Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - Anglican Covenant Resolutions

We noted earlier this “official” resolution on the Anglican Covenant from the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, to be debated later this week at the Canadian General Synod.

A137: Anglican Communion Covenant
Moved by: The Right Reverend George Bruce, Diocese of Ontario
Seconded by: The Right Reverend Greg Kerr-Wilson, Diocese of Qu’Appelle

Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

Two individual members of synod have now put forward their own resolution.

C004: Decision to adopt Anglican Covenant
Moved by: The Rev. Canon Alan T. Perry, diocese of Montreal
Seconded by: The Ven. Ronald Harrison, diocese of New Westminster

Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. Affirm the commitment of the Anglican Church of Canada to full participation in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion; and
2. Will consider a formal decision to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant after the Church of England has formally adopted it.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 10:13am BST | TrackBack
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Comments

So, Kearon's threat worked.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 10:47am BST

Perry and Harrison are callng the ABC's bluff. I understand there is serious question about whether the CofE can adopt the Covenant because it yields authority in religious matters to parties outside England. Some say the CofE's legal situation forbids this.

Posted by: jnwall on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 11:51am BST

I like resolution C004. It puts the burden on the Church of England to give up its ecclesiological independence first -- which, some have speculated, would take an act of Parliament.

Note also the use of the word "formally" in clause 2. Could this be a veiled dig at Archbishop Williams?

Neither of these resolutions commits the Anglican Church of Canada to doing anything with respect to the "covenant." These resolutions say merely, "It's in our inbox. We'll think about it."

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 12:00pm BST

Kearon is behaving like the henchmen of a police state, not a fellowship of believers in Christ. His next step will be to bring the 'defaulters' before the Pope Rowan and his henchmen (advisors) They have shown their true colours, and the members of the Anglican Communion need to stand against them, and restore the independence of each province, within the Anglican Communion

Fr John (Scotland)

Posted by: Fr John on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 12:29pm BST

"So, Kearon's threat worked."

I'm not sure that I see things the same way, Mark. In postponing even a consideration of the Covenant until after it has been adopted by the CofE, he second resolution seems to be saying, "Put up or shut up."

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 12:39pm BST

"2. Will consider a formal decision to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant after the Church of England has formally adopted it."

Interesting - so, when hell freezes over? and only "consider" adoption after etc.

Posted by: Lois Keen on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 2:35pm BST

Perhaps, Mark; or perhaps this is as brisk a response, really, as Bishop Katharine's. That is, this is a call for the Church of England as a whole (and not simply Canterbury) to commit to the Covenant. If Canterbury can't sell it in England (and I think that's hardly a foregone conclusion), why should anyone else commit? Also, without the "enhanced role" discussed in the Covenant, Canterbury's authority to make the sort of changes Kearon executed on Canterbury's behalf is harder to argue.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 4:33pm BST

How so Mark? The first resolution was on the books before the Kearon letter. The second is a dare. The ACoC will consider adoption after CoE has adopted it.

I see no buckling to threats.

Posted by: David | Dah•veed | on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 5:05pm BST

That's not entirely clear, to me at least. Affirming the "commitment" to "full participation in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion" is an affirmation the Episcopal Church could (probably would) make even now. Considering a formal decision to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant "after the Church of England has formally adopted it" could be interpreted as a challenge, since it is by no means certain that the Church of England actually has the authority to do so.

Posted by: Reid Hamilton on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 5:10pm BST

Also, there's a divide-and-conquer attempt at work in Kearon's behavior. One day he's announcing a slap on the Episcopal Church's wrist, the next he's praising the ACofC before it takes key votes that might move the ACofC across whatever line he's drawn in his mind across which the Episcopal Church (but not Uganda and Nigeria) has moved.

I hope our northern friends don't get swept up in his enthusiasm for them.

