More reactions to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's response to the Pentecost letter by Archbishop Rowan Williams.
Beliefnet has the Religious News Service report:
Jefferts Schori's rehashing of Anglican history may seem innocuous to outside observers, said church historian Diana Butler Bass, but her strong defense of democratic Anglicanism is a "call to arms."
"Those are fighting words," Butler Bass said. "She's saying, `this is our tradition and you're violating it.' She is accusing Williams of being an imperialist."
In essence, Williams and Jefferts Schori are having a very old argument over local autonomy and central authority, Butler Bass said -- two extreme and perhaps irreconcilable interpretations of Anglicanism.
"He's trying to find coherent Anglican identity and enforce it in a top-down way, and she's saying we've always been democratic, local, grassroots."
That argument seems to have reached a breaking point, the historian said.
"Scholars will look back on these letters in 150 years and say, `This is it. This is when it all went away,"' Butler Bass said. "The Anglican Communion is not going to make it."
[David Hein, a professor of religious history at Hood College in Maryland] agreed, saying, "A path has been chosen. It seems (Jefferts Schori) has prepared to pack her bags and go off on her own."
Diana Butler Bass also shares her thoughts on Beliefnet:
This is not a conservative/liberal argument (both Rowan Williams and Katharine Jefferts Schori are theologically liberal). This is a fight between rival versions of Anglicanism--a quarrel extending to the beginning of Anglicanism that has replayed itself periodically through the centuries down to our own time.
Rowan Williams' letter articulates "top-down Anglicanism," a version of the faith that is hierarchical, bishop-centered, concerned with organizational control, and authoritarian. It is an old vision that vests the identity of the church in a chain of authority in the hands of ecclesiastical guardians who agree on "a coherent Anglican identity" and then enforce the boundaries of that identity through legal means. This version of Anglicanism stretches back through the Middle Ages and relates to similar forms of Christianity as found in Roman Catholicism and some forms of Eastern Orthodoxy.
Katharine Jefferts Schori's letter speaks for "bottom-up Anglicanism," a version of the faith that is democratic, parish-based, mission-oriented, and (even) revolutionary. It is also an old vision, one that vests the identity of the church in local communities of Anglicans at prayer, who adapt their way of life and liturgy according to the needs of Christian mission. This version of Anglicanism is rooted in both the ancient Celtic traditions of English Christianity and the missionary work of St. Augustine of Canterbury circa 600.
Douglas LeBlanc at the Living Church does his own headcount as to who would be excluded from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order, ecumenical dialogues, and other committees of the various Instruments of Unity saying, "If all the Instruments of Communion were to exclude members based on actions that disregard the moratoria of the Windsor Report, 30 Anglican leaders — from laity to priests to archbishops — could be affected."
While attention is being paid to the Presiding Bishop letter, LeBlanc's report indicates that the members of the border-crossing provinces will not accept the Archbishop's discipline either. LeBlanc quotes CANA Bishop Martyn Minn who says that these groups have never accepted crossing into other provinces as "morally equivalent" to the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the church.