All (or at least a bunch of) Anglican eyes will be on the goings on Dar es Salaam, Tanzania next week. Even the writers of "Lost" couldn't plausibly make this up. I mean this has the makings of being the Cannes Festival of ecclesiastical political theater. I hope someone gives out prizes.
The invited Episcopal guests, Epting, MacPherson and Duncan will speak to the group on Valentines Day. Two Bishops and a Primate-in-waiting. The plan is to only spend a few hours on Windsor Report related items, unless there is a court-rebellion by people who want more discipline within the Communion.
Over in the You-Can't-Win-By-Placating-Bullies-Department, the ABC himself is in a very uncomfortable spot. He has managed to make nearly everyone angry. While a certain, ahem, American said "enough!" to Archbishop Rowans' snubbing of the North American Churches while simultaneously giving bits of apparent approval to schismatics, the very people who foment that schism call Rowan too authoritarian. They said this with, I presume, a straight face.
And why oh why would some Primates want to throw fellow primate Archbishop Semantu overboard? Is he not Primatial enough? Is it unseemly for Anglican bishops to give England an actual vote? Or could it be that if Rowan is able to control his own agenda then he might start thinking that he might actually have some authority?
Akinola of Nigeria will no doubt have something up his sleeve, ready to spring it on us. We can only imagine. I hear they are changing their constitution again and it will be historic. Maybe they will annex the rest of Virginia or perhaps they will finally send an Anglican bishop to England at long last.
I wonder how many people will be vacationing in Tanzania next week? I wonder how they will get all those pruning shears through airport security?
Bishop Wright of Durham has decided to let the world know that he and Rowan are such good buddies that he can tell the rest of us what he ought to think. In Wright's view, the Episcopal Church is schismatic for adhering to its polity and doing it's theology out in public for all to see. Meanwhile, he says that Duncan is not schismatic because holding the exit door open and shaking hands with those walking out is not the same as leaving.
Some of the Primates say they won't sit in the same room with other Primates and so, as a result, at a meeting of the Anglican Communion there will not be a Holy Communion so that Communion members won't be in the position of ex-communicating themselves or one another from the Communion during Communion.
There is talk of a massive protest by members of the mothers union of Tanzania. They are protesting because somehow the relationship of a bishop and his partner in New Hampshire, not to mention that couple sitting quietly in pew #32 last Sunday is, as we speak, undermining the fabric of the institution of marriage in Tanzania.
Just think. Our Primate and Presiding Bishop will have face all this, as if the pressure of being the first woman primate weren't enough. She has been called everything from a heretic to an apostate to a blasphemer. So if they don't talk to her, it certainly won't be because she's a woman, which is such a relief.
Katharine is asking us to pray for everyone who gathers next week. And she is right. We need to surround everyone there with the power of prayer. Her graciousness and prayerfulness is a sign and signal to the rest of us as to why this circus is worth all the agony.