Thinking Anglicans

Covenant roundup

The latest text of the Anglican Covenant is linked from this earlier article.

Responses from Provinces to Section 4 of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant are in a PDF, here.

This week’s Church Times summarises the story, see Pat Ashworth Anglican Churches sent final text of Covenant — ‘not a penal code’.

Responses to the final version are varied. Here is a selection:

Living Church

Catholic Voices: Four Responses to the Covenant (Graham Kings, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Tony Clavier, Richard Kew) and also The Covenant and the Fullness of Time (Peter Carrell). Also Essential Aspects (Christopher Wells) and Editorial: To Arrive Where We Started.

Anglican Communion Institute

Committing to the Anglican Covenant:An analysis by the Anglican Communion Institute and also Ephraim Radner The New Season: The Emerging Shape of Anglican Mission

A.S. Haley Common Sense and the Covenant

Bishop Chris Epting An Improved Anglican Covenant

Bosco Peters Anglican Covenant – partly used

Jim Stockton Bad Fruit from Bad Seed

Adrian Worsfold Anglicanism gives way to Democratic Centralism and also Authority to the Standing Committee!

Mark Harris Coal in your Christmas Stocking? One lump or two?

Tobias Haller Incarnation (?)

Jim Naughton What are the consequences of not signing the covenant?

And, linked earlier, but repeated for convenience, Giles Fraser Covenant fatalism (almost).

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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

One cannot help but wonder, in the light of all these opinions about the proposed Covenant, what will be offered to the Provinces which thought so little of the Lambeth process that they elected not even to be present at the last Lambeth Conference? Instead, they chose to create a form of shism from the Communion, setting themselves apart from the Instruments of Unity (so-called – but hardly maintaining that charismm lately) by setting up their own Instrument at GAFCON. The implication at that Jerusalem meeting was that they were already out of communion with the existing set-up, thereby abrogating… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Only a trifle disappointed you missed this: http://simplemassingpriest.blogspot.com/2009/12/anglican-covenant-and-democratic.html

I do note, though, that my comparison of Rowan to Joe predate’s Adrian’s.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“So any time you see the phrase ‘Standing Committee of the anglican Communion’, remember that this body, which will soon be making essential decisions about the life of the Communion operates in secret” – Jim Naughton, Episcopal Cafe – I must say that this sounds rather sinister – in the way of the ‘cultura Vaticano’, where members of the newly-formed ‘Standing Committee’ are not allowed to talk about the secret goings-on in that committee. Is this already a sign of the inevitability of magisterial rule within their Communion? One can only hope that the presence of Bishops from TEC and… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

The fact that the Standing Committee conducts its business in camera may or may not be sinister in and of itself. The fact that it has been arbitrarily assigned broad powers without any meaningful process of consultation is certainly and unambiguously sinister.

karen macqueen+
Guest
karen macqueen+

It is, no doubt, foolhardy to make predictions in matters of church politics three years hence. With that in mind, I venture to predict that the Covenant will not be adopted by TEC at its next General Convention for at least these reasons: 1. Authoritarianism is antithetical to TEC and to much of the American spirit. It is clear that the Covenant is an authoritarian document, establishing authoritarian bodies to force the “mind” of the most conservative provinces of the Communion on the rest of us. The self-invented “Standing Committee” which deliberates in secret is just the latest evidence of… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Honest, Malcolm, I didn’t know – apparently I wasn’t first at likening GAFCON to Militant style entryism either.

However, I think I am first with this suggestion, should the Anglican Communion Covenant be signed up according to Giles Fraser’s fatalism:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2010/01/liberal-ordinariates-for-anglicans.html

Pluralist
Guest

Ah very good Malcolm+, and I never thought of the Dictatorship of the Primatariate, nor ‘Uncle Rowan’. But timely ideas often have more than one inventor.

Graham Kings
Guest

Thanks for your comments, Karen. A couple in response: 1. In particular you come to the essence of the problem that many Anglicans worldwide have with the current ecclesiology of TEC: you state that ‘[TEC] bishops are subject to General Convention’. Now many liberal Anglicans in the Church of England who have problems with the Covenant would have even more problems with such an ecclesiology. The discussions on the Covenant have highlighted the ‘extraordinary’ ecclesiology of TEC which puts the General Convention above its bishops. Not so much, perhaps, ‘episcopally led and synodically governed’ as ‘General Convention led and episcopally… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Graham Kings “Now many liberal Anglicans in the Church of England who have problems with the Covenant would have even more problems with such an ecclesiology.” I disagree: I think the TEC mode of governance is far preferable to the C of E’s current one, which is demonstrably disastrous and in urgent need of root and branch reform. Members of the C of E are asked to pay ever greater sums of money to support an ever-increasing number of bishops, (while the numbers of the faithful dwindle). These bishops have not been chosen by the faithful; are of at best… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

I can only presume from the comment above by Graham Kings that he mistakenly believes that the US bishops are absent from the General Convention.

