On Stand Firm, Greg Griffith has commented on the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner's resignation this week from the Anglican Communion Network. To say, as Greg does, that Ephraim Radner's resignation was done clumsily is too generous. His "resignation" was nothing less than an unwarranted public attack on Bishop Robert Duncan. Radner acts as if the direction the Network is taking is due to Bishop Duncan alone. Bishop Duncan is not a Pied Piper leading naive children. The members of the Network Council who met this past week are bishops and elected representatives of the several dioceses that comprise the Network, along with representatives of regional convocations composed of several thousand Episcopalians and other Anglicans in parishes that are not in Network dioceses. These elected leaders are members of diocesan councils and standing committees, deputies to the Episcopal Church's General Convention--delegates with many years of experience at all levels of the Episcopal Church. These bishops and diocesan leaders re-elected Bishop Duncan as Moderator of the Network by acclamation. Dr. Radner, on the other hand, was elected by no one and speaks for no one other than himself and possibly the other scholars of the Anglican Communion Institute.
I agree with Greg Griffith in my appreciation for Dr. Radner and the ACI's courageous and visionary efforts in the past. If I were to fault them for anything it would be this: I fear that these gentlemen live in their heads so much that they cannot appreciate the anger and frustration of many grass roots Episcopalians who have grown weary of endless meetings, faithless leaders, and "dialogue" designed to keep conservatives occupied while liberals consolidate their gains.
Dr. Radner criticizes Bishop Duncan for saying the See of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference are lost. It is worth reading what he actually said, in context, here.
When Rowan Williams opened the Dar Es Salaam meeting by presenting a ridiculous report suggesting that TEC had done enough to comply with the request of the Primates, it was the last straw for many conservatives. It was also at that moment that several of the Primates determined there was no hope in Canterbury and that they should go home and do what they have since done in designating new bishops to be consecrated for work in North America. Can Dr. Radner read that report, and look at the aftermath of Dar Es Salaam, and not see that the Archbishop of Canterbury has lost his way?
Many of the Global South Primates and a growing number of bishops in Rowan's own province have come to the conclusion that the Lambeth Conference may be lost as well. And if it is ultimately lost, it will be for no other reason than the ineffectual leadership of the present Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dr. Radner and the members of the ACI may want us to believe there is some hope in waiting until September 30. If so, they are expecting us to trust in a process and in leadership that have thus far proven themselves unworthy. They should not be surprised that there are those of us who think their optimism is just as unwarranted as their criticism of the Network leadership.