When the meeting resumed after lunch, the primates concluded their reception of the advisory group report, and began a three-hour session devoted to presentations on The Episcopal Church made by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, and the Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, Presiding Bishop’s deputy for interfaith and ecumenical relations.
Gathered in a circle in the chapel area, the primates listened first to Bishop MacPherson, then bishops Duncan, Epting and Schori, with the total presentation lasting approximately an hour. There followed approximately two hours of discussion and questions to the American bishops.
Archbishop Aspinall said the bishops “explained their constituencies” and “frankly and passionately” described the state of The Episcopal Church. The views raised by the four bishops ranged from pain and confusion on the part of those who do not share the majority position to criticism of “unwanted and uninvited” interventions by Global South primates into the United States. The lengths of the presentations varied from 10 to 20 minutes, with one listener remarking that Bishop MacPherson spoke with particular passion.
The four bishops offered a number of potential scenarios that would enable The Episcopal Church to “explore a way for the primates to create a space for healing and reconciliation in the United States,” Archbishop Aspinall said, adding that during the follow-up discussion “no decisions” were reached and “no specific proposals” were “debated in detail.”
The four American bishops were charged to keep silent by the primates about their presentations until the meeting’s close on Monday. Bishops MacPherson and Epting return to the United States on Friday, while Bishop Duncan will remain in Dar es Salaam at a nearby hotel through the end of the conference.
Primates and conference staffers from across the theological spectrum agreed the day had been a productive start to the debate over The Episcopal Church, but that no clear course of action had taken hold of the meeting.. However, “whatever happens, we still will be friends,” Archbishop John Chew of South East Asia concluded.