They are not at all absent and indeed form one of its two houses.

It is absurd to suggest that the church formerly known as ECUSA is ‘General Convention led and episcopally followed’.

Robin
Guest
Robin

> I never thought of the Dictatorship of the Primatariate, nor ‘Uncle Rowan’.

I’m horrified by the comparison. What an insult to Stalin!

john
Guest
john

Great post, Fr Mark.

We have bishops. Great. Apostolic succession and all that (including conformity with a certain understanding of Catholicity). But the age of deference is long gone and people in the pews are largely funding the whole operation, which is indeed absurdly and self-destructively top-heavy. Sensible bishops realise that, and, while they may give leads (and, sometimes, rightly so), they do not impose.

I am proud to be a member of a church (and of a communion) where ‘juniors’ (albeit in this case ordained) can give feisty and cogent public responses to bishops.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Everyone knows that the purpose of the Covenant is to enforce exclusion of LGBT persons from ministry in any Church in the Communion.”

Not exactly – it’s only the exclusion of open and honest glbt people in ministry. Closet cases are just fine – like the ones who enjoyed a secret Mass w/His Fuzziness. My fantasy is that at the next occcasion when all of the bishops of the C of E are present, all the closet cases find their foreheads indelibly colored with pink triangles.

Canon Andrew Godsall
Guest
Canon Andrew Godsall

Graham, it is helpful to quote Robert Runcie. Reuters spoke to him in 1996 and he confirmed that he had ignored church rules by ordaining practicing homosexuals while in office. He had not actually confirmed that they were homosexual and living in a committed relationship; he simply did not inquire and assumed that they were. He said that the Church of England’s stand on homosexual priests is “ludicrous” and an “unsatisfactory compromise.” It was well known that he held a more sympathetic view and consciously ordained a number of openly gay men as priests. So I doubt he would agree… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

There is nothing new about TEC’s ecclesiology. The notion that after more than 200 years it is suddenly something the rest of the Communion can’t live with is too silly to engage. Advancing it, as Graham Kings does, is a diversionary tactic. He knows that as long as the conversation stays focused on the rampaging homophobia of so many of the covenant’s supporters, the covenant faces tough political sledding. Equally silly is the assertion that opponents of a covenant don’t value interdependence. It is an interest in interdependence–real mutuality–that motivates many who oppose the covenant. They suspect that the covenant… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Let me be clear that I was not suggesting that Adrian had nicked the idea from me – though I’d be honoured if he had. Since people often miss dates, I just wanted to emphasize that my analogy to Stalinist Democratic Centralism was not derived from Adrian’s. As he says, “timely ideas often have more than one inventor.”

Ironically, I’d forgotten about my creative reference to the Dictatorship of the Primatariate.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Graham Kings’ comment does portray a certain naivete concerning the means by which TEC bishops — and all clergy — are subject to the General Convention. This “subjection” takes place through the Constitution and Canons, which all clergy (including bishops) are pledged to uphold, by means of a solemn Declaration of Conformity. As the Bishops have a strong voice in the formation of the Constitution and Canons (and the equivalent of veto power over any proposal from the Deputies) they are “governed” by laws they themselves have a definitive role in enacting. I am, I confess, equally innocent of intimate… Read more »

Graham Kings
Guest

Thanks, Kevin. I do realise that there is a House of Bishops in General Convention. On Tuesday 14 June 2009 at 8.57am, I started a Fulcrum forum thread, ‘General Convention Rescinding B033 and the consequences’, with these words: ‘The House of Bishops of General Convention of The Episcopal Church last night, 13 July 2009 – note the date for future reference – passed a slightly amended resolution (D025) which in effect has rescinded the General Convention resolution B033. This now goes back to the House of Deputies who passed the original motion by a large majority and looks set to… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Graham, what is it about our (TEC) gracious restraint in not consecrating any (qualified) LGBT people for the past three years, while our parishes were poached by Uganda, Southern Cone & Co. that you do not understand? And what would a “covenant” had done about this? Oh wait….perhaps if the parties that proportionally contribute to the Anglican Communion need’s (like every ten year tea parties and mission work) were the proportional membership of Standing Committee….oh, sorry, I’m dreaming…

