Father Jake is keeping an eye on the meeting of the Anglican Communion Network's annual council meeting in Texas.
He wonders, among other things, whether the Network's leaders have been less than truthful in portraying the purpose of their organization:
Bp. Duncan of Pittsburgh fielded questions. Many of the kinds of false accusations against TEC that we've grown used to hearing were tossed around. One point that Bp. Duncan made that I found most outrageous was the repetition of the line that the Network was launched to keep conservatives in TEC; it was never intended to lead them out. We've heard that line many times before. It is one of Kendall Harmon's favorite chants. The problem with it is that the facts just don't support such a statement.
A brief look at some of the things that the Network leaders have said among themselves over the last three or four years (since that organization came into being) makes it pretty clear that the intention to stay in TEC was, at best, a minority view. Instead, they committed to "guerrilla warfare."
For instance, there is this March 2004 email from Father Jim McCaslin, Dean of the Southeastern Convocation of the NACDP to all the Network leaders. Fr. McCaslin is upset that Don Armstrong, Executive Director of the Anglican Communion Institute, wants to maintain "the broadest appeal" for the Network, and is afraid that appeal "waters down our direction and commitment to the point that our ultimate purpose is compromised..." As an example of this compromise, McCaslin cites that "Don mentions 'exit' and 'parallel church' strategies negatively and a 'staying' strategy positively."
Meanwhile, Doug LeBlanc, in his coverage for the Living Church notes that Bishop Duncan, who once upon a time said the creation of the Network was all Rowan Williams' idea, now faults Williams for not coming to his rescue.
“Never, ever has he spoken publicly in defense of the orthodox in the United States,” Bishop Duncan said of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, adding that “the cost is his office.
While Duncan seems to have made a decision to leave the Episcopal Church and break ties with the Archbishop of Canterbury, other Network bishops aren't so sure they want to follow LeBlanc reports.
After Bishop Duncan’s address, delegates to the council discussed a theological statement in support of the Common Cause Partnership, which they ratified. They also began discussing articles of incorporation for Common Cause Partnership. At the request of the Rt. Rev. James Stanton, Bishop of Dallas, the council delayed a ratification vote on the articles until voting on any proposed revisions to the Network’s charter.(Emphasis added.)
Bishop Stanton stressed that Common Cause’s articles would commit the Network to actions that violate the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. On Tuesday, the council is scheduled to discuss a proposal to delete from its charter a reference to operating within the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.
An update: Bishop Stanton's objections won the day.