About what situations is the Archbishop here concerned? The context of the proposal ”“ ”˜unanswered questions’ with respect to NOLA ”“ indicates that the main issue is TEC’s (and perhaps other churches’) relationship with the Communion: how far does her claim as ”˜Anglican’ go when in fact her teaching and practice have clearly departed from the Communion’s? However, the mention of Windsor’s recommendations and extra-jurisdictionally ordained bishops, also indicates that the Archbishop is aware that various responses to TEC’s clear departure from Communion teaching and practice has also obscured the character of Anglican identity more broadly and of common authority. These issues must also be addressed, rather than allowed to further dissipate a common mind. The Archbishop recognises ”˜much unclarity’ over ”˜who speaks for the Communion?’ and says this needs resolution ”˜urgently’: ”˜the people of the Communion need to be sure that they are not placed in unsustainable and damaging positions by any vagueness as to what the Communion as a whole believes and endorses, and so the issue of who represents the Communion cannot be evaded”¦Not everyone carrying the name of Anglican can claim to speak authentically for the identity we share as a global fellowship’.
This last concern, which is surely a weighty one, faces into the current dissolution of the Communion’s ”˜common voice’ through a host of unilateral decisions that clearly affect teaching and discipline both. Not only are churches like TEC and certain bishops and dioceses in Canada knowingly moving ahead with innovations that run counter to everything that Anglicans have together articulated and decided, but in doing so they are wittingly undercutting the very notion of common identity, character, authority, mission, and concern. Those responding to these actions have, in their turn, if with a certain reactionary rationale, ended up moving forward in ways that do not represent common decision-making within the Communion and that may, in fact, further the dismantling of Anglican identity. To pursue such destructive innovations unilaterally, and still call oneself ”˜Anglican’ has put into question the very notion of Anglicanism itself as a divinely called church within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church into which we are called to grow with other Christians.
The group that the Archbishop proposes offer recommendations about this challenge, as it affects several churches and the Communion as a whole (including how Lambeth Conference may operate) cannot be some judicial tribunal. Nor, however, can it be a repeat of the Panel of Reference that, despite careful work, has been unable to direct any major conflicts it has examined towards fruitful resolution. It appears that the Archbishops himself, given his own role as the articulator of the Communion’s mind, and gatherer of her chief pastors, has accepted his role as moral leader for the Communion especially in this time of crisis. He will, again, seek to bring concrete recommendations before the council of Anglicanism’s bishops for the sake of the Communion’s common ordering. This is yet another indication that the Archbishop has decided that the Lambeth Conference must be a truly conciliar decision-making body for the Communion.
Read it carefully and read it all.