In typical fashion, I am lagging behind in giving my impressions on the BIG news of last week; big news for the Anglican world at least. But I like to let the dust settle on such things before I add my two cents.
First: The Camp Allen Meeting. For me, this was the most encouraging news I've heard in a long time, and I congratulate my bishop, +Don Wimberly, for his leadership. Simply put, the future of the Anglican Communion, not to mention any semblance of American Episcopalian membership in it, depends on a much broader coalition of dioceses and bishops than those that make up the Network. It is not that I wish to see the Network sidelined. They have an important voice that needs to be heard. But their voice is only one of many within the "Windsor compliant" camp. It is far better that they take a place at the table, than to presume that they can continue to go it alone.
Second: The Kigali Communique. That the meeting of the Global South bishops in Kigali occurred in the same week as, though quite independently of, the Camp Allen meeting of Windsor bishops was most unfortunate. This gave the false impression to many that they were coordinated events, an impression that gave way to early cries of treachery by some conservative commentators when it appeared that the letter from the Camp Allen meeting failed to acknowledge, or worse, amounted to a veiled dismissal of, the Kigali Communique (released just hours before the Camp Allen letter). Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of the Communique yet. It is surprisingly reserved and thoughtful, in contrast to what I expected. I am grateful that the Communique articulates the Global South's willingness to work towards solutions that seek to preserve the Anglican Communion, rather than constituting yet another subtle threat to unravel it.
What does concern me, however, is that the Communique has been twinned with another statement, "The Road to Lambeth", commissioned by the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) in February 2006, and "received with gratitude" by the CAPA bishops on September 19, 2006. Admittedly, it was merely "commended for study and response" to the churches of the provinces in Africa. Nevertheless, its much stronger resolve to force the pressing issues or ditch the Communion altogether is what I've come to expect from Akinola and his camp. But there is another reason to be concerned. For all of the talk in "The Road to Lambeth" about how the Global South, and particularly the African provinces, have come of age, and no longer need the West to do their thinking for them, one of its main architects (and I suspect its primary author) is an AMERICAN -- Dr. Stephn Noll (currently serving as Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Uganda). Dr. Noll's decidedly skeptical stance on the necessity or desirability of preserving a Canterbury-centered Communion is well-known.
Perhaps it would have been wiser for Dr. Noll to have recused himself from taking a leading role in the drafting of this statement. The revisionists have said all along that this whole affair had the smell of being orchestrated by American arch-conservatives who really have no desire to preserve a Canterbury-centered communion. Noll is just such an American. If CAPA wanted to avoid the appearance of taking their cue from American arch-conservatives, then the wiser course of action would have been to keep ALL Americans, and particularly those with strong anti-Canterbury views like Noll, away from the drafting of statements that presume to represent their voice.
Just an opinion.