Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, rolls out one disappointment after another. The New York Times reported (Laurie Goodstein, “Gay and Dissident Bishops Excluded from ’08 Meeting”) today that neither Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, nor Martyn Minns, who was consecrated bishop by the Nigerian Anglican church for dissidents in the United States are invited to Lambeth next year.
His rationale for the uninvitation is
I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the communion.
The effect is that Williams has equated a canonically incumbent bishop with one whose consecration — unrecognized by the American Episcopal church — is a violation of the territorial character of national churches and is a clear move towards schism. Strike that, is schism.
By taking such an action, perhaps Williams should sit out the next Lambeth himself.
Peter Akinola, the head of the Nigerian church and one of my least favorite people in the world, and his college of bishops claim to boycott the conference. I imagine that falls well with his actions to create a Rump Communion, with himself as the head.
The next move is with the the American presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori (I’m not hopeful here) and with the college of bishops. I’m waiting for someone to boycott in solidarity.
Waiting, but not encouraging it — as for me, encouraging and Episcopal Church don’t go together any more.