With a welter of opinion going into the Primates' Meeting that it is a kind of 'nothing' meeting (no power, no actual Communion-shaping purpose, merely a sharing of how things are going in respective provinces), unexpectedly 'nothing' has come from it.
Thinking Anglicans has a helpful set of links here to the final day briefing and to some papers produced by the meeting.
I cannot see it, perhaps you can help me by seeing what I do not think is there, but there is no discernible sign of any statement of the primates noting, lamenting, even celebrating the absence of a significant minority of primates from the Primates' Meeting.
Nor can I see any statement addressing the situation the Communion is in.
Now if this nothing meeting was actually a nothing meeting then comment might stop right now. But I notice that the Meeting has issued a series of statements about the situation a number of people are in around the world, troubling, difficult situations, worthy of comment. But no comment about the Communion.
Then I notice that this nothing meeting has made a something statement about the purpose of the Primates' Meetings. You can read it here. It is a marvellous statement. It includes music to some Communion supporters' ears such as this:
"22 The Primates together:
23 ‐ give leadership and support as the Communion lives out the Marks of Mission1
24 ‐ seek continuity and coherence in faith, order, and ethics
25 ‐ provide a focal point of unity
26 ‐ address pressing issues affecting the life of the Communion
27 ‐ provide guidance for the Communion
28 ‐ address pressing issues of global concern
29 ‐ are advocates for social justice in these situations."
But I cannot find where this meeting has done what it has said it is its purpose to do: "address pressing issues affecting the life of the Communion."
There may be an explanation. Further on in the statement we find this:
30 to accomplish our work through:
31 ‐ prayer
32 ‐ fellowship
33 ‐ study and reflection
34 ‐ caring for one another as Primates and offering mutual support
35 ‐ taking counsel with one another and with the Archbishop of Canterbury
36 ‐ relationship building at regular meetings
37 ‐ being spiritually aware
38 ‐ being collegial
39 ‐ being consultative
40 ‐ acknowledging diversity and giving space for difference
41 ‐ being open to the prophetic Spirit
42 ‐ exercising authority in a way that emerges from consensus‐building and mutual discernment
43 leading to persuasive wisdom
44 ‐ the work of the Primates’ Standing Committee."
Perhaps no consensus emerged as to whether there are, in fact, any pressing issues, let alone what might be said about them.
Whatever happened (or did not happen) in the meeting, from a life of the Communion perspective, we have nothing as a result of the Primates' Meeting.
Have the primates not only dropped the ball but lost it too?
LATER: I acknowledge that ++Rowan's remarks at the press conference do acknowledge the absence of the absenting primates. That he set his expectations of the meeting low enough to be met is unsurprising. Whether he or the primates together have led the meeting to a conclusion which achieves anything meaningful at all about the unravelling life of the Communion is a point which will be tested in months and years ahead. Here I simply note that the meeting offers nothing, save for remarks about continuing commitment to the Communion, which suggests any way or means beyond the impasse. If Lambeth 2018 were to be another Lambeth with a third or so bishops absent are we going to be told that the good thing is that two-thirds were there and everyone, present or absent, is still committed to the Communion?
I suppose I could try that one on my bishop: not turn up for a few key meetings while assuring her that I remained committed to the Diocese. Yeah, right!?
ANGLICAN CURMUDGEON notices things I do not notice about the Primates' Meetings declarations of what they and their Standing Committee are on about. Victory is complete for those whose vision of the Communion is for a talking shop in which we share with each other how different we are from each other and from which the only announcements expressing a common view and value concern the evils of the world, on which we say precisely what concerned non-Christians say!