Primates from the Global South are contemplating a boycott of the next Primates’ Meeting because the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be present.
The Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, the Most Rev Ian Ernest, has confirmed that he will not attend the meeting, due to take place in Dublin from 25-31 January.
Archbishop Ernest said last week that he had written to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the (northern) summer to convey his distress at the election in the United States of the Rt Rev Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as Bishop of Los Angeles.
He had urged Dr Williams to exclude Dr Jefferts Schori from future Primates’ Meetings. “There were conditions attached in that letter,” he said last week, “and I can confirm I will not attend if those conditions are not fulfilled.”
Dr Jefferts Schori has already confirmed that she will attend the meeting.
Primates of the Global South are expected to meet this month to discuss whether they will refuse en masse to attend. They are being encouraged to attend by, among others, the president of the American Anglican Council, the Rt Rev David Anderson, a suffragan bishop within the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, who has posted a letter on a website urging traditionalist bishops to go to the meeting.
In a bizarre suggestion, he advises that Dr Jefferts Schori be shut out of the room, or removed “by force of numbers” if she attends. If Dr Williams objects to this, the meeting could go ahead in a separate room without him.
He writes: “Dr Williams is being advised that numerous provinces won’t attend the Primates’ Meeting if Jefferts Schori attends. Having booked the venue, he might as well have the meeting since he is committed to paying for it, but without the orthodox Primates in attendance it could be a dangerous meeting, giving opinion and credence to teachings and beliefs that are not representative of orthodox Anglicanism.
“If asked my opinion, I would strongly advise the orthodox Primates to: 1) organise before the Primates’ Meeting; and 2) attend and remove by force of numbers the Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church (not physically, but by either voting her off the ‘island’, or recessing to another room and not letting her in).
“The meeting is a place to gather and potentially to settle some of the issues that are pulling the Anglican Communion apart, and to begin to restore health to a most wonderful communion.
“In the above case, if Dr Williams did not go along with Jefferts Schori’s exclusion, then I would suggest having the next-door meeting without him. I just don’t believe staying home from the field of battle helps win a war over the truth and nature of Christianity within Anglicanism.”
Lambeth Palace declined to comment.