The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Sept 20-21 meeting with members of the US House of Bishops in New Orleans will seek to manipulate Dr Williams into giving the Episcopal Church a clean bill of health so as to preserve its place in the Communion.
Conservative American leaders claim the Episcopal Church will seek to resurrect a report presented to the February Primates’ Meeting prepared by a small group within the Joint Primates-ACC Standing Committee that said the Episcopal Church had met two of the three requests of the Windsor Report and deserve a reprieve.
The meeting will be used to “manipulate” Dr Williams, the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Rev Jack Iker said on July 31. The leaders of the American House of Bishops believe “If we can talk to Rowan, face to face, we can convince him of the rightness of our position and that he will stand with us,” he said.
Bishop Iker noted this scenario was not unrealistic. “As you will remember the subgroup report that initially came to the Dar es Salaam meeting, which nobody else had seen but presumably Rowan Williams had seen, tried to give the Episcopal Church pass marks on whether we complied with the Windsor Report recommendations or not,” he said.
The US Bishops will seek to “revive that subgroup report” and come out of the New Orleans meeting with Dr Williams “validating” that position.
At the June meeting of the US Church’s Executive Council, the Bishop of New Westminster, Canada, the Rt Rev Michael Ingham, urged the US church to use its time with Dr Williams constructively and get him to listen.
Dr Williams’ March meeting with the Canadian bishops, he said, had been structured so that while Dr Williams was given time to speak to the Canadian bishops, the bishops were not allotted time to speak to Dr Williams.
The Episcopal Church’s New York office has announced that the two-day meeting with Dr Williams will be closed to the press, and have released no details on how the time will be organised.
The Bishop of Quincy, the Rt Rev Keith Ackerman stated that past Bishops’ meetings conformed to a “well manipulated system.”
The Bishops would “meet in small groups, reporting back but never hearing the results of the reporting back” and the bishops would be kept busy “by talking about any number of subjects.”
With this “mechanism in place, whoever is handling the process will get precisely what they want,” he said.
–This article appears in the August 17th, 2007, issue of the Church of England Newspaper, page 4