This evening, Davis Mac-Iyalla, Caro Hall and myself have been sitting around the pool at the White Sands Hotel enjoying a barbecue, a live band and a group of tumblers, along with many of the friends we have made during the past 6 days. The press conference this evening was presented by Njongonkulu Ndungane, and he talked about the morning session on Theological education and a lively afternoon session in which the Primates had addressed economic justice.
Meanwhile, a meeting was taking place all evening in one of the first floor conference rooms at the hotel. The dozen-plus people present included Archbishop Peter Akinola, Archbishop Nicholas Oko, Bishop Martyn Minns and his wife Angela (the only woman present), Bishop Robert Duncan and Chris Sugden. They have just broken up, at 10.30pm. It might have been an extended prayer meeting, and it might, of course, have been a strategy meeting attended by a minority of Global South secessionist bishops and their confederates.
A member of Integrity has just emailed this enquiry:
“I am very curious as to what my Bishop Robert Duncan is doing there. I assume he’s having secret meetings with ++Akinola, Minns, etc. Has anyone caught a glimpse of him at all? I’m very sure he’s not hidden in his room, meditating on Scripture! So why is he still there???”
My friend from Integrity, yes, your Bishop Robert Duncan is still here, and no, this evening he was not hidden in his room meditating.
Perhaps we LGBT and Inclusive Church people are wrong. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been sitting around the pool enjoying one another’s company, but have been in a conference room plotting how to manipulate our chosen Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury so that we can get our own way in the Communion. Perhaps we should have been developing our strategy, or preparing an exit scenario in case by Monday we find that the Communion has chosen to turn its back on us and has vowed never again to consecrate a bishop who is a partnered gay man, never ordain a partnered gay man, never bless a loving, faithful gay or lesbian relationship.
But I rather suspect Jesus might have joined us at the pool side and enjoyed the food and wine, the laughter, and the company of sinners who rejoice in having been found by our shepherd.
I’m going to bed feeling calm and at peace this evening. I still have a sense that I am going to leave Tanzania rejoicing in an Anglican church which is capable of enclosing so many of the sheep sought by Jesus.
But what of the plotters upstairs? I used to get paranoid and worried about their antics. Who wouldn’t when people are meeting in secret, with Primates who are here to participate in their own meeting, and who, on past form, are plotting something not to my liking. I hope and pray they will not be successful in their plotting, and that come Monday afternoon and the final communiqué, we will find ourselves persuaded once again to continue our struggle to co-exist in the one, global, Anglican Communion.