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

While not a specialist in matters of the Covenant I thought to make a ‘comment’ on this post. I have sympathies on both sides of the equation (though as regards *polity* TEC seems a model of rationality as it represents government of the church by bishops and lay people together – as has been said there has been no bar on TEC due to its polity up until now and it compares well with the ludicrous *polity* of Monarchical/Prime Ministerial appointment we have in England – the idea that a Prime Ministerial/committee appointment effectively have some sort of primacy over… Read more »

Judith Maltby
Guest
Judith Maltby

And here I thought after over 30 years in the Church of England (having come from ECUSA) that it was a synodically governed church. The Houses of Clergy and Laity are not ‘subject’ to the House of Bishops, but partners, surely. Also, if one wishes to speak of being ‘distinct’, and out of step, surely the English system of appointing (in what remains a pretty untransparent and unaccountable process whatever folks say), not electing, bishops, makes it *very* out of step with most of the rest of the Communion, not just those ‘pesky’ people in TEC. Time for the CofE… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

The House of Bishops followed the House of Deputies chronologically in the instance that Graham Kings cites because the HoD was the house of initial action for legilsation coming out of that particular legislative committee. Nothing should be read into the relationship between the two houses based on this example.

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

Graham Kings said, “In this case, chronologically and, it could be argued theologically, the vote of the House of Bishops followed the vote of the House of Deputies. Many of us hoped they would make a stand for ‘restraint’ but they did not.” Well yes, but I’m not sure that gets us very far. Many of us hoped they would make a stand for gracious progress. And they did. Anyway, is it really a terrible thing to think that bishops happening to agree with a resolutation made by laity and other clergy is automatically a terrible departure from The Christian… Read more »

suem
Guest

I’d like to question what is meant by “unity”? Graham Kings writes, ‘Let me put it in starkly simple terms: do we really want unity within the Anglican Communion? Peter Carrell has also spoke of the need for a “theology of unity.” However, unity is not the same as conformity, it is quite possible to achieve unity by respecting difference. In 1 Corinthians we are told that no one part of the body can tell another part that it can be dispensed with or is dishonourable because of its difference. I do not see this type of “unity” enabled within… Read more »

Dallas Bob
Guest
Dallas Bob

Jim Naughton’s post on this thread is brilliant and should be required reading for all. His quote “Why, then, do we end up talking about the governance of the Episcopal Church as though it has failed to measure up to the sterling example established by the rest of the Communion?” completely nails it.

Thanks Jim.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘Graham, it is helpful to quote Robert Runcie. Reuters spoke to him in 1996 and he confirmed that he had ignored church rules by ordaining practicing homosexuals while in office.’ In fact, as far as I know there have never been official rules in the C of E banning gay clergy with partners or a sex life. If there is or was I’d like to see when and where made, and where recorded. No, it was the arbitrary and inconsistent exercise of a prejudice by some with the clout, to impose on others — in both senses of that word.… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Graham, just to be entirely clear: Resolution B033 was not “law” in any sense. Indeed, it could not be mandated under our Constitution and Canons, without amending said documents, that no Bishop or Standing Committee could consent to the election of a person whose manner of life might cause difficulties within the Anglican Communion. The Bishops and Standing Committees hold, as a matter of Constitutional and Canonical right, the capacity to refuse such consent, if they choose to do so. B033 did not change that, though it issued a clear recommendation. D025 did not undo that, except to the extent… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

Rev Roberts wrote “In fact, as far as I know there have never been offical rules in the C of E banning gay clergy with partners or a sex life. If there is or was I’d like to see when and where made, and where recorded.” I have been led to believe that the 1991 document “Issues in Human Sexuality” contains such a ban, although if anybody believes otherwise I would be very interested in hearing the arguments. Why is it, by the way, that the Issues booklet has to be purchased from Amazon.com (at 5 pounds a copy) and… Read more »

Graham Kings
Guest

Concerning the authority of the House of Deputies and of the House of Bishops in General Convention, I was following what was written by Bonnie Anderson, the President of the House of Deputies, in her article ‘The Senior House’, and in her opening video statement to General Convention 2009. Both are on: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/phod_113252_ENG_HTM.htm Also helpful I have found ‘Summary of Authority of The Episcopal Church as it relates to the demands of the February 2007 Primates’ Communique’, (Dec 2007) by Sally Johnson, chancellor to the President of the House of Deputies, (Daily Episcopalian, 19 Dec 2007) http://www.episcopalchurch.org/phod_113252_ENG_HTM.htm This is a… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“the problem that many Anglicans worldwide have with the current ecclesiology of TEC: you state that ‘[TEC] bishops are subject to General Convention’. Now many liberal Anglicans in the Church of England who have problems with the Covenant would have even more problems with such an ecclesiology.”

