At the Press Conference this afternoon with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, I asked a question. His answer on one hand does not show that he fully understands the depth of broken trust, while on the other hand he is clear in his support of the Dar Es Salaam Statement’s calling for an an end to the Episcopal Church lawsuits.
Question: My name is Mary Ailes and I am with Good News Magazine and a member of Truro Church in Fairfax, VA. My question has to do with – one of the things we’ve heard often from the Episcopal leadership is that we are free to go, but we have to leave the buildings behind – and how that often comes across to someone like me is “We have no need of you, but we have need of your building.” What would you say, Your Grace, to those of us who want to remain Anglican, but can’t at this time in good conscience remain Episcopalian? What would you say?
Rowan Williams: Two things, first I would say start by looking for arrangements and situations within what’s there because the grace of God is given even through very very imperfect organizations, even if you think you think the Episcopal Church is a hopelessly imperfect organization, like many others.
The question I would like to ask is but isn’t God’s grace still given sacramentally there, isn’t that presence active, so I’d be rather slower than I think some of your friends have been to look for solutions elsewhere.
I’ve said more than once and I think the primates in – earlier this year said very clearly that it is distressing to see the levels of litigation that the church is getting enmeshed in. I would still hope and pray that there’s a possibility at some – at somewhere around that doesn’t involve us as Christians in dragging each other to say finally through the courts for the next ten years and I would say that evenly across the board.
Here is a video, from my laptop, of Rowan Williams’ opening statement. We’ll have more from the Press Conference up shortly.
What is troubling in this statement is this: “The Primates asked for a response by 30 September simply because we were aware that this was the meeting of the House likely to be formulating such a response.” He is minimizing the deadline and then reveals that he has no plans to call the primates together, as he has done before. He will consult them and then move on. He never says what he’s going to do with all the consulting. He is not showing his cards as to what he plans to do. Looking over the meeting of the House of Bishops as it continues after his departure, Rowan Williams says, “I hope these days will result in a constructive and fresh way forward for all of us.” But the Primates Communique offers us a standard by which we can measure that way forward – as Mouneer Anis made clear in his remarks before the House of Bishops today.