Thinking Anglicans

Instruments of Unity?

Support for the Anglican Covenant (at least in its present form) is becoming increasingly hard to find.

The latest commentary from Ephraim Radner is titled Can the Instruments of Unity Be Repaired? includes this passage:

…Instead of the Primates’ Meeting, the leaders of the Global South – whether they are Primates or not — along with their mutually supportive colleagues, need to order their lives according to some other provisional gathering point: the Covenant sits there waiting. Its adoption in some form under the auspices of a definable group would allow other non-Global South Anglicans in the world in less coherent or even friendly settings to join in and have some visible linkages and mutual relations that formally sustain their continued witness and mission. Should the current text be revised? In an obvious sense, yes: Section 4 is no longer rational, given the role it gives to the ACC and through it a now clouded “Standing Committee”. But a gathering on the basis of Sections 1-3 is possible (altering little), with a view to revising Section 4 in a simple manner by replacing the Standing Committee with some provisional group representative of the Covenanting churches’ leadership, however that is determined. Those who have already adopted or confirmed the current Covenant text have shown their ability to deal expeditiously with any such simple revisions…

Bishop Christopher Epting of the Episcopal Church USA has written an article To “Covenant” or Not to “Covenant”.

I continue to be of two minds about the wisdom of the proposed Anglican Covenant. On the one hand it could be helpful, ecumenically, and otherwise, to have a fairly accessible summary of “the Anglican ethos” and what binds us together as members of this Communion. I don’t think there is a real threat here of us becoming a “confessional Church” in the ways Anglicans have not been in the past. The proposed Covenant falls far short (thankfully) of a Westminster or Augsburg Confession. The first three sections are not perfect, but I could certainly live with them as a short-hand way of stating who we have been and are historically.

On the other hand, I have a good deal of sympathy with those who remind us that Anglicans have been loathe to state that we hold or teach anything other than the creedal Faith of the “undivided” Church and that the Creeds, the Baptismal Covenant, and perhaps the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral should be all we need by way of “confessional” statements. But are they today?

Obviously, the most problemmatic portion of the proposed Anglican Covenant is Section Four which deals with processes and procedures should one Province or “instrument” of the Communion feel that another Province has failed to live into the implications of the Covenant and caused serious stress and strain for sisters and brothers elsewhere, stretching or even breaking the bond of Communion the Covenant is supposed to enhance…

Meanwhile, scepticism rules in English comments. See for example The Covenant: Antarctic Study Guide by Paul Bagshaw or Not a Coward by Adrian Worsfold.

And there is The Guide to the Anglican Covenant for Dummies at Lesley’s Blog, along with The Anglican Covenant – Monty Python Style?

Today’s Church Times has the headline If Jefferts Schori is at meeting, I won’t come, says Primate.

PRIMATES from the Global South are contemplating a boycott of the next Primates’ Meeting because the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be present.

The Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, the Most Revd Ian Ernest, has confirmed that he will not attend the meeting, due to take place in Dublin, 25-31 January…

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Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

I suppose not showing up at all is less rude than showing up but refusing to participate in the Eucharist, as has happened in the past. Jesus wept.

badman
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badman

Just because Dr Radner and his allies aren’t getting their way, doesn’t mean the machinery is broken. It just means they aren’t getting their way.

EmilyH
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EmilyH

On the subject of the failure of the Lambeth conference, Radner + states: “Little needs to be said about the glaring failure of the 2008 gathering, boycotted by 4 Primates and about a quarter of the Communion’s bishops (who represented perhaps a majority of the world’s Anglicans), ostensibly over the invitations extended to the US consecrators of Gene Robinson. The agenda of the meeting, that sought to eschew decision-making by the gathered bishops in favor of discussion, meant that the Conference had little impact on the Communion’s public self-definition at a time of obvious confusion. But the missing bishops also… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
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The Most Revd Ian Ernest really does need to space himself from the Primates meeting after exhausting his rational resources at The African Bishops Meet-up in Entebbe, Uganda and Gafcon engagement in Singapore…so much jet-lagged effort devoted to excluding other Anglicans has forced him to exclude himself at the full Anglican Communion…hate is tiresome, LGBT Anglicans know.