Citation, Graham? For the CofE, nevermind “many Anglicans worldwide”?

As Jim N (among others) note: TEC has been governed this way for *over 200 years*. It was only when our “ecclesiology” began including openly gay&partnered ordained people, that suddenly (some) other Anglicans began having a “problem” with it. The tail is wagging the dog here.

Malcolm+
Guest

Jim Naughton: “Nothing should be read into the relationship between the two houses based on this example.”

But it will – because it suits the agenda of those who would impose curial government and Stalinist democratic centralism on what has been, up until now, a voluntary association of sister churches.

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

JCF wrote:”As Jim N (among others) note: TEC has been governed this way for *over 200 years*. It was only when our “ecclesiology” began including openly gay&partnered ordained people, that suddenly (some) other Anglicans began having a “problem” with it. The tail is wagging the dog here.” Amen,brother. The duplicity of the fundamentalists, who would like to take over Anglicanism, is startling. It is time for all Anglicans to reject the new Puritans, just as they rejected the old Puritans. And, no, I am not gay, and that is not my personal issue of concern. I do believe that there… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

Graham: So the fact that the House of Deputies existed before the House of Bishops is the reed on which you are hanging all of this? That’s what we mean when we say it is the senior house. And nothing Sally Johnson wrote supports your assertions. It is either careless, irresponsible or simply erroneous to suggest otherwise.

This thread has been a lengthy demonstration of how little you know about our Church and how determined you are to pass judgement on it.

David | Dah•veed
Guest
David | Dah•veed

Bp. Kings misconstrues the use of “senior house” by President Anderson, knowing full well that she explained the use of the term in the first paragraph of the first document to which he links. It is referred to as the senior house because it existed first. The House of Deputies grew out of the organizing conventions of TEC during the time when there were no Anglican bishops in North America, and specifically in the newly founded USA. The HoD is the “senior house” because it is chronologically older than the House of Bishops. It is not the “senior house” because… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Well, the simple fact of the matter is that whatever TEC does or doesn’t do, or however it may be governed or not governed, or whatever the precise meaning is of something that Robert Runcie once said, people like Graham Kings have decided that TEC is out of the Anglican Communion, and that’s that. Keep in mind that Bishop Wright has already said he wants the Americans expelled even if they sign the Covenant. So all Graham Kings’ careful backing and filing and drawing of distinctions means nothing at all; he’s not giving reasons for his objections to TEC, but… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Graham Kings says: “2. You reject – and expect TEC to reject – interdependence as an ‘immature and dysfunctional form of relationship’. “That undercuts the very basis of Anglicanism worldwide, including the four Instruments of Communion.” So sorry, Graham, but I thought that the “basis of Anglicanism” is 1000 years of English Christianity, the Elizabethan Settlement, the via media, and the thinking of such divines as Cranmer, Hooker, and Taylor. Are such firm foundations now to be replaced by so-called “instruments of unity” that were created in 1867, 1968, and 1978? Don’t make me laugh. There is no basis in… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Ah, Kings is a bishop? Could this obsessive concern have more to do with a certain concern for personal power? Bishops are hardly infallible, so it could not possibly be argued that a group cloistered within their own concerns and with no real contact as pastors could be better equipped for decision making for the whole. Certainly, they have a charism to preside, but not to stand above as the final arbiter – such totalitarianism fails inevitably, whether church or state. End the Anglican Communion; it has become no more than an excuse to allow “bishops,” who have no real… Read more »

Canon Andrew Godsall
Guest
Canon Andrew Godsall

Graham you said it seems to you that the proposed covenant ‘has in mind wider issues than sexuality which are surfacing now and may increasingly in the future – eg lay presidency at the eucharist’ Does it also have in mind ‘border crossing’? Would the border crossing that has already gone on have ‘relational consequences’ do you think? And I wonder if you missed my earlier questions about covenantal relationships currently within the C of E? Your answer to those questions would be very enlightening concerning the integrity of what is now being proposed and what you are supporting, I… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“3 has in mind wider issues than sexuality which are surfacing now and may increasingly in the future – eg lay presidency at the eucharist 4 is about authority in the Anglican Communion, which, yes, does inevitably include issues of power.” – Graham Kings on Monday – Graham Kings (now a Bishop of the C.of E.) states that there are ‘other issues’ being dealt with in the proposed covenant document – than sexuality. He quotes ‘lay presidency’ as one of them. However one of Bp.Graham’s GAFCON friends, Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney – who is one of the movers and… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

How much we’re learning about Bp. Kings!

