Sarah (I assume, Sarah Hey) commenting on The Anglican Competition post below makes this prediction:
"I think we'll have three different medium-sized entities at the end of the day: raving revisionist TEC and her allies, fumbling [and still clueless about the juggernaut of TEC's revisionism and what delights will be in store in the coming decades from that diminishing organization] "we'd sign anything if it could only go away" moderate COE and her allies, and the rest of the traditional Provinces."
Now, so comments do not get stuck on the language here, I am going to take up her comment and recast it as fairly and as diplomatically as I can. (So don't bother commenting here about her comment!)
Whereas I often write as though the future will be some form of GAFCON/Global South federation and the remainder of the Communion as another federation of Anglican churches (and it will be federations because neither in the first nor in the second will key churches submit their understanding of Anglicanism to the judgement of others), Sarah proposes three entities. I think there could be something in what she says.
(1) If we drop loaded terminology such as 'raving', 'revisionism', and 'juggernaut' we can still fairly raise the question whether TEC is on a steady trajectory towards a manner of Anglican life which is distinct from both traditional Anglicanism (measured, for instance, by the embrace of same sex partnerships as equal of marriage) and much modern Anglicanism (measured, for instance, by the ease with which members (individuals, parishes, dioceses) are let go of). No other Anglican church I am aware of, save perhaps for Canada in parts, is as willing as TEC to let go of its dissidents.
But these are not the only distinctives to note here: TEC's great claim is to be led by the Spirit, even when that direction is different to the rest of the Communion. TEC may prove to be right (and thus, effectively, it will be the rest of us who will have been the real 'revisionists') but at the moment what is interesting is the distinctiveness of their pathway. This pathway is distinctive because (a) they make that claim though it contradicts where the majority of the Communion is at; (b) they are unwilling to test the claim in the court of the Communion as a whole, (d) within their ranks are voices expressing preference for the Communion to break up rather than any reversal of commitment takes place, yet (c) they wish to remain part of the Communion rather than to walk apart. This distinctiveness means it is not at all clear to me that (2) below will be a close ally of (1) as we go forward into the future.
(2) Then there is - always, because we are Anglican - a group of moderates, perhaps best represented by the CofE, who really, really hope that the Communion can be held together, and will conjure up all manner of band aids, rubber bands, and bits of string to hold it together. Covenant, diplomacy, refusal to exclude, hints of inclusion (to ACNA), revisioning Lambeth (and now, it seems, the Primates Meeting), and generally expressing goodwill to all and tolerance of everything: the moderates are just about exhausted, both in energy and in ideas. The Great Moderate is of course the ABC himself. This mass of moderates may fall apart, especially if the Covenant is not well supported across the Communion, but I think the genuineness of their inclusiveness - the will to retain opponents - may be the superglue which holds all together.
(3) Then Sarah's 'the rest of the traditional Provinces': in disagreement with TEC, in dissatisfaction with moderate Anglicanism (often arising out of contexts of strident challenges from other religions), many provinces want to stick close to Anglicanism-as-inherited. From this perspective anglo-catholics and evangelicals can find common cause: "We are agreed that Anglicanism has a past we should learn more from than current claims about the Spirit's leading; we may disagree on what that past consists of, but we are united in what it cannot accommodate from the present," could be their statement, as well as this, "We have a gospel to proclaim: it is not what TEC claims is the gospel, and it is clear and unequivocal, in contrast to the understanding of the muddled moderate middle of Anglicanism."
Three Federations? If we can find the right language to describe what is happening in our midst, we may be able to give this hypothesis a fair hearing.