Monday, 18 June 2007

GS: Anglican Covenant Proposal

The General Synod of the Church of England will debate the Anglican Covenant Proposal on Sunday 8 July in a session timed to run from 2.30 pm to 6.15 pm, and intended also to cover a separate debate on the Anglican-Methodist Covenant. The Agenda item reads as follows:

THE ANGLICAN COVENANT PROPOSAL (GS 1661)

17. At the invitation of the Presidents, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez (chair of the Anglican Covenant Design Group) will address the Synod.

A member of the House of Bishops to move:

18. ‘That this Synod:

a) affirm its willingness to engage positively with the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007 for a process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion;

b) note that such a process will only be concluded when any definitive text has been duly considered through the synodical processes of the provinces of the Communion; and

c) invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to agree the terms of a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office by the end of the year.’

Amendments for this item have to be delivered to the Synod Office by 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 7th July.

Here’s what the Business Committee report says:

Anglican Communion Covenant (Sunday, 8 July)

40. All Provinces of the Anglican Communion have been asked by the Primates to offer comments by the end of the year on the draft of a possible Anglican Covenant, which was prepared by a design group and discussed by the Primates in Tanzania in February 2007. This is the first stage in what will be a fairly lengthy process involving the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the subsequent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council and, subject to that, the possible subsequent submission to Provinces of a text for approval.

41. The House of Bishops has considered the Primates’ request and agreed the text of a motion that will be moved at the Synod by a member of the House of Bishops. It invites the Synod to affirm its willingness to engage positively with the process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion and to endorse a process, under the oversight of the Presidents, which will enable a response to be sent on behalf of the Church of England to the Primates’ invitation for comments by the end of this year.

42. For the Synod debate, the House of Bishops has assembled resources (GS 1661) including a Foreword by the Archbishops, other contextual material and the text of the draft Covenant.

43. The Presidents have invited the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies, and Chair of the Covenant Design Group, to address the Synod before the debate is introduced by a member of the House of Bishops.

And below is the first page of GS 1661. The electronic copy of this document (.rtf ) does not include Annex 4 or Annex 5. Links are however provided below to the originals of these two. Links to html copies of all the other annexes have now been added.

GS1661
GENERAL SYNOD
THE ANGLICAN COVENANT PROPOSAL

1. In February the Primates of the Anglican Communion asked all Provinces to consider and offer comments by the end of the year on the draft of a possible Anglican Covenant that had been prepared by a design group and discussed by them in Tanzania. The text of the draft Covenant is attached to this note.

2. The Primates noted that this would be only the first stage in what, if the Covenant idea found favour, would be quite a protracted process, involving the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the subsequent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council and the subsequent submission to provinces for approval.

3. The House of Bishops discussed the Primates’ request in May and agreed a motion for Synod to consider in July. The text of the motion, which the Bishop of Chichester will move, is on the agenda. It touches on how the Church of England should engage with the proposed process and prepare a response for submission before the end of the year.

4. To resource this debate, the following documents are attached:

(1) A Foreword by the Archbishops (Annex 1).

(2) A contextual note by the Bishop of Chichester (Annex 2).

(3) A more detailed background note by Dr Martin Davie, theological consultant to the House of Bishops (Annex 3) which draws upon some preparatory thinking on the idea of a Covenant by the Faith and Order Advisory Group.

(4) A copy [RTF version] of some material prepared by Jonathan Clatworthy and Paul Bagshaw of the Modern Churchpeople’s Union (Annex 4 [PDF version here] and circulated at the request of the House. Given the range of comment that the idea of a Covenant has generated, the House thought that members of Synod might find it helpful to be able to read more than one analysis of the issues that arise. An html copy is now here.

(5) The latest text of the draft Covenant (Annex 5) on which the Church of England and other Provinces have been asked to comment.

5.Immediately before a member of the House of Bishops moves the motion, the Synod will be addressed by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, who chaired the Covenant Design Group. Members wishing to read the full report to the primates from the Design Group can access it at: http://www.aco.org/commission/d_covenant/docs/covenant.pdf

[hard copies are also available from the General Synod Office on request and will also be available at the Information Desk in York].

WILLIAM FITTALL
Secretary General
11 June 2007

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 6:12pm BST | TrackBack
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Comments

Great: so the MOST partisan person in all of this, ++Gomez, has been invited to address the synod. How 'bout a suitably prominent *critic* of the Draft Covenant?

Wake up, CofE! The Covenant is a "Coup D'Ecclesia" by the Primates!!! >:-/

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 7:26pm BST

All the potential pitfalls of the Covenant are articulated in Davie's report. The Telegraph report warning us of a "rule-book of beliefs" holds up, with this admission:

"It has to be admitted that the development of a set of Anglican ‘house rules’ could conceivably lead to the exclusion of those who are unwilling to live by these rules. Any rules drawn up for any community have the potential to exclude those who are unwilling to live by them."

This response to the gay "crisis" means enforcing a "common mind" on the Communion by a college of cardinals.

The sleep of reason produces monsters...

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 10:04pm BST

And AGAIN, ++Katharine will not be able to do what the monolythic primates of the GS will ask of her, as the Anglican polity of TEC does not provide for its presider to act unilaterally without consent of the body of the whole/GC.

Posted by: Fr.Shawn+ on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 10:12pm BST

Perhaps it is waking, will kick the thing off the bed, and go back to sleep.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 10:21pm BST

Annex 4 (the MCU submission) is the most formidable critique of the whole Covenant idea I have seen anywhere. Full marks to the CofE for including it in the official briefing papers.

I suspect that Drexel Gomez has been put there so he can hear Synod, just as much as he is there so Synod can hear him.

If the debate on gays in the Church, and on the Bishops' advice on civil partnerships, at the last Synod is anything to go by, this is going to be a bumpy ride. No waking up will be necessary.

Posted by: badman on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 11:03pm BST

"No waking up will be necessary"

Depends how good Sunday lunch is at Betty's!

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 12:03am BST

Greetings, I can't get the Annex 4 link to work...thanks,

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 2:24am BST

The annex is at http://www.modchurchunion.org/Publications/Papers/Covenant/Summary%20response.htm

However this is a November 2006 document in response to an earlier round of consultation.

The up to date paper (which GS officials declined to circulate saying that the debate was one of principle not on the detail of the Draft Covenant) is at http://www.modchurchunion.org/Covenant.htm

Apologies to those who had difficulty finding it.

Posted by: Paul Bagshaw on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 11:42am BST

The Devil's in the detail: That's why the Spring 2007 MCU response is so much more critical.

How can delegates be expected to vote in principle for something that is so unprincipled in its detail?

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 12:51pm BST
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