Posted by: jnwall on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 6:17pm BST

I suspect the second resolution appeals more to those with a dislike for the effect of resolution #1, which would commit the Canadian church to study and consult on a Covenant for which there may be little or no stomach, at any level at all. The second resolution definitely postpones any action until the C of E takes its own stand. I'm sure Budgets at every level would prefer this throughout the next triennium. And even if C of E deals with the Covenant soon, it will be 3 years before it comes back here - and who knows, maybe a decade will be gone before any constitutional effect. By then, none may be necessary, for what will be, will most likely have already been. And the Canadian Church, which has put great effort into avoiding deliberate confrontations might just come through it all, integrity still intact and in communion with [almost] everyone. IMO

Posted by: Cal McMillan on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 8:36pm BST

I agree with Bill Dilworth. "You First, suckers."

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 10:05pm BST

The Church of England's position on the Covenant is summarised here:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/004182.html
An earlier item is here:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/003517.html

I think it is generally believed that
- it is entirely legal for the CofE GS to endorse the Covenant if it wishes to do so, but
- the process for doing so will require a majority of the 44 diocesan synods to concur first.
This will take quite a while.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 10:05pm BST

Since the draft document calling itself "The Anglican Covenant" is the idea of the Primate of the CofE which he tried to implement with unseemly haste and was drafted by committees appointed by him that were unrepresentative of the diversity which makes up "Anglicanism", I think it most fitting that the CofE be first to engage in deliberating and voting on this creation of theirs. In other words, you built it, so let your people tear each other apart over it before you put that burden on other churches that are perfectly happy to go about their ministries and mission.

Our budgets and energies are not unlimited and perhaps it is not good stewardship to spend those resources on this process now without knowing that its originating Province accepts it as a worthwhile idea.

Posted by: Kahu Aloha on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 2:48am BST

"This will take quite a while.

Simon, could you be a bit more specific please?

In your judgment, what would be the fastest time likely for this to be able to occur?

How many of those 44 are deemed to be likely to approve rather easily?

How many are seen as adamantly opposed to the proposed Covenant?

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 3:50am BST

Indeed. I misread and my knee jerked accordingly.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 4:38am BST

Ron Smith made a comment on another thread, but I think it is worth moving his comment, and my reply to it over to this thread.

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 the Church of England; to await the approval of the House of Bishops. GS 1716 still requires 'at least 18 months to 2 years' before G.S. could come to a final decision!

If the debate on the Covenant by the C.of E. G.S. cannot proceed until the H.o B. has approved of the final format - then this surely would give the Anglican Church of Canada plenty of time before it even has to consider membership? - that is, if the
Canadian amendment (to delay a response until the Covenant has been approved by the C.of E.) passes.

Perhaps each and every Province should delay its response to the Covenant, until we make sure that the Church of England (Mother Church) accepts it. Only in this way can members of the Communion be assured that the Covenant will hold.
Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 11:27pm BST

Simon responds:
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
discusses the process likely to be applicable in considerable detail.
Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 7:15am BST

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 7:23am BST

Thank you, Simon, for the link with the GS 1716 document issued by the Church of England -responding to the question of that Church's eventual rejection or acceptance of the Covenant process. I noted this interesting little paragraph which was included in the course of the document - under Section VII :

"52. A further matter which has not received sufficient attention, but which was noted
obliquely at the Lambeth Conference, is the role in this respect of the Archbishop of Canterbury as
Primate of All England. Should the Church of England not accept the Covenant or relinquish the Covenant, or were the Church of England to be deemed to have relinquished the Covenant, where would this place the Archbishop of Canterbury?"

In the present air of uncertainty over the C.of E.'s ability to join in a Covenant relationship with the rest of the Communion - with all the legal implications this may have for the Church/State relationship - this does seem to cast some doubts about the leading role in the Communion of the ABC, in the event the Church of England elects not be be a Covenant partner.

OR: Has it been already clarified that the Church of England can just agree by Act of General Synod to adopt the Covenant - without prior Government approval? This question is rather important.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 11:34pm BST

Motion C004 was ruled out of order by the chair.

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 8:03pm BST
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