Day 3 of #Primates2016 – Crunch Time

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As I write it is turning 10am in Canterbury and Day 3 (Wednesday) opens up. Morning prayer and Communion have passed with notable absences again.

Give that Day 2 delivered what is now understood to be an unravelling of Welby’s attempt to pursue “reconciliation” through facilitated discussion groups it is pretty clear to observers that orthodox Primates have held firm and demanded clear action over TEC and ACoC.

As best I can tell my original prediction of how this would work out is holding up. Back then I suggested we would see the following:

  1. the GAFCON Primates will hold the line on discipline. I have this from a source very close to senior GAFCON leadership. I would be very surprised if more than a handful of GAFCON Primates don’t join in this very clear stand.
  2. the same source advises me that a number of the non-GAFCON Global South (GS) Primates will also be taking this same stand.
  3. Justin Welby will invite TEC and the ACC to consider their position, acting as mediator not enforcer. This is now my gut speaking. I can’t see Welby execute discipline himself. He is far too rooted into his “reconciliation” scheme to actually take the lead that he needs to. He also has the unity of the Church of England to consider. If it were known that he was the one who clearly told TEC/ACC that if nothing changed they were no longer welcome, nor at the upcoming Lambeth Conference, then he might very well face an open revolt just the other side of the Lambeth Palace walls.
  4. TEC/ACC would ask for more time. Perhaps a night to sleep on it, perhaps another appeal to “not being able to speak on behalf of the General Convention” (which was the way Griswold and then Schori avoided the issue before). They then might come back with a proposal that would be simply unacceptable to GAFCON. They will also effectively be calling Welby’s bluff to do something, daring him to be the one to enforce the will of the majority GAFCON group (and, no doubt, portraying that will as bullying).
  5. Welby tries to broker an agreement rather than taking the lead.
  6. GAFCON/GS partners walk. We never get to the Gathering – the meeting has failed because Welby has failed to lead at the moment where he should. I first made this prediction back in September when the meeting was originally announced.

We’ve had 1, 2 & 5. Welby hasn’t really gone all the way down 3 and 4 has effectively happened over Tuesday night. We’re poised at 6, albeit with less input from Welby to get us there than I had originally hoped.

So the ball is in Welby’s court. He really now has only 2 real choices. Ask TEC/ACoC to leave (and the do) or else GAFCON and a good portion of the Global South walk. I don’t see it going beyond lunch and we’ll try and keep you updated.

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