The whole canard of “improving the communion” has always been a lie. This covenant has never been about mutuality or decency or community, but about preserving the power – power unearned – of a small number of ambitious clerics and fundamentalists threatened by the idea that God’s plans might be bigger and messier than their own personal goals.

davidwh
Guest
davidwh

Abp Jensen is probably not too upset by the thought of a covenant, whereby member provinces restrain themselves to maintain Christian unity, because he respects what the Scriptures say about unity and restraint as well as about sexual behaviour.. Critically reevaluating the teachings of Christ and his Apostles based on current societal assumpions, rather than criticall evaluating current societal assumpions based on the teaching of Christ and his Apostles, has driven TEC down the path it’s on, and created the dis-unity in the Communion. As liberal provinces follow that dead-end route, I wonder how long it will be before we… Read more »

William
Guest
William

What an excellent thread! No mention (naturally, perhaps?) of our own historical upset in South Africa when Robert Gray arrived at the Cape in 1849 and instituted government by Synod. A move roundly opposed by several of the old low churchmen. The ripples are still felt today. The parish of St. John’s, Wynberg – opposed to Gray from the start – is (or was until recently) only “in association” with the CPSA (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa) – and, surprise, surprise it is a major source of the pernicious homophobia which is spreading through the veins of the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Another thought about the word ‘Authority’. As a State authorised Church, the Church of England, at present, (as different from TEC and many other Provinces of the Communion) does not even have the authority to choose its own bishops. This is a process whereby candidates’ names have to be submitted to the Crown (Parliament), and the final decision is made by the State (Queen and Parliament. Is this not so, Bishop Graham Kings? Whereas: TEC has the power and authority to elect its own Bishops. The name of the Candidate is chosen by the local Diocesan Synod (Bishops, Clergy and… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Ron I’m afraid your idea of how English bishops are chosen is not quite right, or at least is misleading. Diocesan bishops are chosen by the Crown Nominations Commission, which consists of 6 people elected by the diocese in question and 6 people elected by and from the General Synod. The relevant Archbishop is ex officio a member. The two appointments secretaries (one of the Prime Minister and the other of the two archbishops) provide secretarial, admin, research and other support but are not actually members. The Commission puts forward one name to the PM who advises the Crown (not… Read more »

Graham Kings
Guest

Thanks for these comments – much to ponder and to reply to after more thought. Meanwhile – with apologies in advance for the self references – since some has raised the issue of my relationship to GAFCON etc the following are past articles which may help to explain my critique of both TEC and of GAFCON and my encouragement of the Covenant: Federation Isn’t Enough http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/aug/05/anglican-communion-covenant The Queen, the church and the fellowship http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/jul/13/religion-anglicanism-fca Glacial Gravity or Opportunist Autonomy? http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=437 Between the Primates’ Meeting and the ACC http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=421 Reading and Reshaping the Anglican Communion http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=310 Substance and Shadow: Lambeth Conference… Read more »

Peter Owen
Admin

A small amendment to Simon Kershaw’s comment above. Both archbishops are members of the Crown Nominations Commission.

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

Just a reminder to davidwh, in case he hasn’t noticed, that the C-of-E (and I imagine many of the other Anglican churches in the industrialised western world) is rife with gay priests, who are, correctly as I see it, evaluated on the same basis as their hetero-colleagues. ALL the bishops in the C-of-E know this, and I suspect most have taken part in ordaining these priests. Many of them are in civil partnerships (somewhere I read the figure that the percentage of clergy in civil partnerships is ten times the percentage of the public at large). Many of the same… Read more »

Canon Andrew Godsall
Guest
Canon Andrew Godsall

Sara – I think you are correct to highlight these issues, and I do hope Graham does feel able to respond once he has had time to ponder. The question of hypocrisy is central to the whole question of the proposed Covenant.

Tobias Haller
Guest

What if the Covenant were to contain a juridical clause, similar to that in the Constitution and Canons of TEC, that no one shall be consecrated bishop in any province until a majority of all of the provinces consent to the election and consecration? Would Bishop Kings approve such a concept, that would put real teeth into a concept of interdependence?

My concerns about the Covenant at this point is that it is vague enough to be mischievous, and not well-formed enough to provide for anything other than an aspirational interdependence — which is what we have now.

Martial Artist
Guest
Martial Artist

Ms. MacVane,

I believe the word you were searching for was “hypocrisy,” as the word you used would translate (roughly) as “rule by syringes.”

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer