Sunday, February 1, 2009

Meeting begins in Alexandria, Egypt

Great thanks to David Virtue, who has traveled to Egypt to observe and report the goings on.

Archbishops of the Anglican Communion have assembled at the pristine (Helnan) Palestine Hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, nervously eager and expectant as the life of the communion roils in crisis, eerily reminiscent perhaps of a theological crisis that rocked the Christian world 18 centuries ago and which almost tore the church apart.

This morning, the Primates met for Eucharist with no apparent absentees or rancorousness over who takes Communion with whom. All is sweetness and light, at least in the early stages, as the Primates gather. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has not yet arrived, but is expected tomorrow (Monday).

But it will be hard to avoid sexuality issues, even if Dr. Williams wished he could. The Windsor Continuation Group is set to address the recommendations of the Windsor Report. Williams and the Primates will not be able to avoid news today that the Diocese of Toronto will proceed with same sex blessings, a position that Canadian Primate Fred Hiltz will have to answer for. Mrs. Jefferts Schori will have to answer for the Bishop of Colorado, Robert O'Neill, who recently ordained a partnered lesbian to the priesthood. These are Windsor violating actions.

The elephant in the room will be, of course, the new North American Anglican Province, (ACNA) where tempers are expected to flare from western pan-Anglican liberals like Jefferts Schori, (US) Fred Hiltz (Canada) and Barry Morgan (Wales) who oppose any such innovation.

The GAFCON primates, lead by the unflinching Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola, will have something to say about this. Akinola will take the contra position along with other solidly evangelical archbishops like Gregory Venables, Henry Luke Orombi, Benjamin Nzimbi and Emmanuel Kolini to name but a few. A row can be expected.

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