Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The Bolsheviki, nasty lot though they may have been, provided us all with a useful term with their concept of "realpolitik." It refers to the practical and pragmatic strategic and tactical issues involved in generating revolutionary action.

The GAFFEPRONE participants from North America have announced their intention to launch their new and improved North American Anglican "Province" at the beginning of next month. As always, Thinking Anglicans provides us with comprehensive links, analysis and discussion here and here.

There are now four quasi-dioceses claiming affiliation to the Province of the Southern Cone (ur-San Joaquin, ur-Pittsburgh, ur-Quincy and ur-Fort Worth). Traditionally, it takes four dioceses to establish a province, so there you are. There are also an assortment of independent parishes in the United States and Canada claiming various affiliations to the Southern Cone, to Nigeria, to Rwanda, to Kenya and to Uganda.

There are certainly enough folk about (including twelve or so with pointy hats) to create a genuine denomination. The issue is whether or not that new denomination gets to be a Province of the Anglican Communion.

The process of creating a Province of the Anglican Communion is set out in the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, one of the four Instruments of Communion (alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meeting). The process is defined in Section 3, subsection a, as follows:

3. Membership
a. The Council shall be constituted with a membership according to the schedule hereto. With the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the council may alter or add to the schedule. "Primates," for the purposes of this article, shall mean the principle Archbishop, bishop, or Primates of each of the bodies listed in paragraphs b,c and d of the schedule of membership.

The "bodies listed" are as follows:

  • Anglican Church of Australia
  • Anglican Church of Canada
  • Church of England
  • Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
  • Church of the Province of Rwanda
  • Church of the Province of Southern Africa
  • Church of South India
  • Anglican Church of Tanzania
  • Church of the Province of Uganda
  • Episcopal Church (United States of America)
  • Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia
  • Church of the Province of Central Africa
  • Province of the Anglican Church of Congo
  • Church of Ireland
  • Anglican Church of Kenya
  • Church of North India
  • Church of Pakistan
  • Episcopal Church of the Sudan
  • Church in Wales
  • Church in the Province of the West Indies
  • Church of Bangladesh
  • Episcopal Anglican Church of Brasil
  • Church of the Province of Burundi
  • Anglican Church of the Central America Region
  • Church of Ceylon
  • Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
  • Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
  • Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Communion in Japan)
  • Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
  • Anglican Church in Korea
  • Church of the Province of Melanesia
  • Anglican Church of Mexico
  • Church of the Province of Myanmar
  • Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
  • Episcopal Church in the Philippines
  • Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
  • Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Church of the Province of Southeast Asia
  • Church of the Province of West Africa

That's 39 bodies. (The number usually quoted is 38, but the Church of Ceylon, which like the Anglican affiliated churches in Spain and Portugal is extra-provincial to Canterbury, unlike them has representation on the ACC.)

A 2/3 majority means 26 Primatial votes for a new province.

Now, it can be something of a mug's game predicting how people will vote, but here goes:

Defintitely Yes - 8

  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Kenya
  • West Indies
  • Jerusalem and the Middle East
  • Southern Cone

Definitely No - 12

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Southern Africa
  • United States
  • Aoteoroa, New Zealand and Polynesia
  • Ireland
  • Wales
  • Brazil
  • Central America
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Scotland

That leaves 19 provinces unknown (though several probably leaning yes). To win, the schismatics would need to carry 89.5% (17/19) of the remaining provinces.

One province (Congo) currently has no Primate, and is riven with dissension over a number of issues related to the present controversies. It is not clear if or how Congo votes.

If we add in those provinces which are likely leaning yes, we'd include:

  • Central Africa
  • Congo
  • Sudan
  • Burundi
  • West Africa

That makes it 13 - 12 with 14 remaining - and the schismatics needing to win 12/14 or 85.7% of the remainder.

But is England likely to vote for this innovation - especially when there are already Global South rumblings about starting the same sort of campaign against the CofE? Only if Rowan is suicidal, I'm thinking.

That leaves one more no vote needed to end the charade. One vote. That means the schismatics need to win every single vote from among:

  • South India
  • North India
  • Pakistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Ceylon
  • Hong Kong
  • Indian Ocean
  • Korea
  • Melanesia
  • Myanmar
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Southeast Asia

I have no doubt that Bob Duncan and his friends will establish a new Christian denomination come early December.

Establishing a new Province of the Anglican Communion might best be described as a long shot.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the Washington Times item Anne Marie refers to in the comments.


Amie said...

What do you think of the comment in the Washington Times piece by Julia Duin that Bob Duncan approached Rowan Williams and was told to submit an application?

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Malcolm+ said...

From the Washington Times story:

"[Bishop Duncan] met Oct. 15 with Archbishop Williams, who instructed the Pittsburgh bishop to submit an application for the new province."

Of course, we have only Bob Duncan's say so that Cantuar said any such thing - and Bob Duncan's interpretation of what it meant.

Cantuar may well have "instructed" the schismatics to apply.

He may equally have meant that they were free to apply if they thought they could pull it off.

Of course, he might have meant it in that utterly dismissive sense - as in "Go ahead, I dare ya."

Or, given the schismatics' elastic grasp of the truth, he may never have said anything of the sort.

Raspberry Rabbit said...

Back in the days when I hired and fired I remember telling an employee I'd just fired that 'of course you're free to take your case in front of the labour board if you wish' after he'd said that he intended to do that. He could just as easily have said that I encouraged such an act.