Ruth Gledhill at The Times has a noteworthy story that captures the mood of exasperation among many leaders in the Anglican Communion toward Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone, but perhaps overstates the consequences that are likely to ensue. She writes:
A conservative province in the Anglican church faces “punishment” this week for offering a safe haven to conservatives.
Senior bishops and laity meeting in London are to consider suspending the Anglican church in South America for taking rebel US dioceses under its wing.
Now leaving aside the use of the phrase "safe haven" which equates having to live in a Church in which one is out of sympathy with the views of the majority with being persecuted, this lead probably promises more than the story can deliver. There are very few ways a province can be "punished," even if one attempt to soften the word by putting it in quotes.
Later in the story, Ruth writes:
The penalty being considered against the Southern Cone, which has 22,000 members in Argentina and surrounding nations, includes the removal of voting rights at the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the central governing body of the Anglican Communion, in Jamaica next May.
When the council last met in Nottingham in 2005, the lay and ordained members from Canada and the US were allowed to attend as observers but were barred from voting. This was because a diocese in Canada had authorised a rite for same-sex blessings and The Episcopal Church had gone ahead with the consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.
This isn't quite right. The Episcopal Church voluntarily refrained from voting at the Nottingham meeting at the request of the Primates. Had the Episcopal Church not voluntarily refrained, there is nothing anyone could have done to prohibit it from exercising its franchise. The same is true in this situation. The Southern Cone would have to voluntarily "suspend" itself. This seems unlikely.
But perhaps we are missing something. Whatever the case, it is enjoyable to speculate on whether this information was leaked by someone trying to put the squeeze on Venables or trying to rally support for him. It is also instructive to look at the one important number in this story: 22,000. The Province of the Southern Cone, which consists of much of the South American continent, has 22,000 members.
Read it all here.