Ruth Gledhill, the Times: How do you see all this unfolding?
Bishop Duncan: The timetable that has been put before the world is the timetable that the Jerusalem conference put before the world – saying plainly in the GAFCON statement that the time to recognize a second American province had come and that they understood that the Common Cause Partners were actually the group that would be the foundation of that province.
We are working with the whole of the communion; we are certainly working with the GAFCON primates of which Archbishop Greg is one because they have been our allies through this and theologically they stand where we stand as we have tried to hold Anglicanism in its historic recognizability, having no faith of our own. I think we are very near to that.
It will be very interesting to see if the wider communion, particularly if there is a meeting of all the primates in February, as is proposed, how they will they respond to this. So many of the primates now have commented, beyond that limited group that was the Jerusalem group, that they do not recognize my deposition.
So what do you do when you have an American church that has deposed a leader who stands with most of the rest of the Communion and represents these jurisdictions that have been forced out or in conscience left and are under so many other provinces, does it not make sense to end the inter-provincial arrangements.
The figure that was used by Gregory Cameron back after 2003 was that there were 22 provinces that either declared themselves in broken or impaired communion with The Episcopal Church, 22 out of 38. There are seven GAFCON primates, there have been 10 primates who have spoken and said that they do not accept the sentence that has been brought against me, its been a wider group than the GAFCON group, including South East Asia, Jerusalem and the Middle East ( and West Indies see http://www.support-duncan.blogspot.com).
The Archbishop of West Africa, Justice Akrofi of Accra, called me just two weeks ago. He had been out of touch and not heard about my deposition. He called me from Accra and made an effort to track me down. He said: “All of this talk of restraint at Lambeth, and then they go home and depose you? Their words do not match their actions. “ I said “Yes, their words do not match their actions.”
What will the primates say about a province that is as ruthless as this province is, rather than to grant me a trial, which is what would be granted in most of the world, to simply declare that I have left the communion, when I would be prepared to accept a sentence.
Gledhill: Has Archbishop Ian Ernest (of Indian Ocean) offered you support?
Bishop Duncan: Ian Ernest and I have not been in touch though we know each other well.
The Rev James Rosenthal, Anglican Communion News Service: It would be the Anglican Consultative Council that would have to consider and even if that is not seen by you and others as a viable organization and a structure, they are the ones who would have to, according to the law of the Church, make the decision about the new province.
Bishop Duncan: Absolutely. Since the order of things is that the GAFCON primates will meet again before the end of the year, and they have publicly written and asked the Common Cause Partners to put in front of them what we believe would be appropriate to recognize a province; so they will meet and they may speak on that before year’s end or early in the new year.
Then you have the Primates’ Meeting in which it is hard to imagine that even if the Primates’ Meeting is indabaed to the end, that there are not sufficient primates with sufficient voice to make sure that the matter of the American situation and the American outrage is discussed and whether it should be recognized as a province. You are quite right Jim, they don’t have the authority to recognize a province.
They do have the authority within each of the provinces to say who they will recognize and to make plain their voice on how this ought to be dealt with, whether two provinces in the United States would not be better than all the present inter-provincial traffic.
And then of course the ACC comes next in line. And we are quite prepared to work within the existing structures of the Communion as a piece of what has to happen.
This is a period of transformational change and in periods of transformational change the old systems do not work, they fail. And the old systems are failing. But for those of us who want to be part of a global church, we continue to work with the existing systems, recognizing that in the crisis new systems are likely to emerge. And so some parts may recognize, and who knows, it may please God that even the ACC would see the wisdom of limiting this crisis to one continent as opposed to the present five.
NOTE FROM ANGLICAN MAINSTREAM: The reference of Rev Rosenthal’s question was to the fact that, the current corporate procedure for adding a new province to the Anglican Communion is to add a province to the Anglican Consultative Council list of members. Bishop Duncan points out that recognition of a province as Anglican is a function of the primates of the communion acting as leaders of their churches.