David Virtue of Virtueonline asked a question about schism at the press conference – whether what we are facing is not schism but a parallel jurisdiction. With the formation of GAFCON and ACNA to which 75% are committed, the train has already left the station, he claimed. This was speculation about what might be, said Phillip Aspinall. A movement towards the reconciliation of these groups within the Communion is still possible.
David also claims in his reports that a row can be expected because the Diocese of Toronto is proceeding with same sex blessings and the Bishop of Colorado has recently ordained a partnered lesbian to the priesthood. These are Windsor violating actions, David says.
The elephant in the room will be the new North American Anglican Province, (ACNA). David expects tempers to flare from Primates he styles as “western pan-Anglican liberals” like Jefferts Schori, (US) Fred Hiltz (Canada) and Barry Morgan (Wales) who oppose any such innovation. In opposition to them will be the GAFCON primates, led by the “unflinching” Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola. A row can be expected, says David.
All the signs are that he is wrong. The Global South Primates specifically asked “the American franchise bishops of AMIA, CANA, Uganda, Kenya and Bishop Robert Duncan Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, and ACNA leader … to stay away this time.”
The Global South Primates may be planning such a move against the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates from other parts of the Communion. But David may be reading the signs of the times wrongly. David, presumably now a dissident ex-member of the Episcopal Church, has a lot invested in the success of a new North American Province which, in alliance with the Global South Network and hopes of a similar movement in England, will eventually replace Canterbury and the present Anglican Communion.
David and his allies in AMiA, CANA and ACNA need their secessionist movement to succeed to prove the rightness of their campaign against the full inclusion of women and LGBT people in the church. Another evolutionary movement which seems to be taking place at the moment is a change of relationship between the African, Asian and South American Global South Provinces and their colleagues in North America. The Americans have a lot invested (financially and strategically) in the success of their new church. Signs are, the Primates are more interested in reconciliation than schism.