Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, says that he is inclined to believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury will invite all bishops to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, regardless of their stances on the contentious issue of sexuality.
Archbishop Hutchison, in an address to members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS), said he had met with Archbishop Rowan Williams over the summer to press him about the issue of whether invitations would be extended to bishops of opposing sides of the sexuality debate. Conservative primates have threatened to boycott the conference, which is held every 10 years, if it includes American gay bishop Gene Robinson and bishops in the U.S. who have supported his election, as well as Canadian bishop Michael Ingham, whose Vancouver-based diocese, New Westminster, has approved same-sex blessings.
“I don’t think he (Archbishop Williams) wants to go down in history as someone who officially divided the Anglican Com-munion,” said Archbishop Hutchison during his reflections at CoGS’ fall meeting here. “The only answer might be that you invite everybody and let the people sort it out … My sense is that he’s moving in that direction.”
Archbishop Hutchison also revealed to CoGS that he was one of more than a dozen primates of the Anglican Communion who spent a week together at Coventry last summer. The retreat was held at Coventry Cathedral with the backing of the Community of the Cross of Nails, a worldwide organization committed to the ministry of reconciliation; organizers hoped that a private meeting among primates would help bring about reconciliation. “It was both encouraging and disappointing, that there weren’t more of us – there were only 14 of us,” said Archbishop Hutchison. But he added, “Sometimes things take some time to cook.” He did not identify other attendees but his American counterpart, then-Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold of the Episcopal Church, has acknowledged that he attended.
The primate also told CoGS that the new presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be joining him at the upcoming meeting of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba this February.
Archbishop Hutchison, who is set to retire in June 2007, said that since he assumed the primacy in June 2004, he has visited 29 of Canada’s 30 dioceses, with only Athabasca remaining.