Saturday, February 17, 2007

Colin Coward: Report from the White Sands Hotel, Dar Es Salaam - Day 5

February 17th, 2007 posted by kendall at 8:21 am

The tensions must have been exacerbated by the refusal of 7 Primates to attend the Holy Communion service with their brothers and sister Primates yesterday. This news was posted on the Church of Nigeria web site and not the Global South web site, although all seven were described as Global South bishops. We puzzled about this last night. My conclusion this morning is that it wasn’t published on the Global South web site because they are now split among themselves and are not in agreement over their strategy for walking apart from the Communion themselves.

Those seven also broke the protocol of silence agreed by the Primates - that none of them would speak independently to the press or reveal anything until the conclusion of the meeting and the final communiqué is issued. This was news to Archbishop Aspinall of Australia who was addressing the press conference. He wasn’t sure what the implications were, but indicated the Primates would reflect on it. Who broke that agreement? A fragment of the Global South coalition. How many Primates refused to share Communion? Seven - half the number that refused at Dromantine. Progress, of a sort. The Presiding Bishop, we were reminded, has continued to honour the agreement not to discuss the business of the meeting.

Tonight we will learn whether they have finally resolved among themselves their attitude towards the Episcopal Church and its response to Windsor, whether they have reacted adequately or not. It is the Episcopal Church alone that is the focus of concern for the Primates, not Canada, or the UK Provinces, where Civil Partnerships for clergy should be of concern to some Primates.

Archbishop Drexel Gomez was one of the Primates who didn’t receive Communion at Dromantine but did share in yesterday’s service. Is this because, as I have been saying for some time, inviting him to chair the Covenant Design Group was a very astute move, which has forced him to compromise his previously extreme position as a member of the Global South group threatening secession?

Read it all.


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