[Anglian Communion Network]30 July2009--1. In the two days since the Archbishop released his ‘Reflections’ on TEC’s General Convention, they have already generated widely differing responses. We always knew, say some conservatives, that the ABC was a hopeless liberal, and this has confirmed it. Not so, declare many horrified radicals: he has obviously sold out to the conservatives. Some have warmly welcomed the statement and hailed it as paving the way forward. Cautious voices in between are trying to discern strengths and weaknesses. In my view, there is much to welcome, and much whose implications need further unpacking. The two main sections of this paper deal with these two aspects.
2. I have tried to bear in mind that the Archbishop is himself not only an Instrument of Unity but the one which has to hold on to everything at this moment. Lambeth 2008 didn’t say much (apart from what the ABC himself said); the status of ACC and Primates are under question in various quarters; it is up to him. He therefore has an obligation to maintain as broad a conversation as possible, and that is continually to be seen in his statement. As often (for instance in his poems, and in his recent book on Dostoevsky) the Archbishop’s writing challenges its readers to pause, to ponder, to think things through. One commentator has suggested that he employs a characteristically British habit of inviting the reader to draw the really important conclusions and giving them the space to do so. This piece is an attempt to take up that challenge and invitation.