Dr Rowan Williams will meet the primates of Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and the Southern Cone in Canterbury to discuss the provisional constitution and canons released by the Common Cause Partnership on Wednesday for a new Anglican province in North America.
The breakaway movement is formed of four Episcopal dioceses and a number of parishes in the US and Canada currently seeking foreign oversight. The group represents around 100,000 Christians at odds with The Episcopal Church in the US over its embrace of homosexuality and the consecration of the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire. They have stated their desire to remain within the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion.
A spokesperson for Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, said the conservative clergy had not yet initiated the process to form a new province.
“There are clear guidelines set out in the Anglican Consultative Council Reports, notably ACC 10 in 1996 (resolution 12), detailing the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces.
Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete,” the spokesperson said.
“In relation to the recent announcement from the meeting of the Common Cause Partnership in Chicago, no such process has begun.”
The recently deposed Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Rev Bob Duncan, is being tipped as the new leader of the North American province.
"The Lord is displacing the Episcopal Church," Bishop Duncan was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
Contrasting the growth of the new province with the decline in attendance experienced by TEC, he added, "We are a body that is growing, that is planting new congregations, that is concerned to be an authentic Christian presence in the US and Canada”.