Monday, 22 November 2010

Covenant - Monday roundup

Bishop Alan Wilson has written My fluttering Pelagiometer.

The Anglican Covenant may well not end up accomplishing as much bad or good as it is cracked up for, but the discussion around it has been worthwhile and fascinating, and at last something of a broader debate seems to be starting up, for example Andrew Goddard and Jonathan Clatworthy, here and here. People are still, however, often picking over the bones rather than addressing the big questions around having such a thing in the first place, and it seems to me those are where the action is. Many thanks to all who have offered comment on this blog for their clarity, honesty, and will to try and understand the whole picture.

If Christians are alienated from each other, culturally, sociologically and psychologically, how high a formal fence should they erect between themselves? Enough, surely to give reflective space to both and a chance to relate their partial interests in the whole gospel picture whilst they live in tension and await, in joyful hope, a new heaven and a new earth. But temporary fencing, as low and light as possible, has to offer the best way forward if it’s relationships that count…

Episcopal Café had a useful roundup of some of yesterday’s media coverage.

In case anybody still thinks this Covenant is acceptable to conservatives, this FCA blog entry makes the position clear.

The recently retired Chancellor of the Anglican Church of Canada has written about the Covenant. See Canadian judge questions lack of clarity in Covenant language.

And for some light relief, see UFO Mission to Rescue the Archbishop.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 22 November 2010 at 12:38pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Thanks for this. I am often wading through to much to find too little of use or sense. You have done that job ably. Thank you

Posted by: Fr David Cloake on Monday, 22 November 2010 at 2:14pm GMT

Another excellent, nuanced post from Alan Wilson. John H Rogers Jr is not a member of the Anglican Communion, so I fail to see what concern of his this is.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Monday, 22 November 2010 at 4:52pm GMT

Absolutely stellar commentary from Bishop Alans Blog: Quote: This [covenant] is a profoundly Groucho Marx place to end up. Unquote.

To many thanks for that, to ennumerate online.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 12:19am GMT

"As I mention below the Covenant purports to provide a process to address questions relating to the meaning of the Covenant. Will that include questions of interpretation of the Scriptures which Churches adopting the Covenant would reaffirm as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith?"

- Ronald Stevenson, Q.C. -

This former Chancellor of the Anglican Church of Canada puts his finger on the pulse of a question at the heart of the Covenant process: - that of *Whose interpretation of the Bible does one accept as 'the norm' for the Communion Partners?*

There can be little doubt that the problem of biblical interpretation is the great stumbling block for different school of theology within the Provincial Churches of the Communion, who are presently contesting the right of TEC and the A.C.of C. to interpret the Scriptures as allowing the ordination of homosexual and lesbian bishops, and the blessing of faithful same-sex unions within their Provincial Churches. (n.b. there is no pressure on others to do the same!)

That the US Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have 'done their homework' on these matters of gender and sexuality over a period of many years; while some other Provinces has chosen not to do this, seems to be of no consequence in arguments for the imposition of The Covenant. Stemming from this reality, one wonders how, within a proscriptive culture of communal oversight (such as the Covenant offers through the new Standing Committee of the A.C.) can the two widely-differing provincial views of the authority and validity of the Scriptures, be accommodated within its boundaries?

The only way would be for any disciplinary code which sought to outlaw provincial actions that offend the cultural sensibilities of one or other of the parties to the Covenant (e.g. ordination of women or gays; same-sex blessings, etc.,) to be removed from the Covenant document. This then would allow Provinces to 'agree to disagree' on specifics, on cultural sensitivity grounds, while yet maintaining the fullest possible sacramental unity. Any other process would be too dismissive of any prophetic action which individual Provinces might want to make, lawfully, within their own social and cultural environment.

Cultural contexts are hardly ever monochrome, and in the tri-cultural Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Pacifica, we have a living testament to the truth of that reality. We have learned, and are learning, to live with that, Why can not the rest of the Anglican Communion be content to do the same? Homogeneity is a poor substitute for what ought to be the plurality of the Living Church of God in Christ.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 4:28am GMT

+Alan Wilson seems like a thoroughly sensible and humane man, which leads one to wonder how he ever got to be a bishop in the first place.

Posted by: rjb on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 11:12am GMT
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