Only Evan Kuehn strikes a jarring note, out of tune with the others on both the vision of unity and the role of bishops. He defends the Lutheran-Reformed Leuenberg Agreement (by which European churches in the same territories entered into communion yet remained separate), describes the Anglican Consultative Council as “synodical” (even though bishops have no distinct role in it), and claims that Anglicanism has “no established episcopal role for inter-provincial governance” (ignoring the fact that for 80 years, from 1867, no official inter-Anglican body had nonepiscopal members).
The paragraph in its entirety is quite unhelpful and misleading.
To begin: my chapter may very well strike a “jarring note” and be “out of tune” with the others for some reason or other, and I trust that this isn’t necessarily bad. One thing that I appreciated about Ben Guyer’s editorial role in this project was how he was invested in a strong vision for theological reflection on the Covenant, but at the same time did not try to orchestrate a volume of essays in lock step with one another. Pro Communione was meant to be a collection of essays supportive of the Covenant and coming from various contexts, and mine came from an ecumenical context of Anglican churches outside of the Communion, dealing with particular problems related to Anglican and Catholic identities (none of which registers at all in Podmore's review). I have had many fruitful conversations with Ben about these matters and often enough we don’t see eye to eye on the future of the Anglican Communion, although we are enough in accord that the exchange has always been fruitful, about the Communion more generally and the Covenant in particular. Podmore is correct that my views and opinions aren’t the same as everyone else’s, but I would hope that future readers of the book might come to it with more of an expectation of diverse contributions than Podmore wants to grant it. This needn’t be a “jarring” discovery for anyone.
Podmore next claims that I “defend” the Leuenberg Agreement, which is quite right, but based upon his preceding (unquoted) sentences the implication is that I defend a vision for church unity of churches entering into communion yet remaining denominationally separate. This isn’t what I did at all. My defense of the Leuenberg Agreement was part of a response to Kurt Koch’s criticisms of it from the perspective of a Roman Catholic “ecumenism of return”. I clearly point out, though, that 1) the Leuenberg Agreement dealt with prerequisites to union rather than union itself, and 2) the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue is different in nature from Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogue with other Protestant churches (I cite an article by Nicholas Sagovsky on this point). If Podomore disagrees with my critique of Koch then he's welcome to engage me on those grounds, but he shouldn't attribute stances to me that I never take.
Next, Podmore claims that I describe the ACC as "synodical" despite the fact that bishops "have no distinct role" in it. I've read through the relevant pages (177-9) a few times now and can't tell where he thinks I've described the ACC as "synodical." I intended my quote from Paul McPartlan to clarify what I meant by "synodality" - it is associated with "conciliarity", and its cooperative role with "primacy" is emphasized. The ACC, like the General Synod of the CoE, includes bishops, clergy, and laity in its membership. No "distinct role" for bishops was intended or stated in my references to synodality, but only an identification of the churches in council. Further, most of these pages were discussing developing structures and their possibilities for the future, rather than describing current structures. Perhaps Podmore found my terminology misleading? It's difficult to tell, but I hope that my references within the chapter made it clear enough to readers what I intended to be saying.
Finally, Podmore criticizes my statement that "[there is] no established episcopal role for inter-provincial governance" by pointing out that the Lambeth Conferences are episcopal gatherings. If he could establish that Lambeth Conferences have played the role of an inter-provincial governmental structure for the Communion then his point may begin to gain some traction, but that seems like wishful thinking. My point was simply that although there are various inter-provincial instruments of unity in Anglicanism, the only really established body of episcopal governance operates within provinces rather than across them. In the inter-provincial context what we have is a developing assortment of ecclesiastical structures and councils that consult, advise, and make resolutions, but no episcopal structure of primacy, and nothing that offers inter-provincial governance in any strong sense. This is the whole reason why Reports and Covenants are being written by committees and scrutinized by scholars. To use Podmore's own words, "long-established structural deficits" of inter-provincial governance (episcopal or otherwise) are precisely the problem.
I'm extremely disappointed with Podmore's treatment of my chapter in the review, and I hope that readers of a magazine like The Living Church could reasonably expect more careful work than what was provided. In his latter two critiques, I can see how my wording might lead someone elsewhere than I had intended and leave me open to criticism, although I think that in both cases the surrounding context makes it relatively clear what I was trying to say; Podmore seems to have been reading me as uncharitably as possible so as to create inaccuracies that were never actually stated by me. His reference to my supposed defense of (a certain reading of) the Leuenberg Agreement was, however, a complete error on his part. And it was a telling error as well. Podmore doesn't even mention my engagement with Kurt Koch, just as he doesn't mention anything about Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was the whole point of the chapter. In his review, my chapter is treated merely as the target of cheap shots rather than actually engaged in any serious way. It's a shame, too, because the ecumenical focus that Podmore praises in the chapters by Wells and Olver is something that I deal with extensively in my chapter, specifically with regard to recent developments in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations.