It seems a very wise thing for Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to welcome, as she has done, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent letter to the Primates’ suggesting, among other things, that he personally invite to the table representatives of The Episcopal Church and those who are most upset with some of its recent decisions. Far from imposing some kind of preconceived solutions or an extra-provincial council of some kind, this seems to be perfectly in line with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s role and may actually be helpful in the run-up to the Lambeth Conference next summer.
There were some very tough things said about The Episcopal Church in his letter. And one wonders why we continue to be singled out on the issue of the blessing of same sex unions when it is going on all around the Anglican Communion, and in other Christian communions, ‘under the radar screen.’ Nonetheless, there was also appreciation for the hard work done by The Episcopal Church, and its bishops, and a recognition that we have probably gone about as far as we can right now in seeking to clarify our position with respect to the Windsor Report and the Primates’ requests from Dar Es Salaam.
As always, with Rowan Williams’ writing, I shall want to take some time to parse it more deeply instead of making some kind of knee jerk response (of which there will be, I am sure, many!). He has rightly summarized our current difficulties as being every bit as much about the scripture and ecclesiology (especially the ministry of bishops) as about Christian ethics and the presenting issue of the place of gay and lesbian persons in the Church.
All topics we very much need to continue discussing — at the Lambeth Conference…and in our “advent preparation” for it.