Wednesday, 11 July 2012

General Convention declines to take a position on the Anglican Covenant

ENS reports Convention ‘declines to take a position’ on Anglican Covenant.

The House of Bishops concurred with the deputies July 10 to affirm their commitment to building relationships across the Anglican Communion, especially through the Continuing Indaba program, and to decline to take a position on the Anglican Covenant.

After considering eight resolutions, the General Convention’s committee on world mission recommended adoption of two resolutions on Anglican Communion relationships and the Anglican Covenant, a document that initially had been intended as a way to bind Anglicans globally across cultural and theological differences.

Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, chair of the world mission committee, told ENS following the vote that the resolutions are “a genuine pastoral response because we are not of one mind, and to push a decision at this time would cause hurt and alienation in our church on both sides and instead we chose to stay in the conversation.”

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued this statement:

The wind has clearly gone out of the sails of the Anglican Covenant. There was not even a single dissenting vote when the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia declared itself unable to adopt the Covenant. While our Coalition would have preferred a clearer “no” from the Episcopal Church, the resolution passed in Indianapolis is scarcely more than an abstention – and the commitment to “monitor the ongoing developments” rings hollow when we consider that the same General Convention phased out funding for the Episcopal Church staff position for Anglican Communion affairs. Perhaps they will monitor the situation by following #noanglicancovenant on Twitter.

The next major step in the Covenant process will be at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, this fall. We understand that there will be an attempt to introduce a ratification threshold and a sunset date to the Covenant process. Depending on the details, our Coalition is likely to be broadly supportive of both initiatives.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 at 10:47pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

While the mother Church of England is still wrestling with the 'problem' of women Bishops, some other provinces of the Communion are already doing homework on other justice matters. TEC and ACANZP are looking 'beyond' the out-dated Covenant process, in an earnest endeavour to bring about justice for the LGBT community.

We, in New Zealand, will certainly be interested to see what comes up at the next meeting of ACC which will be hosted in Aotearoa/New Zealand! The welcome will be warm, if not compliant.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 12 July 2012 at 11:49am BST

Although it might have been best to have a VERY VERY qualified "Yes" - this decision does not preclude that in the future.

I do not agree that the Covenant is dead. Maybe this version at this time is taking a few knocks, but the cat is out of the bag on this one and we are going to see repeated attempts at creating a more unified Anglican Communion.

It's interesting watching the debate - and dodging of the debate - about how unified TEC is.
In a way the uncertainty of what the Anglican Communion is - or might be - is repeated as people review the history of TEC's creation and how it developed and the present expanding role of their Presiding Bishop.

And there are those naughty enough to compare the independent cries from the "sovereign diocese" of South Carolina within TEC to the assertions of the sovereign province of TEC vis a vis the Communion.

There are obviously developments within both TEC and Anglican Communion that are not welcome - but those who are alarmed are not always whom one might expect!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 12 July 2012 at 11:56am BST

Obviously TEC is not alone in its ambivalence about the Covenant: Few provinces have either endorsed it or turned it down. I fail to see how staying in conversation hurts either the Episcopal Church or the Communion. A firm "yes" or "no" by TEC could have damaged both.

Robert T. Dodd

Posted by: Robert T. Dodd on Thursday, 12 July 2012 at 3:18pm BST

To me, creating a more unified Anglican Communion would be to do exactly what Jesus would do. Include all. Exclude none. Sadly, human beings don't do things necessarily this way. The Episcopal Church in the USA is leading the way. I can't see any of the proposed Covenants as anything more than exclusionary. Justice and equality for all are principals Jesus stood for.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Thursday, 12 July 2012 at 10:20pm BST

Mmmmm, delicious Anglican Fudge!

I don't feel strongly about the process GC used here. I DO feel strongly that ***the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral*** is the ONLY "Anglican Covenant" worth the paper it's printed on (hence, its inclusion at the back of the 1979 BCP. A far more worthy inclusion, IMHO, than the 39 Articles---though they're back there, too).

