Sources in the ACNA were certainly keen to present this new international consecration as another watershed moment in the history of the Communion.
They have also suggested to me that it places the Archbishop of Canterbury in a little bit of a conundrum: Welby has stated that ACNA is not part of the Anglican Communion (although the GAFCON Primates disagree) so technically this cannot be seen by him as “border-crossing”. On the other hand it is an action that has the full endorsement of leaders representing the vast majority of the Anglican Communion, an endorsement that will be emphasised by their presence at the consecration itself on 30 June in Wheaton, Illinois. Lines’ consecration will be viewed as valid and in order; he will truly be an Anglican bishop.
It’s a clear strategy from the GAFCON Primates. They have placed a clear footprint in Scotland that more than spills over in the Church of England. They have once again raised the profile and position of the Anglican Church in North America; not only in terms of its own legitimacy but, perhaps more importantly, as a model for the new form of the Anglican Communion.
What will Welby do?