In the most recent and second update to the previous post, I linked to an interview with Archbishop Greg Venables, who is not at all as cheery about the recent Primates' Meeting as its communique is.
I note that in the course of the interview ++Greg says this:
"Regarding the way forward we considered, as we often do, the structures of the Communion and the Instruments of Communion and the difficulties encountered when differences arise. There was passing reference to the incongruity that the Archbishop of Canterbury is chosen by the English government and just presented to the Anglican Communion. Now some people are talking about a mechanism for the Primates to choose one of our number to be the Chair, but it would be a Chair that we pick. Archbishop Justin (Welby) even made reference to that when he first came into office, and his openness to it. We also talked about our identity as Anglicans."
The larger section here is "Anglican identity" and a number of other things are said which I am not attempting to discuss here.
I am simply intrigued with whether it makes any difference to the Anglican Communion if the Archbishop of Canterbury is no longer the Chair (of the Primates' Meeting ... of other Communion bodies such as the Lambeth Conference itself).
For the ABC to no longer be the "convening bishop" or the "primus inter pares", would that matter?
For instance, for some of us, including myself, a critical element of Anglican identity is that one (as individual, as an Anglican church) is in communion with the See of Canterbury and I see this as essential to membership of the Anglican Communion.
But would this be a somewhat moot point if, say, the ABC goes to various meetings simply as "one of the bishops"?
It need not, of course, because we could distinguish the historical importance of the See of Canterbury to all things Anglicans from the human body which inhabits the role of Chair of this or that meeting or conference.
Of course, it is something of an oddity that I and others argue that communion with the See of Canterbury is vital to Anglicanism while having no say in which inhabits the See - that being up to the British government, on advice from the Church of England, and only on that advice.
At least when the Pope is elected, Cardinals from all around the globe get to vote!