First, much has been made of the timing of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter. Clearly he would rather had sent them out after meeting with the American bishops in September, but the need to organize is becoming prominent. The last Lambeth Conference in 1998 has been described as a “organizational nightmare,” and this one seeks to be better, much better. Thus the invitations have been sent earlier than expected.
Second, the letter states that the Archbishop is still taking counsel for one or two cases. This means that no bishops of the Communion has been “uninvited,” yet. I am firmly convinced that Bishop Gene Robinson will be asked to participate. The question is, under what status? That remains to be negotiated. The Windsor Report had mandated that Rowan Williiams not invite him at all. Clearly the Archbishop wants to find a way forward despite that.
Third, the case of the bishop for the Convocation of Nigerian Churches in America, Martyn Minns, was not discussed at all. I did not know that he had not been invited until I was able to get some internet connectivity. This means that he is considered to be in the same category as the bishops of the Anglican Mission in America””validly consecrated but not a bishop of the Anglican Communion.
What this all means will probably not become clear until the Conference is over in August 2008. Even then people will be spending considerable time after that to understand all the ramifications.