Here is a section from Mark Harris’ article on the Windsor Bishops’ gathering in Navasota:
...I gather that the bishops meeting at Camp Allen want greater clarity from the Archbishop concerning what they view as the crisis in the Communion brought about by The Episcopal Church. At the center of this matter of clarity continues to be the issue of invitations to Lambeth. They will likely demand that the deadline of September 30th be quickly followed by a response from the Archbishop in which he will withdraw Lambeth invitations to those of the US bishops who do not comply with the primates requests from Dar Es Salaam. It is thought that they will consider it catastrophic if the deadline is ignored.
It would appear then that the sacred date of September 30, 2007 becomes more and more a marker around which, for the moment, the “crisis” will form – the bishops from Sydney Australia want the need to reply to invitations pushed back later than September 30th, and the Windsor Bishops want the date held as a time certain for “compliance” by American bishops. The press is on for House of Bishops to step back from their understandings of last March and step forward into actions that can only be consummated by radically changing the way The Episcopal Church makes decisions.
Of course, the Episcopal Church cannot “radically change” the way that she makes decisions because to do so would involve actually making decisions and if we have learned anything over the last four years we’ve learned that the sacred polity of the Episcopal Church is not designed to do that. The House of Bishops cannot set policies apart from General Convention because that would subvert the democratic process and we are, after all, a “democratic” church. But then again General Convention cannot establish any policies to be enacted in dioceses because, of course, that is for the bishops to do. And, finally, Executive Council cannot make any decisions apart from the House of Bishops or General Convention because, again, the Episcopal Church is a democratic church.
Anyway, here is Chris Johnson’s take on Mark Harris’ article:
The Windsor bishops may well “demand that the deadline of September 30th be quickly followed by a response from the Archbishop in which he will withdraw Lambeth invitations to those of the US bishops who do not comply with the primates requests from Dar Es Salaam” and they probably “will consider it catastrophic if the deadline is ignored.”
For the Windsor bishops, the nightmare scenario runs roughly as follows: what happens if TEC holds firm and Dr. Williams doesn’t give the Windsor bishops what they want after the September meeting? Do they back down, go to Lambeth anyway and hope that TEC completely changes its mind next year?
How TEC would be persuaded to do that is about as doubtful as it is possible for anything to be. If the Windsor bishops do cave, their leverage is gone. If TEC stiffs Dr. Williams in September and he still invites them to Lambeth, my gracious lord of Canterbury fatally undermines the position of the primates and for all intents and purposes, kills not only the Dar es Salaam Communiqué but the Windsor Report itself.
Chris is absolutely correct which is why the Windsor Coalition is inconsequential. Only five or six bishops (Network bishops of course) in Navasota are willing to break with Canterbury. Canterbury knows this just as certainly as he knows the same about the supposed “22” orthodox primates. And because only a small minority of Windsor bishops are willing to express their dissent with something more than a vote or statement or “strongly worded letter”, there is no reason for Canterbury to do anything at all to meet their demands. As a group, the Windsor Bishops are devoted to Canterbury first and orthodox principles second and unless they re-prioritize and discover some willingness to act, their coalition meetings will remain utterly inconsequential. This has been true from the very beginning.