In spite of all that I have written, it seems to me that schism in the Anglican Communion is not a fact. I would argue that it has not actually taken place. The Anglican Communion is still ”˜teetering on the brink’, still ”˜looking over the precipice’, but it hasn’t jumped. I base this conclusion – journalists are trained from the cradle to start not end stories with their conclusions – on all there is to base it on, the ”˜instruments’ of the Communion.
We are used to hearing about the ”˜music of the spheres’ but now there is a stranger song, the ”˜music of the schism’.
In spite of the boycott of one instrument of communion, the Lambeth Conference, by some provinces in 2008, the last two Primates’ meetings have been fully attended apart from absentees explicable for reasons other than those at the root of the present debate. The next meeting will be in 2011, so perhaps we won’t have formal schism until then. But even that might not count. The ultimate arbiter might have to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, himself one of the four instruments of unity.