The CAPA meeting in Africa is over and various statements have been issued (see here, here, and here). One of the communiques is from the Primates of CAPA: their communique is now published courtesy David Virtue. Relating to the Communion I note, in particular, these paragraphs (with my italics):
"4. We were very happy and appreciated that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams, accepted our invitation to attend the 2nd All Africa Bishop's Conference. We were encouraged by his word to us. We also appreciated the opportunity to engage face-to-face with him in an atmosphere of love and respect. We shared our hearts openly and with transparency, and we have come to understand the difficulties and the pressures he is facing. He also came to understand our position and how our mission is threatened by actions which have continued in certain provinces in the Communion. We therefore commit ourselves to continuously support and pray for him and for the future of our beloved Communion.
5. We were very saddened with the recent actions of The Episcopal Church in America who went ahead and consecrated Mary Glasspool last May 2010, in spite of the call for a moratorium(1) and all the warnings from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion and the 4th Encounter of the Global South.
This was a clear departure from the standard teaching of the Anglican Communion as stated in Lambeth Resolution 1.10. We are also concerned about similar progressive developments in Canada and in the U.K.
6. Being aware of the reluctance of those Instruments of Communion to follow through the recommendations of the Windsor Report(2) and taken by the Primates Meetings in Dromantine(3) and Dar es Salaam(4) we see the way ahead as follows:
A. In order to keep the ethos and tradition of the Anglican Communion in a credible way, it is obligatory of all Provinces to observe the agreed decisions and recommendations of the Windsor Report and the various communiqués of the past three Primates Meetings, especially Dar es Salaam in 2007. We as Primates of CAPA and the Global South are committed to honor such recommendations.
B. We are committed to meet more regularly as Global South Primates and take our responsibilities in regard to issues of Faith and Order.(5)
C. We will give special attention to sound theological education as we want to ensure that the future generations stand firm on the Word of God and faithfully follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
D. We are committed to network with orthodox Anglicans around the world, including Communion Partners in the USA and the Anglican Church in North America, in holistic mission and evangelism. Our aim is to advance the Kingdom of God especially in unreached areas." [End of citation].
Nothing new or unexpected here, save for one interesting detail re "the UK" being brought unambiguously into the ambit of concern, but an underlining of the following facts relevant to the future of the Communion:
First, a large section (a majority?) of the Communion's bishops continues to define 'orthodox Anglican' in terms which excludes most of TEC, possibly Canada, and now, possibly, the Anglican churches of the United Kingdom. Machinations on the Standing Committee of the AC will change nothing in this understanding.
Secondly, there is a reiteration of where orthodox Anglicanism is to be found in North America: 'the Communion partners in the USA and the Anglican Church in North America.' Again, a large section, if not a majority of the Communion views as thoroughly Anglican those whom TEC now views as thoroughly not Anglican enough to be part of the Communion. Is it merely a matter of time before the inclusion of ACNA in the 'beloved Communion' will come to a vote? Are the Global South primates biding their time: when they are sure of a majority on the matter in the relevant forum will they force this issue forward? (Admittedly the situation is complex: as David Virtue and others observe, two (Southern Africa, Central Africa) of twelve provinces represented at CAPA have dissociated themselves from an 'anti-TEC to the point of excluding them, pro-ACNA to the point of replacing TEC' line - see here - but this raises certain questions. Is the CAPA Primates Communique essentially also a Global South Primates' communique? (Global South is a much larger grouping than CAPA). What would the voting be if the motions were (a) include ACNA as a member alongside TEC? (b) include ACNA as a member, but exclude TEC as a member? The dissociating statement suggests any motion along the lines of (b) would fail, but (I suggest) leaves open the question of success for (a).
Thirdly, if nothing changes in the way the Communion does its business on 'Faith and Order', a sizeable section of the Communion will simply continue to meet, and 'more regularly', to do this business. Indeed, on this matter it will be 'the Global South primates' who take their 'responsibilities' seriously, that is, a larger section of the Communion than simply the African primates.
In the end it looks like the Communion will conform to the lead of the Global South or the Global South will evolve into the largest organised grouping of Anglicans around the globe.
Two roads are diverging in the wood, the thicket of Anglican controversy. Which one will churches such as my own travel along?
Incidentally, the conference was not all about Communion issues. Jan Butter tells us that the most pressing concerns addressed were human concerns in a continent full of troubling challenges.