What lies behind the Truro mess

Canterbury and the Episcopal Church reveal strategy to use “reconciliation” initiatives to target diocesan cathedrals around the Anglican Communion as they gear up for Lambeth 2020.

Last year the Archbishop of Canterbury’s “Adviser for Reconciliation,” Canon David Porter, was promoted into a new role as Archbishop Welby’s “Chief of Staff and Strategy.” In the process of filling the post for the new “Adviser for Reconciliation,” documents announcing the requirements for the position were released, and contained information about both how the “reconciliation” program was funded in the past, and how it will be used in the future.

The Team and its Funding

According to the documentation, The Archbishop’s Adviser for Reconciliation, oversees a Programme Coordinator, a Project Coordinator, and support staff. The Archbishop’s Advisor has been funded by Lambeth Palace and the Lambeth Partners (a group of 500 who give to fund specific initiatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury).

The Programme Coordinator has been funded by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. The Project Coordinator has been funded by Trinity Wall Street.

In June of 2016 conversations were on-going with the Lambeth Partners, the Episcopla Diocese of Virginia, and the Compass Rose Society (led by the Bishop of Texas) to try and secure further funding for programme development and delivery, and specific projects as they arise.

This team is intentionally based out of Coventry Cathedral so as to take advantage of its history and connections, but the Archbishop’s Adviser for Reconciliation spends a significant amount of time at Lambeth Palace advising the Archbishop of Canterbury, and travelling internationally.

The Strategic Plan

In his new role as Chief of Staff and Strategy, Canon Porter was developing a seven-year plan for the Archbishop’s ministry focusing on the Lambeth Conference in 2020. It will weave together Archbishop Justin’s three personal priorities: Prayer and the Renewal of Religious Life, Reconciliation, Evangelism and Witness.

The goal is to leverage the legitimate work being done by Coventry Cathedral and various reconciliation initiatives so that the grassroots work dovetails with Archbishop Welby’s unbiblical definition of reconciliation at the level of the bishops, primates, and provinces. Coventry’s “Community of the Cross of Nails” already has a network of some 200 partners in over 35 countries. Under the theme of “Growing Together in Hope,” each are committed in some way to one of three strands of activity: 1) healing the wounds of history 2) learning to live with difference and celebrate diversity 3) building a culture of peace. In collaboration with the Community of the Cross of Nails, the new Advisor for Reconciliation has been tasked with furthering the concept of reconciliation in key cathedrals across the Anglican Communion.

Key Takeaways

1) TEC and Canterbury are working hand in glove, and are making no effort to hide the sources of the reconciliation project’s funding. Instead they openly announced that they are courting more funds from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

2) The cathedrals of the Anglican Communion are specifically being targeted by this initiative. Among those involved in approaching cathedrals, either formally or informally, are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Advisor for Reconciliation (Mrs. Sarah Snyder), the staff of Coventry Cathedral, and the Community of the Cross of Nails.

3) This political, rather than biblical, definition of “reconciliation” is going to continue to be a key theme for Lambeth in the years leading up to Lambeth 2020 with the goal of restoring The Episcopal Church to full participation in the Anglican Communion, without the need for repentance.

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