Stephen Noll's Address at the Mere Anglicanism Conference

The two understandings of discipline and the roles of Canterbury and the Primates collided at the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam in February 2007. The early rounds of the conflict went to Rowan Williams, who had invited Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori despite a recommendation in the Dromantine Communiqué that Episcopal Church officials refrain from attending Communion events until Lambeth 2008. He then set the agenda of the meeting with only four hours devoted to the Episcopal Church’s reaction, and he endorsed a Joint Standing Committee report which claimed that the Episcopal Church had satisfied the conditions of the Windsor Report and the Dromantine Communiqué.

At this point, the Global South Primates interrupted the set agenda and pushed back.[46] The final Communiqué was surprisingly strong, in which the Primates “unanimously” [made their recommendations]….

For a few brief weeks, it appeared that a final separation was imminent. Then Canterbury struck back:

1. by issuing invitations to Lambeth 2008 to all Episcopal bishops except Gene Robinson (May 2007);

2. by accepting an invitation to the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans (September 2007) and commissioning a report from the Joint Standing Committee that was not part of the Dar “process”;[50]

3. by denying by word and deed that September 30 was a real deadline; and

4. by giving the Episcopal Church a weak pass in his Advent 2007 letter, which was all that was necessary to get it over the hurdles posed by the Dar Communiqué.

Most significantly, in the year intervening between Dar and Lambeth 2008, Archbishop Williams refused to call a follow-up Primates’ Meeting, despite the clear expectation in the Communiqué that he would reconvene the Primates to judge the Episcopal Church’s response and despite an urgent appeal from the Global South Steering Committee that he do so. Apparently the Archbishop had concluded from the Dar es Salaam Meeting that the Primates’ authority had been enhanced too much and that they needed to be relegated to the B-league as an honorary council of advice.[51] The hope of Communion-wide discipline of those who had broken fundamental Christian doctrine had evaporated in a cloud of verbiage and dithering.

Read it carefully and read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

6 comments on “Stephen Noll's Address at the Mere Anglicanism Conference

  1. montanan says:

    What a tremendously helpful review – and very good analysis, as well.

  2. Athanasius Returns says:

    Thanks to Dr. Noll for this detailed, historical review of how the AC got where it is today. That Rowan Williams has been an abject failure in terms of leadership of a Christian body is in full view here.

  3. Fr. Dale says:

    Dr. Noll is a gift to the WWAC. May God bless him richly.

  4. Graham Kings says:

    Thanks, Stephen, for refering appreciatively to Oliver O’Donovan. You state:

    [blockquote]Oliver O’Donovan, the finest Anglican ethicist of our day, argues further that there are things which the church can learn about human sexuality from the phenomenon of contemporary homosexuality, beyond simply condemning it.[/blockquote]

    You quote Oliver O’Donovan and say you agree with him. The quotation is from O’Donovan’s article ‘Good News for Gay Christians’ on the Fulcrum site, which can be seen [url=]here.[/url] Could the footnote be linked into that page, please, rather than to a blogger page? Thanks.

    It was part of a seven part monthly series by O’Donovan on Fulcrum, which may be seen [url=]here[/url] and was published in the USA as [url=]’Church in Crisis: The Gay Controversy and the Anglican Communion'[/url] (Wipf and Stock, 2008) and will be published in April this year in Britain by SCM-Canterbury Press.

    Oliver O’Donovan also wrote on Fulcrum [url=]’The Only-Poker Game in Town: Reflections on the Windsor Report'[/url] and is still keen on following the Windsor and Covenant Process…

  5. Philip Snyder says:

    Thank you, Dr. Noll, for this and for reminding us that the “crisis” didn’t start with +Robinson. It really started before +Righter. However, the +Righter trial was proof that TECUSA’s HOB was unable or unwilling to discipline anyone for acting outside of the received teaching of the Episcopal Church, USA and the Anglican Communion.

    Phil Snyder

  6. Fr. Dale says:

    # 4 Graham Kings
    Graham, I was unable to discern what your thoughts were by your comment on Dr. Noll’s piece. I notice you reference Oliver O’Donovan extensively but actually offer no thoughts regarding Dr. Noll’s piece.