Leaders of the American Anglican Council (AAC) have spoken for much of this year about a possible realignment of the Anglican Communion. During their "Place to Stand" conference Wednesday at the Wyndham Anatole hotel in Dallas, AAC leaders began to put more flesh on the skeleton of that concept.
Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh delivered the most solemn address of the day as he described what themes he anticipates from the primates—particularly from outspoken orthodox archbishops in Africa, Asia, and South America.
Duncan, a soft-spoken bishop who has often taken risks in defending besieged conservative clergy, predicted that any realignment of the Anglican Communion will be messy and will require patience. "All of us in this place are having a hard time waiting just now," Duncan said.
The 38 primates (archbishops) of the Anglican Communion will meet on Oct. 15 and 16 in London to discuss responses to the Episcopal Church's approval of an openly gay bishop and of widespread blessings for same-sex couples.
"God willing, the defining battle for the soul of Anglicanism will be fought next week," Duncan said.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, "will require the wisdom of Solomon so that the true mother of the living child may take him away to raise him," Duncan said. "In his humanity, his grace will surely seek a compromise. But compromise will just as surely rend the baby into two pieces."
If the primates do not confront the Episcopal Church with a godly rebuke and a call to repentance, "the Archbishop of Canterbury would become little more than the titular head of a declining American, Canadian, British, and Australian sect," Duncan said. "For Rowan Williams, the last British Empire is his to lose."