Regarding David Virtue's post on the 16 bishops who signed the ecumenical statement. I must say it's wonderful to see these Godly leaders putting pen-and-ink where their mouths are. May God bless their efforts!
On the other hand, conspicuous by their absence are the many continuing Anglican bishops of various other jurisdictions throughout North America and the world. From the USA we had only four representations: ECUSA, AMIA, REC, and APA. The latter two already have a concord to unite within several years. Where are all the other continuing Anglican jurisdictions? Their absence speaks so loudly that one wonders about the real meaning of this declaration to the Anglican world at large.
On the other hand [we have three hands!], Seeing the absence of so many other jurisdictions helps those who signed to focus their efforts to incorporate those who for one reason or another didn't sign. So let's be optimistic.
In response, on my return to the UK, may I say that like David I have studied and tasted the phenomenon of the anglican witness outside the PECUSA and that in articles for the Prayer Book Society and the Anglican Communion Secretariat I have listed up to 40 such anglican jurisdictions, of which the largest are the PCK, the ACA & the ACC. There are around 100 bishops in these jurisdictions.
The bishops of the few jurisdictions outside of PECUSA represented at the Congress make up possibly 7 per cent of Anglicans outside the PECUSA. The leaders of the remaining 90 per cent or more see PECUSA as apostate, and for them to attend a congress which is slanted towards PECUSA charismatic evangelicals who in general see no errors/heresy in the 1979 prayer book and who favor the ordination of women from the PECUSA, is neither an obvious duty nor a priority. Only gracious and persistent charm would have engaged them to consider attending in any capacity!
Whilst the momentum of the REC and other groups is towards the conservative end of the PECUSA and acceptance therein (e.g. the diocese of Pittsburgh), the momentum of the other 90 per cent of non-ECUSA anglicans is the opposite direction, away from what they see as the apostasy of the ECUSA, although they tend to remain friendly especially with the bishop of Quincy and some members of FinF NA. Then the venue especially -- a cathedral of an apostate church - was hardly a selling point to them!
I myself was very disappointed that there were not observers from the major Continuing Churches present. I think that it will now be nearly impossible to get them to join in this project especially since a Reformed Episcopal Bishop is the leader of the steering committee for the future and (for all kinds of historical and churchmanship and doctrinal reasons) the major Continuing Churches tend not to take this jurisdiction too seriously ( I merely repeat here what I have often been told).
It may be that as David says a little start has been made. But I am not optimistic about success on a scale that makes sense to observers & outsiders since the major Continuers were not fully engaged in the project from the word go. In fact had I been organizing it I would not have gone ahead with a Congress, without their promised presence at least as observers. (In fact I wish that all organzing this Congress had taken very seriously the writings of Lou Tarsitano on the topic of a national Congress.) One must get the momentum right from the word go and without the major Continuers and their 1977 St Louis Affirmation (which it seemed I was the only one publicly to mention) there can be no real beginning of the bringing together of Anglicans who desire to be orthodox in doctrine and faithful in practice.
No doubt many who were in Atlanta felt uplifted and blessed. I myself appreciated the fellowship and signs of grace but felt deeply sad because the euphoria concerning unity generated especially on the Saturday morning seemed to me to be built, as it were, like a house on sand.
It may be not too late for a major attempt to be made to engage the major Continuing Churches in preliminary discussion with a view to doing some practical things in common and thus growing in respect one for another. I hope that this will be done as a major priority.
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon