Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Communion Covenant – CofE consideration

General Synod members have been sent the following paper outlining how the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will be considered for adoption by the Church of England.

GS MISC 934

THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION COVENANT

1. I received on 18 December from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion the final text of the Anglican Communion Covenant, approved for distribution that day by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, for formal consideration for adoption. The full copy of the text is available at http://www.anglicancommunion.org/commission/covenant/final/text.cfm.

2. The approval of the text by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion comes at the end of a long process flowing from the publication of the report of the Lambeth Commission – The Windsor Report – in October 2004. Synod has subsequently discussed governance issues in the Anglican Communion and the possibility of the draft Covenant in February 2005, July 2007, February 2008, July 2008 and February 2009.

3. GS 1716, which was prepared for last February’s debate, gave some indication of the synodical process which would need to be undertaken to adopt the Covenant, though it made clear that certain matters could not be resolved until the final text of the Covenant was available.

4. What happens now is that the Faith and Order Advisory Group, which has led the work on earlier Church of England responses to drafts of the Covenant, will consider the text and offer an assessment which will be available to the House of Bishops when it next meets in May. In addition the Legal Office will consider whether the text means that the Synod’s process of adoption will need to follow the Article 7 and or 8 procedures.

5. Once the House of Bishops is satisfied that the Covenant should be commended to the Synod for adoption it will be for the Business Committee to decide when to schedule the initial debate. As noted in GS 1716 it is likely that, from receiving the final text the Church of England will need “at least 18 months to 2 years to come to a final decision.”

WILLIAM FITTALL
12 January 2010

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Simon SarmientoFather Ron SmithRev L RobertsJeremyErika Baker Recent comment authors
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Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Once the House of Bishops is satisfied that the Covenant should be commended to the Synod for adoption it will be for the Business Committee to decide when to schedule the initial debate.”

So if the House of Bishops does not think the Covenant should be commended to the Synod for adoption, it will not be debated at GS?

Pluralist
Guest

Can’t find anything explanatory about Article 7 and or 8 procedures.

thomas+
Guest
thomas+

Well, I believe the House of Bishops may send the Covenant to GS, but without any — or a very tepid — recommendation. The ABC has pushed for it, so it seems, at least to me, unthinkable that the HOB would not act.

Thomas+

Pete Broadbent
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Pete Broadbent

Article 7 and Article 8 are detailed here:
http://peterowen.org.uk/articles/gs-constitution.html

Article 7 business relates to doctrine and sacraments; Article 8 to relationships with other churches. Both require the special procedures set out in their respective articles.

toby forward
Guest

Ah, politics. Article this, subsection that. Just what the Gospel is all about.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

“Once the House of Bishops is satisfied that the Covenant should be commended to the Synod for adoption…”

This does read as if it’s all a foregone conclusion: like a child being packed off to boarding school, your parents will decide for you when and where you are going and then inform you of the fact.

Lord, preserve us from our elders and betters!

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

In response to Erica, if the House of Bishops does not bring this to General Synod, no doubt there will be a private members motion on the subject.

It seems to me that the big decision is whether to bring this in July 2010 (when the legislation enabling women to become bishops will surely be a substantial item) or to defer to November 2010 (first session of new Synod) or Feb 2011. If it were to come that late and require debate in Dioceses the 18 months – 2 years would not be achieved.

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

“If it were to come that late and require debate in Dioceses the 18 months – 2 years would not be achieved.” — Mark Bennet

In that case, can it be brought before the GS at a date later than Feb 2011?

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

If lay persons in The Church of England stopped all financial support in their parishes and contributions to various appeals by Church of England bishops, do you think women would be invited to the same table and be consecrated bishops? I wonder.

Chuck Inglis
Guest
Chuck Inglis

Ah yes, the Instruments of Communion (section 3.1.4 etc.). Kind of reminds one of a Monty Python bit doesn’t it? “No one ever expects the Instruments of Communion” -Chuck Inglis

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Chris
Evangelical parishes have once threatened to withhold the parish share and it pushed Rowan to backtrack on making Jeffrey John a bishop.
I don’t think this kind of pressure is altogether a Christian way of working with each other.

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

Erika, while I tend to agree with most of your posts, I feel that your disinclination to use the power of the purse — while noble for the best of reasons — is doomed to failure when the deceitful antagonists readily use that, and so much more. We are not engaging in debate, on fair and honest terms, but are fighting for the heart and soul of the Anglican Communion. I refuse to stand idly by while the fundamentalists engage in a carefully contrived takeover of Anglicanism, and, unlike some of my TEC brethren, I refuse to simply thumb my… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Jerry I suppose there’s a difference between individual lay members witholding their money and a whole diocese blackmailing the church on behalf of all its parishioners. But is there? Is it only a matter of degree? You’ve made me feel very uneasy, because while I don’t believe that the end justifies the means, I have admitted here before that I am not making a proper financial contribution to the church at the moment and concentrate on being active in the parish until the church concedes to treat me as a full and equal member. It feels different, but I’m not… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

I am not convinced ‘the anglican communion’ has a heart and soul to fight for.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I’m with Rev L Roberts. I’m not convinced the so-called Anglican Communion is worth staying in. Particularly under its current primus-inter-pares Chief Inviter-ship.

I say “so-called” because it’s neither Anglican nor a Communion anymore.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“4. Each Church affirms the following principles and procedures, and, reliant on the Holy Spirit, commits itself to their implementation.” – Covenant Document – The phrase: “reliant on the Holy Spirit” – to those of us in Provinces which have been led by the same “Holy Spirit” to a prophetic inclusivity of women and LGBT candidates into the leadership and ministry of our Churches – would be vital to any consideration of our adoption of a newly-enunciated Covenant relationship with Churches that deny such measures in their own respective situations. For instance, in Uganda, the Anglican Church has vilified homosexuals… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

“reliant on the Holy Spirit” –

What has the Spirit to do with any of this ?

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“5. Once the House of Bishops is satisfied that the Covenant should be commended to the Synod for adoption it will be for the Business Committee to decide when to schedule the initial debate. As noted in GS 1716 it is likely that, from receiving the final text the Church of England will need “at least 18 months to 2 years to come to a final decision.” – William Fittall, C.of E. – SO! The Church of England needs, before the INITIAL debate on whether or not the final Covenant can be recommended to the General Synod for adoption by… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The estimate of 18 – 24 months should probably be calculated to run from December 2009, when William Fittall announced that he had received the final text from the ACO. But the earliest the first synodical debate can now occur is November 2010 and even that is not yet confirmed. A referral to diocesan synods takes a while because they each have to find time to schedule a debate. Mostly they meet three times a year, typically on a Saturday. The Diocese in Europe only meets once a year, typically in late May. GS 1716 which is available at http://www.cofe.anglican.org/about/gensynod/agendas/feb2009/gspapers/gs1716.pdf… Read more »