[American Anglican Council] June 25, 2005--David Virtue gets it wrong again! Virtue got it wrong in Dromantine, N. Ireland, when he rushed to print before the Primates had actually agreed on what they were doing. He has gotten it wrong several times when he went with stories on the American Anglican Council.
Now it has happened again in Nottingham. Virtue apparently interviewed a Primate, one for whom English is his seventh out of eight languages, and he has run with a major breaking story. The only trouble is it is catastrophically wrong. Many of the Primates, operating in English instead of their first language, do fairly well until they are being interviewed with demanding and nuanced questions. And sometimes they also are wrong on the facts. Combine all that with not checking a story with other reputable sources and a desire to scoop everyone and break a story, and you have a story that should be retracted and should have been gotten right the first time.
What did Virtue get wrong this time? He reports that an Alexandria, Egypt, meeting of the Global South Primates soon will break with Canterbury and the Communion and form a new Anglican Communion. At least that's how I read it, and that's simply wrong.
There is a meeting in October for leaders of the Global South--it has been in the planning for years, and it is the third of the South South Encounters. They have invited Archbishop Rowan Williams to join them, and are understanding that he intends to come--hardly the mark of a rebellion.
Things could change, they seem to on a regular basis, but orthodox Anglicans have had a string of victories, albeit partial victories. The Lambeth Commission took a step in our direction, and their findings, The Windsor Report, although flawed in some areas, took several major steps in our direction. Dromantine was a huge step in our direction, and now, in the most liberal of Anglican institutions, the Anglican Consultative Council, we have had some very significant victories. Is this slow process frustrating? Absolutely! But is it moving in the right direction? Absolutely!
The Global South Primates may well be interested in meeting again after the ECUSA General Convention in 2006, to weigh ECUSA in the balance. They will probably press for a full Primates meeting post-GC '06 and pre-Lambeth '08. There is every reason for the orthodox primates to stay on board because the tide globally is running with orthodoxy. Whether or not Virtue runs a restatement of his article on a supposed breakup, a meeting in Egypt or Antarctica isn't going to see a declaration of independence from the communion. No one quits when they are winning.
Now about the victories here in Nottingham: clearly the vote to go with Lambeth 1.10, and with the Windsor Report and with the Primates from Dromantine, was huge. Anglican Communion Office decisions that seemed favorable to the ECUSA folks were apparently mistakes and poor judgment calls that are reflective of the past. I was asked by an ACO official what my perception of the ACO office was, and I replied that I, and the AAC, and really many orthodox Anglican leaders in North America, viewed the ACO as an appendage of the Frank Griswold 815 office. They did bristle at that. Was I unfair? They asked my perception, I didn't say it was Gospel truth, but it was my perception. They argue Peterson is gone and we should give Kearon a chance. The chance is given, but it has started off with several miscues. The ACCanadians and ECUSA representatives were given green badges that looked just like the seated delegates; mistake. They were seated to begin with in the Ecumenical Guests area, and introduced and allowed to bring greetings; mistake. They were allowed to eat their meals with the official delegates; mistake (do you suppose they worked the meal table?). They asked for and were given a small room to meet in during the small group time, just like other official small groups; mistake. Some changes did happen after we raised protestations, but they continued to eat with the delegates; mistake. Are we willing to work with the Kearon administration? Absolutely. Are we looking for major improvement after a really sketchy start here in Nottingham? Absolutely. Will we see it? I guess I am a pragmatic optimist. Is that an oxymoron? I hope not, especially the latter part. I do hope, but I count my change; trust is in short supply.
Next ACC meeting the Global Primates will be with the delegations, and that will not only shift the voting to the orthox in a pronounced way, but it will embolden the Third World delegations to speak out even more clearly and be heard. No one folds their cards when they are holding a handful of aces. Are there still very difficult times? Yes indeed, especially in the States. Unless a huge counterattack in the next few days erases the gains made (which is always possible), the Normandy Beach has been taken and the heights above taken. There is still a great deal of suffering before the heresy of ECUSA has been separated from the Anglican body. Press forward with us.
The Rev'd Canon David C. AndersonAAC President and CEO