joined the side “fighting the Americans and Canadians”.

Yet the threats of a walkout by GAFCON have not come to pass. In his letter to the clergy of Uganda, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali last week said that he would not stay at the meeting if “godly order” was not implemented. He remains at the meeting — but so too do the American and Canadian primates. Whether the archbishop’s words were a bluff are not known at this point, nor is it known if the archbishop was successful in his push to discipline the Americans and Canadians — while some tell AI the issue has not yet been decided.

The working assumption of those closely following the meeting is that it will last through the week.

The meeting continues.

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