Susan Russell reports on the final plenaries given at last weekend’s conference on the proposed Anglican Covenant hosted by General Theological Seminary.
On Ian Douglas’ presentation:
Douglas made clear that the schedule for the Lambeth Conference, in fact, “has no large plenary session” where it would be even possible for “resolutions to be presented and voted up or down.”
In a nutshell, Douglas drew a picture of a 2008 Lambeth Conference dramatically different from its 1998 counterpart: a community of bishops gathered to converse rather than a conclave of bishops convened to resolve.
We shall see.
During the Q&A following Dr. Douglas’ presentation, Ian was queried about whether the design team had “designed any contingencies” for the potential of having their best laid plans hijacked (I think that’s the word I used) by those who might be coming to Lambeth with juridical intentions in spite of the design team’s missiological intentions.
His response was that no one was more committed to keeping the design of the conference as described than the Design Team … and that the Archbishop of Canterbury had appointed the Design Team to act as the Management Team on the ground in Canterbury.
On Gregory Cameron’s presentation:
He expressed “huge reservations about the appendix [of the St. Andrew’s Covenant draft] as it currently exists as it falls into a juridical model.” He also noted that “Jenny’s analysis [see here and here] needs to be taken seriously” and warned of the danger of “creeping authoritarianism.”
Regarding the so called “Instruments of Unity,” Cameron reminded that “they cannot command or require; they can only advise and recommend” going on to say “they can only ever be a council of advice and unless we get that particular point exactly right we are in for all sorts of problems.”
Cameron offered a helpful reminder that the primates are, in fact, “no more and no less than the senior pastors of their own provincial jurisdictions” maintaining that “they cannot speak with any more authority than that.”