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 12 July 2012 at 10:54pm BST

Well, Robert, if you really think that the GAFCON/CANA/ACNA types will regard this General Convention as having "stayed in conversation," you will be disabused of that notion rather quickly.

The South Carolina delegation seems to have absented itself from the conversation.

TEC can't "stay in the conversation" with people who don't want to be in conversation with it.

In not taking a position on the Covenant, TEC is negotiating with itself.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 4:21am BST

I went to school with Malcolm French at Trinity College, Toronto, who wrote the statement for No Anglican Covenant Coalition, and I have to say, I'm really proud of the quiet but powerful leadership role Canadian Anglicans are playing in all this. Everyone ignored Canada forever, because we were focussed on boring stuff like equality through conversation. Now, suddenly, because of that, we've ended leading edge. (And the only G8 country that isn't bankrupt, yay Canada!)

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 6:29am BST

I still think this is a way of saying, "Yes, we are a part of the communion, but the present communion shape is not pastoral, it has betrayed its duty to pastor and defend its people. Once you learn to be pastors again, we'll consider this covenant and its necessity."

A well-deserved, but polite, slap at the whole covenant nonsense.

Still, I want us to divorce from CofE and provide "alternative pastoral oversight" for those tired of bending over backwards to fear.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 6:53am BST

"...tired of bending over backwards to fear." MB

It has been named. What fear could there be for those who open themselves to what *is* in the world of God's genuine love and quest for personal authenticity? Fear falls in God is key to me.

Thanks be to God

Posted by: leonardoricardo on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 1:23pm BST

As one who spoke at the hearing which led to the final version of B005, and as one who strongly supports the Anglican Covenant, I was quite surprised and pleased with what transpired at General Convention. As far as the Anglican Covenant is concerned, General Convention was a resounding defeat for the Anglican far left. 'Not yet' is precisely 'not yet'; it is neither 'yes' nor 'no'. To claim otherwise is to badly spin things. Furthermore, Pro Communione: Theological Essays on the Anglican Covenant (Pickwick/Wipf & Stock, 2012) is now available internationally, in paperback and e-book (Amazon Kindle) versions, and is being well received. The Anglican Covenant remains in play!

Posted by: guyer on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 8:46pm BST

"The Anglican Covenant remains in play!" - quyer -

For this to be true, there would need to be much more enthusiastic welcoming of the process by the majority of Anglican Provinces. I do not see that happening. For a start, GAFCON will never consent to share the Eucharist with TEC or the Anglican Church of Canada, and while that attitude remains, there will be no prospect of uniting all the Provinces in an agreed Covenantal process.

On the other hand, if Section 4 were removed, there might be hope for all non-Gafcon Provinces to live together in diversity - with a different process of unification - a very Anglican position.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 14 July 2012 at 1:02am BST

"Not yet" is as good a way to bury the Anglican Covenant alive as possible. We're good at committee-ing something to oblivion.

If the communion won't step up and change their attitudes, then "not yet" and "not yet" and "not yet" will creep by in its petty pace until the covenant dies of lack of light and air.

LOL. It *is* a defeat for both far-right and far-left, it ignores the sleeping "moderates" who don't care, as long as it doesn't force them to lose anything . . . and a resounding victory for us progressives, who are patient enough to wait for unholy dogmatism to die and be forgotten, as it will. The fundigelicals love to say God is "unchanging" - progressives prefer "ineffable," and we, like Him, can wait and adapt our plans, and that means we are . . . inevitable. Revolutions change nothing, but patience and quiet direction change EVERYTHING.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 at 7:27am BST

TEC's decision is fairly transparent and very astute politics. The proposed covenant is really aimed at corralling TEC, and Canada as well, to a lesser extent. So, it is smart to allow other National churches/Provinces in The Communion to vote the thing down while the primary target takes a more diplomatic road to ditching the thing. Look for Canada to follow TEC's example. Bonus, its a good solution for the nervous Nellies in the Canadian House of Bishops who don't want an up and down vote on the covenant. The observation that the covenant is dead, is right on.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 at 2:26pm BST
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