Two Crumbs: What does it all mean?
I. The Data
First, the office of the ABC has voiced disapproval of Minns' (from Virginia's Truro parish) accepting Akinola's offer of the purple:
"This is not a welcome development," said Jonathan Jennings, spokesman for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, about Wednesday's election of Canon Martyn Minns of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax as bishop for the Anglican province of Nigeria. "It's neither timely nor constructive," he said. "It further complicates an already complex situation."
Second, Fort Worth's Bishop Iker claims he did not notify or discuss ALPO with Archbishop Rowan Williams prior to making his appeal. Iker says:
Once we decided that we had to do this, I notified Bishop Bob Duncan, and he faxed a copy of our appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury the following morning so he would know about this before we made it public.
The Network had no discussion about making such an appeal prior to the General Conention, nor was the Archbishop told in advance that such an action might be taken. Since the conclusion of the Convention, each Diocese making an appeal has acted on its own terms, without any central coordination of efforts.
II. Tentative Conclusions
Iker's comment, if true, may put to rest notions that Williams somehow tacitly cleared these appeals for ALPO before they were made. That would be good news indeed, upholding a welcome distinction between Williams and Akinola.
Still, it is unfortunate that parts of Williams' missive might have encouraged other parts of ECUSA to appeal for ALPO after Fort Worth--and that is bad news, implying Williams lacks a firm grasp of the polarized power politics playing out on the Episcopal right. For instance, it is not as if these appeals should come as a surprise after the Chapman Memo and recent comments by the AAC's Canon Anderson to the effect that the right wants "the franchise".
ECUSA should not look to Williams for protection from the antic maneuvers of the AAC/ACN crowd--Williams will only "play catch" up post factum. That is, if ECUSA means to protect its parishes and dioceses from further harm, it will have to take the lead, getting out in front of Williams and the AAC/ACN crowd. Do our shepherds in the House of Bishops have the intestinal fortitude? Let us hope so.