As Ruth Gledhill reports, a private member's motion has been tabled this weekend at the Church of England General Synod, calling for Merrie Olde Britain’s established Church to be 'in communion' with little Bobby’s new sect.
In a spectacular example a little knowledge being a bad thing, sweet Baby Blue manages to reappraise this news into the startling headline “Motion to recognize ACNA now before Church of England Synod”, in the process getting the most excited she’s been since Bishop Quinine listed a pair of Bob Dylan’s underpants on ebay. Sadly she was never able to acquire the treasure for which she was so lavishly bidding: the auction was pulled on the grounds of fraud, since the eminently collectable objet d’Bob was actually just some old rags stolen from a hippy Bishop Quinine met in detox, and I fear Dylan’s favourite faux-Nigerian will once again find herself deeply disappointed.
Firstly that’s because the motion isn’t before the Church of England Synod: it’s been tabled for consideration by the C of E Business Committee, who will then decide if it merits inclusion on the next Synod’s agenda, where it shall then be debated. Thinking Anglicans (from whom I suspect Viagraville’s Lois Lane took the motion’s text uncredited) thoughtfully link to a page on the C of E site explaining the gastrointestinal process through which private members motions must pass; clearly someone was a little too tangled up in blue to bother reading this before posting her headline. Otherwise she may have noticed that while at least 100 signatures are needed before something is considered for inclusion, reaching this number provides no guarantee it will subsequently proceed to debate. Nor are the motions with the most signatures automatically those chosen. Mrs. Lorna Ashworth of Chichester has indeed obtained more than the requisite 100 signatures – six of whom are Bishops – which does place her well ahead of a request that Deaf Anglicans Together may be made a special constituency, but she’s still running behind a proposal that the Church “produce an on-line library of visual and video resources for worship”. And which one do you think +Rowan is going to be more eager to see on the list next February? On his left hand he’s got someone wanting to collect power-point files, on his right is Anglicanism’s next great civil war. Hmmm…..
What’s more the text actually reads ‘That this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.’ That’s right – “express the desire”. Which means what exactly? That someone important adjusts himself while looking longingly at little Bobby? That the Warden of Walsingham and little layman Schofield sit down for a good old chinwag about how icky women are? That Bishop Nasty-Alley starts getting whatever money still being sent to big Pete Akinola?
As we all know only too well, a vast gulf separates an expression of desire from consummation, and even those with a closure rate as high as mine can still expect more strikes than home runs. When conjugal bliss involves, as it does in this instance, not just changing the communion’s sheets, but rebuilding the bed, bedroom and carport, anything beyond an expression of desire becomes very, very hard to orchestrate. If the Church of England’s less stable elements are real lucky (and the odds are they won’t be) just might be permitted to look come next Synod, but they’re not going to be allowed to touch. Six bishops out of a possible 141 endorsing something this vague isn’t enough for a quick game of tonsil hockey in the corner, let alone make the Anglican Communion’s earth move.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.