Anglican Down Under, reflecting on the proceedings at the General Synods/Convention in England, NZ and the States, neatly summarise matters:
Not, of course, that the state of the Anglican churches elsewhere conventioning
and synodising is much improved on our machinations ... How sweetly Rome will be sleeping tonight!
NZ and the States have chosen autonomy over communion (NZ on the Covenant, the States on blessings for same-sex relationships). And a not insignificant number of synod members in England appear to want traditionalist Anglo-catholics and evangelicals to simply leave the CofE. In the words of George Pitcher (a strong supporter of women bishops):
It's too easy to say, as some supporters of women bishops do, that those who
can't face women bishops can embrace the ordinariate ... [We] have to ask ourselves whether we really want to lose our catholic tradition in
the Church of England.
Just how pathetic this state of affairs is can be seen when we read ARCIC II's reflection on synods and synodality:
The term synodality (derived from syn-hodos meaning ‘common way’) indicates the manner in which believers and churches are held together in communion as they do this. It expresses their vocation as people of the Way (cf. Acts 9.2) to live, work and journey together in Christ who is the Way (cf. Jn 14.6) (ARCIC II The Gift of Authority III, 34)
Instead we have synods in England, NZ and the States - in various ways - deciding that journeying together in communion is too painful, too risky, too demanding. The Dean of Virginia Theological Seminary (h/t Creedal Christian) has pointed to this dynamic at work in the life of TEC:
There are those who are using the language of inclusion to justify exclusion.
There are voices that insist that anyone who has the temerity to believe in
traditional marriage, confined to man and woman, should not be allowed in the
Episcopal Church; there are voices that want to advocate an unthinking vision of
Eucharistic hospitality, which would result in the madness of inviting a Muslim
who does not even believe that Jesus died on the cross to a table that remembers
our Lord’s death; there are voices that want to cut ties to the Anglican
Communion family because it had a problem with our progressive stance; there are
plenty of voices who want to exclude in the name of
Living with disagreement is tricky. The desire to make
the Church pure is so strong. We are so sure we are right that we don’t welcome
conservatives. We are so sure that our progressive stance will be vindicated
that we insist that those who want to “move less quickly” are ignorant
In certain provinces of the Communion, synods and conventions have become the means by which to undermine our common way, our journey together, our experience of communion. This is the crisis in Anglican ecclesiology after the rejection of the Covenant - the decision by (declining) Anglicanism in the developed world to opt for synodical Anglicanism over conciliar Anglicanism. Our much vaunted system of synodical government alongside the historic episcopate is being exposed as a fraud, a mechanism and a process which militates against our common way, our life as communion.
Catholicity and covenant has, in the past, been highly critical of GAFCON. At least, however, the GAFCON-aligned provinces are committed to conciliarity rather than communion-denying synodalism. Synodical Anglicanism has opted for autonomy over the Crucified and Risen One's call to communion and unity. Such is its bankruptcy. Which is why an Anglicanism seeking to be authentically catholic and evangelical must explore new forms of community shaped - not by the claims of autonomy and independence - but by the humility and obedience of conciliarity and communion.