What does it all mean? Indeed. That will take some time to figure out, as all of us parse the released documents and speak with others. Here are some preliminary thoughts on the Communique and Covenant.
No one can say this means victory. Progressives will need to find a way to accept the clear requirement to refrain from consecrating as bishops those who live in same-sex unions. (Though it says nothing about LGBT bishops otherwise.) We need to agree that no Rites of Blessing will be authorized.
For their part, American conservatives, especially ECUSA dissidents, will need to agree that Bishop Katharine is their primate, though they'll have a primatial vicar. They have to deal with the fact that Bishop Katharine is now a member of what was until recently the primatial old boys' club, and they even have to reckon with her on the Primates' Standing Committee. Looks like +Peter Akinola won't be having any communion at Lambeth or the Primates' Meetings any time soon.
The sacrifice of LGBT Anglicans is high. But for the first time, conservatives are being held to account as well. Their jurisdictional incursions must cease. Instead of seeing +Katharine pushed off to the side, she's been elected to their standing committee.
So far, my reaction is guarded, but optimistic. ECUSA continues, and there will be no parallel province for conservatives. The Communion is intact, and even +Peter Akinola signed this statement. While LGBT Anglicans are giving up an extraordinary amount, our ability to witness justice and love to the wider communion continues. Had ECUSA been marginalized, our program of global mission might have been compromised. Now we can model reconciliation and love to people in the whole Anglican Communion.
I hasten to add that +Katharine cannot enforce this within ECUSA on her own. She'll need to get the House of Bishops to agree with her, and for some things, the Executive Council. I can imagine the bishops going right along, but I think some of this will be tough for the Executive Council to sign off on. Particularly challenging will be th notion that the primatial vicar reports to an external Pastoral Council, but is somehow under the jurisdiction of the Primate. It's very late here, but I can't grok this now. Will the Executive Council permit a bishop to operate in our church who leapfrogs over the Primate? I doubt it, but we'll see. This is unexplored polity territory, but I think Executive Council will need to approve this, not just the bishops -- and there are some strong-minded people on Council.
As I parse all of this further, I may change my mind. But for now, this seems like the best we could have hoped for. The fact that the conservatives were very unhappy about all this suggests that they've parsed it the same way I have.