Charlotte
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Charlotte

So Ephraim Radner’s latest cunning plan is:

1) Get all the “orthodox” Provinces to sign up to the Covenant post-post-haste, then
2) Get the “orthodox” together as the “Covenanting” churches of the Communion, so that
3) They can quickly revise Section 4 of the Covenant to their liking, then, finally,
4) Throw the Episcopal Church out of the Communion, replace it with ACNA, tell the Archbishop of Canterbury and anyone else who doesn’t like it to go along, or they are out, too.

A cunning plan indeed!

pete
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pete

The only people who care what Radner, Turner, and that self-styled ACI think are polity “junkies.” The 80% of moderate, mainstream Anglicans couldn’t care less what these people think or want. Even more infuriating for ACI, the mainstream doesn’t even know WHO they are. It’s been 7 years since Bishop Robinson’s consecration and these unhappy campers are STILL hanging around. Would you all please go away and get happy somewhere and leave the rest of us alone?!

Laurence C.
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Laurence C.

“Did the Holy Spirit fail to speak, or did He/She speak but not in the way that Radner wanted?”

Or perhaps the simplest explanation is that there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Ephraim Radner, who was once one of the more rational disputants in Communion affairs, seems now hell-bent on dividing the Communion into Global South and The Rest. Actually, this may prove to be a better (and more rational) way of the G.S. to split off from Provinces of the Church that are intent on bringing Traditional Anglicanism into the 21st century. One thing that would need to be clearly understood – and spelt out to the G.S. Primates – is that they could not expect to arrogate to themselves the honourable title of ‘Anglican’ – having already resiled from that… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
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“Or perhaps the simplest explanation is that there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit.”

Quite right. The Holy Spirit is a Person, not a thing.

Malcolm+
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Every authoritarian junta needs its pseudo-intellectual apologists to make the claim that the current structures are “broken,” thus legitimizing the coup d’etat. Here in Canada, we saw the overthrow of democratic institutions and the temporary institution of a police state last June. Next week will be the 40th anniversary of the first time martial law was imposed in this democracy during peacetime. In both cases, the authoritarian prime minister claimed the defence of necessity in order to crush dissent. Canadians will perhaps understand if I note that Radner is nothing but the Forsey to the Global South Trudeau or the… Read more »

EmilyH
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EmilyH

In Radner+s article, I thought the following was most interesting. After first suggesting a strategy to prevent +Jefferts Schori from attending the primate’s meeting but noting it probably wouldn’t work, he suggested: “Using the current Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Faith and Order, or some subcommittee of it, as a group to aid in figuring this out – not deciding but proposing – might maintain some links to the wider Communion that could be useful for the future. (Some Global South leaders have spoken about this.) Since +Jefferts Schori will attend the primates meeting,and he can’t get around that, he is… Read more »

MikeCDM
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MikeCDM

I thought the Anglican Covenant included at least the creeds, the sacraments (not the 1979 Baptismal Covenant) and a book of Common Prayer. The sacraments are important, including ordination and marriage. Personally I prefer the 1662 BCP. Anyway, I doubt whether TEC can make any form of binding commitment let alone to the Anglican Covenant. Resolutions apparently are only good until the next vote. Consequently, I do not think we are structurally, politically or theologically inclined to accept any other authority. If TEC passed on the covenant, despite the fact that the idea of a covenant is deeply embedded in… Read more »

John Wirenius
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Thanks, Charlotte. Now that I imagine Ephraim Radner as Baldrick, I have a more charitable reaction to him. “It’s as cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University.”

Yes, much better, thank you.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

I have found Bishop Christopher Epting’s article (and the subsequent Comments on his web-site) very thought-provoking – as I am a member of the Anglican Church in New Zealand. He seems to represent a ‘middle-gound’ Episcopal entity that would like to embrace some form of Covenant relationship – purely to show solidarity with those who would want to preserve some filial relationship to the founding Church of the Province of Canterbury – but maybe without the added elements of certain ‘Instruments of Unity’. What this argument seems to foster is the idea that other forms of Communion relationships – like… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Archbishop Ernest has been quick off the mark. Did he consult his fellow bishops I wonder? Did he ask them how their lay folk see things?Madagascar would love to be a province on its own…perhaps the Archbishops action will hasten this.